1. zilly
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    zilly Senior Member

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    When all you have are themes...

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by zilly, Nov 30, 2010.

    I have a some solid themes that I think will make for a great story and I know that I want to tell it via a fairy tale, but that's about it. So, I want to keep this short and sweet -- less than 15k words.

    I came up with an entire plot very quickly of the course of this week, but I've since realized that I'm not satisfied with it. I want to keep the underlying idea for the plot, but that's about it.

    In a situation like this, what would you do? I know that once I finally get everything in place, I could write a rough draft that I'm satisfied with in no time. So, I'm so anxious to start, but I want everything to come together nicely and it's just not working out.

    Would you try and come up with characters that would fit into the themes and then develop a way for a conflict to arise between them and then go from there? That's what I tried to do the last time and it didn't work out so well =p

    Also, it's difficult to adapt to a smaller format because I've just finished a novel and you have so much room to explain things and easily define your characters. I feel like it's so tough to tie everything together and really bring life to the characters in such a short amount of words.

    I'd really appreciate any pointers. I'm so anxious to start this just because I feel like I could finish it so quickly.

    Thanks,
     
  2. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    My novel is approximately 18k words long, and it seems easy to keep the word count at a minimum. What I do is, if you're allowing the characters to develop the plot, I would give a brief description of the character's personality, and then add about 3 conflicts that the character will encounter throughout the story. I also avoid creating too many characters, which will help me to shorten the story. I done this before, and it worked for me. "Let their be Light" was the very first story I written, and I enjoyed it. If you prefer to allow the plot to create the story, rather than the characters, I would sketch out at 3 events that occur in the short story and tell them why in my rough draft, then try to put together the big picture in the first draft.

    If you're not satisfied with the plot (something I'm not satisfied with either), I always come up with ideas that relates to the theme of the story, and then try to tie together the plot you're comfortable with and the new ideas. In my novel, I kept the same plots, and after I discovered my characters, I added another character, and his goal is to defeat the MC of the story. I didn't have that plot on there at first, until, well, that idea popped in my head.

    That happens to me, where I had to come up with a character to fit with the theme, and it worked for me. The current events happening in my story has a lost character in my novel, the MC's archenemy, a character I never thought about developing in my novel. Other than this, I had to delete some characters who did not fit in to my theme. If you really want to add someone to your story, you might need to come up with a conflict that relates to the theme you have, but if that character doesn't fit in, don't add him. I believe that your story tells you rather the character should fit in or not. And characters I think of are "first come first serve characters," who will help the story fill the holes of it.


    I honestly am not sure if I am giving you suggestions on things you already done...I hope this doesn't disturb you...I'm sure that you'll come across some more feedback from anyone else reading this, because I get nervous being the first respondent of a conversation.
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just start writing it and see where it goes - I started out with some vague ideas for my NaNo last month I could not have predicted the story that developed. My goal was for a humourous funny book - I have written one of the darkest stories I could imagine.
     
  4. Jonalexher
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    Jonalexher Contributing Member

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    If you're not satisfied with your ideas, don't rush it :]
    I find reading other novels as the best way to come up with new ideas. Some can be great inspiration.
    For the fleshing out of the characters, yes, it is harder in a short story, but there are many short stories on this forum that you can analyze and study to see how they did it. There are some great short stories here, one of my favorites is The Death of the Author (I forgot by who :p), check it out :p
     
  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I totally agree with Jonalexher - Islander is unqiuely talented at description, dialogue and building talents. His short stories on this site are a good place to start.
     

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