Six impossible things

Posts Tagged plot

What drives the story

“What drives your story, plot or characters?” There are a bunch of problems with this question. First off, what drives the story isn’t an either-or dichotomy; it’s a continuum that runs from the total-action-with-cardboard-characters tale at one end to the nothing-but-character-introspection story at the other end, with […]

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The Worst Possible Thing

“Ask yourself what the worst possible thing is that you can do to your characters” is an often-repeated piece of advice that is a lot less helpful than it looks. If you follow it literally, about 99% of the time the answer is going to be “torture […]

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Mind the Plot Gap

Sorry this is so late to post; it has been one of those weeks. This is one last plotting post, mostly trying to get at Deep Lurker’s problem of “how to get to the end” when the general endpoint is a known quantity. The two main sources […]

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The End of the Plot

For a lot of writers, endings are the hardest part of plotting. Either they know where they want the story to end up, but not how to get there, or they know a lot of things about the story, but can’t seem to work out what the […]

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Plot is hard: Sorting

So back to plot, more directly. The next step, after assembling a huge pile of things that could happen, is arranging all the pieces into a coherent narrative. Note that I said “coherent,” not “complete.” There will undoubtedly still be gaps; the point is to get a […]

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Plot is Hard, Part 2

Once you have an idea of the kinds of plots you like, how much you need to know to get started (and how much you need to not-know in order to keep going), and the kinds of things that seem to trigger good ideas for you, you […]

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To fix or not to fix

A while back, Kin asked “What reason (other than simple laziness) would necessitate a mere patch, plug, or ignore of plot holes in a story?” “Necessitate” is the key word here, because in writing, necessity is in the eye of the author and/or reader. There are never […]

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Proliferating viewpoints

Having lots of viewpoint characters is usually one major reason for a proliferation of subplots. Each viewpoint character is the protagonist of his/her own story, and that story inevitably has its own subplots. So if you normally find that your stories have two subplots, and your novel […]

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Proliferating subplots

Kin asked: Any thoughts on how to manage a proliferation of sub-plots and POV’s? Lots. Which is why I’m making this a post rather than a quick answer to a comment. The first thing you need to look at is why you have all those viewpoint characters […]

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Storyboarding for novelists

Storyboarding is a structure analysis technique that comes out of the film industry, where it’s been used since the very early days to give writers, directors, and producers a sort of visual outline of a film. A true storyboard is a series of drawings, each of which […]

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