1. Zieki
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    Zieki Member

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    Story Arcs

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Zieki, May 20, 2009.

    Okay, so I searched the forum looking for a thread on this but couldn't find one so I thought I'd ask myself: How do you write a story arc? I know the basics of it, of course, but I just can't get down into the details and I find myself stuck whenever I try to write a story arc to guide my writing. How do you personally write a story arc? What goes into it? How much detail do you put into it? Can you teach me ;)?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    By story arc, do you mean a storyline that encompases a series of separate but related stories? Or are you simply referring to the logic of the storyline for a single story?

    It's not the best idea to aim for a series scope if you haven't alrerady established yourself to a publisher. You'll have a tough enough time making your first novel publishable without trying to keep it aligned with a projected series.

    But if you're talking about the storyline for a single work, think of the forces that move your story along. You have an actor (character), a goal or objective to strive for, a motivation (the reason the actor MUST achieve the goal), and the opposition (what person or forces opposes the actor's progress toward the goal). Subplots have essentially the same structure, and are often components of the opposition or motivation of the main plot.

    In many cases, the main goal isn't apparent to the actor from the beginning. Instead, you will wave a short term goal, but by the time that actor approaches that goal, another plot (goal, motivation, opposition) has revealed itself for that actor in the process.

    Please read this thread about What is Plot Creation and Development?. I hope this helps.
     
  3. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    If you Google "story arc," you'll find all kinds of places to check out, some of which might be useful for your purposes. Story arc is typically what gives a story its build-up to climax and then rounds out the story in some satisfying way beyond (denouement). At its extreme, it's a kind of pattern that makes a story accessible to more readers. Screenplay readers have told me they actually look at particular pages within the screenplay to see if certain aspects of the storyline appear there. And if they do not, they don't even read it.

    Whether or not a writer USEs a story arc to guide his writing or, instead, uses it to determine if what's written conforms in some way, is quite individual and often a matter of choice.

    Sol Stein's books on writing give a pretty clear picture of what's important to structuring a "successful" work. You might enjoy reading STEIN ON WRITING or HOW TO GROW A NOVEL. I think he's very good at describing and illustrating technical aspects of storytelling.
     
  4. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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