1. RobotGymnast
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    RobotGymnast New Member

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    Writing exercises?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by RobotGymnast, Jun 21, 2009.

    I often have good ideas, and can write or develop little parts of a story. My main problem is always trying to create a long-term, deep plot. I can't usually create a "problem".

    What I'm wondering is: are there any good writing exercises that would help get me used to thinking of new things? Usually I end up just thinking of ideas that already exist. I've been getting better with developing new ideas for games, but in-depth plot creation still escapes me.

    Thanks
     
  2. Sinbad
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    Sinbad Banned

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    The problem is that you're thinking too consciously about the story. The best way to write, as Ray Bradbury once said, " is to get the hell of out of the way and let the characters tell their story."
     
  3. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    The easiest way to come up with a basic A to B story (which you can then embelish as you see fit) is to create a character with some desire and then work towards that character getting (or not getting) the desire fulfilled. That way, you have a start, and a goal to work toward, and you can fit all your other ideas onto that framework to create a longer and fuller story.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    For all practical purposes, the ideas you come up with will already exist. Don't get obsessed over originality, or you;ll never write a danged thing!

    Make sure you understand the difference between plot and storyline. A stryline is a chronology of events, and it's what most people are really talking about when they speak of plot.

    Plots are struggles or conflicts. Plots are what move a story along, and how you connect them determines how the events that comprise a storyline interrelate. Please read this thread about What is Plot Creation and Development?

    Thinking in terms of the dynamics of the plots will help you flesh out your story.
     
  5. RobotGymnast
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    RobotGymnast New Member

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    I've tried "just writing", but then I always end up going from A to B far too quickly. That's what started to make me think I'd need to plan it out. I always seem to know where I am and where I want to go, and then I get there very quickly. Anybody here gone through that?

    However, you're all right. I should write first, then modify (I always seem to forget that, and just write in a linear fashion).

    That's true; I should really write for the plot, not the story. Thanks, everybody!
     
  6. TedR
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    TedR New Member

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    What sort of topics do you usually come up with?

    You mentioned you had a bunch of little ideas, but couldn't tie them into a larger story. You could try writing out a brief synopsis of one of those ideas and when it's done, you can go two directions with it. Then ask yourself what has to happen in order for said event to occur, or what happened as a result of it. Once that is done, just keep going backwards or forwards in the story's time frame until you reach a reasonable beginning or end. Keep the characters in mind.

    Since you also come up with several ideas, you could write those down on separate pieces of paper, put them on a table some distance apart, with blank pieces in between them. Then do the above exercise until you connect the two ideas.

    Keep in mind that you ultimately may not use your ideas in a story. Don't discard any ideas you don't use, write them down and store them somewhere. You may end up using them in another story.
     
  7. RobotGymnast
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    RobotGymnast New Member

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    My ideas tend to range from fantastical to sci-fi.
    However, my ideas always tend to be grounded in reality, because I've found those are the books that I always find "good". Harry Potter, Eragon, etc. They're all suspenseful, and I always anticipate the next one, but I don't love them the same way I love something like Digital Fortress (Dan Brown).

    Good exercise, though, I'll keep it in mind
     
  8. tbeverley
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    tbeverley Senior Member

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    I come up with plots by reading history books and biographies. If you have trouble coming up with plots, maybe try the same: read about real life history, which has it's own sort of plot, and get a feel for how the natural course of history works. Then, just model plots after real life.
     
  9. seta
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    seta Contributing Member

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    If you take a step back and look at most stories in human history, they are almost identical on some level.

    1) Main character
    2) Problem
    3) Triumph (over a villain?)

    It's not A or B or C that's important, it's what happens along the way.

    My current story has evolved since original inception. At first, I didn't want a villain - just an enemy race. But I realized that a villain can personify the conflict, so I added one. It gives me an object through which I can express the will of the opposition.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Triumph is not the only outcome that makes a great story. Tragedies often finish with the goal forever beyond reach.

    As you say, though, the journey's the thing.
     
  11. RobotGymnast
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    RobotGymnast New Member

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    Hmm.. interesting.
    I'm now at the challenge of looking for a starting point that seems realistic (which is hard, because the idea of starting with an average teenager has been done to death, but I find it the best for this story).
     
  12. roseberryse
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    roseberryse Member

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    I've gone through this, but I try to just keep on writing with the hopes that I can always come back later and add the details or subplots that would make the story better. I always find myself telling a whole story in not many pages. I would suggest you keep writing, even if it's moving too fast. Get all of your ideas down and then go back and rewrite later, once you know exactly where your story is going.
     

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