1. chiank
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    chiank Member

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    why ask for help on Plots?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by chiank, Mar 11, 2010.

    Sorry but i simply find this ridiculous. Author are paid for his imaginative writing, how he develops plot and characters. Thats the fun of writing, properly planning every move, using tactics, etc. trying your best to keep readers involve with your imaginative characters. i mean, thats the main reason according to me most of author love writing.

    IF you simply going to ask others for help, then certainly it will not be your story. Sorry, again but you all should stop asking for help on plots. If you can't think now, take a rest for a while or month or year, i am sure right plot will hit you in the end.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    This is certainly true, but there is nothing wrong with asking for a little help if you've plotted yourself into a corner.

    Now if the writer is asking for opinions of the entire plot, or how to resolve the primary conflict, I agree completely. The writer really should solve that dilemna.

    On the other hand, if the writer has a problem with a particular crisis resolution feeling weak or implausible, particularly if he or she lacks experience with the situation the characters are exposed to, I can see asking for some help. For example, the problem involves a midair crisis with an aircraft, and the author isn't knowledgeable enough about flight procedures, it might make sense to ask for some help fleshing out that part of the plot (especially after doing some serious research and coming up short).

    Even more useful is hetting help with the process of plot development. You have a crisis and resolution, but it didn't come out as suspenseful as you had hoped. Seeing how others would try to amp up the suspense can be very helpful.

    Believe me, you won't find many people here who would be happier to never see another "Here is my plot idea, do you think it's any good?" post. But I do think it's a lesson many new writers need to learn:

    A storyline is only as good (or poor) as its execution. You can make a great story with a story line that sounds boring in summary, or flop with the most innovative storyline ever seen.
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I second Cogito's take on plot help.

    It can be difficult to use the good majority of posted threads concerning plot help as examples, because as you have pointed out, there is an overwhelming tendency for these threads to sing to the tune of, "Give me a plot," or "If I write it good [well] I can pull this off, right?"

    These questions are vague and have no real direction; hence, they seem pointless, but the writer who is stuck on a particular, on a detail, something that can have a focus, then these questions are valid and should be presented as they give examples to others who may be stuck in similar areas.
     
  4. Anders Backlund
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    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

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    Personally, I don't get what's so terrible about inexperienced writers wanting pointers on their plots.

    "Is this a good idea for a story?" "How should I develope this idea?" "How would you have written this story?" "What should I keep in mind when writing this story?" I think these are all valid questions. Do keep in mind, the people who ask this type of questions are still developing themselves - having the will to write but unrefined skills. I'm sure we all remember when we were in the same place.

    Even if it's just encouragement, or to set an example; "This is how I would have done it," I think that can go a long way.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The problem is that it's the wrong focus. They waste energy trying to hammer out an "original" story idea, and get discouraged when tey inevitably discover its a futile pursuit.

    Far better to direct their energies in a more productive direction. Accept that the story is what it is, and focus instead on telling it well. Develop the characters, master the difficulties of strong dialogue, learn to modulate tension.

    Too often, they are fixated on getting approval and validation to move forward. That is too fragile a prize, grounded entirely in insecurity. You do them a favor if you take their focus away from that, and onto factors that will materially improve their odds of success.

    Patting them on the head and saying it's wonderful is about as valuable as the sugar rush from a gulp of sweet soda.
     
  6. Endricte
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    Endricte Member

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    Eh, if someone wants to talk plot, I'll talk plot. If they want to talk characters, I'll talk characters. Tension? Sure. Style? Yep. Dialogue? Of course. Different writers are at different stages in life and in their writing, and their focus will change with time. It's natural. And it's also natural for anyone to want to talk about their thoughts, plans, or plots, in whatever stage of writing they are in. What's the big deal?
     
  7. chiank
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    chiank Member

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    @ Cogito
    I agree with you on that. I mean if i am writing a story on doctor/other profession say lawyer but i don't have knowledge about such profession then of course asking for help from forum members is right way to start.
    but lack of information on character should be covered by section on "Character development, isn't it?

    You don't think it is big deal? A aspirant novel writer asking for help for a plot, is not a big deal for you? Take for a example , J.k.Rowling asking help for plot of harry potter to some other authors like Jeffery Archer or stephen king or Dan brown, how different whole harry potter series would have been ? Dan brown would have given puzzles or sci-fi idea, Stephen king idea would given idea of freelance writing, etc.
    Take one more example, i am staying in destination A and i am told to go to destination B and going from A to B i could use thousands of routes/ways, but route i will choose will depend on my character, temperament,nature etc. you might choose different route. A Priest will choose a way which have lots church/temple, a criminal will try to find a way which involves less police involvement, a introvert person might choose a path with less human interruption.

    Lets say you get very good help on plot, you write a book, it becomes bestseller, you are very happy. A reporter during interview will ask you this question ,"That plot was amazing, a crux of your book, how did this idea hit you?". How will you answer it ?

    What i am trying to say is , every writer whether small child or adult writer has imagination of its own and he should respect it and try to develop it. I have no problem in showing your work/ideas to other. It is just that first you need to use your own ideas before asking for help

    @ All
    Sorry if i am insulting anybody. It is not my intension to hurt anybody. I am just sharing my view on plot creation section
     
  8. SilverWolf0101
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    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    I agree with Cog about the concept that writers shouldn't expect to be patted on the shoulder and helped along on a plot. If that happens, how are they going to face rejection (if they get one)? It's true they can come back to the forums and pout about how it didn't go like planned, but that's expected when others depend on more experienced writers to give them a crutch to work on.

    However, I do believe that it's sensable for them to ask for assistance if they don't know how things would work out in a certain point, i.e the airplane idea. Not everyone is an expert at planes, so it's understandable to ask and see what others know. Same with creating a character that has a profession or history that the writer themself is unsure of.

    Honestly though, writing itself is a learning process and if you have to rely on others to work your plot out for you, word for word, then personally, I don't think your cut out to make it as a writer like you might have hoped.
     
  9. jacklondonsghost
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    jacklondonsghost Contributing Member

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    I don't necessarily agree that having a certain person help you with plot influences the story negatively at all. My friend who I regularly bounce plot ideas off of writes strictly sci-fi, completely different from my YA realistic stories. However he is still extremely helpful to be because he tells me when something feels realistic or not, whether it seems plausible for so-and-so to act a certain way, and most helpful of all is going through different possible scenes and discussing how they could be most effective and concise. His help is invaluable to my writing, because I am not good at plot. I am good with creative ideas, but he thinks very logically and tells me immediately when something feels unrealistic.

    All this aside, I have to have some semblance of a plot before I ever go to him for help with it. The problem most people who post "Help me with my plot" threads is that they don't have a story/idea/characters that have gripped them. Most threads of this nature feel very vague, poorly thought out, and unenthusiastic. Most times before I even think about a plot, I have some kind of storyline and characters who can drive it.

    And in the end, it is the WRITER'S story. They need to be the one doing the most creative work. I think it's absolutely helpful to get opinions on how to make your work more logical/suspenseful/exciting, but nobody can help you do that unless you've got a story in your head that is uniquely your own, not just some vague idea.

    BTW it's early so if any of that feels poorly written/explained, that would be why...
     
  10. EileenG
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    EileenG Member

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    Sometimes you can be so caught up in your plot that you don't see the holes. All it needs is a rational outsider to say "This couldn't work because..." and the problem is solved (or an new one created).
     
  11. Tigress
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    Tigress Member

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    As one who has just asked for help this morning, I'll share why I was driven to make this post. I have what I think is a really solid plot developing but I'm currently stuck on a minor action point. I want realism in the scene I am writing and, as Cogito pointed out in his example regarding an airplane crisis, I do not know enough about boats to pull it off.

    I've spent hours surfing the web, looking for answers and have come up empty. So, I've turned to the people in these forums, whom I've come to respect a great deal, for ideas. I do *not* feel that the story will be any less my own for having asked for some guidance on this one small scene, nor do I feel I should just throw in the towel and scrap the other 35,000 words I have already written simply because I am temporarily stuck.

    At worst, I'll trash the scene and come up with something I'm more knowledgeable about. But, instead of doing that out of hand, I figured I'd try to get help resolving this plot point because I'd like to keep it in the story, if I can.
     
  12. Endricte
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    Endricte Member

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    Well, it seems you're just speculating about those authors, and your example of a destination, to get from A to B isn't quite accurate to what you're trying to say, I think, since no matter what path you take you'll always end up at B. :)

    Also, if you're on an internet forum asking about plots, more than likely you like to write, but probably you're not quite at the level yet to write a bestseller.

    Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that if someone asks a question about plot, so be it. It's where that writer is, and if they want to talk through a plot, or a dozen plots, that's fine. The thing is people develop differently as writers. Some people don't need anyone. Other people may need to collaborate until they feel they can fly on their own.

    The process of creativity can be harnessed through many different methods. Consider someone that goes onto an internet forum and asks about a plot they're working on. Let's say they get some feed back and they like what they see. Even if this person had help in the formation of the plot, at the end of the day it's just that person and his words. They will write. They will learn. They will create their worlds and characters. Also, let's say they are trying to develop a believable story. The greatest plot ever might be in the head of this person, but as soon as they explain their intentions to someone else, it does hold a level of productivity to explain why what they are trying to accomplish would not be believable. What made perfect sense in the writer's head is suddenly given another logical point of view, and gives the writer something else to think about. It's the process of developing. Sometimes it can be added upon, and sometimes subtracting holds specific merit as well.

    And in truth, plot really can be seen as a platform for an aspiring writer to hone their skills. It can give a writer the framework to create characters, learn structure, build tension, develop a style. It can provide the necessary motivation to continue on with a story and develop all the other skills that will follow after. So when I'm asked about plot, I'm not going to look down my nose and tell that person to focus elsewhere, I'll just provide what I can and allow the writer inside that person to grow.

    I think what you are forgetting is that no matter how much advice a writer asks for, when it comes down to it, writing is still very much a solitary thing. It will boil down to the writer and a blank page, and it's up to that writer to fill in that blank page with their own words. Their imagination still wholly belongs to them.

    Of course, this is my personal philosophy. The imagination isn't a sacred thing, but it is absolutely personal, and it is something that matures with time. "The small child" will not have the same level of detail as "the adult writer", but what the two have in common is that they are taking bits and pieces from everday life, from other stories, from conversations, from everything around them to add a continual flow of additional content to their imagination. Asking someone about a plot is no different. At the end of the day it's still up to the writer to give it life.
     

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