On basic plot-building

January 22, 2010 at 20:48 (General)

-You will get tired of this immortality. Once the rush is gone, you will realize that there is nothing beyond this existence. Once you understand that there is no way for you to end it, you will despair. The world will change, the people will change, you will remain. It is a constant game of lost and found. You lose yourself, you lose contact with the world, and then you find yourself, only to get lost again. Over and over.

-Yeah, well tough luck. I am still new to this, so forgive me for not giving a damn. Now, will you teach me all the cool stuff.

I have earlier introduced Samuel, a new-born vampire, who was accidentally changed.

I have spent some time on bringing him to life. And I am pretty happy with him, he seems alive and real somehow, although he is a vampire.

I believe that most of you also has completed the stage of character building. I encourage you to read my post On how to keep yourself out of your books. I put there some information on how to create characters. Just basics, really, but if the need will be to have it expanded, I will do so.

Now that the character is present and accounted for, we need a plot. That’s logical. That is the sole purpose of the character building. We want to insert him or her into a story.

Again there are a few thing to remember while creating the plot.

I will list some of them below :

1. America has already been discovered and elves are a part of half of fantasy books ever published. (Ok, the second part is a wild guess; however, chances are I am correct). Therefore, it is not my fault that my story is like so many other stories.

Wow. Let’s stop here. That does not mean that you are justified to copy an existing story and change the names of the characters, only because everything has been written before. There is room for creativity and originality. Let’s take a look how it works:

-Samuel is a vampire. Ok, vampires are popular. Stories about them have been written before. Multitude of stories. Thumbs up for originality here girl.

Yes, I agree, they are popular, but I will not agree that they are exploited. There is still room for me.

Samuel is not pretty, nor forever young. He is a vampire reject. He should not exist. I believe that he is original (he is nothing but my creation, I swear – cross my heart and hope to die).

2. To have readers, you need  an interesting story.

Once again I will use Samuel to get my message through.

-I have a vampire that is a wee bit atypical ;); however, that is not enough to make an interesting story. Let’s then give Samuel a companion. Since someone created him against the rules (not the poor fellows fault), he should be the one to guide Samuel. As a punishment. Being around Samuel for longer period of time, is a cruel punishment.

They should be like fire and ice. And Samuel’s companion should look young, so that Samuel could make fun of him and treat him like a kid, despite that particular vampire being a few hundred years older than him.

They should face problems together. The typical ones: who to feed on, how to hide the fact that Samuel is a vampire from his wife and his boss, how not to get in trouble with the head of the vampire family. And the less typical ones: what if Samuel’s existence is not an accident, what if he has a greater purpose, what if there are those who would stop at nothing to stop him from doing what he was meant to do.

There should be mystery and suspense. Let’s divide the story into parts: beginning, development and conclusion.

In the beginning we introduce, we start to weave a story. The prologue is a part of this section. And here, we have to grab the reader’s attention. I have used a simple trick. I have sent my character into the future, and I have suggested that he has seen things, done and had been done things which were interesting. that he has gone through some adventures.

The development is the trickiest part. Here are the adventures described and, for me, it is a place where questions should arise. Why, who, where, what for. The reader should be intrigued, should keep reading, because there will be lots of questions going through his head.

The conclusion should provide answers and resolution to the story. Here, Samuel’s quest will end, and we will get to know, who he was, and why did he came to be.

Sure, you can skip the last part and not give any answers to the arising questions, just for fun. Some readers will praise you, for they will be able to answer these questions themselves. But the majority will eat you alive, once they find out where you live ;p.

3. Make an outline of the story.

I have heard many opinions on outlines. Some will say that they restrict your freedom. Oh, ok. I have not noticed that. I do not feel restricted. I feel safe. I know I will not get lost in the madness of writing.

Why is it good to have an outline?

You have an idea. You start writing. And then,  the idea changes  its form for like 100000000000000 times. This is the reason my fantasy project has been put on hold. There is nothing left from the original idea, except the names of the characters.

Creativity and making changes to your story is nothing bad. However, once you start, you may not be able to stop, and you won’t get the work done.

Trust me here, make an outline. Save yourself the frustration once you find that you cannot finish, because you have to rewrite the beginning. Again.

4. Be consistent.

Once you have made an outline of your logical and original plot, you need to go through with it.

My story is of a vampire. I must remember this while writing. I do not want my readers to say: The story was nice, but I must have missed the ‘vampire’ part. For, if you ask me, there were no vampires there. That more or less means that my Samuel after introducing himself as a vampire forgot that he was one. I don’t want that. I want people to know that he is a vampire. To do that, I cannot forget that myself. Therefore, he will feed on human blood. He will crave for it. And once in a while, the word vampire will be used.

If your story is about zombies, remember that they tend to fall apart and hunt people for brains.

If you are writing a romance, include some kisses, and hugs.

In general, remember what your story is about. Don’t make sudden changes in the mood of the story. We all like movies where we can laugh some then cry some, and yet these movies are still consistent. My story will be funny and gruelsome. It will be a mix of comedy and horror. And not comedy-horror-romance-drama-crime story and so on.

This is the top of the iceberg. It is not possible to include everything in one post – it would be a real long post and no one would read it ;p.

I will return to this in next post for sure.

I will also continue to take my stories to pieces to show you how to get some things done.

My next post; however, will be on the DON’Ts not on the DOs.

Oh, and one more thing. I would really appreciate your opinion on the content of my posts, so that I could make adjustments if needed. :)

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