Jump to content

Another question, this time regarding plot


Recommended Posts

I hope I am going to explain myself clearly enough, forgive me if I am not. Lately, I've had multiple ideas about how a plot will progress, which is a much, much better than writer's block. However, my ideas are happening at the same point in the story. How do I decide which way to go? I feel like it might take too long to explore them all and see which one will work the best. I would appreciate your thoughts, thank you. 

Edited by CelticLady
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmmm, I think that's a really hard question to answer without more information. Is there one path that you like more than the rest, or feel more drawn to, or simply have fleshed out more? Is there one that you feel best serves the overarching theme of your story?

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Kids' book with multiple endings?  Save your detours for possible spin-offs.  And this comes from a guy who's not published anything except what I've posted on my blog, and is still working on his first story.  Know that my free advice is well worth every cent! 😀

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, CelticLady said:

How do I decide which way to go?


This is a great question, and one worth unpacking a little. 

I can tell you how I do it. I'm a fan of a novel writing process called The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne. In his book, Coyne suggests the answer is to find which Content Genre a story is going to be. This is a little tricky because when we use the word 'genre,' we typically think of where a book will appear on stores shelves, but Coyne defines those as 'Marketing Genres,' which is different. 

Genre is a label that tells the reader/audience what to expect. Genres simply manage audience expectations. Genres help us figure out five primary expectations the reader will have for a story.

  1. We expect to know how long the Story will last. TIME GENRES answer how long the Story will be.
  2. We expect to know how far we’ll need to suspend our disbelief. REALITY GENRES answer how far the audience will have to suspend their disbelief.
  3. We expect to know the style, the particular experience of the Story. STYLE GENRES answer how we’ll experience the Story.
  4. We expect to know how the Story will be structured. STRUCTURE GENRES answer how broad or minimalist or nontraditional the global telling of the Story will be.
  5. We expect to know what the general content of the Story will be. CONTENT GENRES are the ones everyone thinks of when they think of Genre. CONTENT GENRES answer the theme/controlling idea of the Story.

So, I tell people I'm writing a Fantasy / Noir about a golem detective, and people have a good basic idea of the Marketing genre, where my book will appear on store shelves. But under-the-hood, my book is a Thriller (Content) genre. This is vital to know

Once you know what your Content Genre is, you can figure out what the basic foundational expectations are for that story. For instance, I found out that my golem detective story follows the Thriller Content Genre. That means it has specific core emotions, controlling ideas, conventions, and obligatory scenes. For instance, a Thriller should have all of these elements to satisfy readers:

  • An Inciting crime
  • A MacGuffin - the thing both the protag and the antagonist want
  • Red herrings
  • A Speech in Praise of the Villain
  • The stakes must become personal for the hero. If he fails to stop the villain, he will suffer severe consequences. The hero must become the victim.
  • There must be a hero at the mercy of the villain scene.
  • False ending - there must be two endings.
  • Ticking clock

How this works practically for me is this. I had a perfectly fine first chapter but it was just sort of limp. I went back and saw I was missing the Thriller's Inciting Crime, I killed an important character, and I was off to the races.

So to answer your question (finally, heh), I'd start by figuring out your genre. If you're writing something in the Romance genre, make sure you have the conventions and obligatory moments for Romance. If it's Action, use those. If it's Thriller or Horror or Crime, there are specific elements there.

 

And that should help you figure out where to start and how to decide where to go from there.

 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/21/2021 at 11:47 AM, Jeff Potts said:

What is the message of the book?

 

My adult historical fantasy novel is all about one woman discovering her true identity, being a selkie, (seals in the ocean, men or women on land) and despite her ties to the sea, she decides that living her life among humans has more meaning.  Oh dear, I'm sorry you all do need some background. Though these comments have helped.  I am going to post a very small piece of my story on the critique and feedback. I made some slight improvements from the last time I shared this piece, Zee and Carolinamtne, maybe suspense writer as well, you may remember this though it was a long time ago. By the way I am not much for outlining either. But, I am trying to be organized, something I am terrible at haha.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/21/2021 at 11:11 AM, Johne said:

So to answer your question (finally, heh), I'd start by figuring out your genre. If you're writing something in the Romance genre, make sure you have the conventions and obligatory moments for Romance. If it's Action, use those. If it's Thriller or Horror or Crime, there are specific elements there.

Johne! That was powerful teaching. Thank you!

I'm going to suggest a long day, weekend, month of dreaming. Let your characters speak. They know the plot. They are interacting with all the other story characters in your mind. You are probably experiencing several plots and their characters all in one go. Dreaming is like untangling a basket of granny's wool after the kittens leave. 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.