1. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    When you have a world, but no plot...

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Lea`Brooks, Jan 23, 2015.

    Hola!

    So I've been having some trouble. I built what I thought was a really awesome high fantasy world, with diverse characters, and an interesting backstory, and a twisted plot. Then I went through a slump. When I came back to it, I realized it was basically the Big Book of Fantasy Cliches.

    So I'm starting over. I'm keeping most of the backstory. But I'm reconfiguring the world, the races, and the characters. And I'm completely redoing the plot.

    My problem now is... I can't come up with anything.

    So what do you do? When you realize your previous plot is shit and need to create a new one, how do you start getting ideas to make it great again?
     
  2. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Alright, how about I tell you what I have so far, and maybe y'all can give me suggestions on where to go from here? :)

    (The World) Magic is commonplace in my world. Everyone is born with the potential to use magic, but, if you aren't born from super strong parents, it must be learned to be controlled. Common people (gardeners, shop owners, etc) use their magic for mundane things if they haven't been properly trained. Earth elementals can sweep the floor just by willing the dirt outside. Water elementals can change the direction of water to their crops so they'll always get the right amount of water. Stuff like that.

    The super powerful look more and more like their elements. Air elementals may get wings, fire elementals may have glowing veins or feiry red hair, water elementals may get scales, etc. The stronger you are, the higher your class. The rich are typically very strong, and more often than not, they are born into their powers and never had to put in the work to make them stronger. They look down on the powerless like Americans look down on the homeless.

    The Queen of the country is always very powerful. But every once in a while, an extremely powerful one shows up that can control more than one element. She always shows up in times of need, when the world is a dark and dangerous place. She is able to put the world back together during her reign.

    (The Backstory) So there's a normal Queen. She gives birth to the MC. At the same time, there's a prophecy (I know, cliche, *eyeroll*) that says, if the Queen's daughter is allowed to be Queen, she will become so powerful, she'll take down the Gods. So the God Queen is like, "Oh, hell no!" So she calls a meeting with the other Gods and takes a vote on what should be done. The God Queen wants to kill the infant MC. But the other Gods aren't that cruel, so they agree instead to kidnap the MC. They arrest her Queen mother and put her in jail so she can't try to find her daughter. Then they place MC in a home as far away from the palace as possible, with a woman who will never teach MC how to use her magic (so she'll never get strong).

    (The Beginning) It's been 20-something years since the Queen's kidnapping. And it's time to crown a new Queen. MC's guardian goes to the crowning, but won't let MC go. MC, however, really wants to go. So she and her friends sneak out anyway and make their way to the palace. There are several candidates for Queen, but none of them get chosen. There's a magical device here that chooses the Queen, which I won't get into, but it basically chooses my MC to be Queen.

    This causes a huge uproar. My MC is poor and has very few powers. An untrained elemental has never been Queen before. So all of the candidates get really upset about it. As my MC is brought inside the palace, one of the candidates loses it on her and starts attacking her with magic. MC, feeling threatened, unintentionally surrounds herself by a vortex of fire to defend herself. When she realizes she's caught some things on fire, she accidentally makes in rain inside to put it out. Everyone who witnesses this gets super concerned, because they've never heard of an elemental who could control more than two elements before.

    (The Middle) This is where I get stuck. Since MC technically is still a level one elemental, I thought about having the Queen's Council be like, "We've never had an untrained Queen before. So we need you to prove yourself." And they'd send her either on a hard journey to gain powers, or they'd send her to a bunch of different temples to get blessings. -OR- I'd have her get trained in the palace by someone. I don't know... :(

    (The End Game) MC is part of a long line of women breeding with Gods. lol The Gods in my story are constantly changing. They divide themselves every once in a while and create more Gods. Anyway. The Gods are promiscuous. They go to elementals and mate with them. So every Queen that showed up in a time of great need was the daughter of a God. So my MC not only has strong magic running through her blood, but she's ALSO the daughter of a God.

    It's going to be revealed late in the story that the God Queen is evil, trying to make everyone worship her, and trying to take out any God or human that disagrees with her. So MC is made Queen to try to keep it from happening.


    So that's where I'm at. I came up with most of this last night. I like the backstory. I like the end game, for the most part. It needs a little tweaking still. But as you can see, I have no middle. I don't know where to send my MC, what to put her through, nothing. By the end of the first book (I'm planning a trilogy or at least a sequel for the fight with the Gods), the MC will have become a powerful elemental. She'll have better control over many of the elements and will be the strongest elemental the world has ever seen. By the end of the trilogy or sequel, she'll have taken out the God Queen and replaced her. So my MC will be a Goddess eventually.

    I just don't know how to get her there... lol


    Any ideas NOW? :D
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015
  3. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not unsympathetic or unwilling to help, but isn't that part, the quest, the struggle, the part that depends most of all upon your creativity as an author? People can help you with technical aspects, refining your character, etc, but the actual backbone of the story, the why (which you have in part) and the how, that needs to come from you. That's what will make your story different from mine or any other author's.
     
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  4. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    @Bryan Romer
    As a community, we can also help by suggesting new ways to look at an idea or share similar experiences and how we got through them :3

    @Lea'Brooks
    I, as a writer, always come up with the world first and the characters second as my stories often revolve around human vs. environment in some way.

    I personally believe that stories that revolve around characters are more interesting than ones where the plot moves the characters forward. I prefer it when the characters move the plot. So, in that frame, think of the religions, cultures, trades, geographical riches, customs, and other things of the sort and how it impacted every race, town, and individual in your story. From there, morph them into the kind of people this environment would have brought up and how they react to outside influences and how it clashes with their own wants and desires.
     
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  5. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    What do you want you story to be about? What are the mc's goal or purpose in the story? How is the setting and the backstory going to affect that? I think you need to do some serious thinking here. How about theme? What do you want to say/explore with it? How will the mc have changed in the end and what will she have learned? What do you want her to go through in order to get what she wants? Start with the skeleton and build your story around it. There are so many questions and you need to start to ask them to yourself and answer them.
     
  6. HelloImRex
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    HelloImRex Contributing Member

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    I like the world you created a lot more than the story. I feel like the protagonist could be pretty stupid but still come out on top because she won the genetic lottery, or whatever it is that determines who gets what power. I would much rather see a protagonist that is just a regular person with one ability that isn't very strong. That way the main character has to rely on being smart to get ahead rather than force or luck with bloodline. Of course that is just preference, I'm sure some people enjoy the stories of noble-born not realizing they are noble-born then suddenly just being handed everything.

    I don't understand the who/what/why behind the Gods in the story. Are Gods just powerful people that no longer are completely human? Why do they do asexual and sexual reproduction? Why aren't they the rulers instead of a queen? Why have Gods at all?

    It really seems like the whole world revolves around who has the most magic rather than how clever people are with the limited magic they have. I like a story that imposes realistic limits on characters even if the setting is unrealistic. Its kind of how in a videogame you don't want that one broken character that always wins even if the player playing him is terrible.

    I'm not saying that everyone should have equal power either. I'm saying that it might be better to have the skill of magic based more on training and less on predisposition. Having someone able to summon fire and water without any training just because their father was a God is silly.

    I like The Lord of the Rings because the main character is a tiny hobbit with no predisposed skills. He has to rely on cunning and connections to achieve his goal. I like Game of Thrones because every house has different advantages, but none is so powerful that it automatically trumps everything else...at least not yet.

    I'm just saying this almost feels like Superman where I end up rooting for the bad guys because the protagonist is so powerful there isn't really even a contest. A lot of people like Superman but personally I always hated it. He's an alien, so "it" really is the correct pronoun here. Some omnipotent dumb-dumb (Well, he is weak to an unreactive noble gas- only one, xenon is too big, argon is too small, I'm ignoring that for a more concise post.) running around ruining the hard earned work of business men when this alien isn't even human, he has no business being on Earth. He should be deported. Take my opinion of Superman into account when deciding if my opinion of your plot holds any weight.

    There are situations where this plot works, I don't know what the audience is supposed to be. If it is supposed to be a children's book then the plot works well. It is not overly complicated and the good, humble character wins.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015
  7. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Why are you planning a sequel when you have no middle? No offence, but where you don't have enough story for one book, it's silly to assume you can write two.

    You do definitely have a middle. You said already - MC is gonna take down God Queen and become Goddess. How's she gonna do that? And what's the God Queen doing all this time? She's gotta know that her plans were foiled and the MC is now Queen, so what does she do about it and how does the MC fare? In the process of the MC and God Queen essentially climaxing at a head to head, that's where MC takes down God Queen and become the Goddess.

    That *is* your middle - the progression towards how she becomes the Goddess and what the God Queen tries to do to take her down. The reason why you feel like you have no middle is cus you're planning a sequel - you're moving the meat of your story to a second book and leaving the first book as nothing but backdrop.

    Write it as one book, and, look, if it becomes long enough to be split into two books, by all means split it then. But get enough material to write one entire book first. Don't move your exciting parts to a second book for the sake of having a second book. If your first isn't exciting, no one would read the second.

    I hope you get writing btw - I remember your premise. You've had this idea for ages lol!
     
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  8. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not asking for someone to write it for me, silly. :p In my first post, I feel like I explained it better. I used to have a plot, but I realized it was one big cliche after another, and I decided to change it. But now I'm struggling to find a new plot for this book. But when no one replied to the first post, I added my book description to see if maybe anyone had an idea that I was missing. It was merely supposed to be a "What do you do when you get stuck" post, and I think it's gotten misconstrued.

    This was my original plan (though I still didn't have the plot 100% there. Since I planned a trilogy, I wanted the first book to be all about the MC. She was a poor girl, raised to appreciate everything she had, not knowing her family, not knowing her powers. Then she was thrust into this world where she's queen, where she gets whatever she wants. The book was supposed to be about her finding herself, learning her powers, figuring out her heritage, why people want her dead (in the original, she was being hunted). She was going to go on this big long trek across the world, and it would end when she reached the end, after learning some really horrible news. So it was basically a cliffhanger. And while I still want some of that, I was hoping to come up with more of a storyline, with a driving force, a purpose, a climax. And the last idea I had didn't have any of those things.

    I'll have to go through everything you suggest one by one and see if that sparks anything. :) Thanks!

    MC goal: understand who she is, develop her powers more. Being in the castle is going to make that easier, but also harder, for her because being surrounded by powerful people is going to drive her to do better. But there are also people who don't want her to grow into her powers, so they're going to try to stop her from succeeding. It's going to involve darkness and light, good and evil, power and corruption, people not always being what they seem, betrayal, and independence. The MC starts off being a poor, powerless girl who does what she's told, doesn't question, doesn't doubt. But at the end, she comes into her strength (physically, mentally, and magically), learns to take control over her own life, does her research instead of just believing everything she's told. I want her to struggle on her path to self-discovery, I want her to hurt and to have people she trust completely betray her. I want her to realize that she was manipulated and abused to benefit others.

    I want a lot of things.. I just posted the bare bones of the story (there are several twists and turns involved in the personal secondary story that I didn't add) so that I could get some advice on how to start building the actual storyline. :)

    Actually... I don't know if you actually read what I posted, but she has to learn how to use her powers. She may be noble-born, but she was raised in an environment where magic was discouraged, so she wasn't able to use it. The only time it comes out in the beginning is for mundane things (like cleaning or cooking, helping her guardian around her shop and home) and when she feels threatened. I wanted the entire book to be about her going through training to become stronger. Just because she was born with magic-rich blood doesn't mean she has to use it. It will never come out if she doesn't want it to. That's also going to be part of the story. She can choose to not tap into her magic and go back to her old life, or she can choose to go through training and be queen.

    Do you know much about mythology? There are several stories and myths which involve gods going to earth and procreating with humans. They're called demigods, and it's actually a very common thing. Also in mythology (and in life) gods aren't queens or kings or presidents. They are deities that control the seasons and fate and the weather and luck. And that's how I plan to use them. They are asexual in the fact that they can create new deities to replace them when they feel they have nothing left to offer. That's something I haven't found in mythology, and it was something I thought I could make my own.

    The point of the novel is that it DOES revolve around the people who have the most magic. It's a hierarchy. Those with the most magic (but only of one element) are the most privileged, and they get special treatment, the best houses, the most money. And it declines from there. Those with no magic live in poor communities and aren't given any opportunities. People with an affinity for more than one element are considered dangerous and are exiled to a dangerous land to fend for themselves. With my MC growing up poor, that's going to be something she works on changing. She wants all beings, magical or not, to receive equal treatment.

    Their magic is also limited. Like I said, most elementals can only control their own element. The few that can control more than one are looked at as criminals (because the belief is they couldn't have been born that way, they had to have done something wrong to be like that) and are sent away. And everyone doesn't have equal power. Everyone is born with the potential to have magic. It's just how they are raised and how they choose to use it. In the town where my MC lives, no one has a lot of magic. But they live happily despite of it.

    Again, I said in my original post, all people must learn to control their magic. They must go through training to get to different levels. Because the rich are the most powerful, their children are surrounded by magic and have no trouble learning how to use it. It just comes naturally to them. But people like my MC, who even though she is technically a demigod, has never seen extreme magic and will spend the entirety of the book learning how to use it (as she only can use it when threatened... and being from a small, peaceful community, never happens).

    Actually, the point of this thread was that I have no plot, which I clearly stated in the title of the thread... So I don't really know what you're referring to here.

    I was hoping you'd respond... lol You've given me a lot of good ideas regarding this, so I was looking forward to what you might say. :p

    So! As for why I think I have two or three books... I wanted the first book to be about the MC coming into her own: learning of her heritage, learning to control her powers, adapting to queen life. Then I wanted to end it with some kind of huge betrayal. Then the second book would be about her learning of the potential war brewing between the Gods. She would learn about a fallen God that was exiled (but I haven't decided if he's actually a bad guy or if his strength was just a threat to the God Queen) and has been building an army to take out the God Queen. By the end of the second book, my MC would choose to side with the Fallen God to take out the God Queen. The third book would then be about the war: the other gods and goddesses trying to change my MC's mind, her trying to recruit them to her side, building her army, learning more about her heritage and whatnot, ending, of course, with the fall of the God Queen and my MC replacing her as God Queen.

    So I feel that I have three books... I just lost the initial storyline for the first book. I don't feel that changing the first book would effect the idea for the other two too much.

    As for what the God Queen is doing during this time... I thought about having her try to pretend she wasn't involved in the kidnapping of my MC. So she somehow tries to make MC think she was on her side all along, she's here to help, she's the good guy, blah blah blah, but all the while trying to sabotage her or kill her, which will only to add to the betrayal later. Because in the first book, I'll make no mention of the God Queen being a bad guy. My MC isn't going to know what happened to her mom or why she was placed in the care of her guardian. Her guardian didn't even know. She was just told to keep her in their tiny town, keep her very sheltered, and not let her learn magic. So while MC will figure out she comes from a powerful bloodline, she won't know she's a demigod or kidnapped by the God Queen. That will all come out in the second book.

    I hope I get writing on this, too, btw... lol Like I said, I went through a huge slump. I tried to write, but every paragraph just ended in a string of profanities at how much I hated everything I came up with. I even thought about scrapping this idea entirely, but I've put so much effort into it, I didn't feel comfortable doing that. But when I came back to it last week, after months away from it, I realized how cliched the storyline to the first book actually was. So I've been trying to go about it a different way. And while I'm definitely adding more magic to it, it seems the storyline that I originally came up with just keeps coming back... lol Maybe I should just stick with what I had.

    I've been working on a different book, though, which was already planned out and just needs writing. So I didn't completely stop working. :p


    Thanks everyone for your advice and pointers. Sorry if I sound like an amateur (which I am). I left a lot of the side-stories out because it didn't seem as important as the general plot to the first book. I know I've got something good here, and the missing piece is floating around in my brain just waiting to be grasped. I'll find it eventually, I suppose. :p[/user]
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015
  9. Dunning Kruger
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    Well, a common fantasy story has the untrained chosen one get trained AND go on a quest. Other than the fact that this is common, I'm not sure why you wouldnt do this.

    To me the kicker is the MC and her personality/attributes. Training and quests should be about overcoming inner obstacles as much as external obstacles. If its just learning magic, that's not much of a story. Put a lot of thought into what character defects the MC has. And presumably they should be a direct consequence of her upbringing. That's your story.

    Examples are
    Elsa in Frozen - cant control her magic because of fear
    Luke in Star Wars - Rash, Angry, and impatient - will he succumb to the dark side?
    Marlin in Finding Nemo - needs to learn to trust others

    Frodo and Potter are a little different in that their fulfills a broader theme. Frodo - small people can do great things. Potter - love overcomes evil. You can go this route but then you need a major antagonist that threatens the validity of the theme.

    All that said, I am really just reiterating what Tesoro said. What do you want the story to be about? Good luck.
     
  10. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    @Lea`Brooks - lol. You know, you could always just drop me a message if you wanted my thoughts specifically :D I really don't mind helping. As for your "cliche" plot - the truth is, if that's what you want to write, you should go ahead and write it. Cliche elements have been branded as cliche precisely because they work, that's why they get used again and again to the point of becoming cliche. You can give cliches a fresh spin and then you're good to go. I wouldn't worry, and I certainly wouldn't change your story because you fear it's cliche. Some people love cliches. Maybe your story is supposed to go down a familiar, well-loved route that perhaps readers find comforting and enjoyable rather than surprising - and I don't see that as a bad thing at all.

    From what you've summed up regarding the first and second book, though, they don't sound like they have enough story in them to stretch an entire book. What's the MC struggling with in the first book, and how will you show that? As for the second book, there's a lot of learning stuff - truth is I have the same problem right now in my own WIP, because my MC has to learn a bunch of stuff for the middle and I'm like, how do I show this without it getting boring? Learning stuff in and of itself can't carry an entire book. It really sounds like, to me anyway, that most of your events happen in the third book. Everything in the first and second definitely build up to it but you would do well to wrap those around the events of the third book.

    Imagine, if it's one book - first third of the book, MC is introduced, becomes Queen, meets God Queen, starts to settle, you can show how she comes into her own and all. The event that helps her come into her own could be her finding out about the Fallen God, having to work out whom she could trust, and having to make such a gigantic decision. By the middle, you have her making a gigantic decision (by this point she's probably amassed some political and military power) and the revelation of the God Queen as actually a traitor, culminating in MC finding out about her heritage. MC completes her army and goes head to head with God Queen as the last third of the book.

    That, to me, sounds a lot tighter, and there's absolutely no slump. You've still included everything you said you wanted to include.

    I'm still of the opinion that you should just write it as one book. Write everything you want to write, the whole MC coming into her own etc - only don't stretch it, hoping it would cover half a book. Write as much as you can and need to, as much as that part of her life needs, and then move and keep writing the next act. Write it as if it's one book, that's basically what I'm saying.

    And then, seriously, if you've written everything and then edited it and it's still something like 300,000 words, then you know you have 3 books. Split it up then. It's not that you can't have 3 books, or that your story doesn't necessarily take 3 books. Maybe it does. But writing it as if it's just one book helps you not to unnecessarily prolong things and to just get the story moving.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015
  11. HelloImRex
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    I don't feel like quoting everything separately, I'll just put you're text in quotes rather than digging through the quote mechanic. Hopefully that doesn't make the discussion too confusing.

    Yeah, I read what you said, but some things contradict other things. You say she has to learn to use her powers, but then you say your main character just out of the blue fends off an attack from a powerful person with a lot of training prior to your main character receiving any training.

    "As my MC is brought inside the palace, one of the candidates loses it on her and starts attacking her with magic. MC, feeling threatened, unintentionally surrounds herself by a vortex of fire to defend herself. When she realizes she's caught some things on fire, she accidentally makes in rain inside to put it out."

    Those two things contradict each other. Without any training she can out-magic someone who I would assume is considered a high-level magic user. Its not like she wanted or didn't want to use her magic. She just used it in reaction to danger like a turtle pees when its scared. I find that unrealistic. Sure, maybe to improve more she needs training, but that base level of knowledge suggests she doesn't need to do much work.

    "and will spend the entirety of the book learning how to use it (as she only can use it when threatened."

    Every time she's is in danger she just wins by default? That's the kind of thing that makes it harder to beat her than be her. I personally start to root for the bad guys when I see things like that.

    As far as the Gods, how was I supposed to know they work with the same mechanics as Gods from mythology? I honestly don't remember the part in mythology where Gods divide like bacteria into two new Gods. I may just be uninformed on that one.

    "The Gods in my story are constantly changing. They divide themselves every once in a while and create more Gods."

    That's the part I thought didn't make sense in relation to the other parts. You do admit that isn't something present in mythology. Things don't generally both do asexual and sexual reproduction making it confusing why this girl was created at all. As far as Gods not being kings and queens, I agree. There is a character called The God Queen which suggests two monarchies. Why does The God Queen think the protagonist cares about her position of authority? Why aren't the God's in charge if they have a hierarchy similar to the humans anyway? Why doesn't The God Queen just smite the girl out of existence when she's a baby? I didn't express my point there very well the first time around, but those are my questions.

    "there's a prophecy (I know, cliche, *eyeroll*) that says, if the Queen's daughter is allowed to be Queen, she will become so powerful, she'll take down the Gods."

    This is new, but that prophecy makes no sense. It seems like it would be a problem every 15 years if people in the story behave like they did in olden times or 25-35 years if they behave more modernly. Every time a queen has a daughter The God Queen has to prevent the daughter from becoming queen? That seems like it would be a pretty common event for it to be threatening to gods.

    As far as claiming you have no plot, yeah, I know the thread title says that. I also know the next post is an outline of your plot. That's just another contradiction.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015
  12. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    @HelloImRex For being a member of a writing forum, you sure seem to have a problem reading.

    I stated everyone is born with powers but must be trained to use them properly, yes. She is a demigod, meaning she was born with the potential to have more powers than the average magic user. But I also said she can only use them for mundane things, or when she feels threatened. A lot of things run on instincts. I've never been in a fight before, but I know to duck when someone swings at me. Monarch butterflies take three generation to migrate, yet they somehow always know to go from Canada to the same mountain in Mexico. It's an instinct. It's programmed into her, even if she's never used it before.

    As far as it being unrealistic... Thanks! That's exactly what I was going for! It's a "high fantasy" novel. That, to me, screams unrealistic. But just out of curiosity... How is a woman instinctively using her powers to protect herself more or less realistic than a dragon? Or a pheonix that would literally burn itself to death then be reborn from the ashes?

    As for the Gods, I never said you had to understand them. But you acted like the idea that Gods reproduce with humans and not running the country is completely unheard of. And as I stated above (I feel like I've been repeating myself a lot lately....), the Gods creating new Gods is something that I created on my own and thought would be something different and unique. So I'm glad you've never heard of it. :)

    As for the plot.... I hate to repeat myself again, but in my second post, in the section where it says (The Middle), the paragraph starts with "This is where I get stuck," ends with "I don't know," and is divided by a big "-OR-" option, indicating I'm stuck with where to go... I thought it was clear that there was no middle section. Maybe I should spell that out better next time.

    @Mckk You have no idea how much that helped. lol I've been sitting here fretting over all the things that are cliched in my book to the point that my fiance is now making fun of me... :dry: Your take on cliches is something I haven't heard before, and I have to agree with you. I've been going through all of the books I loved, thinking, "Well, that's a cliche.. That is too... And that.. And that.." But they are still incredibly popular books that are well-loved and getting movie deals. So it may be a little cliche. But I feel like I've come up with a lot of other original ideas, so hopefully it'll balance out!

    I think you are completely right with making it one book until I know for sure if it needs to be three. And I know you've told me that before, which just makes me feel foolish for even creating this thread again in the first place.. :oops: I think I've always just been worried it would be too much for one book, or be too much too fast, or some other terrible thing. But if I take away my fears, you're right. Then, I could mix in my MC's training with her learning up about the gods and goddesses. She could be learning about the Fallen God (since it's not commonly known) while going through trials to grow her powers. She could be researching her heritage while coming up with ways to change the country for the better. Then it could all boil over and result in the war, and if I have to make that a second book because of length, then I make it a second book!

    Ahhh. :angle: I feel much better. Thank you. :)
     
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  13. HelloImRex
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    I read everything fine, you just didn't like what I had to say. I explained the difference between realistic and realistic in the context of setting. A dragon existing is completely different than a person being able to use magic better than the best of them without any prior training just because the person is threatened. Its just as unrealistic as holding a gun to Einstein's head at 3 years old at telling him to solve differential equations. It has nothing to do with magic being a part of it, it has to do with how well people are accepted to do things without training. If the story was about special forces guys raiding a guys house and the guy having frog genes he didn't know about, it would be unrealistic for the guy to win in a fight by suddenly hopping around and sticking to the ceiling. That isn't because he had frog genes, its because he had no training. If your character had killed a dragon no one else could kill just because she was threatened, that would be a lot more unrealistic than just a dragon. I don't know how many examples I have to put to get you to understand what I mean by unrealistic. Tell me if you need more.

    I don't think you read my post as far as the gods, but that's okay, I'll try to explain it differently instead of immediately saying you can't read. Well, that was kind of a hypocritical start to the paragraph- moving on. I said which part you thought of and the part you took from mythology. I then continued and said the two together don't work. Asexual reproduction is more efficient and if they are already gods it doesn't sound like they need much variation introduced into the population. I don't get why they would even have the mechanics to create demigods. In mythology, I always was under the impression demigods were a byproduct of lust that was supposed to be meant for other gods. In this, it seems like the gods have a specific mechanic designed just to breed with another species. Do gods undergo sexual reproduction with other gods? I got the impression the answer is no from your description, but I may have read that wrong. If the answer is no, it confuses me they have gender at all if they just divide- that's sort of a tangent. As is, the gods don't work for me.

    As far as the middle, I never talked about the middle. So what if you have two different ideas to pick from for the middle? That doesn't mean what you posted wasn't an outline for a plot. Saying "I don't know, but here's my plot." doesn't make it any less a plot. Neither does "My plot could be this or this." or "This isn't a plot, here's my plot.". I took this thread as something you wanted to use for getting advice on what you have. Oh, that took me a minute. You are saying that I said you posted a plot with a beginning middle and end. You then say there is no middle per say so it isn't a plot... That's just nitpicking at my wording. I guess I can compromise and agree you only posted the beginning and end of a plot if that's really the issue.

    I have a harsh, condescending tone. Despite that, I thought you might be able to find some of my advice useful. Personally, I don't care about people saying they like something much. I find it lazy and borderline untruthful. Why did they say they liked it? What's their agenda? Can they tell me something useful? To clarify, that's if more than a third of the post is a positive critique. Some positive feedback is fine, I said I liked the world you created.

    Honestly, the title of this thread makes less and less sense. You talk about your plot more than the world your plot takes place in with a ratio of at least 20 to 1.

    If you got annoyed, I don't see any reason for me to post again on this thread. I wasn't trying to annoy you, I just personally would be fine with receiving similar comments so I guess I thought you would be too.

    Saying I don't know how to read is kind of childish. Being interested in writing I know if someone interprets something I wrote incorrectly, I have to assume its my fault for conveying my thoughts inadequately. I wouldn't accuse someone of not being able to read correctly though I might come to a point where I think that and don't say it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2015
  14. Lea`Brooks
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    I have no problem with what you had to say. :) I am perfectly capable of receiving a critique without becoming upset, because I know that without critique, you'll never get better.

    However, I didn't find what you were critiquing to be valid. I don't believe anything is too unrealistic for a high fantasy novel, especially in this context. We aren't talking about humans having frog genes here, we're talking about elementals having magical genes. They aren't human. They are magical creatures. So her using her untrained magical ability (something she was given at birth, even though she's never been taught how to use it) to protect herself is not any more unnatural than someone else being able to fight back during an adrenaline rush. Just because you don't understand the concept doesn't make it unrealistic.

    With the gods, I'm just going to have to accept the fact that this is just another concept that you don't understand. I'm not just making things up when it comes to gods unintentionally (or even intentionally) breeding with humans. They do in fact have children with humans in classic mythology, but also have children with other gods. Gods are created in all kinds of different ways in classic mythology, and I don't see how my interpretation is any different. Athena was born from Zeus's skull wearing full battle armor. Aphrodite was born from sea foam. Heracles was born from the mating of Zeus and a human. So while you may not understand, or approve, it's not a new idea that I'm mucking up.

    When I first posted, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I had a backstory, one scene, and an ultimate goal. I doubt see how any of that qualifies as a plot. But okay. I think we can both agree our views are very different. Over time, I've been developing a story that is growing on me. And since the point of this thread was to help figure out a plot, I post my new developments to see what people think of them. :)

    I appreciate you taking the time out to offer your interpretation. But I've decided to go in a different direction. :)
     
  15. Dunning Kruger
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    Rather think in terms of cliche's you might want to think in terms of archetypes. So if you have the wise old mentor with gray hair training your main character, that's fine. But make them different from Merlin, Kenobi, Dumbledore, or Gandalf through their personality. In my mind that is opposite of a cliche or stereotype where you are reducing a complex individual to the common elements. Have you ever read the Writer's Journey? Its basically a book about Joseph Campbell's "Hero's Journey" applied to writing. It might be helpful for you.
     
  16. Lea`Brooks
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    I haven't read that! I'll definitely look into it.

    But I've definitely been looking into archetypes. I have a whole page of them written down so I can reference them later. lol I've even looked into Dramatica, but I haven't decided if I want to go with that or archetypes. I have a lot of the main characters already planned out, but there are several other I haven't planned. My book is heavily matriarchal though, so I definitely won't be having a bearded wizard. :p A beard might look slightly strange on a woman.
     
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  17. HelloImRex
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    Going in a different direction than what I suggest is fine, I just don't see any reason you'd have to argue with me unless there was some misplaced emotional investment put on the critique. Anyway, I'm glad I didn't upset you with my ideas, I'd feel bad if I did. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2015
  18. Tesoro
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    It sounds to me that you have a clear enough idea of what you want to achieve with it to start dressing the skeleton with scenes and events that leads the mc through the stages you want ger to go through. You say you want her to learn things about

    "people not always being what they seem, betrayal, and independence. The MC starts off being a poor, powerless girl who does what she's told, doesn't question, doesn't doubt. But at the end, she comes into her strength (physically, mentally, and magically), learns to take control over her own life, does her research instead of just believing everything she's told. I want her to struggle on her path to self-discovery, I want her to hurt and to have people she trust completely betray her. I want her to realize that she was manipulated and abused to benefit others."

    So start thinking of scenes that let her discover that. You have to walk her through this: trusting, being betrayed, learning. How could she do that? Who is going to betray, and why? How will they betray her? How is she going to react when she finds out? Are you going to have more than one POV character, so we can follow the characters betraying and see and understand their reasons or do we see it all through her eyes?

    Starting listing scenes that involve these things that you have in mind for her. I agree with Mckk , if you're not sure you have enough plot for book one, write it all, including the two following books, and see how much it ends up to be. Maybe it'll all fit in book one.
     
  19. Dunning Kruger
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    I had never heard of Dramatica. Thanks for the reference. Given your story is classic hero stuff I highly suggest you at least skim Writers Journey. It was the first recommended to me by my friend who happens to be a paid professional writer. If nothing else, you can see what many others have also thought about and think about what you want to do differently.



    Also, by going with a female main character and mentor, you are already providing twists sufficient for a good story. Now the question is how do you want to incorporate their gender into the story. You dont have to go feminist with it. Just by telling the story from a female perspective, appropriately including some basic gender differences and complications you have a fresh look at a classic story structure.

    You've got the potential for a great story here. Good luck at seeing it through!
     
  20. Ivana
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    Hello!
    Your story is interesting, but it seems a bit déjà vu to me. The whole element controlling thing reminds me of a movie "The last airbender". Although the movie sucks, the basic idea is pretty good.
    Regarding the ceremony where the next Queen is to be chosen, and the machine picks the unexpected one: this one reminded me of the similar scene in the animated movie "Kung Fu Panda". :)
    As far as your plot concerned, I wouldn't go with the "prove yourself if you want to rule" thing. It seems more realistic to me that the Gods would try to kill your mc right after the ceremony, and she would have to run for her life. She would have to go to an exile, and while she's there, she could meet some wise old man (another cliché, but still), who would teach her how to use her powers. And when she feels strong enough, she would decide to go back and face the evil God Queen in order to reclaim her birth-rights. Also, if her mother is still alive, she could try to save her.
    I think this book would be perfect for YA readers. Good luck!
     
  21. kfmiller
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    We're huge Avatar fans in this house and I also saw a lot of similarity especially with one person being "chosen" and able to control multiple elements.

    I agree with what someone said previously also- you don't have a middle because you are trying to stretch the plot into multiple books. I see your middle being exactly what you said: send her on a journey. Have her come back to face the queen at the end powerful and trained.
     
  22. jannert
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    Well, I was going to chip in with a few ideas here, but you know, that remark really put me off. It's rude. Even if somebody doesn't quite 'get' what you've said, that's no way to speak to another forum member.

    Better pull your horns in, if you want people to interact with you.
     
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  23. Lea`Brooks
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    I've never gotten anywhere by biting my tongue. So now I say what I think and make no apologies for it. :) Thanks for the advice though! I'll try to be less abrasive in the future.

    @Dunning Kruger Thanks for the book suggestion! I'm always looking to add more to my library, and this one seems like it could be very beneficial! As for the female roles, I wasn't really planning on making it about feminism. I just thought it would be something different. :) So many fantasy books focus on a king or prince, and very few ever focus on a Queen. I'm hoping people will enjoy it. :)

    @Ivana I've never seen The Last Airbender.. I suppose I'll have to check it out! My inspiration came mostly from Greek mythology and nymphs and whatnot. I'm sure it will be similar, but I'm confident I can make it my own. :)

    Apparently I've never seen Kung Fu Panda either, because I'm struggling to remember the scene you're referencing.. lol But again, my choosing ceremony is different than anything I've ever seen, so hopefully it won't be identical to something else. :D

    I like your idea very much! There is actually a section of my world where all the exiles go (did I mention that already?) so it would be nice to send her there eventually. They are all super powerful, so they make fun of my MC for being so sheltered and thinking she's something special. I'll have to determine which idea is the best one to go with. I'm definitely planning to make it YA though, so I'm glad you said that! :)

    @kfmiller Yeah, I definitely made a mistake by trying to stretch it so much. I just need to write it so that the events happen naturally, not planned, and divide it up if I need to.

    Thanks all for your suggestions! :)
     
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  24. kfmiller
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    kfmiller Active Member

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    Also- for the love of everything please don't watch the movie The Last Airbender, watch the cartoon it's based on- Avatar: The Last Airbender.
     
  25. Lea`Brooks
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    lol Will do! I heard the movie was bad. M. Night Shyamalan is my favorite, so I thought about watching it just because he was involved, but when it got a bad review, I changed my mind. :p
     
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