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Plot typically refers to the events and their ordering in a work of narrative fiction. Use this tag for questions regarding plotting, outlining, and narrative arc.

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How should I move the story forward with the support cast while hiding a plot twist regarding the MC from the reader?

I am finishing an arc of my novel, and right at the end some sudden development happens with MC, that is partially obscured from the reader. They can guess at what it is, but it is a sudden change to ...
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2answers
99 views

How to introduce a world previously unknown to the reader AND the protagonist?

I'm working on a novella where the protagonist finds himself in a new world in Chapter 4. How do I avoid infodump and maintain the reader's interest whole furthering plot and theme? The time period is ...
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6answers
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Publication: What to do about a high wordcount debut novel?

I'm a strong believer in books/novels being as long as they need to be; if it turns out short, don't try to pad it out, and if it's long... unless there's chaff to cut out, it's long for a reason. ...
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8answers
2k views

How can I make an in-universe random event feel like it was really random instead of just RNJesus' will?

Some stories feature random events that bring about drastic change either to the characters or to the setting. A lottery draw, some gotcha that grants a special skill. Most of the times I find one ...
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7answers
3k views

Can ‘Stupid’ Characters Make Plot Narratives Memorable?

Characters in movies ‘28 Days Later’, ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ made terrible impulsive choices that cost other characters their lives, but if it weren’t for any of those choices ...
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2answers
143 views

Is telling one of three convergent plot-line before moving to the next an acceptable alternative to interleaving them?

This is related to a previous question of mine: Convergent, parallel plotlines okay?. It has been suggested that this is might be too closely related to that question, however whereas that question ...
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2answers
113 views

MC’s emotional underpinning and grounding come from elder sister - her death would change him. Should she die? [closed]

MC is an assassin who was raised with and by his sister after the death of their parents. They were adopted by an uncle, who did his best though he was overwhelmed by the task so the two kids raised ...
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3answers
163 views

Is an unresolved conflict a detriment to publishing a novel?

I'm starting to write my first book, and I've finished the outlining process. It's a fantasy novel that deals with the takedown of a monarchy, but I feel like I can't wrap up the whole story line in ...
9
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2answers
70 views

Researching a hospital setting

I want to use a hospital (specifically, Walter Reed in Bethesda) as a setting. How best do authors research the daily routine? Is there someone I can reach out to such as a public relations person or ...
4
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1answer
58 views

What is the stereotypical structure of a crime narrative? [duplicate]

I have been wanting to start work on a short crime novel, but I am not sure how to structure the story- To elaborate, I have a number of scenes that i want to include but i am not sure how to make ...
0
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2answers
166 views

Making conflicts based on misunderstanding

So, the problem is that I can't make conflicts based on a misunderstanding that wouldn't resolve in five paragraphs. My chars are too smart for that, I'm too smart for that (and also have all the time ...
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2answers
179 views

How to defeat a strategic mastermind without throwing the idiotball? [duplicate]

My antagonist is a "strategic mastermind", similar to the one discussed in How to prevent seeming like a Marty Stu-ish villain is cheating? Proceeding from this kind of antagonist, my question is how ...
6
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5answers
132 views

Executing a tonal shift

A novel's tone/atmosphere is typically established within the first few chapters of the book. So, let's say, we establish the story as a light-hearted, over-the-top fantasy deconstruction, with humor ...
3
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4answers
165 views

I have characters, no plot [duplicate]

I'm trying to write a story with characters that I already designed long ago and also have planned the world for them a bit, but I cannot come up with an interesting plot. What do you suggest I can do ...
11
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7answers
1k views

Writing a Satisfying Ending

It strikes me that the last chapter (or so) of any story needs to make the reader feel that reading the book has been a worthwhile experience. An exceptional ending might leave a reader with such a ...
3
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1answer
123 views

Creative Non-Fiction - Writing without Plot, Story, Characters or Ending

I've just started reading Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby and it strikes me, when reading about his obsession with Arsenal that I too have an obsession - with words. I would like to write a creative non-...
8
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5answers
194 views

Plot development

Have great openings with (I humbly feel) unusual and unique situations. But after the first few pages to support the beginning, bam...no plot! It stalls and don’t know where to go with it. I’ve ...
4
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4answers
156 views

Writing a Novel Set In The Future

So, I have this idea of writing a novel set in the future. Not the far future but a few decades away from today. Could you please give me an advice for that. The reason that I am asking this is that I ...
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5answers
227 views

How do you write a story about a team?

There just isn't information about this on the internet (at least that I could find), so I'm here. A few specific questions: how many team members should there be? Should they all be main characters, ...
0
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2answers
60 views

Ideas for a twist or plot point involving adopted character's parents [closed]

I'm writing a plot for a tabletop game, and one of my players is running a character who was taken from her home at a very young age. (it's her earliest memory) She was raised from that point on by an ...
16
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8answers
3k views

Characters that take on a life of their own

There are definite advantages to writing comprehensive character maps, but one downside that I've found is that when a character is fully fleshed out, she/he tries to take on a life of her/his own and ...
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3answers
102 views

Plotting a Compelling Story [closed]

How should I approach plotting a compelling story, i.e. one aimed at changing the way people think and behave (rather than just being "art for art's sake")? I want to write a novel or collection of ...
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1answer
76 views

How do I reveal multiple timelines to the reader?

I have multiple characters who do things... over and over again, in different timelines. But I have no idea how to reveal this to the reader. Any suggestions?
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2answers
147 views

Establishing trust with a Shapeshifter [closed]

Alright, I can't figure out how to write a scene. I have a character that has never revealed the fact that she can turn into animals, not even to her family. If the character is planning to tell her ...
0
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3answers
170 views

Basic fails to look out for when writing the drama: What can we learn from soap operas

So, we established that we can lose many more valuable things other than our life, and to make stakes out of them effectively, we have to make it nothing personal. One thing we haven't discussed is ...
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6answers
6k views

What new plots are available to writers?

I read The Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker (yes, it was so heavy that I had to cut into two books just to be able to carry it around) and I just can't believe that the number of plots we have ...
19
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8answers
4k views

How to get readers to care about a dead character?

My story happens as a result of one of the main characters getting murdered. I'm wondering how to get readers to care about someone who's not even in the story (as far as the readers know anyway) or ...
3
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2answers
87 views

Is there a name for a narrative that involves parallel exposition of the characters' backstories?

One of the hallmark features of the television show Lost was the way in which each character's backstory was rendered. The narrative started out in present day and depicted characters making certain ...
7
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4answers
171 views

Why is character lifetime proportional to character development so often?

Hollywood movies are a good example of this, but also many books feature the rule. When the plot revolves around life and death situations, the first to die are the characters with least development. ...
4
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3answers
128 views

Is it possible for “weakness” to be a “virtue” in context?

I'm working on a teen romance. The event is the high school play, the "Sound of Music," in which there are two main contestants for the role of Liesl. They are designated "A" and "B," because those ...
3
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2answers
66 views

Does the degree of immersion in the character alter the extremity of plot points used?

Star Wars IV: We never really get to know Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen, and so when they're burned to a crisp, little pieces of human toast, it's horrific but yeah OK. Not as horrific as if we saw Obi Wan ...
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5answers
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Do I have to show my characters making up after an argument, or can it be implied when we see them on good terms again?

Is it okay to have two characters who had an argument to patch things up offscreen, or do readers explicitly need to see how they made up? None of the two characters in question are the protagonist, ...
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5answers
830 views

Slow buildup vs sudden introduction

Let's say you're writing super hero fiction. The hero of your story is struggling against the villain, but suddenly awakens a power that allows him to best the bad guy! Problem: you're unsure of how ...
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4answers
2k views

How to write two seemingly different characters that are actually the same person?

I'm currently working on a book with two protagonists and switching the perspective between them. They have quite different plotlines, but actually they're the same person. English is not my first ...
1
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3answers
123 views

How can you make “evil vs evil” interesting? [closed]

Let's say you have two sides who are basically no better than the other. Both are criminals with no redeeming qualities, and both are at war. Think COBRA and HYDRA going to war. They both have plans ...
3
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2answers
280 views

How to deal with a rape scene: what can/should you do?

Preface: there are three main characters in the story, all three of them in their mid twenties. Two women and one man. For simplicity, lets call them Jane, Sally and John. Jane and Sally have been ...
2
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1answer
159 views

What's the term used to describe a twist which is badly written because the twist is based on information not yet available to audience? [closed]

Context: In my question How did Olaf know?, I asked about a twist in the TV series A Series of Unfortunate Events, adapted from a book series of the same name. My understanding: Twists, whether good (...
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2answers
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Is blending a largely illustrated book like James Gurney's “Dinotopia” and a dramatic and more serious plot a bad idea?

So, I don't know if any of you have heard of Dinotopia by James Gurney, but it's written in a format with large pages, and lots of illustrations: While it is not exclusively a children's book, and ...
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3answers
185 views

Is it okay to switch protagonists between books, if the main protagonist is a hidden “actor”?

On my research I stumbled upon this question and it matches somehow with my question, that lingers in my head for a long time. In the mentioned question I read the common thinking is: Switching ...
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6answers
2k views

Can I make a character make a philosophic observation or say their opinion, even if it's unnecessary for the plot/story?

I have a character in my story who has the habit of making philosophic observations about life and the functioning of things, or his opinion/vision about something. Although most of his observations ...
16
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8answers
1k views

How do you assess the value of an individual scene?

Authors need to understand which scenes in their stories to cut in order to help the reader enjoy the story best. Knowing what works for the reader and what does not is a key skill for authors. ...
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5answers
219 views

I feel like I'm plagiarizing my story?

So my fears are kind of taking over my enjoyment of writing my book because I feel I'm doing something wrong. In my story I stole ideas from other stories. I took the idea of bioshock infinite society ...
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8answers
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Software to draw plot structure charts

When I plot my own novels or analyze other works to understand their structure, I like to visualize the dynamic of the storyline(s) in a diagram. Usually I draw this by hand. A first version of such ...
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7answers
1k views

How to best pace information reveals to the reader

Some of my beta comments fall under the category of 'I the reader am frustrated by what I do not know' - and I've gotten this comment in my real life group too. The reader wants information as soon ...
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7answers
2k views

Where can I find resources for bedtime story plots?

For past ten months, my wife and I have been telling bedtime stories of our own making to our older daughter (who recently turned 4). We do it on alternate evenings. The stories have a nearly-constant ...
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2answers
122 views

What reason would there be for the heros to not let the benevolent superhuman entitiy handle the Big Problems? [closed]

Our heroes are (or a government is, for all I care) friends with a (seemingly) benevolent superhuman entity. This Entity is quite powerful and can provide various advancements that are used by the ...
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0answers
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Having more than one plot twist? [duplicate]

I have this scenario that none of the characters knew about previous to the actual encounter. Does that count as a plot twist, or just Dramatic Irony? Either way, I think of it as a plot twist, ...
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7answers
510 views

How Much Focus to Give a Supporting Character?

I've been working on my pet project a lot over the last six months, and I thought I had most of the kinks worked out- but I think I found a problem with my most important character. The story has a ...
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7answers
2k views

Intentionally leaving out a part of the story, for a more interesting reveal?

In the story I am writing, I have a character who is working on a project and will present it to a group of judges who will mark it in a sort of examination. The project is a source of stress for the ...
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4answers
324 views

Is it a deus ex machina if the alternative is illogical?

Background: I know to avoid Deus Ex Machinas - meaning to me a sudden and unexpected solution arriving out of nowhere to save an otherwise unsolvable problem. They are often indicative of a writer who ...