1. gks
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    gks New Member

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    Plot Creation, help?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by gks, Oct 21, 2011.

    Ok, I'm not going to throw out there what I'm working on and have someone try to fill in the gaps or anything.

    What I'd like is suggestions on how people come up with a plot and storyline for their novels. I'm going to try to do this during NaNoWriMo. It'll be the first novel I've ever written and as a result I have a lot to learn. But part of the struggle I'm having right now is coming up with an actual story.

    Things I do know,

    I want to write it in a post-apocalyptic version of my home town. This gives me plenty to work with in regard to the story world. It'll be changed in a number of ways but the basis of it is my home town. What I'm thinking would be fun is taking the perspective of after the major event happens. After the panic. The panic is mostly settled down and people are beginning to come to grips with the way things are unfolding. It's the usual stuff really.

    But, I don't know how to come up with a solid idea for an entertaining plot. I don't really even have major characters yet, which might be part of the problem. The issue for me is I am sort of a Snowflake Method kind of guy. I don't want all the details, I don't want to write it without any research or thinking, because I need to see the big picture overall first.

    What do you guys suggest I do for trying to come up with a plot/storyline on my own? I know this is creative work and it's hard to teach "creative" stuff. But maybe there are people with some suggestions or tips or things I can try.

    I'd appreciate it. Thank you.
     
  2. Steve89
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    Steve89 Member

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    Hi gks, first of all, you need to brainstorm characters. You need to have a strong protagonist as well as other memorable characters. When you have that, you can start to think about what it is that connects them, and what all of their motives are.

    This will help to build the foundations of your story because when you have your characters and you know what will drive them, you can start to develop the narrative and how they will interact with your post-apocolyptic setting.

    After you've done this, you should plan the novel out step by step and get to writing it.

    I hope this helps and good luck.
     
  3. gks
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    gks New Member

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    Thanks for taking the time to reply. I'll work on characters next and work my way back to the plot. I appreciate the point in the right direction!
     
  4. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    I personally started with a world. I came up with multiple governments and interests inside them that spread across multiple planets and solar systems. I had there economy’s and political systems set up. i then came up with a political crisis that would be the plot of the book. Lastly I had characters. I know it’s a strange way to go about it but I feel characters will come to you.
     
  5. picklzzz
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    picklzzz Senior Member

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    Perhaps think about something that we take for granted in today's day (such as being able to drive, grocery shop, go online, use currency to obtain the things we want) and then think of how it would be in your post-apocalyptic world. How would one change impact everything else? I tend to think of one thing and then expand from there. However, my writing professor in a class I took last year said a story should evolve from the characters. So, lately, I've been thinking more about that and trying to develop the plot from a unique character or situation. Recently, I had to have an MRI because of a hearing issue I was having (with lots of buzzing in my ear). I took that one idea and my experience and wrote a horror story around it. So, for me, it's just about thinking of one unique idea. I think your idea sounds great, but the thing that concerns me is that you must explain the pre-apocalyptic world too because most readers won't be familiar with that either. And will the main characters all live in both?
     
  6. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    I know this might not help at all. Have you tried defining the major problem the protagonist is going through in his/her hometown? If you can define the problem, what action do you think the character must take in order to solve that problem? I mean what and who caused the world to end? You might need to brainstorm the inciting incident (the big problem) in the story before you get the characters involved. This might raise the stakes up higher.

    I'm sorry if this isn't helping you much. Is there something that you experienced that motivates you to write a book like this? You can try emerging your experience with what your book is about.
     
  7. gks
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    gks New Member

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    Thanks all for the suggestions. These help a bit.

    I think the quoted reply from Reggie is a good example of the situation I'm in.

    I have the "world" sort of figured out. at least enough to feel comfortable with it in a crunch. Obviously needs a lot of work yet, but it at least has a start. Here's the primary issue. I don't want the "post-apocalyptic world to be the "problem." It's just the story world. So I need to figure out how to come up with a valid and enticing "big problem." Or maybe it's better described this way. The reasoning for the post-apocalyptic world is the big problem, but for the novel (which makes more sense if you keep reading) a smaller "big problem" that is the focus of the first book.

    Ultimately, the breakdown of the world is going to be the focus. Maybe I'm biting off more than I can chew to begin with, so let me explain why.

    I was thinking that this novel would be post "event." I haven't figured out what exactly caused it. I'm thinking the rich try to leverage their power even further over the poor and middle classes. I don't want to focus tons on the political reasoning. I want it to be more of a thriller/adventure than a political point. The politics just lend itself to the idea a bit more easily. I have some ideas for where it goes from there.

    So for the first novel, I want to focus on this particular town, the people in it and the situation they're in. I have some unique ideas I think for what will happen in this town and the surrounding areas. It has a sort of Jericho (the tv show) feel but I'm doing my best to avoid copying anything from it and other novels I've read.

    The second novel, might be from the perspective of an FBI agent or other government guy (or guys) trying to stop the whole thing from happening. While a third or fourth or something might wrap the whole thing up.

    What I'd like to do is try to unravel the story of why/how it happened slowly. Sort of in a conspiracy type of way. The people don't know the whole story, but piece by piece it's starts to come together.

    Obviously, this sounds scattered. But I enjoy the idea of post-apocalyptic situations and would prefer to not write one story and then have to recreate another world or something to write another. I'd like to be a series of novels, whether I could ever get them published doesn't matter.

    Does that make more sense?
     
  8. WoodenPaw
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    WoodenPaw Member

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    Your Home town in Post Apocalyptic, then why not your friends and neighbors in Post Apocalyptic and describe their current problems in post apocalyptic world and something like it.
     
  9. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Because that borders on the line of illegal is why not.

    What I can suggest with post-apocalyptic settings is that you try to steer clear of nuclear fallout, blah blah blah. I tell you now, I am absolutely sick of deserts. Sick of them. Fallout has them. Rage has them. Road Warrior, Mad Max, The Road, yadda yadda yadda. I'm sick of it. And I'm sick of zombies. And yeah. Try something new, please.
     
  10. WoodenPaw
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    WoodenPaw Member

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    How about a Nuclear Fallout where radiation has helped animals to gain intelligence OR biological superiority over humans?
     
  11. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Even in that case, chances are there's a big nuclear desert. Who cares about the animals? I just want a nice environment for once. That's where pandemic apocalypse can be good, but that's too gross. I want something that leaves the world covered in forests.

    The Day of the Triffids? That was an EXCELLENT post-apocalyptic story.
     
  12. gks
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    gks New Member

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    lol, yea, no nuclear stuff going on. I'm thinking systematic bombings of government facilities and infrastructure. This is where part of my problem is though. To systematically do this in the US is an absolutely massive undertaking. We'd be talking at minimum 50 different bombings JUST for the capitols in each state. Well, 48, since Hawaii and Alaska would be on their own anyway. That would be some serious organization and I doubt it would be feasible. While I don't mind going outside the realm of possibility, this one is just too far out there.

    Factor in the infrastructure... waterways and ports, airports, fuel processing plants, etc and we're talking some absolutely massive scale warfare. Of course, the version I am thinking of is much more in the way of a local terrorist type thing rather than from another nation. Basically, the wealthy in the US trying to keep power to themselves as the middle and lower classes try to even the playing field. Based somewhat on our current predicament.

    How would it be kept quiet on such a large scale?
    How would it be carried out in the first place?

    I guess I wouldn't have to worry myself with the big details since the people in my fictional but locally inspired town would be far enough away from the action that they wouldn't have a clue as to how it would've happened.
     
  13. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    This is how I do it. You can find it at the following link. The videos are called Story Structure / Plotting. There are 12 videos in total. Link
     
  14. SnappyUK
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    SnappyUK Member

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    Suggestions - shoot down as necessary.
    Terrorists could be the anti-federalist, NRA, mountain-men white supremacist types - but individual groups, being secretly manipulated by the people they hate, big business and politicians, to destroy targets that are not what they seem. In fact their actions are strengthening the hold of the establishment by allowing suspension of the constitution in response.
    Another alternative is biological warfare. It's been done before but a high mortality-rate airborne virus would lead to mass panic, isolationism, and as the bodies piled up, the spread of secondary diseases, which would overwhelm emergency response and cripple vital services as their employees fell ill/died.
    As for how you keep it quiet, you don't; you spin it. Amongst the conspiracy of evil will be the media moguls who control news output and both create and monitor internet postings to ensure their version of the truth is told. The terrorists could also be "proven" to use the internet for communication and planning, so allowing for the government to take steps to censor and block certain content.
     
  15. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    As another option, what about wiping out communication?
    A high altitude EMP could do a lot of damage. The us military has developed weapons that are suppose to take out a cities grid by passing over. And there is the old touch off a nuke over the countries atmosphere.
     
  16. Jetshroom
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    Jetshroom Active Member

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    I'm not sure I can help you be creative at all, I doubt anyone can help anyone else with that. We can just provide ideas.
    But, I've found my personal issue with creativity is channelling it.

    Look up The Snowflake Method. It may not work for you, but it's been extremely useful to me.
     

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