1. RachHP
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    RachHP Contributing Member

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    Plot advice (peaked too soon?)

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by RachHP, Mar 9, 2015.

    Hi all,

    I'm on my second draft of my WIP and after much faffing around rewrote the first third of the book. It fixed the problem I was having but the rewrite has brought everything forward so now I'm concerned my 'climax' is no longer very climactic...

    Before the change, my plot went something like this (significant incidences only):
    • She returns to her home country
    • She finds the king's sister who is then promptly murdered
    • She is challenged to a duel at the coronation and is victorious
    After the change:
    She returns to her home country
    • She finds the king's sister who is then promptly murdered
    • She is reunited with her long lost brother and masters her powers
    • She is challenged to a duel at the coronation and is victorious

    Here are the questions...
    1. There are several chapters leading up to/down from each moment, obviously, but do those significant events seem in the right* order to you?
    2. How do you feel about the typical 'climax' moment in a story revolving more about someone's personal relationships and revelations, than something action-y?

    Thanks :)


    *I realise the book hinges on my writing, but I'd like to work around a satisfying structure, if that makes sense...
     
  2. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why does she find the king's sister? Did she just look in the lost property office? Or did she go looking because she saw a "reward offered"? Or did somebody recruit her - against her wishes because she's given up finding princesses?

    Given her success in 1/ above, wouldn't it make sense for her to find him, rather than being reunited by some person or persons unknown?

    Why would anyone challenge her to a duel? Don't they know she's lethal at find-the-lady? Whose coronation is it? - Or do you mean that it is the king who is murdered - rather than the king's sister - in 1/ above?
     
  3. RachHP
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    RachHP Contributing Member

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    Apologies, I thought more info might confuse matters.

    MC is tracked down and the aspiring king tells her that in trade for her help, he will reunite her with her brother.
    MC tracks his sister down for him, but he murders her and frames the MC for it. (Sig Event 1)
    He introduces the MC to her brother again (as promised) but the brother rejects her for various reasons (not the least, she's just been framed for murdering someone)
    Sig Event 2 is when the brother finally comes around and we discover he'd been being a douche because he got their mother killed. Anyway, he befriends her again and this coincides with MC mastering her powers.
    Then they all go back with the no-longer-aspiring-imminently-about-to-be-crowned king and he bribes someone to challenge her at the coronation in order to show her off to his people (she's a particularly dangerous species they thought was extinct and he wants to make a point that he has her and make her kill publicly to back up his story, but she spares the guy's life yadda yadda) [Sig Event 3]

    Thanks for commenting @Shadowfax. I particularly enjoyed 'did she just look in lost property' and the 'giving up on finding princesses' thing (like it was some kind of hobby or addiction in the past).
     
  4. Dunning Kruger
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    Dunning Kruger Active Member

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    With regards to the part you deleted, returning home, in many stories theses are key components to character development. It informs us as to how they will handle conflict and in what form it will come. Given the significance of this, its interesting you cut it. I have no idea if its good or bad but it's noteworthy.

    Forgive me if I incorrectly remember my citations here, but if you read "The Writer's Journey" which is based on Joseph's Campbell's "Hero's Journey", the climax can come when the MC has the epiphany or moment where they overcome the personal hurdles that prevent personal mastery. It is then where they apply those lessons for the final scene where they overcome the external threat. So, as long as the part where she is reunited with her brother and master's her powers is properly developed, this should work.

    A somewhat cheesy example is Top Gun. Maverick is doing his thing his own way, suffers the loss of his co-pilot, and then comes to realize where he went wrong. The last fight scene is him using the lessons he learned to shoot down the bad guys. IIRC, Karate Kid works in a similar fashion. The common element is you need a point of reference for the change. Which makes me wonder why you cut out the the first section which most likely provides that reference point.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
  5. RachHP
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    RachHP Contributing Member

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    Really challenging insights there, @Dunning Kruger, thank you.

    I see what you're saying about presenting the character's starting point, but I've hopefully boiled it down from a five-chapter sequence to a single chapter that achieves the same thing.
    I cut it out was because she was too far away from the stage where all her associate characters and future plot would take place (I literally had her in another world) and there was a character that kept diverting me (I think he was ultimately worthy of his plotline so I'm saving him for another time).
    However, you've made me wonder if I've wittled it down too much and I will certainly be considering whether the reference point has been established.

    I've read similar advice to the writer's journey model you mentioned, but I guess external events (those typical 'slaying the dragon' moments) feel like a more appropriate choice for centre stage than emotional ones. That may just be because I've read too many of that archetype recently and though I don't WANT that to be the case, it's caused me to wonder if they're just more satisfying that personal revelations?
     
  6. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Rach, I'm afraid I'm a bit of a plot-hole geek...

     
  7. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    The climax can be both a real battle and a moral/emotional challenge. In many stories it comes down the the moment when the MC is victorious and must decide whether to kill the opponent. There are all manner of variations of this that can be used, as well as difference consequences - death for failing the king, loss of reward, loss of the respect of a loved one, and so on.
     
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  8. Dunning Kruger
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    Dunning Kruger Active Member

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    I'm just regurgitating what I read with perhaps a small amount of personal reflection on top. YMMV.

    I think you want both. The personal challenges give the story meaning and the audience something to identify with while the external events provide the excitement. Nobody can identify with slaying a dragon but they can identify with overcoming obstacles. But you need to external event to reinforce it. Otherwise it just kind of hangs there - like someone who studied really hard in a class but never took the final.
     
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  9. RachHP
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    RachHP Contributing Member

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    @Shadowfax
    1/Either the king has brother in jail, or he knows where he is and just won't tell her. The brother works for him (he's a porter in the medical teams) just a stroke of luck, really
    2/ Why does the king want his sister found if he's just going to murder her? Unless it's to frame MC? He was originally finding her to get a signature (she abdicated but he wanted to make it more official) and the sister convinced him to kill her, but it looks like a murder until much later.
    3/ But why would MC agree to find the sister? Why wouldn't she just go looking for her brother, if finding people is what she does? - i.e. What can the king offer that she hasn't got? She's asked to find the sister because she can track her (because of what she is.) She can't track her brother, as he isn't a species she can hunt. Ultimately what the king offers her is family, which is something she doesn't have.
    Which is why 3/ above was the better option.
    So he's trying to tell his subjects to obey him, or he'll set MC on them? Not exactly, it's more of a status symbol 'look who I have protecting me' kind of thing, but I suppose the implication is that yes - she could be set on his enemies.

    I realise that doesn't address your concerns exhaustively but I think the plotholes appear less substantial in the story itself. I'll certainly be back to ask for your plothole-finding skills in the future, though!
    x Rach
     
  10. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    It covers most of them. The big thing for me is that something like that will take me out of the story and sit there going "that wouldn't happen". If the "she can't track her brother because he's not a prey species" is covered, I can accept that and move on.
     
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