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laptop, geek, MacBook, bursting, breakout


Matt's LiveJournal

Random ramblings of a programmer, photographer, journalist and runner

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laptop, geek, MacBook, bursting, breakout


My plot makes no sense at all. And I can't make it make sense. It seemed like a good idea at the time, to head away from the character development kind of plot I was vaguely thinking of and emphasise the lightweight thriller-y kind of element of things, because that's far more easy to fit into 50,000 words. But with that kind of plot, it really, really helps if you know where you're heading: what the plan is, from start to finish.

Otherwise you plot yourself into a corner, like I've just done, and get completely stuck.

I mean, I can see this being a useful exercise, at the very least, and I can see me using some of these characters and ideas. But right now, I just can't see myself actually finishing this thing. Okay, so it doesn't have to make sense; that's part of NaNoWriMo. But try telling my writer/muse/whatever that. If I can't see anywhere for the plot to go, and I can't even see any way of fixing the existing stuff I've written, I don't seem to be able to get on with the next scene. I've tried a few things; I've even tried starting from the end and working backwards. But it doesn't seem to be working.


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If you've reached the end, why not throw more stuff into the middle, or the beginning. As long as you're adding stuff without editing?

What about a sea change? change some of the last few pages to start hint at a zoom-out - bring in something completely new like an outside observer, could be watching telly, spying, an assassin following his prey, stalkers, hunters, etc? LGM (Little green men)? (As long as it not a Bobby Ewing moment) A new character like this might throw things into temporary dis-array, but could kickstart you? Something I usually deplore is a deus ex machina, but it can work to good effect sometimes. Try for only one in a story, though :)

How about killing a major character off? Someone you've come to really like in the first half of the story? Drop a bomb into the middle of everything? Is it contemporary? Suicide bombers need no explanation for the people they kill. If you do something indiscriminate, then you have an excuse for more character development as they have to come to terms with it all? Then get back into the action with a meaty bit of revenge?! :) Or train crash - again, not something that has to make sense, but less revenge motive... unless someone deliberately left a vehicle at a level crossing?

You could try some other tricks - how about adding in a few throwback scenes? Pads it out, changes the pacing. Relieves the tension after a massive action sequence. Do some moral reversal, where the good guys become the baddies & vice versa? Could work with suicide bomber theme...

Bah - I shouldn't be giving advice when I never give myself the time to write anyway...

Well, I seem to be doing okay with the end. For my plot, it might turn out to have been better to start at the end and work my way back to the beginning. I probably wouldn't have ended up writing myself into so many corners.

It's not all bad; I think I'll be able to keep up the wordcount, at least. But I'm finding increasing difficulty keeping that inner editor turned off; the one who keeps on screaming, "But that plot just doesn't make any sense! How could that possibly have happened?" I think, however, that if I just keep on going, I'll have enough idea of what's gone right and what's gone wrong by the end, and maybe how to fix it without throwing it all away and starting again.

My main problem is that I didn't introduce my antagonist early enough, so my characters were mostly battling with an unseen and uncharacterised enemy, which didn't really do any good, and means he got introduced too late to be anything other than two-dimensional. And also it didn't help generate plot, not knowing much about what the bad guy was up to, or why.

Plus my premise/much of the plot is based on one or drugs which have some quite interesting effects, but I ended up locking said drugs away in a garage early on, and not getting them out in time to actually demonstrate what they were all about.

What I might do from here on in is to write some of the scenes which should have existed earlier on, showing and telling about the antagonist and the drugs, and not worry that they simply don't fit in to the plot or connect to anything else. I think they'll be needed for a finished product, and once I've got them down it might become more apparent how to link them up. There's always March's National Novel Editing Month!

But, yes, I may be referring back to your comment if I run out of steam (still nearly 19,000 words to go! Argh!) Heck, I might even get desperate enough to introduce Bobby Ewing himself, let alone use dodgy plot tricks! After all, I am starting from a premise of characters who are used to taking large quantities of hallucinogenic drugs :)

I have no advice because I know I could not do what you are doing! .. I have read the excerpt and its good, keep pushing mate we are all behind you!

Oh and please publish the finished article, I really wanna know how it turns out :-) The story look fun.

I have no advice because I know I could not do what you are doing!

Heh. I never let that stop me giving people advice :)

I think "keep pushing" is all the advice I need right now; everything else will just stem from that...

Publication will come a fair bit later. I may consider editing before the "official" National Novel Editing Month in March, but it definitely needs a little time and distance to let the unconscious work on things before I start trying to fix it...

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