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  1. PStar

    PStar New Member

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    Need some advice

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by PStar, Sep 22, 2020.

    I’m stuck on a story arc idea I have. It’s about the powerful boy Brimstone going to a lawless city called Rogue, fighting crooks & becoming its new king.

    Now Brimstone is a simple character. He acts sly & cool most of the time, but when something excites him he goes into a fit of craziness. He’s also pretty smart, but hides it to focus more on having fun. He enjoys fighting & playing with matches. Etc.

    The main antagonists would probably be the people of Rogue. Now Brim is not a good person, he’s a wild, unpredictable case. He only acts on his own personal interests. But the people of Rogue are criminals, outlaws & powerful thugs waiting for their next big score.

    What I’m having trouble with is stretching this idea into a story arc. I’ve written through & haven’t gotten too far on multiple occasions. I am looking for any creative criticisms about the idea, as well as possible solutions to the matter.
     
  2. PStar

    PStar New Member

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    I’m aware I shouldn’t have 1, but the goal I’m trying to reach is 13 chapters.
     
  3. Kallisto

    Kallisto Ruler of the world... somewhere... Contributor

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    This is a good question. A story arc is basically where a story begins and it's logical conclusion. So, technically the arc could start with him deciding to take over the city and conclude when he actually achieves that. Believe it or not, that is a complete arc. You started with a goal and it ended with the goal being achieved.

    But note, that's purely an external conflict. Unless you're writing something that's light hearted romp, then this probably isn't enough to work with. You're probably looking more for incorporating an internal conflict. Well, that's where getting the arc is going to get complicated.

    First thing that would need to be figured out is a theme in the story. What do you actually want to say. Because that's how you're going to approach the arc itself. If you want to make a statement about being selfless in a selfish world, then your character arc will have to involve something to that theme. And this is really the hard work comes in. Because a theme is not just slapping something in there and calling it good. It requires a lot of hard thinking on that theme and why it's important and all the nuance involved.

    Don't have one? Don't worry. That's what rewrites are for. Sometimes you do have to get to know the characters and settings before you can figure out what theme that could not just be explored but how to approach it without feeling forced or out of place.

    Second thing is you need to figure your character. And this is easier than you think. There are three things that are needed with each character: a goal, a motive, and a conflict. What do they want? Why do they want it? What is keeping them from achieving it? This is where you're going to get the framework for your arc. Note, I said framework. Because you still have to go back to your actual theme and work in how that reflects in the creation of the story.

    Finally, you have your very basic story structure. You would be surprised how many people forget this. That's your exposition (optional btw), rising action, climax, falling action, and conclusion.

    Often times stories fail, even with all the right ingredients, because their structure is just not there. I got to Twilight a lot because we all at least kind of know the story. Stephanie Meyer had a theme. She had a character with a goal motive and conflict. (Really, she did. I will fight you on that if you disagree.) What she missed was good story structure. What is the conflict of Twilight? It's not Edward's bloodlust because that doesn't come into play anywhere. It's not James and his posse coming after her. They don't show up until late in the book. The only logical conclusion is that there isn't one. And when you don't have a conflict, you can't have a rising action. Without rising action, there is no climax, etc, etc, etc. So it basically becomes stuck in exposition for a very long time.

    There is a lot more to it I could go into, but this is the basics of story arcs.
     
    PStar likes this.
  4. PStar

    PStar New Member

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    I’m having a hard time constructing a theme.
     
  5. Vandor76

    Vandor76 Senior Member

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    You already constructed many. All of these are extreme cases of real-world issues and you can name one as the main theme and the others as side themes:

    - hunger for power and it's effect on people

    - social responsibleness, aka. how your "focus on having fun" MC realizes that being the king of the city is not that easy: he needs to take care of people's problems in order to keep them following him, and that may be a real struggle for your "only acts on his own personal interests" hero.

    - moral standards in an extremely corrupt society (honor and betrayal among criminals)

    - somewhat connected to the previous one, order in the chaos: how the most basic need for having commonly accepted rules and enforcing them raises even among people who do not like to follow rules at all.
     
  6. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    Nowhere do you mention WHY.

    Why did Brimstone go to Rogue? Why does he want to be its new king? And if he didn't but the throne was thrust upon him, why did the people choose him?

    Why are the people of Rogue criminals?

    What does Brimstone want? Now what does he actually need?

    If you can answer these questions, chances are you'll start to be able to build an arc.
     
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  7. Selbbin

    Selbbin The Moderating Cat Staff Contributor

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    It's ok to have a planned structure, including length, but don't let it be a prison.
     
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  8. Kallisto

    Kallisto Ruler of the world... somewhere... Contributor

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    This is an excellent way to get some of those goals motives and conflicts I'm talking about and eventually decide on a theme. Just simply asking why. This is part of exploring your plot and your characters.
     
    Mckk likes this.

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