1. Topha
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    Topha New Member

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    Writing plots down.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Topha, Nov 12, 2008.

    Hello to you all ,

    First off im sorry if this has been posted before, I have had a look through the first few pages of this thread and can only find questions about people wanting help with a paticular plot they have already thought of, and no I dont want you to think of a plot for me either so hopefully i wont get that pre written answer that dude post's alot ! :D


    I've had that spark of inspration for what I think will be a great story. I have had these sparks before but go striaght into writing the story with nothing else worked out and it all comes to a steaming stop. So this time I want to write the plot down first,which, after reading through before mentioned posts, you all seem to agree with,

    wow,, this is getting long and I havent even asked a question yet,, 'I digress',,

    So my question is this,,

    How do you write your plot down ?!?

    is it like a list for eample.

    1, this happens
    2, then this
    3, and then this ,etc,

    or do you write a few lines for each chapter?

    Or what ever it is you do,,

    Thanks for help and time in advance!!

    Chris,,
     
  2. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    I write a few lines for each chapter... Never really put a lot of thought in it, just wrote whatever came to mind.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    First off, a sequence of events is a storyline, not a plot. "That dude" now points you to the thread What is Plot Creation and Development?. :)

    Personally, what few notes I set down don't cover plots or storylines. My notes are simply details I might lose later, or had to research in the first place. The storyline is too dynamic, and it's right there in the writing as it develops. If I shuffle things about in the writing, I don't want to rearrange a separate document to stay in sync.

    I know where I am, because I wrote it. I also know roughly where I'm going, and who my characters are. So I start sailing in the general direction, and make the necessary course corrections if the goal slips off my current trajectory. That may well involve adding new characters or erecting new obstacles.

    I tend to write fairly consecutively (story order, not necessarily chronological for the characters). If I get inspired about a scene I haven't yet reached, I may jump to it and build it up somewhat before returning to where my main track is waiting.

    Things I keep track of:
    * Physical measurements, where appropriate. I favor SF, so that may be orbital calculations, distances and sizes of bodies in space, etc.
    * Notes on life forms, especially if they are not yet in the parts of the story aready written.
    * Pools of names, as I think of them. As I assign them to characters, I'll jot down minor details like rank and position (where appropriate), as much to remind me what names are in use than for any other reason.
    * Questions I've raised that the reader will expect an answer to, lest I forget to cover them.
    * Anything else that pops into my head but is not yet ready to go into the story.
     
  4. Topha
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    Topha New Member

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    Thanks for the quick and informative replys,

    I was sitting here trying to write a list of whats going to happen next and not really getting anywhere. Maybe i will try writing down basic ideas that i can refer to when i start getting stuck. I will check that link you left now,

    oh,, and sorry for calling you 'that dude' ,
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No problema - I've been called far worse! :)
     
  6. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    This is called outlining, generally. People do it various ways. I'm not an outliner but I understand that some people need to do it, and I do it when I'm nearing the end of a story, plus I did it for a couple of stories in the past.

    The way I did it for entire novels was:

    * I wrote down all the plot events I knew I wanted to happen, on little pieces of paper. (Just basic stuff, like "So-&-So meets What's-His-Name for first time.")

    * I sorted these into chronological order.

    * I laid the little pieces of paper out on a big piece of paper in order and looked them over for weak spots (i. e., places where there wasn't enough plot happening).

    * I mulled over the story and came up with plot points to fill in the gaps, and wrote these down on little pieces of paper.

    * I added the new plot points into the storyline and taped the little pieces of paper to the big piece of paper so I now had a full outline of the basic plot.

    * I wrote/typed this up into a neat outline.

    * I now filled it out by fleshing out the events as they were listed and dividing them into scenes.

    * I titled each scene (just to give them clarity--the titles don't have to make it into the final work), described each one with a sentence or two, and told WHY that scene took place (i. e., why it was important for the plot).

    So I ended up with a nice full outline with summaries of every scene. I then used this to write the story, dividing it into chapters as was necessary.

    I don't do this anymore since I work best with surprise. When I outline near the end of a story, I just jot down the remaining things I want to happen, in note format. As for outlining, you can write down event after event, or you can write down a few sentences for each chapter--whatever works best for you.
     
  7. Topha
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    Topha New Member

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    Thanks Tehuti88, that is exactly what i meant, i didnt know it was called outlining.
     
  8. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman Contributing Member

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    I pretty much do what Cog does. I write down everything that I'll probably forget two minutes after I think of it. I have tried to do a sort of time line for my story, but then I realized that I really didn't have too much to put on it. Though doing that time line showed me that even though I thought I had a million things to stuff into my story, they really were just little things that had no major impact. But it does help.
     
  9. RIPPA MATE
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    RIPPA MATE Contributing Member

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    I have a white board right next to me; ussually for outlining the the greater picture of the plot or roughing the storyline. But mostly it's all in my head.
    huzzah for whiteboards.
     
  10. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    I used to write detailed plot synopses all the time. I had about a page of description for every chapter.
    Then, I realized I was spending more time revising that than writing the actual piece.

    Now I don't outline at all. I have a word document with a line or two of text for each chapter, nothing more.
    And even that is horribly outdated and doesn't even match much of what I've written so far.

    The moral of the story: outline if you have to, but don't let it get in the way of the real thing.
    As for research info / notes, (like what Cog mentioned above,) those are always good to keep handy.
     
  11. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    I only use a short list of scenes that have to take place to support my proposed ending.
    I say proposed ending because often it changes, and the previously necessary scenes become not so necessary.
     
  12. sharp_quill
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    sharp_quill Member

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    This is the exact thread I was looking for. Often I have an idea of where I want my characters to go and I start writing and end up taking some weird direction, and I end up scrapping the whole thing and starting over.

    Has anyone ever started kind of 'at the end' of the story, knowing where you want your characters to be and worked back from there a bit? does that make sense?
     
  13. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    The way that works for me is that I know how my story starts, and I know how it ends:

    Bob is a high school student who meets a mysterious girl.
    Bob saves girl from the assassins who want her dead and they run off into the sun set.

    When I know how I want it too end and where I want to start I just fill in the in between and build the beginning and ending along with it and keep adding new stuff (Romantic sub-plot, supporting characters, character development and plot devices etc) until I'm happy with the idea and get to work. Usually as I write things don't always go according to plan, so I see what I can change to make the whole thing work (sometimes I have plot holes in the outline but I find I tend to stumble across solutions as I write).
     

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