Anyone have any good advice on setting up a plot? like how to start the process, or a general structure? I'm just having issues visualizing my plot and its making it hard to figure out what my characters are doing and why.
would like that too. Following this thread.
Start with the main point of your plot that got you hooked on the idea of such a plot in the first place (Boy falls in love with girl who's on enemy side) and flesh out that brittle skeleton plot idea into a story(Romeo falls in love with Juliet), start adding character names and write down descriptions and bullet point certain parts of the story, or jump around from part to part and write parts you feel the need to write at that very moment until finally, you tape it all together and have a polished story. Make sure you feel your character like a friend and know them, no matter what point of view you're writing from.
Or be like me and just write as you go lol I'm so bad.
Hope this helps! I usually have plot problems, like I think of an awesome plot and then don't go all the way through with it. If you really truly 100% believe in your plot, stick with it till the end, and then give me an update, I'd love to see it!
If you don't know why your characters are doing what they are doing, then you need to flesh them out more first. They'll tell you.
If you don't know where to start, begin by establishing their "normal", their day-to-day life. Not all of it has to make it into the final draft, but having some of it lets you figure out who they are and what it would take to get them out of their comfort zone. Then when you feel you have enough, bring in the inciting incident to throw everything into chaos.
For example, I was writing a story about a CIA agent who gets sent back in time, so to begin I showed her workspace, a bit of dialogue with her partner about her last assignment, a glimpse of her boss, a view of her apartment, and then I threw in the time machine as the inciting incident.
For more about this, I found the book The First 50 Pages really helped.
What I like to do, since most of the times I am a neurotic organizing person is just go through some guidelines of my story with basic plot points. Mind you, this is only after I have established an idea, and to do that, probably I have already written at least a page of the story. So anyway, what I like to do is go through the whole story in my mind, everything that is going to happen, I think of it right then and I make little bullets like
This is an excerpt taken from actual notes I've made planning a story. So that is what I do, and then I begin to write the thing page by page, using the bullets as only a loose guide. One time I ended up losing my sheet with the bullets, or forgetting that I made it and I kept writing my story, afterwards I had found that I had changed a bunch of key details. But that's normal, it happens.
So, I have no idea if that was helpful or anything, but that is it.
That's what I do, perhaps it may work for someone else?
I actually do something similar to Illy Notthecoffee. I start with the main plot points: I make sure I have what will happen throughout the book, beginning, middle, end, plot twists, ect. all planed out. This way I know where I want to go so I don't meander off and write something that has no real relevance to the story. I want everything to serve the larger story. Then I go into more detail: what will happen in each chapter. This makes sure that something will be happening constantly, and there are never any stale moments. From there I go into further detail yet, planning out what is going to happen every paragraph or so. This way, if I feel like I want to write a particular part of the story today, I can write that part without having to worry to much about inconsistency with the rest of the book, and I can plan out foreshadowing and sub-plots with knowledge of what is going to be happening later. This works for me anyway, I can't say whether or not it will work for you. I also struggle with starting and having plot ideas sometimes, so I can't help much there. I suppose you could figure out what you want to say, then figure out a creative and interesting way to say it.
Thanks for all the replies! My characters really are not the issue. I have them and the world REALLY fleshed out. Its figuring out the general idea of the plot. like I know the WHO and the WHERE just not the WHAT. >< It is frustrating. However a lot of your ideas are good for after I have that WHAT, so I shall keep them in mind... but how does one figure out the WHAT from their characters?
Its almost like I have too many "main" ideas which is more than what I need to write a good story.
Alright I did the "Backwards" plot idea a friend told me. It partially incorporates Wanda's suggestion to look at the motivations of your characters, which is great! because if you don't know what motivates them you will have no idea how they got to your conclusion. Also Kim's idea of a single plot sentence is a great one (used ty!) to help establish the conclusion.
This is how I did it (and it actually worked for me and then I could do all the lovely planning things that the rest of you suggested and OMG progress today! *hugs*) NOTE: may not work for you?
Step one: Figure out who is/are your main actor(s) establish normal (Go Alexandra Plance!) an flesh them out (Wanda, Alex,....everyone)
Step two: Where do you want them at the end of the book? Dead? Victorious? Having learned something? In love? (I actually had three: Refusing to pick sides, mastered craft, going to save the girl) [the third is because this is book one of 2 or 3]
Step three: List down one of the endings. Le so: "Refusing to pick sides"
Step four: Determine what has to happen for that ending to occur BACKWARDS. Such as, well if you are going to refuse sides, you need to be offered said sides.
Refusing to pick sides<Finish
Refused to pick Side B
Asked to Join Side B
Meets Side B
Decides against joining side A
Asked to Join side A
Meets side A
Enters conflict with two sides<- Start
Step Five: Do for all the other finishing points (IE rinse repeat)
Step 6: Tie all the finishing points together and add in details (like why? What happened? How?)
along with the details Kim, Illy, Rourk, and Wanda's suggested, from breaking down the generals into rising and falling (Kim,illy, Rourk), to looking at the motivation of the characters to get them there and what sub actions are needed to happen to move them along (Wanda).
THEN I could start working and OMG I love you all ;_; Thank you!
It sounds great! I'm interested in the story already.