1. Hannibal Alexander

    Hannibal Alexander New Member

    Aug 16, 2012
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    San Francisco Bay Area, CA

    Characters with no Plot.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Hannibal Alexander, Apr 1, 2013.

    I won't get into a Pity Party here, but I'll just say that I have lost faith in my writing abilities.
    However, I can't let go of the fact that I feel like I'm meant to write... and that's simply because I tend to keep coming up with these various characters in my head all the time, ever since I was a kid. And you figure the outlet to get those characters out is to write about them.

    However, I have two problems... a) I have such a hard time finding a plot that I think is original and something I can actually write b) I guess I'm not that well-read and maybe that's what's messing me up in terms of getting people INTERESTED in the stuff I write.

    So having said all of that. What should I do? Any suggestions?
    I feel like I'm close to giving up on a dream to be a writer, but I might be like Megan Draper... thinking that I have this talent and in reality I suck!
    But than, what do I do with my characters!? Are they just lost in my head forever.

    I've always tried to find a writing partner, but that's been more difficult than getting feedback.
  2. thirdwind

    thirdwind Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Jul 17, 2008
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    Have something happen to the characters. A problem, a challenge, a conflict, anything. Start from there. I watch a lot of author interviews, and you'd be surprised how many of them start with characters. So you're definitely not alone here.

    Also, read more. It will help.
  3. chicagoliz

    chicagoliz Contributor Contributor

    May 30, 2012
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    I always have had this same problem. Your stories will probably be more character driven, which I usually find more interesting, anyway. That said, of course you do need something to happen. What are your characters like? What sort of settings do you like? Are you writing something realistic or sci fi? Fantasy? Young Adult? I assume you're not writing romance, since you'd have the plot there. Try to come up with something that your character really wants, or something he has that he really likes and would not want to lose, but becomes in danger of losing it.
  4. Quille

    Quille Member

    Jan 2, 2013
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    Don't give up. Every writer has times when they doubt their ability, but you just have to keep plugging away. And the more you write and read, the easier it will become.

    I've read some of your stuff, you do have talent and it would be a shame to waste it. Your piece 'OUT with Arcadius' has all sorts of promise in it.

    There are no new original plots - they've all been done before, so don't beat yourself up over this. Someone on this forum shared this link to plots http://www.ipl.org/div/farq/plotFARQ.html You might see something there that appeals to you.

    I get the feeling that you may be fairly new to writing. It takes time and lots of practice to start getting results. You wouldn't expect to score goals like Sidney Crosby (poor guy) if you'd only been on the ice a few times, he's been practicing almost his whole life to get to that level. Writing requires that sort of commitment.
  5. captain kate

    captain kate Active Member

    May 4, 2008
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    Cruising through space.
    There's nothing wrong with starting with characters. I do that. As Third said, think of something to happen to them. That'll get the ball moving, and then it can go from there. I never know where my novels are going to end up when I start, I just come up with an initial problem for T to deal with and go from there.
  6. TerraIncognita

    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

    May 28, 2010
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    I've had this problem in the past. Fact is that your very first thing you write will probably not be stellar. Writing is like anything else. It takes a lot of time and practice to really hone your skills and that's okay. A big part of learning anything is learning to accept that sucking is part of the process of becoming good at something. There are very few people who can just sit down with no practice or training and be really awesome at something. Art has a technical side to it as well as the creative. I think both the technical and creative are equally important to making something wonderful. Don't be so hard on yourself. It's good to have balance in how you look at your work. Try to find things you like as well as things you want to change. Read a lot! Read good books and awful ones. The good ones can help you learn what works in a book and the bad ones can help you learn what doesn't work. I would also suggest writing short stories or even just writing random scenes with your characters. I like to write a several snippets that I may or may not use later to help me get acquainted with my characters and how they interact with their environment and others around them.

    As for plots there really aren't any totally original plots. You can read anything and if you boil it down to it's basic elements you can find something else with a similar or the same plot. The actual events may be different but what they represent in the story is pretty much always the same. Ex- Character has it all together, character loses everything, character thinks they've overcome the obstacle, character actually overcomes the obstacle, character is richer for the experience, the end. Your voice as a writer is what will make it unique. Hope that helps! :)
  7. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
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    Coquille, Oregon
    you provided your own answer...


    constant reading of the best writings by the best writers of the genre/medium you want to write in should show you what gets total stranger interested in reading what someone writes...
  8. Nee

    Nee Member

    Feb 22, 2013
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    Audio books well help with tone (and voice), pacing, and basic story telling; they will also allow you to explore a wide range of literary styles and genres in a short period: which is what you need if you are too get a decent education in writing before you give up completely out of frustration. Another good thing about audio books is that you can do other things while enjoying a good novel. That is as long as you are not trying to use the language centers of you brain while you are trying to listen to the book. But mowing the lawn, walking on the beach/to work, doing the dishes, get it?

    Based on your story you posted read/listen to:

    To Kill a Mocking Bird, Harper Lee

    Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

    Treasure Island, by Robert Luis Stevenson

    War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells

    Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

    Crusader's Cross, by James Lee Burke

    The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert A. Heinlein (or any of his "juvenile" novels)

    The Grave Tattoo, by Val McDermid

    Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

    The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

    Bag of Bones, by Stephen King

    The Zebra Stripped Hearse, by Ross MacDonald

    20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne

    The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway

    On the Road, by Jack Kerouac

    Just to name a few...!

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