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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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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1answer
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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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9answers
578 views

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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4answers
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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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2answers
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What are the Criteria that Distinguish a Thriller from Horror?

The criteria that come to mind are not exclusive to horror novels, so I'm a little confused and annoyed (annoyed because I find horror novels scary, and yet just cannot define it logically when I try ...
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61 views

How to travel in a government restricted setting? [closed]

So my fantasy story starts out with two characters travelling by foot through endless woods. They can't take the roads because of an oppressive like government, but the woods are apparently safe. But ...
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2answers
121 views

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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3answers
134 views

I feel my protagonist is too “detached” from the main plot. What should I do?

Here's a summary of the plot: The main character goes to a mountain to visit his half-sister. He hasn't seen her in years. She went there to undergo a spiritual healing. Later he discovers her ...
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3answers
131 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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13answers
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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 ...
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2answers
90 views

How to write engaging and relevant backstory

Currently I am trying to craft a fantasy story, but I am having trouble creating a realistic backstory that can explain character actions well. How can I fix that?
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0answers
46 views

When writing TV scripts, is it heard of to change not only the characters but the type of story?

I have an idea but before i run with it I need to know if you heard of a show going from, let's say, drama to fantasy. I have smooth transitions from one to the other and the B-plot carries through. ...
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2answers
127 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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7answers
229 views

Will my readers find it hard to care/identify with a character who seems to lack human emotions?

I'm writing my first novel. One of the main characters was born without a soul. This is her description, which also reflects her personality: She had long black hair, crimson red lips, and a ...
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4answers
103 views

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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3answers
402 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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7answers
375 views

Plot devices for the climax of an adventure story

Setting aside the specifics of my particular plot for a moment, I have need of plot inspiration: how do I set up an escape from a death trap that seems plausible after the fact, and not too contrived? ...
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2answers
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If I am writing in the first person can I have the MC relive a scene as an observer and write it in the third person?

Can I relive a scene in the third person if I am writing in the first person? The main character has broken up with her man and she is reliving a scene in her mind where they where spending an ...
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7answers
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Problem: Scenes that are unavoidable, but boring

More specifically: Two of my book series' main characters are (temporarily) diplomats. It's unavoidable to the progress of the plot. But diplomacy is inherently slow and boring. So, the general ...
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6answers
197 views

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
215 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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2answers
236 views

Tips to identify “noise” or “clutter” in your story

I'm a fan of minimalism so I tend to write stories which are as simple as possible. And sometimes I add elements that don't have a concrete explanation. I leave that to interpretation of the reader. ...
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4answers
230 views

Is it common for flashbacks to not to follow a chronological order?

I'm writing a short story with the following structure: Scene 1: Deshi and Yuqi are in a mountain searching for an abandoned amusement park (Present) Scene 2: Deshi talks about how he felt ...
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3answers
136 views

Roadblocks in my story: The Gladys Tribe [closed]

I am writing a book and I've come to some roadblocks in the plot. Here is the basic storyline: A tribe of people live in a grand city deep inside the caves and large caverns in a mountain. Outside ...
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2answers
219 views

What factors in fiction arouse readers' expectations?

Feedback from my writer's group tells me that my recent stories leave promises unfulfilled and important questions unanswered. So I've become interested in how stories make promises and raise ...
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5answers
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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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1answer
73 views

Book Plot Sugestions [closed]

Does anyone have a good plot suggestion for a children's fantasy? Maybe about a 13 year old girl in the 1500's. Anything will do.
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3answers
151 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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2answers
456 views

Tips For A Good Medieval Fantasy Novel [closed]

I'm thinking of writing my first fiction novel based on a medieval fantasy setting and I know nothing about writing. Any pointers for this type of genre? I think I read somewhere that you need a hero, ...
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7answers
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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
151 views

Tracing dependencies and emergent plotholes during edits

The fiction I write currently hit a major snag and needs a big overhaul of a major part of the story. A whole, large thread is being injected, a second conflict running in parallel with the main one ...
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9answers
1k 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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1answer
127 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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3answers
284 views

It is a sign of bad writing to have many scenes that are disconnected with the main plot?

So my novel look like this (I took this diagram idea from this site, but I'm not sure exactly from whom): The beginning and end focuses on the mystery that the heroine is trying to solve (main ...
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1answer
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Setting up for writing

I am a work professional and the writer by choice. I have been writing since a long but basically poems, short stories and my reviews on books that I read so far. But since yet I have been writing via ...
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5answers
200 views

Are there rules for, or guidelines on, time gaps between a plot's scenes/chapters?

I've been reading a host of old favourites, classics and authors outside of my usual reading pool, in an effort to dissect the writing (from plot, characters and environment to voice, pacing and ...
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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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2answers
372 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 ...
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4answers
131 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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1answer
100 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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6answers
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Decide on a theme/overarching meaning before writing a short story?

When writing a short-story, is it typically a better practice to construct a point to exemplify through the short-story when writing to highlight a certain truth? In other words, construct the ...
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4answers
490 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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1answer
107 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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1answer
96 views

Faith, Hope and Love as the keys to victory in an action-adventure novel?

I'm at the outline stage of my novel writing. It is pretty straightforward to think of an action-adventure novel's victory as attained by physical attributes and/or courage. I'm looking for ...
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2answers
171 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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4answers
248 views

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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4answers
435 views

How do you determine if a plot device is too coincidental?

I see lazy plot devices as anything that is too coincidental. Person One just so happened to be in the 'area' when Person Two was attacked (then they end up running into each other a bunch of times ...
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5answers
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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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1answer
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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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5answers
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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 ...