1. johno
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    johno New Member

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    You've got your concept, then what happens?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by johno, Mar 29, 2013.

    Hi guys, I just signed up, so this is my first post. The following is something that keeps happening to me and it's driving me crazy:

    I get an idea and fall in love with it. I flesh out the concept and mentally sketch a character or characters. I set up a situation - a dilemma facing the character or some kind of conflict.

    Then what happens?

    I'm starting to think I have no sense of story. And yet I continue to write because that's just what I do.

    Does anybody have any tips on how they resolve plots and conflicts? come up with endings? Stuff like that? I'd love to hear processes that work for you. I'm sick of getting halfway into a story and then realizing it sucks and going back to the drawing board, but that is my current process....

    Thanks!
    -j
     
  2. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm a little confused - are you just mentally planning things or do you actually start writing and then get stuck?

    Personally, I just start writing the story and resolve things as they occur. Other people will write out a detailed plan and then start writing the story. And others use something in between. The one thing you have to do is not quit every time you get stuck or think it sucks. You have to finish. Maybe the story will suck, but you have to finish before you know. And that's how you learn what works and what doesn't for when you start - and finish - the next story. Right now you're just building the I Quit habit.
     
  3. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    Whilst stories evolve, and some end depending on the route taken, I have a mental image of a starting scene/conflict, and an ending. Just rough in my mind. From there, the tale unfolds with conflict and resolution, but all generally geared towards the conclusion I have in mind.

    If a major digression is warranted, then there'll be a different ending. But at least setting off, I've an idea where I'm headed.

    I don't know your favourite genre, but plenty of reading will soon give you understanding of conflict and resolution. Basically, your character is in a difficult situation, and you've got to get him out. Time and time again.

    How would you get your MC out of this? He recovers consciousness to find he's tied to an anchor cable in the cable locker of a ship. Above him is the hawse pipe, and the anchor is about to be slipped. In a few minutes he's going up the pipe tied to the cable. Get him out.

    Little exercises like that can really help if that's the sort of thing you're looking for. Conflict resolution.
     
  4. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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  5. ventrue
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    ventrue New Member

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    I also have great scenes happening in my mind before I have a complete story and what really helps me is making a stepsheet before I start writing anything. I usually have some idea of what it's all about once I have a few scenes in my mind. What I do have, I divide into (short) chapters and for each chapter, I write down what's happening and, most importantly, I use this to make each step dependant on the previous ones.
    Whenever I have a scene that I want to use, I think about where it might fit, what in previous chapters led to this scene and where the scene itself is leading.

    For example: It's the middle of the story and after having won a trip on a cruise liner earlier in the story, Peter is now on an island, trying to survive. This is the scene you have in your mind. But how did Peter get there? He could have fallen overboard. But that's boring, we want more action. Let's say the ship has sunk. How does he get off? You could establish earlier in the story that he can't swim, is rather afraid of water and uncomfortable with the whole trip itself. So he might have panicked, ripped the lifejacket off some other passenger and taken the only lifeboat for himself, thus ending up alone on the island. Again, this leaves several questions you need to answer in your story: Why did he go in the first place, if he didn't want to? Why did the ship sink? Why was there only one lifeboat? These answers may lead to other scenes, more questions and so forth.
     
  6. doghouse
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    You may well have weak story structure, or weak drama and conflict.

    It's quite difficult to understand quite what you're struggling with. But, it is important to concentrate on one thing.

    Perhaps look at your character and ask yourself:

    > What does the character need to be happy?

    > What risk is the character willing to take?

    > What is at stake, or what does the character face losing?

    > What would the character sacrifice to achieve the goal?


    Those are some questions you can ask, which should lead to stronger drama and conflict. Creating internal and external conflict is interesting too.

    If you're having problems writing a scene, you can add a basic structure: goal, conflict, disaster -- and follow the scene up with a sequel: reflection, dilemma, decision. And repeat.

    It really depends how you write: plotter v's pantser.

    I'm more of a plotter, so I wonder how a pantser ever gets a story complete! *grins*

    But, know this. Story telling is a craft, and it can be learned.
     
  7. ms627
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    ms627 Member

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    Well, I have/had a very similar problem to your own. My problem was giving the characters a conflict. Something interesting that I could guide the rest of the characters towards. I can't just write. I need an end point/climax point to aim towards.

    Here is a list of common conflicts/plots. Take one, and totally personalize it. :)

    (From http://www.ipl.org/div/farq/plotFARQ.html)


    Supplication (in which the Supplicant must beg something from Power in authority)
    Deliverance
    Crime Pursued by Vengeance
    Vengeance taken for kindred upon kindred
    Pursuit
    Disaster
    Falling Prey to Cruelty of Misfortune
    Revolt
    Daring Enterprise
    Abduction
    The Enigma (temptation or a riddle)
    Obtaining
    Enmity of Kinsmen
    Rivalry of Kinsmen
    Murderous Adultery
    Madness
    Fatal Imprudence
    Involuntary Crimes of Love (example: discovery that one has married one’s mother, sister, etc.)
    Slaying of a Kinsman Unrecognized
    Self-Sacrificing for an Ideal
    Self-Sacrifice for Kindred
    All Sacrificed for Passion
    Necessity of Sacrificing Loved Ones
    Rivalry of Superior and Inferior
    Adultery
    Crimes of Love
    Discovery of the Dishonor of a Loved One
    Obstacles to Love
    An Enemy Loved
    Ambition
    Conflict with a God
    Mistaken Jealousy
    Erroneous Judgement
    Remorse
    Recovery of a Lost One
    Loss of Loved Ones.

    OR

    Quest
    Adventure
    Pursuit
    Rescue
    Escape
    Revenge
    The Riddle
    Rivalry
    Underdog
    Temptation
    Metamorphosis
    Transformation
    Maturation
    Love
    Forbidden Love
    Sacrifice
    Discovery
    Wretched Excess
    Ascension
    Descension.

    It helped me A LOT. There's a lot more on the website, too. :)
     
  8. ms627
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    ms627 Member

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    Trying to figure out how to delete this post. Double posted...
     
  9. doghouse
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    doghouse Member

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    Milli. That list seems to cover more on thematics. . .

    . . . Argh, the author of that article relates plot to theme!
     
  10. ms627
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    ms627 Member

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    It's a list of different author's perception on types of theme and plot. Regardless of what's intended from the article, it helped jog some inspiration by reading through the different concepts. :) Figured that might help the OP!
     
  11. johno
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    johno New Member

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    Thanks for feedback!!

    Brilliant! Thanks everyone for all of your thoughts: very enlightening and useful, particularly since I'm facing my next project right now and I've reached that familiar danger zone of plot execution. Please feel free to continue to add to this thread! My mind is racing. :)

    FYI, my process is inconsistent, which undoubtedly accounts for my plotting/concept execution issues. But for what it's worth, I sort of employ a hybrid between outlining on paper and just starting with a concept and writing until I run into problems. Sometimes I'll quit halfway through, map and outline and then start over (which I hate). Other times I'll have a solid outline and write the whole story based on it, only to decide it sucks and change a fundamental aspect of the plot. There's lots of rewriting and it's laborious. I can only hope it's all part of a learning process and I'm not making the same mistakes over and over again!

    I'm excited to try out some of your suggestions!
    -j
     
  12. cherryisdead
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    cherryisdead New Member

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    I think if I really can't think of how to continue while writing, I'll just stop and kind of force myself to forget about it until I get a thought later on that inspires me enough to actually genuinely continue on with my story.
     

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