So I was writing a story and realized that there was more then enough background material from the characters and actions that these characters went through to write a whole book just on them and the adventures they went on beforehand. But that story would have no real plot. The characters and people in the story would have many adventures but, at the end of the book, all that would have really happened would be that they would have gone from children to teens to young adults... that and it would be fairly traumatizing as they don't exactly have happy happy lives, that's why they go so far to have fun... so basically...

So do I need a plot for this book.... or is 'sorrow and fun' enough of a plot? I mean that's the 'plot' of 'Doctor Who' so...?

EDIT: Its not much of a "Coming of Age" story, only one character really "Comes of Age" during this story, while the others grow up there's an important difference between growing older and "Coming of age", and the one character that does is a secondary character.

Any help here would be great.


Can you restructure it to be an anthology of short stories?

While the whole might not have a beginning/middle/end, I assume the individual events within the characters life contain conflict and transformation on a smaller scale. If you can package those short stories into a book that doesn't offer a larger arc, but does provide a plot on the small scale, that might be something that works.

  • This feels like the right answer to me. It was originally just several flashbacks and references to previous events, but it there was always more it seemed. Where would I look to to find a good guide on the rules of this kind of work? Where should I look for a good example of the type of work?
    – KZD
    Sep 15 '16 at 17:52
  • For an interesting take on bringing a bunch of stories together, check out "Majipoor Chronicles" by Robert Silverberg. In that case, it is a group of stories from the same world, held together by one person "reading" various histories. Sep 16 '16 at 16:09

Take care not to write a Fan Fiction of your own work. While Fan Fictions are fun to read when you know the story it belongs to, they might not be able to hook a reader that is not familiar with the background of the story. If you decide to write a Coming of Age story for your characters, make sure it is a stand-alone book that includes all the necessary ingredients.

A question you can ask yourself to decide whether your story has the quality of a Fan Fiction (in the sense that it is a spin-off that can usually not survive on its own) or a full-fledged novel is: Do I write the book because I want to have fun with the characters? (Fan Fiction.) Or do I write the book, because the story fascinates me? If you have a solid story to present -- and kids growing up is a very solid story, in my opinion --, you should be able to flesh it out into a stand-alone novel. Advice on "plotting" can be found in a number of standard text books.

(By the way, I've written Fan Fiction scenes in my own stories and the best advice I've gotten so far was "Kill your darlings". It made my stories much better.)

  • to be clear, there are fanfics which can stand perfectly well on their own apart from the source work, but the general sense of your analogy works. Sep 15 '16 at 10:01

"they would have gone from children to teens to young adults" is called a Bildungsroman, or a coming of age story. It's a classic and perfectly serviceable plot journey. Your plot is based on each character's development and growth.

(I'm not sure how Doctor Who fits into your example other than "goes on adventures.")

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