1. Snowmantheory
    Offline

    Snowmantheory Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Somewhere on the Last Lost Continent

    Plot Designing: The Dreaded Process

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Snowmantheory, Jul 18, 2013.

    I used to think that I was great at making plots for stories. I loved it because it was my own story and I could do whatever I want. Then I boiled down my plots and realized that they were all the same thing. I never seem to be able to think of a great idea for a story that doesn't boil to the same thing. Tell me, writers and aspiring writers, what goes through your mind when you think of plots?
     
  2. jmhoffer
    Offline

    jmhoffer Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2013
    Messages:
    240
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Winterpeg
    There are only a handful of plots. The key part is character development and story-telling. Funniest thing I ever read was the plot synopsis for Star Wars with only a handful of words and names scratched out and replaced with Harry Potter references. The synopsis still made total sense, even though these two stories have absolutely nothing in common.
     
  3. jmhoffer
    Offline

    jmhoffer Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2013
    Messages:
    240
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Winterpeg
    Found it.

    86990_harrypotterstarwars.jpg
     
  4. Snowmantheory
    Offline

    Snowmantheory Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Somewhere on the Last Lost Continent
    That is actually great to hear; I love designing characters. I am a bit obsessive over character-making and psychology.
     
  5. Winged-Walls
    Offline

    Winged-Walls Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2013
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    1
    Haha, I have the exact same problem. I guess it's not so much of a problem as long as it's not too obvious? (jmhoffer, that synopsis thing is brilliant)
     
  6. randomme1
    Offline

    randomme1 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2012
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Texas
    The only thing I think of when I make a plot is this...what will make this more badass.

    Wait, no, I also constantly think...how can I make my MC's life more of a living hell than it already is? Gunshot wound? Nah, too quick. Set that b**ch on fire!

    Other than that, I just jump in and see where the plot goes.
     
  7. Teodor Pravický
    Offline

    Teodor Pravický Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2013
    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Czech Republic
    All the good stories are kind of about anti-establishment, social or personal. You have to like to make it against some rules or personal opinions
     
  8. AnonyMouse
    Offline

    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    Messages:
    2,225
    Likes Received:
    337
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Most stories boil down to the same thing: conflict. There are only a handful of conflicts out there. Once you begin to develop your own style and voice, you will probably find yourself writing about many of the same themes and exploring the same issues over and over again, using new characters and settings (or sometimes the same characters and settings).

    This is not a bad thing, nor does it mean you're repetitive. Once you get grabbed by an issue that really speaks to you, you'll find yourself exploring it in different ways, digging deeper each time or attacking the issue from a slightly different angle. They may look the same if you strip away the details, but they're (usually) not.

    I'm not saying an author can't get stuck in a rut and find himself regurgitating the same crap over and over again. It happens. All I'm saying is, don't sell yourself short just because all of your stories are about feminism, or anti-establishment, or epic quests, or boy-meets-girl, etcetera. Just be sure each story you write has something unique to say, even if they're all talking about the same/similar things.
     
  9. Teodor Pravický
    Offline

    Teodor Pravický Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2013
    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Czech Republic
    I think fear of being repetitive comes from the writers or the people who write about writing, but reader itself likes to see that is experiencing something familiar with just few things altered. Well, I personally liked that when I was just a reader
     
  10. agentkirb
    Offline

    agentkirb Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2009
    Messages:
    494
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Houston
    I always have to be inspired by something, either watching a TV show, or I'll be driving and have a random thought in my head. And that leads to me coming up with a scene in my mind, usually a pivotal moment of a future story I'll write. For example, the story I always tell about how I came up with the idea for my first plot goes like this. I was driving home from work late at night. I stop at a 4 way stop sign and as I start to go again, another guy that was stopped to my left starts to go as well. I don't notice until he stops suddenly before he would've T-boned me.

    I thought about the hypothetical accident I just avoided. We were the only two people at that intersection, and I was like 18 at the time so I wondered if he could've lied and said I didn't stop and he ran into me. It would've been his word against mine and the cops might've thought because I was much younger that I was responsible. And that led me to think about a similar sort of thing where I'm out of town for work reasons, and I go back to my hotel and find a dead body in my bed and the cops bust in moments later thinking I murdered the guy. And I kind of expanded a story around that thought.

    I guess the point I'm trying to make is, don't start at the beginning of your story plot wise, start with a scene you want to write and then branch out from there.
     
  11. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    Stories are personal, deep down, no matter how dramatised on the outside they may be, at the core of really wanting to tell a story is having a story to tell. So it's not surprising most writers have a handful of themes that inspire them, or that they always come back to. The important thing is that the individual stories aren't boring, derivative and repetitive when they are being read.
     
  12. Lokasenna
    Offline

    Lokasenna Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2013
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Durham, UK
    There are, theoretically speaking, only seven basic plots. Or at least, that's what's been argued.

    Still, the most important thing is not usually the story, but the way you tell it. A plot can be derivative, but wordcraft can be unique.
     
  13. Mr.Knight
    Offline

    Mr.Knight New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    When I am working on an idea for a short story, I will go straight to writing. I don't plot anything, I like to know my story and from there let it dictate it's own direction. I simply write my idea out and leave it at that with no further plotting, I then go ahead and write the actual short piece. Perhaps it is not the best way to write a story, but I am a passionate writer and not trying to publish anything. Writing for me should be a free platform void of rules regarding plotting and such, I work on an idea and just write the story around it.

    This is not to say that I take writing any less important. Writing for me is a personal journey that I like to share with other people, not a chore with lots of rules that must be adhered to.
     
  14. Steve Day
    Offline

    Steve Day Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2013
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    PA
    "Plot" most often is just a Character, a Problem, a Deadline.
    Nell is tied to the railroad tracks. She hears a train whistle.
    We are pretty sure she will not be run over. The who/how/why/etc. over the next 300 pages are the twists and turns that make us keep reading.
     
  15. Teodor Pravický
    Offline

    Teodor Pravický Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2013
    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Czech Republic
    The what? Who wants to read about train whistle?
     

Share This Page