1. Vayda
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    Vayda Senior Member

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    Trippin up on plot >_<

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Vayda, Apr 22, 2008.

    So i'm currently working on a fantasy story - the one I posted up a couple weeks ago, if you read it - and the plot itself is more or less a romance. There's no great fantasy quest involved, although there are some other plot elements (the main character is struggling with his memories, he's a magic user from a magic-repressive society, and is lost in a magic-accepting one, but doesn't know anything about where he is; the love interest is a magic-user, but her profession is male-dominated; the two, although both magic-users, are very different types...)

    Oh, yeah, my problem, right.

    I've never read a fantasy story where the main character wasn't going on some grand quest, saving the world, destroying the ring, slaying the dragon, defeating Voldemort, or restoring peace to his war-torn homeland. My story is none of those; just one guy who never has any effect on the larger world. I can't find any sort of fantasy precedent for a story like this. Does anyone know of one?

    (edit: Effect, not Affect, d'oh!)
     
  2. schrei
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    schrei Member

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    You kind of have you plot right there. He finds out he's magic.

    But, you need to have it build up to something. Does he find out he's magic and then do a plot? Or could you be kind of clever abotu and instead of making the reader wonder what will happen next, make them wonder what happened in the past to make him magic?

    I have no clue for fantasy but my suggestion is you figure out what your working out too. Find the end before you find the middle.
     
  3. Milady
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    Milady Contributing Member

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    Fantasies don't have to be "epic". It doesn't have to be a Tolkein knock-off.

    From what you've posted about the plot, I'm intrigued. I'm going to have to dig up the part you've posted. Find a way to string your character's interior conflicts about magic to the romantic conflict with this other magic-user (And make sure she's hard-to-get, too... :)), and I think you could have a decent plot. A plot, after all, is only the device used to move your characters along in a story. Whether it is subtle or epic is up to you, and both can be written well.
     
  4. Titania
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    Titania Contributing Member

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    I don't think you have to have a grand quest. As long as you have enough of a plot, and it sounds like you do, it should be fine :) It sounds very interesting, in fact.

    It may be hard to think of examples of fantasy stories which don't have the equivalent of a ring quest, but that doesn't mean they're bad - we need more of them! Write what fits for your story and don't worry about making it fit in with perceived genre guidelines or anything. If it doesn't come out as stereotypical fantasy, that just means you've done something new and different, and the more power to you, in my opinion.
     
  5. (Mark)
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    (Mark) Contributing Member

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    You could just write a love story that deals with adapting to a new sort of world. I think a lot of people would be able to relate to that and find it interesting.
     
  6. Vayda
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    Vayda Senior Member

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    he knows he's magic. He finds himself in the desert with very conflicted memories about his magic. It's not amnesia, he has all his memories, but he can't put them into any kind of order, nor can he recall them on command, nor can he STOP them from coming, so he tends to kind of lapse into memory. I've been using it as a way to reveal his past bit by bit - because the point isn't that he's looking for his past, it's all there, he just has to put the puzzle together. The story has an ending, too - he gets the girl. (hope that didn't spoil it for anyone, hehe)

    What has really concerned me is that i've not seen anyone else do this kind of story in a fantasy setting. There's no trilogy here, nothing grand, it's just a love story in a different world.

    Thanks everyone for your vote of confidence. People keep telling me I'm doing new and unique things in my writing, and it's terribly scary to hear that when you're a first-time novelist. Sometimes I feel like I have too far to go to be innovative.
     
  7. nburwell
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    nburwell Senior Member

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    The plot you described is a good base. What it's missing is a climax. It doesn't have to be epic; epic stories are always complicated and drawn out. Every story needs a climax. As schrei said, your story has to build up to something (the climax) or else it has no purpose. Even life works out that way if you break it up into pieces.

    A climax is a turning point and moment of great intensity that usually then leads to the end of the story. Search yahoo and google for "writing story climax" and you'll find some good, varied articles.

    ~Natalie
     
  8. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    I think your story is fine. Sounds really interesting. Rather than make the story conflict of plot oriented, make it character oritented. Its all about the characters and their problems, not the problems of the world around them. Though as a book, the problems of the world around them will effect the characters its just that the story is focused less on the worlds interaction with characters, such as in LotR, and more about the characters interactions with the world.
     
  9. Vayda
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    Vayda Senior Member

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    I know what a climax is (holy COW, that sounded dirty!! *pulls mind from the gutter*)

    Blah! let me retry that!!

    I'm an English major, so trust me, I've been to party to plenty of class discussion on literary climaxes :) (there, that sounds better) I do have a climax....there's a point where Ellik gets to the mountain and throws the ring in...*cough*

    actually, I really do have a climactic moment, but it's something that needs to be built up to in the story itself - a problem of the fantasy genre, I suppose - because to explain the climax, i not only have to tell you the plot, but I also have to explain the entire world. I suppose the best way to explain it in the short version, if you will, is that the love interest proves to the MC that she cares about him as much as he does about her (where he previously thought his love was unrequited) in an act of self-sacrifice.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Read "Not Long Before the End", a fantasy short story by Larry Niven. There's no grand quest, just a duel and a terrible truth, which the main character mercifully keeps secret frm the world.

    I'm not a huge reader of fantasy, but it seesms to me that I've come across a fantasy novel or two that were more about a personal journey than any world-altering odyssey. But I agree that most of the genre is obsessed with epic battles.
     
  11. Vayda
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    Vayda Senior Member

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    Thanks Cog! I'll look into it.

    I've been curious for a long time about why a fantasy seems like it "must" involve some world-altering, epic quest, grand crusade, and/or prophesy to bring balance to the force. I think I've discovered the answer:

    We fantasy authors are obsessed with worldbuilding. We create worlds in our minds, and weave characters into them. Inevitably, the world itself must have conflict, because it is the world itself that is our brainchild, not the characters within. I believe stories should be character driven - but it seems like fantasy stories are world-driven. The characters become mere plot devices. This is made worse by the fact that we've got to explain our world to the reader, and define all these terms we've made up.

    I'm hoping a story that's not about that will come out of me, because I am a worldbuilder at heart - I really do daydream about places, and the cultures that live there. This story came to me as the characters, and I built the world around them. I guess it's a different standpoint, because it's certainly different than any fantasy I've read.

    Then again, maybe I just haven't read enough...
     
  12. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    'Affect' :)
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Effect was the correct word in that context.

    When your actions affect the world around you, the effects need not be simple. When you effect changes, don't let it affect your affect.

    Confused yet?

    The verb affect means to produce a change (used twice).
    The noun effect means a change resulting from a cause.
    The verb effect in certain contexts (usually with a change as the direct object) means to create or cause.
    The noun affect, with the accent on the first syllable, means mood.

    Here is a web page that explains it a bit further.
     
  14. Vayda
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    Vayda Senior Member

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    it's odd for me to miss a homonym...dunno what I was thinking, but the moment I re-read my post i saw it >_<
     
  15. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    I stand corrected. It was worth the lesson though.:)
     

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