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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10answers
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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 ...
22
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11answers
6k 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 ...
22
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7answers
2k views

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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9answers
2k 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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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 ...
16
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6answers
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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 ...
14
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7answers
2k views

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 ...
14
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4answers
6k 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 ...
14
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2answers
297 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 ...
13
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8answers
517 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 ...
13
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8answers
3k 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 ...
13
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2answers
2k 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 ...
11
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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 ...
11
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7answers
10k 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 ...
11
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4answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
669 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 ...
9
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5answers
365 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
355 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 ...
8
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5answers
571 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 ...
8
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10answers
1k views

How can I have my characters do bad things, without sending the wrong message?

I am writing a novel in which characters do bad things to one another. For example, I have recently been struggling over a scene of domestic violence. Essentially, a husband hits his wife, after the ...
8
votes
2answers
611 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
300 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 ...
7
votes
7answers
2k 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 ...
7
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5answers
466 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 ...
7
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9answers
2k 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 ...
7
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3answers
2k views

How to write good erotic scene?

I am thinking of adding a sub-plot to my story where we have say, Adam and Eve. They do not quite like each other but one thing leads to another and they have sex. After that, Adam wonders if he ...
7
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7answers
634 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? ...
7
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4answers
423 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
271 views

Every idea for a story I come up with seems excessively long

I already had practice with very short stories, like with 1-3k words, writing literally first things that came to my head. The next logical step would be to write something about 8-12k words, because ...
7
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5answers
271 views

Why do heroes need to have a physical mark?

It seems that a lot of authors want their heroes to be marked in a special way. It is not enough that these protagonists are going to be heroes, no; they seem to require having a mark that makes them ...
7
votes
4answers
494 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 ...
6
votes
16answers
3k views

How could a criminal forget a crime? [closed]

I'm toying with a scenario however it's crucial to the plot that the murder doesn't know they're guilty and has to work with their friends to try and solve the murder. This is probably set in the ...
6
votes
3answers
506 views

Prologue and Epilogue in third person and chapters in first person doable?

My current work is in first person. Well, it's a début so I didn't compare the benefits of first vs. third when I started writing it. I just picked the first because it was easy. Now the plot line ...
6
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3answers
318 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 ...
6
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5answers
161 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
votes
4answers
388 views

The backstory's overwhelming the actual story

I have a character with a grim past (forced to watch torture). I need him to have that grim past in order to explain his behaviour in the story I am writing now: characters who did not know his past ...
6
votes
2answers
296 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. ...
6
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3answers
180 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
189 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 ...
6
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1answer
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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 ...
5
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
5
votes
7answers
430 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? ...
5
votes
7answers
360 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
281 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
259 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
883 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
171 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, ...
5
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6answers
233 views

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 ...
5
votes
6answers
516 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 ...
5
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2answers
121 views

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 ...