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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4
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5answers
717 views

My first act is lengthy. And I cannot shorten it. Any Suggestions?

After the great amount of encouragement that you all gave me here, you'd be happy to know that I finally started writing my novel and I'm writing whenever I get time. Special thanks goes to Lauren for ...
5
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1answer
223 views

How long has the “scene” method been used for writing a novel?

I've noticed that many authors discuss "building" their novels using scenes as the fundamental building block. Be it by software or notecard, the scenes are identified, arranged and written, then ...
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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 ...
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2answers
700 views

How do I maintain flow and interest when handling numerous plot threads?

I want to learn how to maintain the flow of a novel's plot - there are so many characters and events to organize. What I find most difficult is the way a writer needs to shift from one phase of the ...
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5answers
537 views

Is it more advantageous to have an excerpt or a plot summary critiqued?

I'm considering opening up my current work in progress to critique. In the past I haven't had very much luck with the local writer's group, but I'm willing to try again. Maybe not with them, but ...
6
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4answers
629 views

Creating a compelling story from a prebuilt world

I have during the last couple of years developed a fantasy world. It's a hobby project I work on when I have the time. Every now and again I get some idea of a scene or an event and I place it on the ...
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4answers
2k views

Could a different structure for “Feast of Crows” have been a better solution to Martin's five-year-gap?

The latest two volumes of Martin's Song of Ice and Fire have been poorly received compared to the series' earlier books. What's interesting here is that Martin's original plan did not include these ...
6
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1answer
443 views

How could the surprise-villain thread have been less contrived in “Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone”?

Throughout Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry is certain that Snape is serving Voldemort, and bulling Quirrell into helping him. At the climax, we learn that Snape is protecting Harry, ...
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5answers
4k views

How does one avoid bland, generic fantasy while they write?

I have been mulling over the plot and characters for an elaborate fantasy work for a number of years now. The longer I mull things over, the more possessed I am that this story is worth telling. The ...
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3answers
3k views

How far into a speculative novel should one go before introducing the central conflict?

By speculative, I mean mostly science fiction, fantasy or intrigue. For example Neal Stephenson's Anathem, which is a 900-page book, goes well past the 200-page mark before the central conflict ...
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3answers
422 views

How to summarize prolonged plot

I'm trying to write a summary of my book's plot for a query letter to literary agents, but my plot is extremely hard to summarize. The reason is that the plot is fast-paced, erratic, and constantly ...
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7answers
17k views

How to start a book off?

I have been working on my book (on and off...) for about 6 months. I have a good bit planned out with the plot, story line, and characters. I even have a small idea on how to start the story but ...
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3answers
322 views

Should I research what my protagonist’s job would involve, or just create it all from my imagination?

My protagonist works in a pharma company and I really don't have a clue about how they work, what kind of a life they live and all. It is required for the plot to make him work in a company which ...
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6answers
3k views

I suck at plots. Is there a way to sort of train oneself to think of creative plots, specifically in scifi?

I'm pretty good in the writing department as far as prose, it's just that I'll sit down and have no idea what to write. Perhaps it's a creative problem, I just don't know. I cannot figure out any ...
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6answers
1k views

What to do when characters disagree with the plot?

I'm writing a romance novel and have hit a brick wall. The problem is every way I think the future lovebirds could meet and become friends is totally cliché. After thinking about it, I've realized ...
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6answers
2k views

How do I re-interest myself in a plot I am working on?

I've been working on my plot for almost a year now and every time I open my Excel sheet (yes,I know its odd to plot a novel in an Excel sheet but I find it's kind of a clean and clutter free workspace)...
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3answers
613 views

Should the secret antagonist have dual goals set in the ending of Act I?

Okay, There's this antagonist in my plot who is supposed to secretly frame my protagonist (due to some undecided reasons) and also help him publicly to cover his tracks. And since I'm working with the ...
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3answers
2k views

Organization for epic fantasy writing [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Organizing your Universe? I have some issues on the organization of my fantasy story. For instance there are many factions that come into play during the story and I being a ...
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6answers
1k views

Write multiple trilogies or make a saga?

So I am currently writing a fantasy story that tends to be long. This question is related to the following question: related The main difference resides in that it is certain that the story will be ...
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8answers
968 views

Are fantasy books expected to be trilogies?

Lately, more and more fantasy books I've seen are part of a trilogy. Is this because readers like it, or is it a cynical plot by publishers to draw out the story longer, so they can make more money? :...
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3answers
652 views

How to cover different perspectives/levels of thinking in one story?

I was reasoning with a friend about why movies/novels often get highly successful while others, despite having an interesting story/topic, don't get much attention. We came to speak about Matrix, Pulp ...
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5answers
404 views

Can I write my sub stories separately?

I am writing a novel with two groups of characters. They will have their own adventures, and meet somewhere after the middle to take on the main villain. Now in the book, the stories will be ...
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4answers
4k views

On copyright laws and plots

I was pondering a lot on the issue with copyrights on plots. Is having an identical plot infringing someone else's copyrighted work? I am fully aware that the character names are copyrighted and ...
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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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6answers
1k views

The Protagonist and the 'Mid Point' of a Screenplay

I'm currently working through the preparation process before I start to write my first feature length screenplay, helped in no small part by Syd Field's books. I've got the three act structure ...
11
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4answers
850 views

How can I strike a balance between setting and plot?

I'm not a fan of Tolkien's work, but it's relevant to my question, so take it as a reference point. I love linguistics, culture, and worldbuilding, but sometimes have difficulty focusing on specific ...
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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 ...
8
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1answer
284 views

What are tips / techniques to manage the consistency of a plot encompassing several subplots ?

When I lay out a plot consisting of interwoven threads, one of the most annoying things is to manage effectively the factual, logical consistency of the whole. In order to be more effective and ...
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2answers
1k views

What is the most effective way to deal with flashbacks in a novel structure ?

In writing a novel, often flashbacks are difficult to manage: if too long and detailed, they can appear as second class (at worst, aborted) plots whose only task is to sustain the main plot line; if ...
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5answers
2k views

What to do if I end up confused by my own plot because of 'trying to be original' or 'trying to make the story more deep'?

Sometimes, I find myself in the dilemma that I come out with a plot that tells exactly what I want to say. But then, I try to modify it in order to make it more original (at least, less similar than ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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7answers
3k views

How To Avoid Using Cliches In Storylines?

How is it possible to avoid cliches in storylines that you are writing? Obviously, there are external sources of influences as you read more and more. It would be possible that we are subconsciously ...
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5answers
2k views

How common *are* happy endings?

I'm curious. After reading some other questions, I've been pondering about the frequency and reason for happy endings. That is, a positive and/or hopeful ending, even if not everything went right, ...
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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 ...
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1answer
4k views

What techniques are used to create non-linear stories?

For stories that are highly non-linear, or that use multiple simultaneous sub-plots, what are some techniques for creating and managing the different items? An example that comes to mind is Steven ...
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2answers
621 views

original story climaxes - rules / guidelines for this?

I always get stuck trying to work out what the high-point of the story should be, especially when writing sci-fi/fantasy. There seem to be just a few climaxes that get recycled through this genre - ...
14
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2answers
494 views

How can a specific (current) event be made timeless?

There are some movies and some stories that are enjoyable when they're released - but they don't stand up to the test of time very well. I've been wondering about what makes a story timeless, one that ...
12
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10answers
4k views

What are some examples of modern original plots?

In a comment on this answer, a valuable community contributor suggested that it is possible to be totally original in writing, despite the fact that other valuable community members have stated that ...
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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 ...
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5answers
593 views

Using a world created by someone else for your own fiction

What is the procedure if you want to set a story in a world created by someone else?If, after reading someone else's novel I came up with some neat plot that would fit into that novel's world, but ...
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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 ...
18
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4answers
889 views

How do you map out your storyline?

There are various ways for mapping out the storyline that you will use for a story. One of them is to create a bullet-point outline, which would theoretically be useful because of the hierarchy system ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
6
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5answers
283 views

How do I involve my audience with my story?

I am writing for a video game, and I have noticed that there is a gap between plot and gameplay. Most times there is a plot to a story, but it takes place either only in cutscenes or in reminders of ...
18
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2answers
3k views

What techniques are used to plot long (multi-novel) story arcs?

As a very visual person, I have always considered plotting a story to be somewhat like knitting or macrame. How do series authors handle multi novel story arcs? Do they just keep throwing out lines ...
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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 ...

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