1. keats81
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    keats81 Member

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    Plot for book I...help.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by keats81, Jun 3, 2011.

    I think my story is stupid, until I tell it through the lens of my morals. In a way I feel like I created a sort of religion that I'm telling the story through. Its more of a lens through which one could read anything. Its my understanding of how the world works. It seems to tackle any stupidness of the story I guess. I mean even the concept of the hobbit was a little silly if the moral basis or the understanding of the world through Tolkien's eyes hadn't been there. In a way he just put make-up on our world. All of the languages and the hobbits where just decorations on top of a much deeper meaning in my opinion. That is why he was successful?

    My story seemed so disjointed and all but now it makes more sense because I let my voice come through the characters and the way the events play out. The only character who reaches my complete understanding of the world is the MC and those closest to him. In contrast, the Antagonist has my complete understanding of the world as well, but he is negative about what he believes is the truth. It is when the MC speaks with him that the MC sees my whole 'truth' and how foolish the all-knowing antagonist really is. This antagonist is also not the main bad guy in book one. He is more of a voice off in the distance under a hooded cloak, whom you don't see until the middle of book two lol...

    Any ways I need help with building up tension...like how much action can be in the beginning versus the end?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Tension comes from the interplay between the opposition and the motivation. To increase the tension, increase the severity of the obstacles or the determination of the enemies. You can also increase motivation by increasing the consequences of failing to reach the goal, or by adding tight time constraints.

    If the wording above is unclear, please read What is Plot Creation and Development?.
     
  3. McHamlet
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    McHamlet Member

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    That's interesting and much more important I think than worrying about how to build up tension although Cogito's advice on that point was interesting. If your story is developing around a moral basis rather than some preconceived ideas of what a story should be then I would say take that as far as you can.
     
  4. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    You could build up the tension through the antagonist's efforts to hide the "Truth". Then your sub-plot becomes clear in that the MC is either trying to save the evidence that the antagonist is trying to destroy; or you can make it personal. Have the antagonist kill people who know the "Truth". Then your MC is trying to save those who know by banding them together. If you get a family member involved then the tension explodes.

    I hope this helps. In my opinion the plot makes the book but the sub-plots make it entertaining.
     
  5. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    You've definitely caught on to something with your Tolkein point. Typically, I'm not the biggest fan of high fantasy and find that certain aspects get really trite after a while. LOTR is the exception, though, for both the movies and the books. For me, there's a lot of deeper themes besides just the face value of the story: i.e. fighting tyranny no matter how long the shots are of winning; sticking by your friends; standing up to the plate and taking initiative when no one else will; prevailing; etc. The battles and adventure are great, too, as I like intense action, but the themes are what make it such a classic.

    If you have really powerful themes in your story that you can convey without being preachy or too overt, and that are embedded in certain ways so that the reader has to dig for them, this will make the difference between the average story (that might be fun to read, but won't get you listed as a classic) and the one that lives for generations and generations. LOTR, Narnia, Harry Potter, and many other high-profile fantasy works have this in common: the deeper themes are there but you have to look for them, because they're big-picture metaphors that aren't explicitly spoon-fed to readers.

    Interesting. One thing I'd warn you on, here, is to avoid being too blatant about what the worldview is. This is an area where you've got to make sure you're showing it, not telling it, as bad as this sounds. Imagine if Harry Potter and Frodo constantly went around talking to their companions about the importance of heroism? It reflects the theme, sure, and it's a great theme, but it'd be extremely annoying and goody-two-shoes to have the theme laid out too blatantly, because this makes the reader feel as though he or she is being spoon-fed to. And I'm not saying that you do this, so don't take it as an accusation - it's just something I'd like to caution against. :)

    Another approach is dramatic irony: where the character doesn't get it, but the reader does. You've got to be careful with this approach, too, because doing it too overboard will cause readers to feel annoyance with the MC and think he/she is stupid. But it can work very powerfully when the MC is continuing in the error of his/her ways, not understanding why he/she keeps getting hosed, and the readers gradually learn as they see what the flaw is (i.e. what is the proper worldview/mindset/action and how is the MC negatively impacted by not getting it.)
     
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  6. keats81
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    keats81 Member

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    Wow you are right and a great example of that last point you made is "Revolutionary Road."
     
  7. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Thank you Keats, and I will have to check that out.
     

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