1. Meteor

    Meteor Active Member

    Aug 6, 2012
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    Plot questions

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Meteor, Aug 8, 2012.

    Hello everyone and thank you in advance for taking the time to read this as well as for the help!

    I'm new to the site, and well simply put new to writing as it were. I decided to start writing after I started reading a lot more when I was sent over seas. Unfortunately I need some help as far as things such as plot are concerned. I just wanted to ask a few questions and see where it gets me.

    1. Just to make sure I understand plot. Is it the obstacles keeping our characters from their ultimate goal? For example a powerful storm keeping the trade ship our characters are currently housed on from getting to the safety of shore and delivering their goods.

    2. How would I set up my plot so a particular event would clearly effect the future of the story? Like something early in the story having an effect later in the story such as causing a death. Is there a way to make something like that work?

    3. Forgive me, but what is a sub-plot? :confused: I'm really not grasping that particular area after reading about it and am wondering what its commonly used for. When I was reading R.A. Salvatore's The Legend of Drizzt there always seemed to be seemingly minor events causing larger effects later in the story. Is that sub-plot?

    Thanks for all the help again!
  2. Langadune

    Langadune Member

    Jun 24, 2010
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    I'm from the part of Kansas that doesn't look like
    Plot is essentially the events that make up the story. Conflict is what keeps the characters from reaching their goals. That's an over-simplification but it should at give you a basic understanding.

    The powerful storm is a conflict (man against nature). The plot might be the journey to deliver the goods while conflicts arise, such as powerful storms, mutinous crewmen, bullheaded captain, etc.
  3. Thornesque

    Thornesque Senior Member

    Jul 31, 2012
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    Michigan, USA
    There's a difference between plot and conflict. You can have a plot with no conflict. It would be dull, but it is, theoretically, possible. Conflicts are, if you will, the fuel of the plot. So you're plot would be the ship travelling from point A to point B. Your storm is then the conflict. This can either be a major conflict that carries throughout the majority of the story, or a minor one.

    Sub-plots are usually unrelated to the main conflict. Common ones would be romances, family feuds, or internal conflict within the character. Most of the time, the plot can continue to move without these sub-plots; they're only there to add meat and juice to the story.

    And as for point 2. This is possible to do, but you have to be able to plan ahead in order to do it. For example, if you want the captain to die on accident and you need something to have caused it, you could have a barrel of oil tip over and soak into his personal bread. (Obviously not a very logical example; I'm just pulling it off the top of my head.) But yes, it's called foreshadowing - giving facts and events that allow the reader to work up to what's going to happen next.
  4. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
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    Massachusetts, USA
    Don't mistake storyline for plot. The storyline is the chronology of events that comprise a story. A plot is the interaction of an actor, a goal or objective, a motivation, and an opposition.

    The storyline tells you what happened. The plot network shows you why.

    Please read What is Plot Creation and Development? for more details.
  5. captain kate

    captain kate Active Member

    May 4, 2008
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    Cruising through space.
    Plot goes hand in hand with something called a character arc. A character arc is where your MC starts at Point A, then has a problem he/she needs to solve (can be many, or a smaller one within a bigger one) which causes them some sort of distress, mental or otherwise, so they fight through it and change. So, when he/she makes it to Point B, they've grown and changed somehow from the action.

    That arc is what separates your good films from bad ones when you go to the movies, and the good books from poor ones.

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