1. Melzaar the Almighty
    Offline

    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,792
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    UK

    Sacrificing structure for plot

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Melzaar the Almighty, Jul 2, 2011.

    Where would you compromise on good structure versus the demands of the plot? I can make good scenes, with dramatic awesomeness which open and close in just the right places, with a good amount of "what happens next?", mild cliffhangers, new questions, etc etc... But this scene I'm writing, the dramatic reveal of the scene is not key to the story. As much as my heart is crying out "this is the perfect scene structure: Introduction, Something Dramatic, Reveal" it's just not the dramatic reveal the plot needs. It's a reveal significant for 2 books later in the series, but the opening scenes, aside from letting me put that detail in, are the innocent build up to the first event, and only by that event does the plot start happening.

    Using it as the reveal at the end would sabotage my plotting, by making it seem significant too early (2 books too early!). Moving the reveal into the drama means all I have for the end of the scene (the second in the novel, as well. Grar, first impression territory!) is a sort of wiffly trail out into "and now there's nothing happening until later so let's just jump ahead".

    I don't want to damage my plot, so I'm going to go with throwing in the reveal really casually and focussing on the drama, though it's going to wane out and leave no questions, and no hook at the end of the scene.

    What would you do? Order events over-dramatically for stupid reasons that only writers seem to care about, or just tell it in the way that suits the overall story and greater good and all that blah?




    (Not that I should be worrying about this being my masterpiece - I'm writing teenage friggin' fantasies about fairies, for crying out loud. :p)
     
  2. wolfi
    Offline

    wolfi Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Messages:
    291
    Likes Received:
    3
    Young adult books can be master piece. Heck, look at Dr. Seuss work, now thats a master piece ;)

    Anyways
    3rd option do what YOU want at the end of the day no mater what we say you will do it defreintly form us so option A may work for me but not you, I'd recmeond trying both and reading them and see which you like, then get others ophions
    Best way to go
     
  3. MRD
    Offline

    MRD Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Wales
    I think you've already answered your own question there.

    I'd go with the "suits the overall story" option, seeing as it's the story that people will be reading the book(s) for. Good, clear story > being over dramatic.

    Think Michael Bay vs Steven Spielberg, the later is all about vibrant story, the former about explosions and suspense. Both create blockbuster movies, but only one creates timeless classics (in my opinion).

    Which would you rather go with?
     
  4. Melzaar the Almighty
    Offline

    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,792
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    UK
    Ha ha, that's a good point... I like that. :p Some people might argue that they just want mindless entertainment.

    I definitely want to write something that looks like mindless entertainment but turns out to have some depth and enough skill to it to disguise the ridiculousness of the plot. I've been watching the reboot of My Little Pony in order to learn from the masters. :p

    Edit:

    Hey, on the other hand though, what of the fact it is a series? Would weighting things differently so they carry on in the memory of the reader be better than endless detailed recaps? Compared to Harry Potter, which re-describes Harry in the same words each time in the opening chapters, I think I've done an awesome job re-introducing the setting and characters each time, but the plot is pretty tricky. How many people would remember 2 books later a random aside where one of the characters pretends to have failed their A Levels, but actually passed them all, when it's a tiny moment in one scene before the drunken hilarity of the following scenes, and then some sort of madcap adventure involving Hollywood producers and sinister cultists in the English countryside takes place... 2 books later until the relevance of starting the 3rd novel at A Level results day comes into play as serious character motivation. At that point it'd almost be the point of a flashback... :/
     
  5. MRD
    Offline

    MRD Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Wales
    The Harry Potter series has an independent plot line for each book, even if you've never read a Harry Potter book before, you can pick one up and read it without needing to read the ones that come before it.
    If your novels have a single plot line throughout, then you won't need to reintroduce characters every new book, as people will need to read them in order if they're going to understand what's happening.

    Plus people have a tendency to re-read the old books in a series as a new one comes out, in order to remind themselves of the plot.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Melzaar the Almighty
    Offline

    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,792
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    UK
    Which is why having shorter books to begin with is also a good idea. :p /not so fussed about my 3rd book falling way short of the target 75,000 words (just under 50,000 is still acceptable, I'm sure :p).

    Each of my books is stand-alone to the degree that they have a new narrator, and there are new events with a start and finish, ie: it goes from status quo, to OMG AAARGH, to phew, it's all over. Obviously the events of the previous books do play a massive part in the next: in the first book the main character from the next is transformed, but lives a normal life until the transformation reaches a critical point in the second. The third book, from her POV, is her now thriving on yet another transformation. At the end of the book the 4 main characters swear to live a normal life, yet something stupid the POV character from the 4th book did in the 3rd comes to be the main point of her story.

    I re-introduce the settings and characters in a way that new readers will be able to understand who they are without too much stress (being a terrible reader who always seems to be accidentally picking up the second or third in a series first, I understand how to and how not to do it to some degree) but the plots... Not so sure I can do it smoothly.

    Recaps are necessary to explain why the main character in the second book is actually a fairy but not but she kinda is and needs have her body swapped. It wasn't actually a story about her, but the emotional journey of another character, so the plot for her was almost background noise, but all the same it was her events that spurred on the POV character's emotional journey, so I needed to have it make some sense.

    I dunno. The transformation scene was a tiny weeny part of the first book, and people reading the second who read the first, some of them honestly didn't even remember it, while generally the consensus was I did it too fast. So I'm really wary now about assuming everyone reads every word of my stories and remembers all the "insignificant" details. So I'm re-writing the first book a little to make that event mean a bit more. But it's also making me worry about putting emphasis on all my foreshadowing etc. Aargh. :p
     
  7. MRD
    Offline

    MRD Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Wales
    Ah, sounds complicated...

    Would it be possible to emphases this "event" without actually putting it under the spotlight too much? Like say, having something else happen that readers will remember, but will also make them remember the main event as a side-thought.

    I tend not to have this kind of trouble when it comes to plotting, thankfully. But than means I'm probably of limited value to you with your little conundrum...
     
  8. Melzaar the Almighty
    Offline

    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,792
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    UK
    There is an event taking place at the same time - I suppose referencing that first and then bringing up the new POV character's own take on it leading into the reminder of her plot-important thing would work... Also, actually, that is a good idea... Using the non-plot-important events yet again as a method of carrying the plot even 2 books later would be good. I like that idea. :D Thanks! I'm 2 and quite a lot of a 3rd books away from writing this thing that harks back to the scene I'm on now, but knowing how I will use it makes me a lot more sure of writing it with the reveal as a minor event, and keeping the focus on the general antics of the first scene.

    And while all this chatting has been going on, I've worked out some decent minor foreshadowing for the 3rd scene, so while there's no room for, like, cliffhangers, I at least have a little bit of a hook to go on - going from results day and ending on "I think this calls for a party" or some such thing should be enough to let the reader know the next scene can only get better, right? :p

    Story fixed! *goes to get you a cookie basket and a bottle of wine or something*
     
  9. MRD
    Offline

    MRD Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2011
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Wales
    Glad to be of help, good luck with you books and such, they seem like they're going to be an interesting read.
     
  10. Melzaar the Almighty
    Offline

    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,792
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    UK
    Thanks. :D
     

Share This Page