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 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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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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Using “show not tell” while characters are planning for something that happens

In a narrative I'm writing, the characters have to plan an escape from a facility. The thing is, they'll be doing the actual escape in the chapter following them planning. I know usually the right way ...
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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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Should my story's main obstacle be secret or common knowledge to the society?

I'm writing a teen dystopian adventure/thriller/romance novel. I've been thinking about the plot for awhile. I've got an idea I want to develop: a dystopian world where the government has gotten rid ...
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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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Can the main conflict be the inner conflict?

I've recently been having trouble with developing plots. The plots I created seemed heavily sequential. No matter how many twists or complications I put in, they always seemed dry, proceeding from one ...
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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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Superpowers in Writing - Cool for the sake of cool

I originally started planning/writing a short story that was more or less based on a few popular trends in YA/Sci-Fi writing (interstellar travel, superpowers, etc) just as an exercise to force myself ...
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RDF vocabularly for storytelling

Can anyone point me to an RDF vocabulary used for story-telling? A Resource Description Framework is a technique for structuring data in a way that computers can easily process it and connect simple ...
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What should you do if the events in your story happen in real life just when you finish writing it?

I was finishing my novella when I heard about the terrorist attacks in Paris (I pray for the souls of the victims). I was surprised to know that circumstances revolving around the violent attacks were ...
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Any helpful tips on how to, better use description in my writing?

I feel as if, the novel I am writing will have a great plot and I have some creative ideas on where to go with it. My only concern is my ability to develop description through out my story. Any tips ...
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How to write believable “Man vs self” plots

Context introduction In my story the protagonist is both curious and fearful. He wants to know what is in a forest but is too afraid to go inside. He is also distracted by his basic needs for food and ...
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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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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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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 ...
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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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How to write negative events without laying blame in an insulting way

My current project is historical fiction, fifteenth century. There were quite a few bad things happening all over the world, and my book picks up on a few of them. With simply laying the information ...
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Why does the villain always win right before the hero defeats him?

One common setup for a story goes like this: We have the heroes on one side We have the villains on the other side The bad guy has an evil plot that will cause some undesirable result The heroes ...
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Can the protagonist lose his strength without losing the reader?

In studying writing, I've learned that you need to give your protagonist something - usually a quality - that makes the reader want him to win. Without this quality, the reader doesn't care what ...
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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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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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Is killing a character to further the plot necessarily a bad thing?

I've heard quite a few complaints about character deaths being used to further the plot. They say it's boring and overdone and mention that there are plenty of other ways to get to the same point ...
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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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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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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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I'm scared that my story is plagiarizing another story

I am working on my debut story. In my freetime, I write another story that will be the start of a series. The series consists of Steampunk fairytale retellings. Lately, I have been worrying that it ...
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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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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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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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How to collect my ideas in one story?

I start to feel that i'm mad. I make storys from everything that i see on the street. A dialogue, an interesting personality, a funny couple, a hard question or a perfect view to write about. Words ...
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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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How do I keep a journey sequence going?

In my story, my characters have to go on a journey, plus it's medieval. (So original right?) Anywho, they've already been captured by road robbers once and escaped. Also, they've stumbled upon a town ...
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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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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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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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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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Story development: Multiple characters premises

I am used to stories which have one premise which through sequential events is proven by the character. A few stories like war stories can have several premises each linked to a specific character, ...
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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 agendas....
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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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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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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 ...
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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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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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My story passes in choppy blocks - how can I fix it?

Similar to this question, I am slowly coming to realize that my writing is getting choppy. Unlike that question however, my problem does not lie within sentences, or even paragraphs. It lies within ...
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How do you force a turning point in a narrative that is supposed to be precisely about the lack of such devices?

Please, before flagging this question as subjective or generic, take a moment to read it through. IMO this is a valid, specific question, albeit a bit complex. To try and unpack the admittedly ...