1. TheNumber2
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    TheNumber2 New Member

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    What to read??

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by TheNumber2, Feb 5, 2011.

    Hello,
    I am having trouble with my plot development...especially with creating interesting dialogue and long time jumps. I know the best advice is to read, however, I don't know where to start reading! Suggestions? Thanks so much!
     
  2. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Can you tell us what genre you are writing in?
     
  3. TheNumber2
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    TheNumber2 New Member

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    I am writing fantasy... :)
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually my advice is just write. I find my characters develop over a first draft they can be a bit cardboard and take time. Timelines can be sorted upon rewrite etc

    I think you might just be expecting a tad too much from an early draft.

    Otherwise just read anything - for fantasy I love Enid Blyton (Faraway Tree, Adventures of Pip), CS Lewis, Lian Hearne, Terry Pratchett, Anne McCaffrey. Ellis Peters is really good at writing a character in a different time (Cadfael her main work is set in 1100s England) - she handles time really well. For warmth and humour Gervase Phinn.

    For characterisation I personally don't think many beat Shakespeare's ability to tell a whole life story in a sentence of dialogue lol Dolly Parton songs are good as well - they bring in characters and give great depth in such a short space of time. (Read the lyrics for Joshua, Jolene, Little Andy etc) Islander on here is great for characters through dialogue. Manav does emotion really well. Fight scenes, raw emotion and anger Tom Gold is worth looking for. Plain descriptiveness and depth Lothgar.

    I can do characters my punctuation and some other skills suck but my characters are generally not flat.
     
  5. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    If you like fantasy, you should read Tolkein's stuff at least once -- but PLEASE do not rip it off -- it's so annoying to see fantasy stories with orcs, elves, rings of power etc and it's not even original. ;)
     
  6. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    *thinks over one of his story ideas*

    Orcs... damn
    Elves... but I like Elves. Damn
    Rings of Power... hey does having rings having magical properties count? ... oh well crap. :(

    Actually so far I had no intentions of including magic rings. But I figure might aswell come clean that it was a possibility of some sort. Though to be fair Orcs are not even evil! Hell they even have a very friendly alliance with the Elves.

    Anyways.

    The Artemis Fowl series is a great fantasy series.
     
  7. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Haha there's nothing wrong with a few similarities, but I'll still admit I've seen way too many ripoffs. It's just something to be aware of. :)

    Elves have been around for centuries and aren't pinned down to one author's invention, so as long as you make them you're own, you're okay...but orcs I"m pretty sure are invented by Tolkien...perhaps call them something else? ;)
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hands up - is writing fantasy and didn't get past first chapter of either the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings to be honest no idea what if anything I have ripped from it :)

    I personally found them two of the dullest books I had ever read :) I still think Enid Blyton worldbuilds better.
     
  9. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    Unlike many here, I don't write much less read fantasy. Never been my bag, baby.

    What I do think I know is that no matter the genre, having a good plot matters and have tangible characters is important.

    All the bells and whistles of constructing a fantasy world are useless unless the the basis for the the stories' existence is spot on. In all, the idea behind the plot should work in any context. Even though in fantasy, if there is a quest of some sort, the mechanics of the plot should work elsewhere. A quest for the best beer. A quest to save a kidnapped child etc...

    Thing is, building a story upon which the world rests is key. Without it, you have no world.
     
  10. Vince524
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    Vince524 Member

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    I would read some stuff outside of your genre. Try studd like the Stephanie Plum series because it's all first person and it may help with dialoge. Really, best to read a whole host of different things. The more your read from different writers, the more influences you have.

    Think about it like a guitar player. If you only listen to one guitar player, like say Eddie Van Halen, you're abound to sound like him. But if you listen to many guitar players, Steve Via, Jimmy Page, Kieth Urban, BB King, Eric Clapton, Ace Frehley etc, then you have a much more well rounded sound.

    When I was in High School, I was in a band. I was a band. I was (and am) a huge KISS fan and I sounded like them. The other guitar player sounded like Randy Rhodes.

    The other advice is to write. Like someone said upstream, that characters take shape as you go. That's why God invented rewrites.
     
  11. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Same here.

    Good post. I think what puts me off fantasy is too much 'weirdness', for want of a better word, or maybe pretentiousness.
     
  12. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you want to to understand plot and dialog, I would recommend a book on improvisation theater. "Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre" by Keith Johnstone. It offers both of a lot of theory and explanations as well as examples on everything on how to tilt a scene, on how to create a sense of story to how status often drives dialog. (There is another book Johnstone wrote later: "Impro for storytellers" but that book is more aimed at theater games and not as useful for writers.)

    The book is aimed at actors forced to at the spur of the moment produce believable dialog as well as enchanting scenes and stories. Therefor it is very hands on, really explains stuff and gives you loads of tools on how to create and handle the story.

    I read a lot of books on writing, but when it comes to basic stuff like dialog, scenes, what makes a story feel like it going somewhere, I found no book that have been as useful at Impro.

    The book is easy to order, but also available at most library.
     

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