1. StormbornT

    StormbornT Member

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    Struggling to flesh out a plot for my current WIP.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by StormbornT, Jul 3, 2019.

    This is my first time posting here, so please go easy on me :)

    I am currently in the beginning stages of crafting a YA Fantasy book. So far I've written about 7,000 words made up of a brief prologue and five or six VERY short chapters that don't connect. The chapters are primarily bursts of thought and dialogue between the protagonist and two other major characters.

    My book follows a female protag who was stolen from the mortal world, taken to faerie at the age of five, and adopted by the court Kings' hand.

    The bare bones of what I have in terms of plot focuses on 1. her day-to-day life in faerie as the only free human amongst magical beings, 2. the back and forth internal struggle of said character wanting to assimilate and find/settle into her place in faerie culture vs wanting to know more about where she comes from, and the circumstances of her kidnapping (I've already figured out the details of this), 3. her dealing with being ridiculed and harassed throughout her childhood by the Kings' bastard (and only) son, his friends, and much of the court.

    So far I've written a few scenes and plot twists, mainly toward the ending, that genuinely excite me. They make me want to continue on to see where the story goes. My problem is I'm not sure about the inciting incident (since her world changed pretty drastically at such a young age), or where I want the story to go. It's making me wonder if I should change my entire premise to make a stronger jumping off point.

    I haven't written any character summaries yet, nor have I sat down to do any serious outlining. As weird as it might sound I usually don't do this until I'm at least 20K in.

    I would really, really appreciate it if someone would throw out some advice about what steps I take to remedy these issues.

    If it helps, the story is written in first person POV.

    Please and thank you for all replies ^^.
     
  2. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    I would suggest just write on. There are two kinds of writers, planners who want every detail in place before they start, and pantsers who write off the cuff and let the story emerge on its own. In honesty, writers actually are somewhere between those two extremes, but you get the idea. You sound like a bit on the pantsy side. Just keep writing, let your character tell her story as it emerges. My wife @K McIntyre and I both write this way, though right now we are both writing fictional stories embedded in well-known historical settings, so we have both us historical timelines of dates, places, people and events that we have to incorporate into our stories. Mine is set in Trajan's invasion of Mesopotamia, 114-117AD, Karen's with the 51st Highland Division in WWII, closely tied to Gen Bernie Montgomery, with PLENTY of people ready to catch a historical slip-up
     
    Thundair and Alan Aspie like this.
  3. StoryForest

    StoryForest Banned

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    Hi Alexis, is your issue something like, you've got some interesting ideas and plot twists but don't really have a "spring board" on how it all started and/or the "string" itself to tie it all together?

    If so, I'd usually start with what got you excited with the ideas you currently have in the first place.

    Example 1, if what excites you is the fairy world and elements of magic, then start with that.
    - What about it excites you, is there something special about YOUR magic world that is different from other magic worlds? If so, use it to form story ideas around your characters. How can you design a character that would intract with YOUR kind of magic? How would they struggle or excel in that world? Would they be better off in a normal world or would it be difficult for them to even accept that there is a world different than the one you created?

    Example 2, if what excites you is the character personalites and interactions then:
    - What would happen to your character's personality or relationship dymanic if they found out out about the protagonist's true identity? Would their relationship or views change? If so, would it distance them or bring them closer? Would they, themselves, take on different perspectives and personalities? Could these changes lead to the string of events that follow your characters throughout the story?
     
  4. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

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    Welcome to the forum...........

    Have you written other books?

    The heading for your post mentioned fleshing out a plot. My suggestion is to write unabated until you have the story down. Then I go back and fix timelines until that seems cohesive. Next I remove every paragraph, phrase, sentence, or word that doesn’t drive the story forward.
    Show growth in your character and tension in the scenes. After that I let beta readers point out my holes that need fixing and last more edits until you bleed from your eyes.

    I’m just a grasshopper on this forum, but that’s how I put a plot-driven story together.
     
  5. StormbornT

    StormbornT Member

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    Thanks so much for the reply!

    I've written 3 books but didn't think they were good enough to attempt sending out to query.

    Thank you for the advice. I found the bit about removing paragraphs, phrases, and sentences that don't drive the story forward. Sometimes I find it difficult to do this. I tend to fall in love with snippets of things I've written, even if they aren't huge story drivers.

    Question. How and where do you find betas? I've never had anyone to read my stuff and give feedback. My family and friends aren't big readers, and certainly aren't into Fantsy or Sci-Fi.
     
  6. StormbornT

    StormbornT Member

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    Ah, and thank you for the welcome :D
     
  7. StormbornT

    StormbornT Member

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    Thanks so much for the reply. I think you're right. I don't have a spring board. I tend to start writing in the sense that I take off running, usually scenes toward the end or middle. Writing the beginning of a story has always been a struggle for me.

    I would go with Example 2. I'm very much interested in writing characters and how they interact with each other. Worldbuilding and magic are things I tend to work out later.

    I really like the idea of my protag's relationships changing with the people around her based on them knowing her identity. The only problem is they know she's human. The only other big reveal would be the one having to do with her parents. Only one character would really be affected by this. I have actually written half a chapter with her adopted Father in regards to this, though I never thought about the other characters. Very helpful. I have this scene placed later on in the book. Would you suggest I move this up?

    Sorry for my jumbled response. It's 7am where I am and I'm heading out the door for work, haha.
     
  8. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

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    I find them on Goodreads, but they also have a thread here.
    I have used both paid and unpaid betas. My last book was eight betas and four editors, and after it was released, I still found SPAG issues in every chapter. I have used Fiverr for paid betas but don’t expect anything comprehensive. I think it is because of their format.
     
  9. StormbornT

    StormbornT Member

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    Ah. Thanks for this. I never knew Goodreads had resources for that...

    How much do you generally pay? Is it by word, chapter, or the amount of time spent going through the work?
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2019
  10. StormbornT

    StormbornT Member

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    Yeah, I think I am. I get more of a thrill writing at breakneck speed than I do detailing every part of my book. It actually brings me down a bit if I'm being honest with myself.

    Wow, your novel sounds amazing, interesting, and well thought out. Teach me, haha.

    Anyway, thanks so much for the advice. You guys have given me so much to consider.
     
  11. StoryForest

    StoryForest Banned

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    Hi Alexis, I’m glad to help!

    The placement of the scene about her background can be anywhere as long as it LEADS TO SOMETHING. What drives a reader forward, and maybe even more importantly, a writer forward, is the energy behind your pacing. Wherever you place that scene all depends on if it will make the next scene more interesting/important. If it does, put it before that scene. If not (if finding out or talking about her background doesn't lead to something interesting in the next chapter), then you can leave it out.


    A well plotted story is like a picture puzzle whose pieces come together so tightly that the picture simply won’t work if a piece goes missing or is misplaced. Now, that doesn't mean your story has to be perfect but whenever you're stuck on "where should this scene go," think about everything that you want to go BEFORE and AFTER it.


    On the flip side, if you have a scene that you LOVE but don't have anything leading up to or after it, then here's your chance to use that scene as your ANCHOR and wrap a good pre/post scene around it.


    Back to our original topic on how to come up with spring boards and plot points using characters and their relationships: Consider what are some of the major TURNING POINTS in your character's personalities and relationships.


    EX. PERSONALITY

    What made the protagonist the way she is? Was she naive in the beginning and wise in the end? How did she start off that way? Was she shielded from the truth when she was a child? Why? Was there a reason behind the secrecy? What are the things that made her change? How did she learn to be wise? What are the things that will teach a person to become more worldly?


    EX. RELATIONSHIP

    Were your characters enemies in the beginning who then became lovers? What were their conflicts in the beginning? What positions were they in that made them cross paths with each other? How did they get over that conflict? How did their positions change in a way that forces them to deal with one another? What are the things they have in common that will drive them towards each other?

    Think about where your characters start off and where they wind up in the end and the twists and turns that can help get them there.
     
  12. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

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    It varies for editing I pay around $.075 a word for bet it runs between two to five hundred.
     
  13. StormbornT

    StormbornT Member

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    Wow, reading the EX.PERSONALITY/EX. RELATIONSHIP bit kind of turned on a light somewhere within the recesses of my mind! I think this is exactly what I needed. I hadn't given much thought to how she might change throughout the story or the deep/personal relationships she has, and how they might cause her to act one way or another. Looking back on some other things I've written I wish I had this information for some of my earlier work.

    Man...I cannot think you enough for this.

    If you don't mind me asking, how long have you been writing?
     
  14. StoryForest

    StoryForest Banned

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    All right! That's great! Very happy to know that was helpful. Feel free to reach out if you come across any other questions in your writing process.

    Haha, I'm actually not very seasoned as a writer. But story-editing is my thing, I've done it for as long as I can remember, and it's what I enjoy most. I'm happy to partner with someone who loves to write but wants help with storybuiding so that we have the best of both worlds.
     
  15. StormbornT

    StormbornT Member

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    We're like....the complete opposite of one another. I love creating characters and circumstances. World and story building, I struggle with. Kind of ridiculous since I write Sci-Fi and Fantasy for the most part.

    I might have to take you up on that offer, haha.

    Sometimes I really wish I had someone to bounce ideas off of.
     
  16. StoryForest

    StoryForest Banned

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    Sure, no problem. Feel free to PM me if needed. All the best to you and your story!
     
  17. StormbornT

    StormbornT Member

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    Thanks a bunch for the well wishes!
     

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