1. eccentric_m
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    eccentric_m Member

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    Plot vs. Situation

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by eccentric_m, Oct 24, 2007.

    Hi everybody. I was reading Stephen King's On Writing a little while ago and it was quite interesting. One part in particular got me thinking, though; he said that a lot of his stories aren't plotted out before hand, but rather start out as a situation and develop as he goes along. I do this as well, but I was wondering what everyone else thinks about it.
     
  2. Heather Louise
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    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

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    i tend to do that also but find it leads me no-where. i am just hoping that if i percervere with it then eventually it will take me right to the end of a peice, for a change. :p
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I think that if you start with a situation, you probably have some idea of where you want to end up as well, although exactly how you from one to the other is more fluid. But perhaps not for everyone. Mr. King may prefer to just see where the initial situation takes him, without a preconceived destination. That may make for a slightly more natural flow, because the writer isn't trying to "steer" it, but I wonder if the overall construction of the story would be weaker.

    It might interesting to experiment with.
     
  4. Heather Louise
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    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

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    like i said, i always just start with an initial situation at the beginning, then just sort of free write after that without a clue of where i want it to end up. it feels better ;cos there are no restrictions really but sometimes it is bad as you don't know whwere to go with it.
     
  5. TheFedoraPirate
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    TheFedoraPirate Contributing Member

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    I also start with a situation, which then developes into many situations, then I strain my brain to come up with some plot that would logically tie these situations together, then I begin tying these situations together until finally I invent a beginning and a feasable end.
     
  6. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    I start with a situation 90% of the time.
    With stories I consider very important I'll sometimes come up with the plot and the situation, but unless theres some pressing need, or I give myself several weeks or months to think about it, I don't usually bother with a plot.
     
  7. Funny Bunny
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    Funny Bunny Contributing Member

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    I think there is still some confusion between a plot and an outline. A plot is an ancient format device for stories. An Outline is a listing of events or scenes usually in order.

    The same plots used by the ancient Greeks and Shakespeare are used by modern writers, there are between 35 and several hundred "plots" on existence, depending on who you want to listen to. Most plots are fairly simple to get, and writers with many years of experience like King do not need to use plots. Many writers know instinctively the plots that interest them. Some combine plots endlessly and that is perfectly fine. To say you don't use them is like saying you don't use Grammar, since a plot is kind of like a story's grammar. A plot makes an adventure story and adventure story, or a love story a love story.

    An outline can be used or not also depending on the author's knowledge of the story, or experience. You can make an outline in your mind by just thinking about "what comes next." Writing it down helps, but only if you have a clear picture in your head.

    A situation is a little less than a plot.

    A monkey who loves peanut butter suddenly inherits a peanut butter factory--- what happens next? If the monkey eats and eats and then gets sick and has to go through peanut butter withdrawal and ends up more in tune with his real wants and needs, then you are using a plot (possibly redemption/wicked excess). If the Monkey meets an elephant and they find they like each other and end up getting married, despite the protests of their separate famalies, you are using a plot (one form of Love story or Forbidden Love.).

    The Idea or situation leads to the use in one of 300 plots or plot combinations. I do not think anyone can write anything that doesn't follow a Plot--- And since Stephan King's novels can all be pigeon holed in one plot or other, It's pretty clear he followed plots, though maybe not intentionally.
     
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  8. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    What I generally do, is just start writing something with only a very loose idea in my head, and only after a few chapters do I plan it out at all. I find that if I do that, I have a better idea of where the story is going that I would if I planned it first.
     
  9. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    I've done this so many times. I find it hard to act surprised.
     
  10. Lily
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    Lily Member

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    I'll usually have my entire story planned out - at least in my head - and start by writing my favorite scenes, then slowly fill in the cracks. This allows me to get more done faster - and also to add things I hadn't thought of before. I've tried to go from beginning to end - but I always end up frustrated, bored, and sick of the story. (And usually with some form of writer's block).
    I've never known one way to work for everyone - because everyone has different styles naturally.
    Find your own style and enjoy it.
     

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