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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Twist in kishōtenketsu vs. twist in Western plots

How does the “twist / ten / 転” phase in the Japanese kishōtenketsu narrative structure differ from the “plot twist” that is a standard element of many Western stories? I’m thinking, for example, of ...
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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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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
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Can't write, can plan

I can plan all sorts of specific aspects in a novel such as characters, locations, and the plot in general, but I struggle to actually write it the way it is in my head. How do I learn to write rather ...
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170 views

Referencing the process of writing the novel as a part of the novel's plot

I am writing a review of a novel, which I guess is postmodern in a nonstrict way. And I need help with terms. How do you call a technique when the main character is the author of the novel and ...
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Are there times when delayed character development is acceptable in fiction?

In my screenplay, I have my female protagonist wear Prada, and perhaps drop other hints of her character, but not act like Miranda Priestly for the first two acts, until she gets a promotion at the ...
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262 views

How to find the plot to a message or theory

Usually, when I write, the seed of my narrative is a specific scene: in my mind I see a specific place, and in this place there are some people, and these people become aware of each other, or of some ...
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there are considered to be only seven or so actual plots anyway?

I saw this in another answer there are considered to be only seven or so actual plots anyway Is this true? Is it like plots are generalized into a couple of types or forms? Where can I read more ...
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Software for plot building across multiple books

I plan to write a series of books set in the same universe, with a major plot about war destruction, murder, killing, love, betrayal etc. But I am having problem getting the big view of my universe ...
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197 views

Writing a novel which has the same structure and a particular theme in each chapter

I'm writing a novel that will have 9 chapters. Most of the chapters have the same structure: The main character goes down a hole she found in her room. She finds herself in a strange part of the ...
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5answers
181 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 ...
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151 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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My Hero is captured, now what?

I'm trying to write an escape scene in a fantasy novel. My problem is that I've spent a fair amount of effort explaining what a dire predicament my hero is in, and now I don't know how to get him out. ...
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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 ...
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8answers
434 views

Is it OK to invent as I write, or should I plan the entire story first?

I have read Harry Potter and am a big fan of J.K. Rowling's writing and I had always had this urge to blog and to write. So, I started a blog - 2200 Common Era. I've the basic idea of writing a ...
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my first comedy plot draft is very bland. how far can I go on calling this out?

I'm currently working on my first book, a sci-fi comedy set on an alternate history Earth which has progressed at twice the rate of our own planet (they were at our current tech when William the ...
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5answers
271 views

How specific should I be when outlining the plot?

One problem I often run into when trying to make a general outline of the plot for a story is how specific I am in the descriptions of events. Generally, this happens when I have written a portion of ...
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2answers
130 views

How/When to include twists when developing plot.

Disclaimer: This is a new question, not an extension of my other questions concerning twists. When I develop fiction, I start with a premise and a theme. I have a general idea of where I'm headed, ...
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307 views

How do you effectively develop a plot when you have a proper back story?

I'm writing a sci-fi/fantasy story, which is arguably not yet a novel, and has general similarities with most fantasy stories. I have a back story set and a fairly good idea on how the story is ...
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550 views

Is pantsless writing practical for NaNoWriMo?

Those of you who like to just sit down and write what comes out, you all are known as pantsless writers. — KitFox We have a question on preparing for NaNoWriMo, but what if you start a NaNoWriMo ...
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Writing an Ending: how to prune away the Wrong ones?

My protagonist introduced herself to me through a sequence of set-pieces. She has a very specific altruistic goal, and the conflicts she enters are with other characters who have well-defined ...
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2answers
440 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 - ...
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187 views

What is the difference between a complication/twist and a situation?

I have recently read an article (The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, chapter 7) concerning plot twists, or complications. It discusses the difference between twists and mere situations. The ...
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Should “plot” or storyline be the main determinant of what goes into a story?

In writing a screenplay, I created a bunch of scenes, with about twice as much material in total as I needed. So the job was to cut things down to size. In so doing, I found that a number of scenes ...
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Changing main character within a trilogy, is a good idea?

I am writing the first novel which will be part of a trilogy. For plot reasons, I am considering to change the main character in the other two parts (will be the same in the last two books). But I ...
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Balancing character levity in a serious narrative

I am looking for examples of authors who manage to have sarcastic/funny characters exist in a very serious, end of the world type of scenario. The issue I am trying to resolve is when I write ...
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Storyboard a Novel?

Sometimes I'm a contrarian and like to think things through backward. What about thinking first of a movie and then writing a novel about it? Would it make sense to storyboard and script a novel ...
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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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1answer
177 views

Flashback or dream as a means of hinting at more going on than meets the eye

I plan to use a dream or flashback as a way to show the reader the story has more going on behind the scenes. As well to sprinkle in a little of my main characters back-story. I haven't written it ...
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131 views

Is a chapter the equivalent of a sequence?

When I do my daily writing, questions often pop into my head, and I jot them down to ponder later on. I was going through all the papers on my desk today and couldn't help but wonder: are chapters in ...
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4answers
236 views

Anyone has any super intense software for plot outlining?

Now, at the get go, I fully acknowledge that I have gone way over the top as far a story plotting goes, but I'm trying for something on the extreme end of epic and I have a legit obsessive compulsive ...
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2answers
167 views

How can I get my romance through a two-year breakup?

My story calls for the main characters to break up for at least two years, before getting back together. (In this particular case, the breakup is for ethical reasons - the relationship began when the ...
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Genre conventions: Which end do readers expect?

I need help with the concept of my story: My protagonists live in a mild dystopia. Think of your own country today ;-) They have the opportunity to kill about 20 persons, which will cause a ...
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3answers
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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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9answers
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How to assure your plot isn't a carbon copy of another story?

In what case is it justifiable for your own story to differentiate its plot from another, similar plot? For instance, I'm writing a story with a serial killer who whose motive sounds akin to the ...
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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 ...
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6answers
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How do I evaluate an unwritten plot/story?

I'm working on a full, detailed outline of my planned book series before I have much of it written down. I'm not a pantser, I must have a clear idea where I'm going before I can get far. In the ...
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4answers
224 views

Making characters multidimensional and unique. What can i do?

I'm writing a sci-fi/fantasy story and i have quite a number of characters that i want to deploy in the story. However, these characters should each have their own agendas in life, their own internal ...
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3answers
167 views

How to tell if my story is finished, or needs more?

Slightly obtuse title, let me elaborate. I'm writing my first screenplay, and I'm trying to keep it simple while making it simultaneously wonderful. It's just a rom-com. But as I write and modify ...
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4answers
149 views

How about a story as a series of anecdotes?

I have a concept for a story I'd like to do where my purpose for writing the story is simply to explore a hypothetical society by means of anecdotes about the members of the society. But this sounds ...
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4answers
283 views

Is my opening chapter too short?

I've just started writing my first proper novel, I've written short stories and started to write before, but never really had the motivation, but now I have a new, interesting storyline to write ...
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2answers
624 views

Resource for generic plot hooks?

I'm in a long and painful recovery from many years of writer's block. Coming up with even quite simple story ideas costs me unreasonable amount of effort. Sometimes inspiration is generous and I'm ...
2
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1answer
163 views

I cannot determine my Protagonist's work-life. Any help?

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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2answers
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Story resolution issue - A symbolic gift for two new friends

I'm nearly at the end of my story, and I'm struggling to finish it. Ashley (male) and Anna were best friends since childhood, until they grew apart and didn't talk to each other for many years. When ...
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1answer
139 views

Dealing with lackluster plot failure

So, I wrote the beginning of something about novel-sized. I drafted totally sweet, lovable protagonists in an interesting, original relationship, I placed them in a solid world, I painted the ...
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2answers
69 views

How much character description is considered necessary in a “plot driven” story?"

Some stories begin with a rather full description of say, the main character. Here is a clip from Hello Dolly that describes in (for me) excruciating detail not only about what she does (matchmaking) ...
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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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3answers
81 views

A grand scheme or destiny in literature

There's one thing in literature that no matter how cliche or over used it might be, I always find very compelling. For example, when a story unfolds as if there is a larger force at work moving all of ...
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Is there such a thing as a “setting sketch” for a science fiction writing?

I took a look tonight at the post titled What are the pros and cons of building the setting before the characters and story? It answered questions that I had concerning setting being more important ...
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How do I tell the story of a societal change using a discrete number of narrators?

When I started writing and first tried to characterize my work, I came across a wonderful word: psychogram - a story that revolves around the psychological evolution of a specific character. The ...