1. Unit7
    Offline

    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1,151
    Likes Received:
    59

    Something I have been wondering about my plot.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Unit7, Sep 16, 2009.

    So I have been thinking about a story and I realize the only plot I have is more of a Coming of Age story with no real plot other then the two characters growing as they overcome events and obstacles.

    The story is a fantasy and its about a mentor and his student traveling the world in service of a organization that would be similar to the US National Guard. They help in case of famine, war, natural disasters. They are part of a branch that sends out small groups.

    Now there is no big army they have to defeat, no evil overlord to overthrow. The land is in relative peace. Except for Pirates, monsters, bands of thieves, and the likes.

    Now I suppose I could connect all of these together somehow, but what if I don't want to? Instead I would want my characters to tackle such things, and continue on their way to the next problem.

    All the while my characters would grow and learn from the variety of different cultures and beliefs.


    I guess it would be sorta like a TV series and the episodes. There is a small overarching plot, but each episode can be seen individually.

    You get what I am saying? I am finding it difficult to explain.

    Would this be a bad thing in a novel?


    Oh I wouldn't plan on shoving a bunch of different 'episodes' into a novel. Its just for these two characters I have always planned on leaving the ending open for a sequel if I wanted to continue.
     
  2. marina
    Offline

    marina Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Messages:
    1,280
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    Seattle
    It sounds like it would work best as a book of short stories about the adventures of the mentor and his student.

    Another thought, since you're comparing it to a TV show and episodes, how about you write the first book like the "pilot" (? I think that's what they're called)--in other words, the first story that explains how the mentor & student got together, what the organization is all about, etc. Then, the next book (s) could be the various situations/adventures they face.
     
  3. Joran Selemis
    Offline

    Joran Selemis Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    I read a warhammer novel called 'Gotrek and Felix.' It was basically these two guys getting into different kinds of trouble. None of the sections were tied into each other and each one involved a different enemy. It was very entertaining.

    So basically, yes, the idea can work.
     
  4. arron89
    Offline

    arron89 Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    Messages:
    2,460
    Likes Received:
    91
    Location:
    Auckland
    Three words no one wants to hear: coming of age.
    You can probably count the number of good coming of age films you've seen on one hand...those rare few that actually had something insightful and honest to say about what it is to grow up (whether its Stand By Me or Let the Right One In or something in between). But its such an easy type of storyto butcher horribly, and its painfully obvious when you do. And don't think disguising it in fantasy will make it any easier or any less painful if you get it wrong.

    As for the no plot thing, its not a big deal. Lit fiction does it all the time (I assume fantasy doesn't simply because of the fact that you are concerned about this). You then need to be aware of how the novel unfolds, which scenes are going to be included and why. For that, I recommend reading American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. There is a loose plot, though little narrative development, so every scene is necessary although not all develop the plot.
     
  5. arron89
    Offline

    arron89 Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    Messages:
    2,460
    Likes Received:
    91
    Location:
    Auckland
    ^ :O
    I didn't mean that to sound so negative lol
    What I mean is: there are hundreds (if not thousands....millions....) of really awful coming of age stories out there and it would be a shame to see someone here produce one of them. So go out and read/watch Let the Right One In and learn how to do a staggeringly good coming of age story with a supernatural twist. Don't even think about doing something dull and trite and conventional.
    I have confidence in you! You are now well-informed, and in good company, s there's no reason you shouldn't be able to produce something good!
    Positivity!
     
  6. tcol4417
    Offline

    tcol4417 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    Sydney, AU
    I don't think Coming of Age is necessarily what you're making though, seeing as it's a nomadic mentor and apprentice wandering around, fixing stuff.

    However, you will want to have some sort of driving narrative be it pervasive sub-plots or a final goal that has to be achieved. It's not so much Coming of Age as it is Delving Into Human Nature, which is just as saturated but different as far as aesthetics go.

    Marina's suggestion about turning it into a collection of short stories sounds like an excellent idea. Think of it as something like Aesop's fables or the like - a series unrelated events with the only common ground being your characters and the part they play as mediators and such.

    Examples that come to mind of similar stuff are Hell Girl (Different people suffering call upon the same demon for revenge), Kino's Journey (I think, going from the wiki page) and to a limited extent, Supernatural (more driven by core narrative of course)
     
  7. Cyrano
    Offline

    Cyrano Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Minnesota
    You could have one of these "minor" obstacles be a "major" one in the eyes of the main character. Maybe the antagonist used to be one of the characters friends. Maybe it's his father. Maybe the main character agrees with the cause of the antagonist, but has to stop them due to orders. In a story like yours where it's mission upon mission upon mission, internal conflict can make a normal obstacle extraordinary.
     
  8. arron89
    Offline

    arron89 Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    Messages:
    2,460
    Likes Received:
    91
    Location:
    Auckland
    ^The problem wit writing it as short stories is that no publisherwill take a collection of short stories from an unpublished writer.
     
  9. B-Gas
    Offline

    B-Gas Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    14
    arron89-

    There are lots of ways to be published. Short stories can often be published in magazines and literary journals. A collection of short stories comes only after those short stories gain some acclaim in the literary community.
     
  10. arron89
    Offline

    arron89 Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    Messages:
    2,460
    Likes Received:
    91
    Location:
    Auckland
    Right, but if all of those stories include the same two characters and are essentially variations on the same story and structure, regardless of how successful you are at getting published in journals and magazines, you're gonna find it difficult to get them published as a book. The market for short stories is tiny as it is, and if all of your stories are variations on the same theme, its gonna be next to impossible to get more than a couple printed in any form.
     
  11. Unit7
    Offline

    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1,151
    Likes Received:
    59
    Thanks for the advice. It would probably be best to start with a book focusing on how the two met and how the student gets involved with this organization.


    I see. Coming of Age I guess was the only way I could think of describing it. I will keep this in mind.

    Supernatural is I guess a great example of how I wanted to do this. Not sure why I hadn't thought of it. While sometimes the episodes focus on the core narrative their are also ones not linked to it. I was thinking of having a subplot run through the entire thing but alot of it would focus on certain tasks at hand and how the characters deal with them and grow as a result.



    I think this is what I have in mind. Alot of this is still just slowly forming into something coherent.

    The stories would be different from each. While some could simply be about surviving in an unfamiliar area, some would be about taking down a local bandit group or helping fend off some remote village from monsters. All the while the characters, especially the student, would be growing up.


    You have all given me much to think about on this. Hopefully I will beable to pull this off and share this with everyone.
     

Share This Page