Questions tagged [plot]

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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62
votes
9answers
17k views

How to write a story without conflict, like “My Neighbour Totoro”?

We are used to stories being about conflict. There can be an antagonist, or a hostile environment, or even an internal problem (like depression), but conflict is there. The story arc involves dealing ...
58
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4answers
12k views

What kind of protagonist or writing style is Jack Sparrow?

I want to ask about a certain style on how to present a character. I know Jack Sparrow is from a movie (and I've only watched the movies too) but I want to integrate in my writing how he was presented ...
50
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15answers
27k views

Killing the protagonist - should it be done?

I am an aspiring author, but I have written several short 'test novels.' With each of those, it became increasingly clear how you have to develop the main character, the protagonist. After all, the ...
42
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14answers
9k views

How to perpetuate the plot-driving riddle without frustrating the reader?

Usually, at the end of a crime, thriller, horror, fantasy, science fiction, or other action genre novel, the identity of the antagonist is uncovered and the riddle that drives the plot is resolved: ...
42
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13answers
13k views

How unadvisable is it to flip the protagonist into a villain?

Essentially, I have a protagonist who I set up as a 'main' good guy in one of my series. However, in my final series, I intend to make him turn to the dark side and oppose my other protagonists (from ...
39
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13answers
12k views

How do I hide Chekhov's Gun?

If there is a gun on the mantelpiece in the Act 1, then in Act 2, that gun must be fired. Background I'm a big believer in Chekhov's Gun. I try not to do anything or introduce any new plot point ...
37
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11answers
7k views

How do I construct a plot out of my many setting/character details?

In my creative writing, I typically am inspired by short interactions between things: An overheard conversation. A person's jealousy of a friend's talent. A humorous misinterpretation... I tend to ...
36
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9answers
8k views

How important is writing for games?

I am trying to create a game that has a small plot (maybe more of a theme). The plot just describes why the characters are fighting each other. Other than that I have not fleshed out the story. How ...
35
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17answers
8k views

How can I avoid a predictable plot?

When writing a novel, authors generally don't want the reader to know how things will end. This is especially true of mystery novels, but obviously applies to any creative story. (A few stories show ...
33
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8answers
4k views

Decide on a theme/overarching meaning before writing a short story?

I want my short story to have a specific point, to highlight a certain truth. But I wonder in which order I should proceed: make the plot, characters etc. first and worry about fitting my theme into ...
32
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11answers
6k views

How to manage getting depressed by what my main character goes through?

I'm writing a war (sci-fi) novel. The MC dies in the end. It's not as thoroughly depressing as "All Quiet on the Western Front", but Remarque's work is definitely one source of inspiration. Now, ...
31
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10answers
8k views

Is there such a thing as too inconvenient?

I find myself often being irritated at elements in situations that help characters succeed, elements which are also highly unlikely or even illogical. But often, if not more, I find myself angered by ...
30
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12answers
9k views

An LGBT main character, but the book isn't about LGBT issues

So I'm in the very early stages of plot development on a new story. It focuses on a (nonbinary, hence the they/them pronouns) witch named Kem who recently discovered their powers and met some ...
28
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13answers
7k views

How to tell readers that I know my story is factually incorrect?

Sometimes, it so happens that I do some research for a story and find that a major plot point could never work in real life. At this stage, I can either continue with my impossible (for a non-fantasy, ...
28
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10answers
8k views

How to detach yourself from a character you're going to kill?

So, in a WW2-ish story featuring a co-ed military, I have a female soldier who is very kind and caring. I'm setting her up to be a mascot and somewhat of the postergirl. Trouble is, she dies further ...
28
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7answers
3k 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 ...
26
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22answers
16k views

Can a book be written without an antagonist?

I have had this thought running through my head and wondered what your thoughts were on it. Can a book, a story I should say, be written without an antagonist or antagonistic theme? I have an idea ...
26
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9answers
6k views

Plot twist where the antagonist wins

I’m putting together this story and its formative stages are almost complete. However, I am genuinely interested as to how the ending would appear to the reader. My protagonist is a skilled ...
26
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10answers
12k views

Any Technique to See if Your Idea is Original?

I usually get quite a lot of ideas for stories, but every time I want to develop them into a full fledged story, I get paranoid about how it might not be an original idea, and how it might be ...
26
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4answers
2k views

How does one implement effective foreshadowing?

I am a "reread reader" - that is, I like to read the same book more than once. The books I have the most fun reading again are the ones that effectively foreshadow what comes later in the book. This ...
25
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8answers
7k views

Is an easily guessed plot twist a good plot twist?

In my post-apocalyptic novel, there are two "twists", but they're mostly tied up in each other. The first is that humans have developed different kinds of kineses, like hydrokinesis, telekinesis, and ...
25
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15answers
4k views

How to derive a storyline from a beginning?

I have an idea for the beginning of a story. I have the setting, the protagonist, and the events that set the story in motion, including the inciting incident and the first plot point. I have, in ...
24
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11answers
7k views

Is there any way to get around having everyone in the world speak the same language? [closed]

You see this a lot in fantasy fiction, where everyone on the planet (and sometimes beyond) speaks the same language, even though it makes absolutely no logical sense for them to have any knowledge of ...
23
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12answers
7k views

Need advice about changing character's gender

I had this idea for a story/novel that I was very excited about, but also very worried about. The idea had a plot where the character development plot and themes all grow and go together, something I ...
23
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8answers
4k views

Dead children in pre-modern setting

The reality of pre-Industrial Revolution times was that about half the children born died before age 5. It would be a mistake to think that parents cared less - we have multiple written records ...
23
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6answers
5k views

Is it uncompelling to continue the story with lower stakes?

A big piece of criticism I've seen directed at the last season of Game of Thrones was the fact that it is safe to say the former villain brought a lot more stakes to the table. Personally, I didn't ...
22
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5answers
6k views

How soon is too soon for a redemption arc?

My character, Day, is the son of a dictator and the director of state-sanctioned and sponsored torture of mutated humans, one of whom is my MC. He killed his own sister to prove to his father that he ...
22
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12answers
8k views

How can I make a character who isn't a jerk seem like one?

I have an MC who, because of certain circumstances, everyone sees him as harsh and cruel at first. As they get to know him through the first few chapters, they eventually see he's nicer than they ...
22
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8answers
5k 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 ...
21
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12answers
8k views

Creating a story in which the hero(es) lose

So I am still in the primitive stages of creating my own world and story, if I even do it that is. I am still trying to get a feel for where I want to go with it. The biggest issue would be that, my ...
21
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7answers
4k views

Stories with multiple possible interpretations: do you plan for it?

There are many stories out there that are open-ended, up for different interpretations. Many theories spawn around such stories, most of which sound possible/plausible, but are nevertheless only ...
21
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8answers
3k views

My cool character is doing nothing for the plot. How do I deal with him?

So I have this great character( not the main protagonist), who is funny and intelligent. Each scene I write for him is a delight. But the problem is, he is doing nothing for the plot. I have tried to ...
21
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7answers
9k views

When should one *not* present events in chronological order?

Some stories tell well from beginning to end, all in a neat little line...and some don't. When can a story be improved by using a different order in the telling? Off the top of my head, I'd say ...
20
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12answers
3k views

How to explain the main plot with science based concepts, without the non-sci-fi fans getting bored?

Let me explain: I'm writing a game where the Earth gets a massive biological attack from an alien race in the close future, and only a small part of the planet's life survived (few dozens of humans ...
20
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7answers
4k views

Can you have too many story arcs running at the same time?

I've written about 15k words of my story now and the plot is developing nicely. Perhaps a bit too nicely. I have about a dozen of named characters which all have something interesting to do in the ...
20
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6answers
4k views

Keeping track of multiple plot lines

How do you track several plot lines woven together? I usually run 2 or 3 plot-lines in parallel, so I detail those plots each in a separate document. But as the book goes on, it is sometimes ...
19
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5answers
8k views

The seven story archetypes. Are they truly all of them?

The seven archetypes are as follows: Overcoming the Monster. Rags to Riches. The Quest. Voyage and Return. Comedy. Tragedy. Rebirth. But surely, there are more? For example, riches to rags? That is ...
19
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16answers
6k views

How do I subvert the tropes of a train heist?

What are the recognizable tropes to a "train heist", or more broadly the action sequences where a protagonist boards a moving train in order to stop it? My protagonist is the unreliable guile ...
19
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6answers
4k views

Should I write my story if I haven't established a plot?

I'm in the process of start writing my story and I'm not sure if I should do it if I'm not done with the main plot of the story. Also I don't know since what part should I start writing off, The start,...
19
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8answers
1k views

Is it so bad to end up with a “done before” plot?

I'm not delusional about the nature of the science fiction novel I'm (very) slowly working on. A brief run down might be as follows: Set 10's of millennia in Human's future but in a neighbouring ...
19
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10answers
5k views

Effective hero journeys that don't kill the villain?

Are there good examples of the hero's journey that don't include any physical deaths within them? My hero has crisis and 'death' of self/ideals/psyche; hero prevails in the end, all good. But, I just ...
19
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6answers
4k views

How long should I mention an injured character’s pain?

My main character gets shot and survives. One thing that bothers me is a character who is injured and keeps going like the energizer bunny. I try to set up for a rapid recovery, mentioning training ...
19
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4answers
4k views

How do I make it so my story happens in an ambiguous time frame?

Nothing extreme, of course. No mentions of futuristic time-traveling gadgets or teleportation or the like. Or, conversely, nothing that smacks of medieval times or anything that immediately causes a ...
19
votes
9answers
6k views

Resources on plotting mystery stories

I'm looking for books, essays and articles on plotting mystery/detective/investigation stories (and novels). The type of story I'm aiming for is in the vein of Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, or ...
18
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4answers
9k views

What's it called when the bad guy gets eaten?

Is there a specific name for the plot device in which the story's "Big Bad" has a cunning plan to use some monstrous being to further their diabolical machinations. This may be something summoned from ...
18
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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 ...
18
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13answers
4k views

Too soon for a plot twist?

In my story, I will have a hero begin a journey. It will be the underdog story as well as good-vs-evil story. Think Frodo vs Sauron for massive oversimplification. Except in my story the hero becomes ...
18
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8answers
5k views

Should I be concerned with my fiction writing containing accidental prophecies of real world events?

I'm writing a book (only a hobby, but I hope I can publish it one day). I've started writing a while ago and setting was somewhat of a near-future of an alternative reality. In my book, political ...
18
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4answers
11k views

What's a typical trilogy structure?

Is there a typical structure for a fantasy trilogy? To be more specific, would they usually follow the three-act structure, with an act per book? And would each book need a self-contained story arc ...

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