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  1. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Senior Member

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    Undecided.

    Write around a crisis?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by exweedfarmer, Nov 7, 2018.

    Just a stray thought. Do you first come up with a crisis for your piece and then write a story around it? That would be just bass-ackwards for me, but then, maybe that's what wrong with my stuff.
     
  2. GrJs

    GrJs Member

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    I usually get the ending pop up. Then I write to get there. The crisis is the journey of the character really, every crisis is what makes the story.

    How you write is relative to yourself. Some people will come up with an issue first or start from the beginning and just work it out along the way. Others, like myself, get the ending first and have to work out how to reach it.

    Nothing's wrong with your stuff. You probably just have to spend a bit more time working out your overall plot points before you begin writing. Including every crisis your characters will have, how they get there and where they go from there. Try to timeline the events in your story and see if that helps.
     
  3. DeeDee

    DeeDee Senior Member

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    You don't have to start with the crisis but at some point a crisis needs to appear in the story. There are lots of writing prompts around the internet and you'll notice how some of them give you just a word and make you write a story about it. There's no crisis at that point. But you'll be expected to come up with some sort of crisis in order to have a story. "Write a story about a suede shoe!" or "Write a story set in a hotel!" See? No crisis.
     
  4. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society

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    Stories based more around the action and the world are more likely to start with the crisis I think.
    Something like LotR you might start with the crisis, the journey to mordor to destroy the one ring, because it's very central to the whole book.
     
  5. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    I prefer the character introductions, then drag them through mini crises.
    Much like get to know the characters, then feel the razor wire fence you
    drag them through before they get to the other side. >)
     
  6. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Senior Member

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    The question was one of approach. Do you, you personally, start with the ultimate crisis of the story and then work back to the beginning? Not something I have done but I can see that the idea has merit.
     
  7. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society

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    Not so far I haven't.
     
  8. DeeDee

    DeeDee Senior Member

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    Or it could start with the author imagining those cute, chubby, hairy-footed creatures that live in this lovely picturesque village, happy, rosy-cheeked and constantly cheerful. No crisis in that starting idea. And only later on, when the author compares them to his own authorly miserable life, he decides: Let's ruin their happy, rosy-cheeked, constantly cheerful lives! Let's send their cute hairy feet on a long journey through cragged mountains, lets get their chubby asses chased by scary and deadly creatures! Let's add in a ring that makes one of them evil and bold and scrawny and totally nuts :twisted: . I don't know how Tolkien did it, but there's more than one way to come up with a LOTR type of plot.
     
  9. Alex R. Encomienda

    Alex R. Encomienda Contributor Contributor

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    No, I don't think so. I have a general concept or plotline in mind when I first start writing but I don't detail it. I start at the beginning/introduction to everything and then I present the crisis that traps the MC(s).
     
  10. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale The Caliph of al-Abama Contributor

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    So far I've always had a sudden idea for a scene, could be the beginning, could be the end, could be the middle, but something pops into my head and I end up trying to figure out who the MC is, how they got there, and where they're going. My current WIP started from the idea of a guy drawing a protective pentagram with hot-pink cake mix...

    This is similar to at least one Stephen King story, The Mist, where he said that he was in the supermarket and had a vision of a pterodactyl flying over the aisles. Not to say that it's the right or wrong way, but there's at least one professional who works that way.
     
  11. cosmic lights

    cosmic lights Member

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    A lot of people tend to argue which is more important/better: plot or character. But I find they are integral to each other. Even a plot focused story needs a three dimensional character and even a character-driven story needs something from the plot to support it. I haven't noticed a cliche with myself like I always think of the ending or a character.
    I am easily influenced by things around me. I saw on a chat show this fanatic religious group years ago and just found them so crazy with their beliefs they actually scared me a little. Then in school I learned about some historical events, and watched a movie that had a very different take on good and evil and at what point does bad deeds becomes justifiable and at what point is a person irredeemable. And this stuff stewed in my cauldron for years and ended up becoming the book I'm writing now. So it was just fragments of things that over times came together in the idea for a manuscript.
     
  12. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I like stories that start mid crisis. There's no working backwards needed. Starting with crisis is a fine way to start a story.
     
  13. Night Herald

    Night Herald The guy in the $6,300 suit! Supporter Contributor

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    My stories are usually conceived when a single intriguing idea pops into my head. This could be anything: an image, a scene, a voice, a face, a cosmological concept, a sentence, a feeling, a sound, a song, a new spin on a trope or myth, or a lame pun that I would like to explore further and build upon. While there's often some inherent tension, it rarely has anything much to do with the central crisis or crises of the story. It might not even be in the final text. In any case, I build everything around this first fleeting impression, working backwards and forwards and even sideways. It's only much later that I know where my story starts and what it's actually about, and if the inital seed has any place in it.

    I'm not saying this is a particularly good way to write a story with a strong plot and a killer ending, but it's the way I like working. I think shaping it around the pivotal conflict is probably a smarter way to go about it, but I'm mostly in the game to have fun and express myself.
     
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  14. fjm3eyes

    fjm3eyes Member

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    I was reading this thread, trying to figure out how I would approach a contribution, and I've decided on this. Years ago, 15 or 20 or so I think, I asked myself a question. Can the worlds of fantasy and reality come together as one? I decided Yes, they certainly could. My interest spawned a story, which has gone (to date) through several versions. Very enjoyable. The question is can a character who has mental deficiencies, who doesn't know he has any, function. No crises. A series of problems, though.


    So I would disagree that a story needs a crises to be effective, just a problem. I write short stories. Novels may be different.
     
  15. exweedfarmer

    exweedfarmer Senior Member

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    Whoa dude!

    The original question was... do you write around (as in extending from) the central crisis or not. The central crisis being for example: when the good guy finally kills the bad guy in an epic battle, and then work backwards to the beginning of the story. I usually start from the beginning and see where it takes me.
     
  16. Lew

    Lew Member Supporter Contributor

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    I soret of did that with the Eagle and the Dragon, though I didn't write that scene until I got there, it was always in my mind. Romans in the court of China, some crisis involving the centurion and a woman, the group forced to choose between expediency of sacrificing one or both for the mission, or confronting the emperor in a high-stakes display of Roman honor, some kind of escape for certain death. That general gist drove the whole first half of the story.
     
  17. Some Guy

    Some Guy dilettante assassin! Supporter

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    I started with an island disaster from the past, then jumped forward to the present, with the MC as a lost soul in a sea of faces. He doesn't really know why he's there. He knows he's unhappy with his identity, and doesn't know what he wants. Identity crisis - there ya go.
     

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