1. ASBraun

    ASBraun New Member

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    First Idea Trap!

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by ASBraun, Jul 20, 2017.

    Hi all!

    (New member here) I have a question about imagining a complete plot. I outlined my thought process in bullets to make it more clear to myself:
    1. I completed the rough draft of a short story recently, but found in the end that I wasn't satisfied with the way some of the ideas took shape.
    2. I encountered some potential plot contradictions that I have spent some time trying to resolve.
    3. Toward the end of this process, I realized that the same ideas/themes could be expressed in a similar, but distinct, re-imagined story.
    4. At this point, I'm vacillating between working at the story I have written until it's bent into a shape that I'm satisfied with, or taking a moment to brainstorm and reinterpret the themes into something like 10 or 20 alternative stories ideas. (I wouldn't feel the loss too terribly given that it's only a short story)
    The question ultimately comes down to whether there is some danger in committing to an idea too early-on. In the beginning, I took the first idea I had and fleshed it out until it was a complete story, but I wonder if I should have invested more time into exploring alternative plots on the front end. I call this a "trap" just because I think that I have written myself into a tighter space than I'd prefer, although it isn't a corner per se. Would welcome and appreciate any thoughts you have on this, thanks much in advance! Happy to join the forum.
     
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  2. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Welcome to the forum. I think this is one of those "it depends on you" questions. There is no ultimate right or wrong, because it comes down to your writing style. I, personally, never embark on a writing project without a strong idea of what I want to do with it. I could never imagine myself making it to the finish line without it. That doesn't mean I have to know all the aspects of the story. But I have to at least understand what the central conflict is, and have some strong notion of what my mc is like.

    No matter how carefully you plan, you will find things changing as you go along. After all, when you make a new friend, you don't know everything about him or her right away; that knowledge comes over time, and the friendship changes - sometimes subtly, sometimes not - over time. Same with characters. And as your characters change, so will your story - new nuances of both story and character will occur to you.
     
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  3. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    You could go back and rewrite the parts you don't like, or
    have a problem with.

    Or you can hold on to it for reference, and start over with
    a better understanding of the story you want to write.

    Good luck. :supersmile:
     
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  4. Trish

    Trish Damned if I do and damned if I don't Contributor

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    The best part about writing is the delete button (or eraser, if that's more your style).

    Some people do better with plans (like Ed) and others do better just winging it (like me). Everyone has their own way of doing things and none of them are wrong as long as they work for you.

    Writing one story invariably gives me ideas for five more. That doesn't necessarily mean they're better than the one I'm working on, they're just different. I'm also the kind of person who has two novels in progress, and approximately seventeen short stories at various stages of completion. I hop around a lot.
     
  5. mashers

    mashers Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Is there any reason why you can’t do both? Since it’s a short story, you could keep working on the version you’ve got, and also try reinterpreting the same idea in different ways. Working on one might inspire ideas about the other(s), and at the end you can choose which one you think is best.
     
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  6. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You could re-interpret the themes you've discovered in several different stories. I think a short story collection (especially if there is a certain theme running through them all) is a possibility for publication.

    I'd say finish the one you are working on. Part of writing is figuring out how to make a story work—so look at what you've got and find a way to make it work. You'll be pleased to have finished it, and it will have given you good practice to 'fix' whatever was wrong with it. However, do hang on to your other ideas and try them on other stories.

    And welcome to the forum! :)
     
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  7. TheNineMagi

    TheNineMagi take a moment to vote

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    Personally, I would write up the changes I see and then compare them, before trying to make this decision. Mostly based on the amount of deviation if there was no way of melding in the new ideas, then it would probably be a rewrite. Unless I really preferred the first version.

    The new ideas may just be the way of your mind works in creating a larger story, you were unable to grep in the short version. A second or third arc shifting toward something you have not fully understood yet. The short story simply laid out some markers as a boundary, and you need to decide if those are still valid, or can be broken.

    cheesy example:
    A character has always had a strong sense of who they are, only to discover they have been allowing those closest to them to manipulate their life decisions.
    Self confident, selfless giving person, always willing to help, loves to make others happy, -- then one day realizes they have a hard time saying no, and being taken advantage of.


    perhaps, it can work to your advantage to create twists in the story -- if not, then can you clearly see two separate and distinct stories, or are they related, as in a potential sequel?

    it's is your story, you are the one who will ultimately know when it feels right and the direction you are willing to go in.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2017
  8. ASBraun

    ASBraun New Member

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    Thanks so much for your feedback, Ed. I totally agree that this happens over the course of writing a story. I can imagine that even with envisioning multiple different interpretations of the same theme that I'm likely to encounter similar issues. Your advice is much appreciated, thanks for the warm welcome!
     
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  9. ASBraun

    ASBraun New Member

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    I like this suggestion. To actually have to retrace my steps through the story would be a worthy experiment to see each fork in the road more clearly. Thanks for the suggestions!
     
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  10. ASBraun

    ASBraun New Member

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    This is some of my favorite advice yet. Firstly, the exercise of reinterpreting my themes over and over and considering them as individual stories to comprise a collection is not even something that occurred to me. I think I'd be spending a little bit more time on the particular theme that I'm exploring, but I think it's a lovely suggestion for a future context.

    Moreover, I loved the bit about "part of writing is figuring out how to make a story work." I have the course plotted in front of me - I might as well use the opportunity to test my abilities to resolve the outstanding issues. Thanks for the advice!
     
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  11. ASBraun

    ASBraun New Member

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    Lots of good advice in that post, thanks so much! I think that is a key observation, that you can watch the story deviate from the original course as the compromises are made. Much appreciated!
     
  12. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    You're welcome. I got the idea from others on here.:supersmile:
     
  13. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Welcome to the site! I'm glad to see you're getting something already from your time here :)

    BTW, it's generally prefered that multiple quotes be put in the same post, rather than posting separately for each thought you're responding to.

    Like this.
    Or this.
    This too.
    And this ;)
     
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  14. ASBraun

    ASBraun New Member

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    THANK YOU. I was baffled by the format! Guess it's not hard to tell I've never been on a proper forum. Haha. Thanks again.
     

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