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  1. jnk1296
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    jnk1296 Member

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    Recalling the pain of developing your plot...

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by jnk1296, Jul 7, 2011.

    I don't know if this is the proper place to post this, but seeing as there are no threads involving writing in The Lounge, and since this post does involve developing plots, here goes nothing.
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    It's four in the morning right now, and I've been considering posting this for a while.

    Do you ever stop and just go back and admire all of the work that you did to get your plot where it is today? You know? Just pull up an old file from the first few days of your plot's existance and say 'wow'? Or even go as far as to recall how you came up with the idea for your story in the first place?

    For example: about three weeks back, I had bought a portable hard drive to back up my data to just incase something bad were to happen to my system. Well, literally two days after I bought the drive, and just after my first back up, my OS decided that it wanted to commit suicide, and it did so. Call it luck of the draw, call it coincidence, I call it premonition. Anyway, I was going through my backups in the days that followed, and copying all of my data back on to my computer, when I came across the folder that held all of my novel files (again, thank god for backups, or I would have had to start from scratch!) So, out of curiosity... I copied it to my hdd without a single thought. Ha, gotcha! :D

    But seriously, about five days ago, I decided to have a look inside, and I was amazed by what I found. It was like looking at a comprehensive history of my story's development. There were files that listed ideas for scenes, some of which made the cut, others that didn't, files that contained information about characters I had cut out completely, and very vague outlines, most of which missing huge parts of the story entirely, since I didn't have much planned back then.

    It's all very interesting to think about how all of that stuff came into the plot you have today... almost makes you want to pull your hair out AGAIN when you think of all the agonizing pain you went through, right?

    And then you find a plot line, an old one from say... a month and a half ago. You open it up to look at it, and your mind just starts sending out message after message of 'DOES NOT COMPUTE! DOES NOT COMPUTE!' I swear, when I look at something old that is so different from what I have now, there comes a voice in my head that keeps telling me to fix every single little thing that I find is wrong, even though I don't have to, nor should I if I want to maintain its historical record. Still, it drives me insane, especially when I see references to things and scenes that I have since changed and done completely differently!

    I'll be honest. Like a lot of people when they first started out, I made a lot of mistakes, and I still do, but when I look at all of the copies of the old plots I have, I die a little inside. In my earlier plot revisions, I had pivotal scenes being triggered by flat two dimensional characters who had no point or role in the story, and appeared out of thin air just for the sole purpose of causing the particular scene to happen! Again, die a little inside I do!

    Of course, then all is made right when I remember the stroke of genius I had one day.

    I had realized what I was doing, and was trying to come up with a way to make the pivitol scenes more realistic, seeing as how in real life you would never go suicidal because of some random persons comment. Oh looky there, I let slip a detail! Oh darn! Anyway, I just took one of those pointless characters I had scattered about, and developed him a little more, unware of the fact that I would be developing my main antagonist! Even better was the fact that the more I worked him into the plot, to more the pointless characters disappeared, and the story made sense! And then comes the memories of stupid ideas that I had while trying to work said character into plot...

    ...
    Anyway, I'm getting way off track here, but I wanted to share my experience, and I want to hear your experiences too! How do you react when you think back to all the work you put into developing that essential plot?
     
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  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Oh yeah! Definitely. When I first conceived the idea for the novel I'm working on now, it was about three weeks before I actually started to write it. In those three weeks, it changed so much. My original version of the idea was lame. :)
     
  3. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think about the plot I'm working on right now, and then I think about the two and a half hours I spent handwriting it into a tiny notepad before I forgot it. I think about the inherent ridiculousness of naming my two main characters Will and Harry (considering the two royals), and then changing the name of Harry. Then I remember the cliché nature of Will being named Will considering the story had a lot to do with willpower, so changing his name too.

    Then I remember making that whole plot only the first half or so of the plotline and extending it and adding other characters, whereupon it became even more excellent.

    Yeah. Good stuff.
     
  4. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Honestly - no.:D My plots are never that complicated or unique, they are mostly particular, life-changing events in a usually ordinary life, and how people react to them. I don't write sf, fantasy or any other kind of mystery-based stories, so maybe that is why. I guess my stories are more character-driven than plot-driven, but I do continue building the plot as i go for almost the entire story, coming up with new ideas to add some depth to it.
     
  5. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I hadn't written anything for a few years, and I had never written a story which I'd actually tried to plan - tried to write for real. And then I was playing Baldur's Gate 2 (an old RPG) and I named my character Heinrich. And I knew I wanted to write a story like the one in Baldur's Gate.

    Then I spent the next few months writing notes in a A5 notepad in tiny font and filled the whole thing with background and motives and why this and why that.

    And then I stopped, because I had no idea how to begin.

    Year and a half later, I had a minor mental breakdown at uni and desperately needed a break. So I thought, "I'll write. This summer, I will do nothing - nothing at all because I seriously need a break - but I will write."

    And write I did. I'm the sort who just writes as I go along. Always been a bit crappy at planning - I'm better at editing it afterwards. I wrote 44 pages and those 3 months I poured over every word, every last punctuation. 1 paragraph would take me a whole day sometimes to write. See, it's the first time I'd really critiqued my own writing. The fruits of those 3 months still last til today!

    Then, since I didn't really plan it, I wrote myself into a complete dead end. And I lost hope. I couldn't give it up, but I couldn't write it either. There comes my writer's block for the next 3 years.

    A friend, 3 years later, read my intro and said she loved it. She reminded me of just how much I wanna be a published writer. So I picked up my old script and read it from beginning to end, to see if it was really so bad. Again, I've never re-read my old stories before because all the ones before this one wasn't loved like this one is. I read all 44 pages and saw where it started getting boring, remembered why I left it dead for so long, but also, to my immense pleasure and surprise, it wasn't half as bad as I'd thought! It was interesting, and even though the end lagged, I managed to finish reading all 44 pages without any problems.

    So I took it apart. I opened 2 files - one for all the scenes I like and one for the scenes I didn't like. Then I opened a 3rd, brand new blank file, pasted the first 5 pages of my original into it, and started writing from scratch. I'd paste in scenes I liked from the other file, connect it up, and carry on writing.

    Until I got myself 70 pages. And then I realised how unrealistic my very first opening scene was, based on some feedback, and rewrote that too - from p.1 and added an extra 20 pages or so to the beginning.

    I've since had to change the names of my MC, my main villain and his servant. My MC was Heinrich all this time but then I found out just how unpopular the name was - everyone I asked hated it. Now he's Josh - I'm still trying to get used to it... :rolleyes:

    But now, I have 100 pages - nearing the middle of the story now! Currently I've written myself into another dead end scene and trying to figure a way out (eg. how to rewrite it - I've learnt that dead end scenes simply can't be revived! - as in, there's a flaw in everything that led up to it)

    Well, that's how my first ever baby came to be anyway :p It still doesn't have a title - the file name's just my MC's name. Up until 2 days ago, it was Heinrich.doc. Now it's Josh.doc. So weird... @_@
     
  6. jnk1296
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    jnk1296 Member

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    That part made me lol.

    It's nice to know that even after three years, you were able pick up your work, and continue on with it. *gives a thumbs up*
     

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