Gah! Plot!

Dec. 31st, 2011 06:25 pm
terajk: Text: WTF?! Azula, looking the part. (azula: wtf?!)
[personal profile] terajk
So,[community profile] white_lotus fic is now twice as long as the longest thing I’ve ever written. It is a mess, goes nowhere, and every time I look at it I panic. It looks like it’s gone somewhere, though, because I keep writing bits I feel like writing, even if they aren’t supposed to happen yet. The problem is, it needs an actual plot and I DON’T WRITE PLOT. And I don’t know how to get the plot to start. I’m of half a mind just to scrap the whole thing, or even see if I can expand bits I’ve written into something that doesn’t need a plot. (This seems like the best plan.)

The problem is, I panic every time I think about it, and then avoid it. (This is what I do, especially when something seems too “big”) I was doing so well when I just thought of it in little pieces, but then I was all: “I’m writing this epic thing!” and then everything broke. (Today I managed to write 100 words, which is pretty good, but still no plot.)

But! I like the plot! It would totally be a story I’d read if I didn’t have to write the damn thing. People in my f-list who write long, plotty things (or just long things--the longest thing I’ve written before this was 1400+ words), HOW DO YOU DO IT?

Date: 2012-01-01 12:41 am (UTC)
littlebutfierce: (kimi ni todoke chizu must fight)
From: [personal profile] littlebutfierce
Thinking of it in small pieces is good! Maybe just focus on the next paragraph you have to write/revise? Even the next line?

I've been testing out the method in this blog post -- not necessarily b/c I want to write that many words a day, but just to see. I don't outline my fics b/c I never write anything that long. So it's been interesting to do as she suggests -- just write out (in 1 of the many little notebooks I seem to collect) specifically what is going to happen in the next scene I write. & then once that's done, sit down & write the scene according to that. On the one hand it's helpful, on the other I almost feel like, "I wrote that already, now I have to write it again!" I also get a lot of ideas just by writing w/o a perfect plan of where I'm going, so I don't want to squelch that.

Anyway! All that to say, maybe a tiny tiny miniplan might help keep you moving?

(I am terrible w/plot. The only plots I've written so far have been really... defined... in when they start/end: A baseball game! Someone gets kidnapped!)

Good luck!!

Date: 2012-01-02 03:49 pm (UTC)
littlebutfierce: (hourou musuko photo three)
From: [personal profile] littlebutfierce
Yay, I'm glad you figured out how to scale down the conflict to manageable size! I keep telling myself (for vaguely-plotty Natsume fic I am sort of working on) that just b/c I introduce a big conflict, it doesn't mean it has to be resolved in that fic. Partly cuz... really big conflicts often don't have an instant one-step resolution anyway, partly cuz... it makes them easier for me to think of as things I can write.

Hand-writing notes is interesting for me -- I don't often do it, partly b/c I'm much slower, & various RSI-related woes mean that it is much more difficult for me to do than it used to be. So... my brief notes end up REALLY BRIEF. Sometimes that seems to stop me worrying too much about it though, like you said!

Date: 2012-01-01 12:49 am (UTC)
eruthros: Toph from Avatar: TLA preparing for battle (Avatar - toph getting ready)
From: [personal profile] eruthros
I panic about things that get too big too! I like to rehash the plot, either in outline form or just in sort of an emotional story - so I'll go, "okay, Katara is feeling lonely and isolated, and she talks to Toph, who doesn't understand why Katara feels that way, and then she..."

But I also really like plot and figuring out why and how someone might do something - I just worry over things until I figure out ways for the plot to work. This makes me a not-very-good last-stage beta, but a pretty decent bounce-things-off-of-mid-story-beta, if you want to chat about it with someone!

Date: 2012-01-01 01:16 am (UTC)
lizbee: (Avatar: Chibi Zuko and Mai)
From: [personal profile] lizbee
When I'm doing plotty things, I usually start out with a bunch of scenes in my mind, and then I start coming up with ways to (a) set up that situation and (b) resolve it.

To use "Your Treasure Spent" as an example, I started out with the idea of Mai and Aang waking up early, getting their daughter ready for the day, and then handing her over to someone else and setting out to take down Azula.

Needless to say, the finished product bears only a passing resemblance to that idea. I had to go, "Okay, so this is an AU. Where did it diverge from canon? What happened next?" And that was how the actual posted version of "Your Treasure Spent" came into being, as a slightly too-elaborate set-up for that initial idea.

From there, I came up with certain set-piece scenes -- Zuko's death, Mai's relationship with Iroh, Azula's marriage and pregnancy. I knew where I wanted it to end -- with Mai and Aang kind of moving on, while Azula turns her attention from warfare to the construction of a vaguely theocratic system -- and it was just a matter of putting all the pieces in order and moving people into the right places.

However, I'm not completely sure I recommend this method, because it does leave me with a lot of pacing problems, and as with my Tophzula fic, often requires people to do stupid things in order to make the plot happen. And I'm not very good at keeping a lot of balls in the air.

Date: 2012-01-01 09:10 pm (UTC)
lizbee: (Avatar: Azula and Ursa)
From: [personal profile] lizbee
Sometimes, especially if you're not writing a novel, you just need to simplify.

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