1. Jessica Cantell
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    Jessica Cantell New Member

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    Stuck with basic plot

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Jessica Cantell, Jan 11, 2014.

    Hey all.. I am extremely new to fictional writing, have done a little in the past but have not yet written a fictional book, which I now aim to do.

    I plan to write a book for women, possibly young women... I have some ideas about things I could write, I'm basing it on my own diary and have a good diary post to get me started with, but I am stuck really about how to form a plot... how do you all find inspiration for coming up with the plot? Does something just come to you and you start writing, or do you have to find a prompt to give you ideas?

    Thanks for listening :)

    Jessica Cantell
     
  2. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Yes. ;)

    In all honesty, it depends on the writer. Some people's work rests solely on that inspirational line they find on a prompt website, and others just start with a simple sentence from the top of their heads and work from there. I tend to do both. I start with a line in my own head, or an idea (e.g. talking banana seeks love), and then fill out some of the book with prompts.

    If you know you want to work from your own diary, then that's an excellent start, because you already know what your character's problems and aspirations are, because you've written them yourself. Of course you don't have to use all of your writing, but first of all I would go through your diary and jot down any lines that stand out, any problems or blessings. Once you've done that, try and form a character from them. Is this character like you? Male or female? How old? Why is she writing a diary? What does she hope to accomplish (this particular question can be an important one, because you could focus your book on the character going through those problems and pains to reach that aspiration, if you want to do it like that.

    Bottom line: you're basing the book on your diary, so have a look at yourself. Bring traits and bits of your own personality to the character, because then you'll be able to write about them better. This is the perfect time to use the famous phrase, "Write what you know." You know your diary, and what you did to overcome those trials. Use them to create that great story that's inside of you. :)
     
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  3. Jessica Cantell
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    Jessica Cantell New Member

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    Thank you, this is fantastic advice... You're right and I will keep these things in mind when I continue to think about the plot for my book :)
     
  4. rasmanisar
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    rasmanisar Active Member

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    For me, I think of a single idea/scene that I just think is fantastic. From that single moment, I build my plot around making that one single scene come to pass, and as I add more complexity more interesting scenes come into being and get built in, until the plot becomes complex and interesting.
     
  5. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    Weirdly enough, I usually start with a title--some phrase or expression that comes to me from some source of inspiration (could be anything)--and then ask myself what that title might mean. From that I can usually piece together the start of an idea, which contains a character and a premise, and maybe a scene or two. Whether the original title sticks or not is irrelevant, because once I have the idea I can then ask myself the story questions--what is the character trying to do, what stands in the way, how does the character overcome it, etc etc etc--and then I'm off on my way.

    For the few shorts/vignettes I've done, I usually have some kind of prompt, whether it's from a writing prompt or just taking some other source of inspiration (songs usually work well). But I've only done a few of these, as they often serve purely as idea farms for my longer works.
     
  6. rasmanisar
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    rasmanisar Active Member

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    Interesting. I tend to leave the title until a piece of work is finished, or at least near enough so that any changes made will not affect the choice. For me a title closes the book for the writer, and opens it for the reader.
     
  7. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    I am usually aware of the title early on.
    It conveys in some way the focus of the story or relates to the moral.
    By the time I finish imagining it, I have a notion of what I'll call it.
     
  8. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Keep asking questions. For example, Jessica wants to go to Spain. Why? Well, she wants a job there. Why? 'Cause she wants to get as far away from her parents as possible. Why? - and on and on it goes.

    Once she gets to Spain - where does she work? At Sally's Hotel. How does she land the job? Who does she meet there? Perhaps whoever she meets will ultimately help her be reconciled with her parents, whom she is trying to run away from. Then she gets a call and hears her mother's been in an accident and comatosed. Jess has to go back. Or something.

    You get the idea anyway. I might write this one myself hahaha.

    Btw, just a heads up, it's "fiction", not "fictional". A fictional book is a book that doesn't exist. If you're doing fictional writing, you're not doing any writing at all because it's, well, fictional :D Here's a definition of fictional from the Oxford Dictionary:
    http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/fictional?q=fictional
     
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  9. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I usually start with a situation or an idea that intrigues me, and then I think about it for quite some time before I start writing, develop it in my head (and in my notebooks) so I know I have a story and not just a situation and nothing else. The title either comes along the way or after the work is finished. Only once have I had the title before even starting. Everyone is different. Some people can start with the title and build a whole story around that. Others can start with a sentence and just keep on writing as the story unfolds. Others have to know the story in order to write it. There's nothing right or wrong here really, as long as you get the story written. :)
     

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