1. Safety Turtle
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    Safety Turtle Senior Member

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    Writing without an actual plot.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Safety Turtle, Sep 23, 2016.

    So I've realized I have a bit of a problem.
    I don't actually have an overarching plot for my story...the closest thing I have is my MC finding out that when he dies, he wakes up again but a little less human than before.
    I also have a lot of things I'd like to happen but that doesn't connect with each other.
    Also have a pretty thought out world build up.

    I'm still writing though but I fear that if I carry on like this I'll just end up with a novel with a ton of content, but no over all plot.

    Have anyone else tried this and how did it turn out for you?
    Should I put the writing on hold and try and figure out what the over all plot/story is before continuing?
     
  2. PGWhyte
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    PGWhyte Member Supporter

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    Well, when I started writing my Novella, I had a basic plot, my two MC's head through an apocalyptic cornwall, to Culdrose (Air Base).
    I plan on linking them up to my main story/possible series from there.
    Everything i have written between has not been planned, its written off the cuff. I do re-read several times and make changes/edit etc but that's about it.

    So far, i think its looking ok (for a first draft), i know there will be plenty of editing to do, but I'm happy.

    I must admit, I'm currently planning my foray into Fantasy as well, that will be have a lot of planning, plot work, character models etc before i start. That's my ambition.

    Hope it helps
     
  3. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Is there a change in your MC's character from the first page of the book and the last? That's how I think of plot. I decide how my character is going to change and then work out a series of events that lead from A > B.

    Just a suggestion.
     
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  4. Safety Turtle
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    Safety Turtle Senior Member

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    Well there's him discovering his "immortality" and then slowly losing his humanity...other than that it's more like a sort of tour through the world.
     
  5. PGWhyte
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    PGWhyte Member Supporter

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    well considering the environment, yes they do. One being a hard ass throughout, gains a softer side. The other, starts being quite scared, wimpish, turns into hard and determined fellow. Considering my WIP starts 5 days into an Apocalyptic event, the flashback in chapter 2 shows what both of them were like. Throughout, I've noticed a change in how I'm writing for them. They have grown, become better people, one would say suited to the environment.

    EDIT:Sorry thought I was replying to OP asking me a question
     
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  6. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Well I think you need either a compelling plot or a compelling character arc (ideally both, but you can pull it off with one). It kinda sounds like you don't have either?
     
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  7. Safety Turtle
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    Safety Turtle Senior Member

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    Most likely true, I've spend the past couple of years doing the world building, meant originally as an RPG but wanted to turn it into a novel instead.
     
  8. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    You don't need a plot unless you want to appeal to the masses.

    Who are you writing for, yourself or others?
     
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  9. Safety Turtle
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    Safety Turtle Senior Member

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    Both I guess...I like telling stories, basically.
     
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  10. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Mind you, if you're writing fantasy I'm not sure my opinion is relevant here.
     
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  11. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Ching, Ching, Damn it!
    death_rides_a_pale_trike.jpg Damn Immortals! :supergrin:
     
  12. Robert Musil
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    Robert Musil Contributing Member

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    Maybe you've thought about this already, but to me your premise sounds like it would work well with an episodic format--every time your MC reincarnates you could change up the supporting characters, events, even the setting (an easy way to show off more of your worldbuilding). There could still be the overarching "losing humanity" thing, but you wouldn't need to have a single plot for the entire book.
     
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  13. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    I wouldn't say you need to put the writing on hold. You can figure it out while writing if you want. Just keep in mind that you are telling a story. If there is a point to your story, then there is probably a plot. I don't think about plot. I just let it happen. I think it might be more difficult to write just about anything over 15 pages without a plot than to write a story with a plot. If you are telling a story, there will be a plot. If there is no plot, you probably aren't telling the right story.
     
  14. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Depends on what kinda writer you are. A lot of pantsers (folks who write and make it up as they go along) consider their first draft their "planning process", as it were. They get everything down on paper first and then on the editing process, that's when they figure out what the story really is. Then it's more about finding the things that connect, fleshing those out, adding or changing things that would make their connections stronger and more compelling, as well as ruthlessly cutting out chunks and chapters that are irrelevant. In other words, it's ok to go over the plot only after you have your rough draft. It just means that first rough draft should never see the light of day - but that doesn't mean it's a waste of time. It's just a process of gathering your thoughts.

    Other may prefer to pause, figure out what the next step is before carrying on. So that you have a vague direction but not necessarily the whole thing.

    However I must caution you on "it's more like a sort of tour through the world" - nobody, other than yourself, is interested in your world right now. Just how it is, sorry. And few would spend the time reading a novel solely to get to know your world. You need to make that world interesting through a compelling story and/or compelling character. Bear this in mind, because you don't want to fill your novel up with pages upon pages of detail about your world, how it works, what it looks like etc. You'll just end up having to chuck them all out later. Not saying details about the world are unimportant - it's good to drop bits and pieces in - but if you describe your work as more of a tour through the world, then I'm guessing there's likely an over-abundance of details about the world.

    Overall there's not really the need to put your writing on hold - it only matters that you know the pantsing process is generally a little longer and may involve a lot more deleting. Some people would find that discouraging, others don't really mind - so it depends on how you work as a writer. (and even if you do plan, you may still find you gotta delete chunks and chapters anyway once you get to editing)
     
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  15. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    You need neither. Read anything by Bukowski.
     
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  16. Safety Turtle
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    Safety Turtle Senior Member

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    Well when I said "tour through the world" I didn't just mean tons of descriptions of what it's like, but more that there's not one single plot (get the ring to mordor type of thing) but more or less following him as he makes his way through the world.

    I may be misinterpreting what actually makes a plot a plot.
     
  17. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're fine. Write it.
     
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  18. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    We're certainly on the same wavelength, @123456789, but I'm not sure I agree Bukowski's books have neither. Some are certainly plotless (for want of a better word) but I certainly wouldn't say his alter-ego isn't compelling. It's true to say Bukowski isn't concerned with the rule which says your character has to be likeable, but he's still compelling, I'd say.

    But then Bukowski never wrote about mystical worlds and dragons and goblins, and I think that's very relevant here.
     
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  19. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Chinaski is very compelling. However, I don't think there is much of an arc. In other words, Chinaski at page 1 and Chinaski at page final are in many instances arguably the same.
     
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  20. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh, indubitably, but what a ride along the way!
     
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  21. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have said before it's not the idea, it's the writing. I stick by this. That being said. A novel about a man who does not die and goes living throughout history (this has been done before of course) wondering why and slowly losing his humanity. Even if there is no clear plot. Even if it's just him wandering from place to place, episode to episode- I would say this is one of the better sounding ideas I've heard on the forum.
     
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  22. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    He's a very talented writer. His style looks easy but I gather it's not.
     
  23. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree to an extent, but do you think a fantasy world is really the setting for such a book?
     
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  24. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    His style does look easy - laughably so sometimes - but he's not easy to mimic (as I'm finding to my cost).
     
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  25. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    No. As people grow older, often, they begin to realize that the important elements of their stories can be better implemented in reality. I hope.
     
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