1. Davidheart2017

    Davidheart2017 Member

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    Second Draft: Having trouble with plot, conflict and motivation

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Davidheart2017, Sep 15, 2017.

    I'm finally done with my first draft and I am now in the beginning of revision.
    The problem is, the best parts of my story are character arc sub-plots that have minimal
    connections to the main plot.

    The main plot scenes just go like: "We need to get there!" "Yeah! Let's go!" :/
    So yeah they're pretty bad..

    I also have a group of antagonists in which my main characters have to defeat the members one by one
    and fight their leader by the end. The problem is, I couldn't find a way to make it necessary.
    The goal of the story is to lift a curse from the world, and I can't make the defeat of the antagonist group
    mandatory without thinking of something absolutely ridiculous!

    Overall, I find that the goal of my story just doesn't mesh well with the way the story is structured and written.
    Because I felt like I focused waay too much on character development that I neglected everything else.

    When I have to write plot driven scenes to get my characters from point A to point B, I end up writing it in a very generic manner, cause I couldn't wait to introduce the next character or develop them.
    I love my characters, I enjoyed developing them. But I'm having a hard time in finding a proper way to tell their story.

    Any ideas and thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2017
  2. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    You need to relax. Don't force your story just for the sake of the characters.
    The plot and the characters are intertwined, otherwise you spend more
    time on one and neglect the other. Maybe you have to large of a peripheral
    cast, or main cast that detracts from the other elements of the story.
    Having too much of one or the other, and something will suffer. They need
    to balance each other out.
    Perhaps you need to have someone take a look at what you have to let you
    know what they think, and offer their suggestions. The more the merrier. :)
     
  3. Davidheart2017

    Davidheart2017 Member

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    I have a huge cast of characters but only a few of them are important to the main plot.
    I do plan to have my story edited but freelance editors charge really big :p
    My only hope is a miracle that someone would actually want to edit this for free, but I doubt it.
     
  4. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    I think you should get a few opinions, to help you with what
    you originally posted about. An editor free or not can't really
    fix your writing style, or how you feel about things coming off
    as generic. Try and find some beta readers to take a gander
    and offer their perspective of what you have. That is what I
    would do, if I felt something didn't seem to be going quite
    right. Or post a sample in the workshop, to get some feedback
    on somethings you feel you need help with.

    Good luck. :)
     
  5. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'd start with refining the goal of the story. The trouble with character development is that it can become meaningless when it occurs in a vacuum with no plot to adhere too. Basically the characters need something to do while they're having their epiphanies and emotion breakthroughs, because ultimately the reader won't care about anyone that doesn't have an interesting story to tell. It's tough to know exactly where your book needs some love without reading it, but the more straightforward and accessible your plot is, the more room the characters will have to develop. It sounds like you're somewhere in the fantasy genre here, which tends to be plot-centric. You still need great characters, but unless you're leaning more toward upmarket or contemporary fiction, your book is going to struggle without a whiz-bang plot. As a general room, the readers of commercial fiction come to the table for the story and stay for the characters. Character alone won't get you anywhere in that particular lane. But again, it's hard to know where you need to bear down or clarify without seeing the book. If I had to take a stab at it I would say that maybe your characters need to react more to the things happening around them? That their development should be directly correlated to the events in the story as they progress?

    It may be possible that you love your characters too much. This isn't an indictment, but many authors fall in love with their characters and start thinking that the characters are writing themselves. That is complete bullshit in my opinion. Characters are like puppies. They need discipline, direction and the ability to follow commands. Else they'll never be allowed out of their cages because nobody will want to listen to them barking. Don't get me wrong, I love my characters too, but they're not people. They're tools designed to perform a function and they get thrown away when they can no longer do the job. I'm not saying that's what you're doing or anything, but that's a very common disease in writers.

    The simple answer is to tie the curse directly to the antagonists. Or to place the antagonists in such away that defeating the curse without first defeating them is impossible. In theory, this shouldn't be too difficult because antagonists by definition have to already be standing in the way of your MC's goal. Lord of the Rings is a decent example of this. The ring (the curse) alone wouldn't be terribly scary without the legions of bad dudes between the heroes and Mt. Doom. Curses are tough to make compelling because they are faceless and don't exist in real life (not really), so it's hard for a reader to pull in an analog for them.

    Put the crack pipe down :)

    That's because those are the easiest parts to write. Subplots, gags, and asides are fun and easy because they don't have to bear the narrative weight of the plot. I'm a bit concerned that you mentioned "motivations" among your concerns, since that is one the principle engines that drives character development.
     
    Dracon and Cave Troll like this.
  6. Davidheart2017

    Davidheart2017 Member

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    I think beta-readers is a great idea! :D I'll give it a try! :D
     
  7. Davidheart2017

    Davidheart2017 Member

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    By motivations, I mean that I'm having trouble making character motivations that really drive the main plot.
    I also noticed I seem to create motivation out of character development than character development driven by motivation.
     
  8. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, that is problematic. People react to life a lot more (if at all) than life reacts to them.
     
    Cave Troll likes this.
  9. Davidheart2017

    Davidheart2017 Member

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    You have no idea how much this sentence has helped me. I have noticed that my plot is just so complex that it constantly needs exposition.
    A simple plot would mean, less exposition and more character development.
     
    Homer Potvin likes this.

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