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  1. Zeppo595

    Zeppo595 Contributor Contributor

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    Help me choose a plot for a story

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Zeppo595, Apr 21, 2020.

    I thought this might be an interactive way to write a story. I have a few plot ideas. I'll write a one/two sentence synopsis for each. Let me know if you like any of them. Or none of them! Or are confused by any of them. Thanks!

    1. A failed painter meets a spontaneous young woman whose inspiration improves the quality of his work. Yet when her behaviour becomes more dangerous, he is forced to cut her out of his life, perhaps saving his sanity but also diminishing his creative power.

    2. A filmmaker is spurred on by his wife to direct his first feature and - beginning to believe himself a genius - has an affair with the starring actress with disastrous consequences for both his marriage and work.

    3. A procrastinating aspiring stand up comedian keeps creating conditions to delay his move to New York, first saying he needs to study more craft, then read more, then travel more until finally real life events from the covid19 crisis make it impossible for him to move and perform comedy

    4. A happily married family man has a nightmare that he had murdered someone as a child and buried the body in his old garden and so driven mad with a desire to dispel the fear in his mind, he goes back to check. Yet in this manic obsession with his dream, he neglects a very real danger to his family which tragically takes their life in his absence.

    5. An alcoholic writer has his autobiographical script green lit in Hollywood and a young director casts him in the starring role. Yet with filming almost complete, his alcoholism - the very thing that had driven him to this point - derails the entire project.

    6. A teenager learns to play popular songs on the piano in hopes of impressing a girl, but she ignores his performance at the school. This rejection inspires him to write a successful song, which she also ignores. Finally when he lets go of the pretense of making music, he gets her attention only to realise he prefers his relationship to his instrument.
     
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  2. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I like 1 and 4.
    Probably cause I like stories about creativity and muses and 4 because it sounds a bit like a thriller.

    The others - number 5 could get tedious with the alcoholism, 6 sounds good only it sounds like a short story, 3 could be very quirky which could be good. 2 could work although I've only read a few books about affairs that I've actually liked. There's a balance you have to maintain in not making your characters look like major jerks for the bulk of the story.

    Which one most interested you? I usually pick a story by what character or idea I want to delve into for months at a time.
     
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  3. Seven Crowns

    Seven Crowns Contributor Contributor

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    These are pretty good! I like 4 and 6 the best. I think 6 has superb possibilities, but you'll need big subplots to resolve happily in there.
     
  4. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Modern Dinosaur Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Write them all. Use them as exercises and practice different style within each. You could play with types of perspectives, or maybe try a minimalism plot with some of the more dialogue heavy ones. Practice in volume.
     
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  5. Dogberry's Watch

    Dogberry's Watch Swaggin like a Baggins Contributor

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    This. ^^
     
  6. cosmic lights

    cosmic lights Contributor Contributor

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    Not that taken with any of them. If I had to pick I'd say 1 had more potential. But you could write them all and see which one feels better.
     
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  7. Oxymaroon

    Oxymaroon Contributor Contributor

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    A couple of them are Twilight Zonish; I'd stay away from 4 in particular.
    5 is kind of Where the Buffalo Roam, which i hated, even though I like both Hunter Thompson and Bill Murray.
    I like 3 as an introspective story that you might actually care about; whereas the others, you're just being clever.
     
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  8. Zeppo595

    Zeppo595 Contributor Contributor

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    Hmm not sure I'm really seeing a twilight zone connection. It's like not like there's a story where one guy is the same, but everyone else is different.

    Or a smash cut ending and it turns out all the characters are in fact fruits trapped in a fridge. That's twilighe zoneish from my understanding.

    I don't consider myself clever or even trying to be. I would love to be able to write fun twilight zoney stuff though.
     
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  9. Oxymaroon

    Oxymaroon Contributor Contributor

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    Well, any of those stories would be fine, if they were delivered with compassion.
     
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  10. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Twilight Zone I think referring to twist endings. They get what they wanted but there are unforeseen consequences that rob the fruit of its sweetness, like the TZ story of the man who wished he had all the time in the world to read, then was given exactly that opportunity but broke his only pair of glasses (in a controlled environment were he wouldn't be able to get replacements). Like getting wishes granted by a Genie (or by the Devil) but there's always a twist that makes the anticipated heaven into a hell.
     
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  11. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Of course your stories aren't as over-the-top as those are, they're much more realistic situations.
     
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  12. dbesim

    dbesim Contributor Contributor

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    I do like 6 and 1. Reckon 4 is very interesting too. Don’t know if you have enough time to draft something up for all of them. You might find that it’s the less interesting prompt that gives you better characters or more interesting subplots. I think maybe begin by starting with a paragraph or two for each of them.

    Relating to writing prompts: There’s this book that’s been sitting on my amazon wish list for years

    It’s ideal for members of the forum who enjoy drafting their stories exclusively around given prompts. There are some fantastic ideas in this one.

    642 Things To Write About

    96021D67-C730-4393-ACA0-8DA1CB1AA589.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2020
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  13. Zeppo595

    Zeppo595 Contributor Contributor

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    Alright, interesting to learn 6, 1 and 4 were somewhat liked!

    I will try to write them all. Making a premise work is tough as hell, but I'll try my best to enjoy it as a writing exercise. I find the hardest thing is knowing what to write, so it's always good to have some ideas and have at least a bit of faith the ideas have some promise.

    Thank you everyone!
     
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  14. Rzero

    Rzero Reluctant voice of his generation Contributor

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    That's exactly what I liked about it.

    All 6 have potential worth exploring with at least a short story, but 4 was my favorite. I would actually play up the Twilight Zone aspect. It sounds like you have connections in mind that might fit the bill.

    Not every TZ episode had a twist ending, so that's not necessarily what I mean. Often, the dark irony was present through most of the episode. They were twenty-nine minutes long. If there were nothing to each story but a trick ending, it wouldn't have been much of a show, and probably wouldn't have run for 158 episodes or gone into reruns a thousand times.
     
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  15. Oxymaroon

    Oxymaroon Contributor Contributor

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    Twenty-nine minutes of film can be several thousand words in print. I like Rod Serling's stories, and they're wonderfully cinematic, as well as accessible.
    Just - I wondered whether that expertly-trodden path was where Zeppo595 intended to go.
    The story ideas struck me as just a little too pat; too academic.
    As I said, any of those could make a good story if written by someone who cares about the characters and what happens to them. I thought #3 had the most potential for an interesting character and with perhaps the least predictable outcome.
    I'll be interested to see how they all turn out.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2020
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  16. Zeppo595

    Zeppo595 Contributor Contributor

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    I don't know if it'll be anything like the twilight zone until I write out, though I suspect not. It might be kind of generic psychological thriller-ish. But I've never written anything like that before, so I hope I'd enjoy the process of trying something different even if it lacks artistic merit.
     
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  17. Zeppo595

    Zeppo595 Contributor Contributor

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  18. Fervidor

    Fervidor Senior Member

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    I'm noticing a pattern here. You mostly write tragedies, huh?
     
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  19. SNJade96

    SNJade96 Senior Member

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    Personally, I like 4, but that's probably just because I enjoy books that are weird and sort of fever dream-ish. But I know that's not a common thing, so maybe don't go with that one?
    I'd say the next most intriguing one was 6, but you've already written that one, so 3 seems interesting.
     
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  20. Zeppo595

    Zeppo595 Contributor Contributor

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    Hah. I guess I do.

    Anyway, I wrote them all and unless I heavily edit the rest, only 6 will survive.

    I just didn't really connect with the characters in the others. It felt like I was just connecting the dots of the plot, but I wasn't really into it. I never got into any kind of zone with it and quite honestly, it was not enjoyable. But maybe I'll do some surgical work on them, and that might be more fun.
     
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  21. Damage718

    Damage718 Senior Member

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    Any or all of these could be good. More than that, they seem to have the latitude to work as either a short, or a full length. Heck, write them all as shorts and put them into an anthology :D

    Reading through them, they kind of remind me of the old HBO show Tales From the Crypt in the late 80s/early 90s. Anyone ever watch that? I used to love that show. The plot lines in the OP could be like log lines for episodes on that show...similar vibe.
     
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  22. Lance

    Lance New Member

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    Really interested in your first, and forth idea. Philosophy in a story can really make a story come alive.

    The third point reminded me of a video on YouTube. It is a philosophy video. I hope I'm not breaking any rules with this link, could not find anything in the rules saying I couldn't!


    Yes writing all six if anything will improve your writing ability's. good luck!
     
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  23. LazyBear

    LazyBear Banned

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    Too many stories are about aspiring artists due to authors' experience bias, so it feels old already.

    If the main character is a villain, it's a big challence to make it credible without losing the reader's empathy.
     
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  24. Zeppo595

    Zeppo595 Contributor Contributor

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    It's not 'experience bias' to use elements of your own life and interests in fiction. None of the things the characters do in these plot ideas are situations from my actual life.

    It gets old if I write the same type of story in the same style. For example, if EVERY story is about some artist who fails in a way the reader expects.

    I'm not interested in writing about heroes and villains. Every character should have a little villain in them.
     
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  25. Cdn Writer

    Cdn Writer Contributor Contributor

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    Check out "Creepshow" on the Shudder tv channel. It's written in a similar vein. Usually a one hour program with two 30 minute esipodes. One of the recent ones was a retelling of "The Monkey's Paw" which I didn't care for but it was interesting.....

    Scott
     
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