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  1. ILaughAtTrailers

    ILaughAtTrailers Active Member

    Dec 14, 2015
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    If I don't know what my story is about, what questions can I ask to get a better idea?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by ILaughAtTrailers, Oct 14, 2016.

    I'm really struggling with starting and getting a grip on my story and even having answers to simple questions like "What's your story about?"

    If someone could even start a personal conversation with me and just ask me basic questions, that would be great and very helpful.
  2. Pauline

    Pauline Member

    Mar 26, 2016
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    What about your story question? An example would be what if dinosaurs were brought back to life? Jurassic Park. Think of a few books or movies and find their story questions and their answers. then try to do it to your own. Keep it as simple and basic as you can.
  3. Mocheo Timo

    Mocheo Timo Senior Member

    Apr 25, 2015
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    World of Bob
    Why do you need to know what the story is "about"?
    Is it so that you can create a goal to your plot?
    Or is it so that you can explain to others when somebody asks?

    You'd have to take different approaches depending on what you are looking for.
    If you want something like a synopsis, here's a thread on it:

    If you are searching for a way to understand and guide your plot,
    I'm sure there are other threads which could also be helpful, but here are a couple of questions which could help:

    What is the MC's main goal?
    How does he/she pretend to reach that goal?
    In what way does the setting relate to the plot?
    What genres are there?
    (And if you're unsure about it): What genres are definitely not part of the story?
    What themes or ideas are central to the plot?

    There are some other things you could ask.
    But if you answer those, I'm sure you'll get a clearer picture of how to guide your plot.
    jannert likes this.
  4. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

    Mar 7, 2013
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    If you haven't even started writing, I'd stop worrying and just start. Don't create barriers for yourself at this stage. You won't know what your story is 'about' until you've got it written. You have characters? You have the notion of a plot? Then just get started. Envision a scene as strongly as you can, then write what you think and feel (from the POV character's viewpoint.) See where that leads. What is your POV character most concerned about in that scene? This will get you started, in a way that endless worry and preplotting won't. Tell your story in a way that readers will get hooked and want to keep reading.

    You envision, perhaps, a young man who is standing in the middle of a forest. You don't know who he is yet, but you see him very clearly. Is about to run? Is he relaxed? Is he lost? Is he prepared to be where he is, or is he totally out of his element? Is he interested in what's around him? Frightened by what's around him? Is he thinking about something else altogether? Is he alone? Or does he think he's alone, but someone else is approaching him from the back? Or does he see the other person coming. Does he know this other person? Does he need to run away, or hide, or greet this other person. Are there animals around? Animals he recognises, or animals he has never seen before? Do they see him as food? Are they afraid of him? Does he carry a weapon? What kind of a weapon? Why does he need a weapon? Or a camera? Or a notebook? Or food to last him for a week? And etc. Start to write your scene and fill in the details as you go. By the end of my scene, I'll know whether this guy is a naturalist who is studying fungus on tree trunks with a colleague, or he's hopelessly lost and has just stumbled upon a rescuer, or he's being pursued by the man who killed his family....

    All sorts of possibilities open up, when you write this way. And then you go back and fill in the blanks. If this isn't the beginning of your story, then you need to go back and write the beginning. Or if this is the beginning, you need to write what happens next.

    So what is the story 'about?' Haven't a clue at this stage, but I will eventually.

    Later on, once you've finished, you may still not have a clear idea what your story is 'about.' If you're still fuzzy at that point, get a few other readers to think about it, to focus on what really matters about the story and tell you what they think the story is 'about.' Pretend you're all back in English 101, if need be. (What is the THEME?) But that's WAY down the line.

    First of all, go with what you can see, hear, taste, smell and feel, and get it written.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016

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