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  #1  
Old 05-08-2010, 07:05 PM
Pokol DaErran's Avatar
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Default Plotting Ahead of Time

I was thinking about this recently, and I was interested to know;
How much of a fanfic's plot do you have planned out before you start it?

Personally, like legendary cartoonist Bill Watterson, I prefer to start a fanfic while only having the beginning and a very vague idea of what's going to happen. Things often end up happening in a way that they weren't originally supposed to, and sometimes even I'll be surprised by the way the characters resolve their conflict. Overall, I find it makes stories come out as feeling a lot more real and organic, although the plot will be less obviously coherent.

You?
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Old 05-08-2010, 11:30 PM
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Default Re: Plotting Ahead of Time

I typically start out with a beginning and an end, with some vague idea of a middle. An idea I've been mulling over recently, though, I'm planning out more in detail, because it involves a lot of secret plotting, counterplotting, Xanatos Gambits and maybe even a Thirty Xanatos Pileup (see TV tropes if you don't know what those are, though I warn you, you may be stuck on that site for a while...).

I guess the rule of thumb is: the more complicated a plot you want to have, you more planning you should do to make sure that plot remains coherent. If you want a fairly straightforward storyline with only a few plot twists, it's pretty safe to go ahead with only a vague idea. If you want a complex web of plotlines, better get out the notepad.
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  #3  
Old 05-09-2010, 12:47 AM
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Default Re: Plotting Ahead of Time

Yeah, I love TV Tropes too. I have serious problems with TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Vocabulary, though...

My stories generally aren't too complex, but I find I can get complicated plots by dropping a bunch of Story Bread Crumbs (see above) and then start finding ways to tie them into whatever the plot is by that point once the story nears completion.
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Old 05-09-2010, 01:18 AM
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Default Re: Plotting Ahead of Time

Well, I have a pretty good idea on how the plot will advance. Like Lus, I have the beginning and ending planned, but don't exactly have everything in the middle planned. A lot of scenes just pop right out of thin air, you know? But I have goals, but not concrete ways to reach them, ya know? ^^
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Old 05-09-2010, 01:21 AM
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Default Re: Plotting Ahead of Time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pokol DaErran View Post
Yeah, I love TV Tropes too. I have serious problems with TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Vocabulary, though...

My stories generally aren't too complex, but I find I can get complicated plots by dropping a bunch of Story Bread Crumbs (see above) and then start finding ways to tie them into whatever the plot is by that point once the story nears completion.
Problem with that is you tend to run into plot holes and things that just don't make sense, which is where the planning comes in.
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Old 05-09-2010, 04:25 AM
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Default Re: Plotting Ahead of Time

TV Tropes is one addicting website. @_@

For a long while, I used to start a fan fic with an idea that consisted of a beginning and a vague end, or no end at all. Needless to say, not one of them was ever finished. I would either run out of ideas, run out of inspiration, or run myself into plot holes and situations that require something ridiculous to get out of.

Now, I decided that I would not start writing a story unless I have each and every chapter planned out. I don't plan every detail, though, because taking yourself by surprise is half the fun. I have numerous points in my story plan of MGA where it's something like, "Character X goes through cave full of obstacles to reach Character Y" or "Character X chases Characters Y and Z through (insert place here)" and I can have a lot of fun coming up with ideas that fill in the holes I left. I can have the fun of writing my story without the stress of wondering how the plot will work.

I start out with just pages of notes. I write down anything that I think will contribute to the plot. I add more notes, expand on some, declare others stupid and rule them out, until I have enough to say, "Okay, I can start sorting these notes into chapters now." Sometimes a plot doesn't get beyond the stage of notes, and it's left in a notebook or in a file on my pen drive to be forgotten or discovered again. I find that leaving an idea forgotten or at the back of your mind and picking it up later will involve plenty of changes. *looks at current fic* xD

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  #7  
Old 05-09-2010, 05:29 AM
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Default Re: Plotting Ahead of Time

It really depends on the story for me. Sometimes I have nearly the whole plot planned out, other times just a beginning, end, and some parts in the middle, and still other times when I just have a vague idea of a plot.

The Path of Destiny started out the third way. Actually, it started out as something random I wrote when I was bored one afternoon. When I started it, I only had a very vague idea of a plot and just made up something quick (Articuno vanishing from the mountains in which he had previously resided) to get the main character to have to go on an adventure. Chapter two was basically to introduce two new characters, give them a really vague backstory, so I had a trio of pokemon on this big adventure thing I could make up as I went along.

I think the first danger they came across was the ghosts at the rocks, and I wanted that to be all mysterious and have them act like they were guarding something. That led to Blazefang discovering the stone hidden there which I decided would have some meaning to the plot that I barely knew anything about at the time, I just wasn't sure what that meaning would be.

A few chapters later, and I actually starting piecing everything together into a more or less coherent plot, and made up the Forbidden Attacks which would end up being what the overall plot of the story was about. As I went on, I kept adding more and more to this plot in my mind long before I ever reached those places in the story, and ended up having a good idea of where the story was headed, always planning a few chapters ahead.

As for where it is now, I have an idea for the ending (but I'm still open to the fact that I may change my plans a bit as I go along) and several ideas for the middle, but I also leave a lot of the middle open, since I'm constantly getting new ideas for my story, which of course makes me end up actually wanting to write a few of them. I've planned ahead with the next few chapters of the story and I know where it is going, I just always have to remember that odds are I'll get some really cool idea and just HAVE to include it, so I've gotten used to things changing and random ideas springing up from nowhere.


Mind Whisperer is being written pretty much the same as The Path of Destiny, only I had a better idea of where I was going with that one when I started it, and it wasn't just I'm-bored-and-want-to-write-a-story-now-okay.


I have a non-pokemon fan fic that I'm writing, and for that one, I pretty much had almost the whole plot thought out before I started writing it, mostly because I'd spent a few months thinking about it at random times before I actually started writing. I still left a lot of the middle open for whatever random misadventures I come up with whenever I actually get to that part in the story.


My non-fan fic stories are usually either like how The Path of Destiny started, or have a beginning, end, and random middle parts before I start writing.
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  #8  
Old 05-09-2010, 10:11 AM
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Default Re: Plotting Ahead of Time

Not that I've written anything in a while, but I usually just write without knowing where I'm going. It's usually based on some form of inspiration, which could be a phrase or an idea, and then I just base everything on wanting to use that phrase/idea in the best way possible.

This is probably why I really only write one-shots. I have tried a few chapter fics but they always die out after a few chapters. After failing with my first, I had actually pretty much planned the second one out to what should happen each chapter, but I found that then I got rather bored of writing it. Maybe part of the fun of writing for me is not knowing what's going to happen until that idea pops into my head and then finding some way of incorporating that. xD

It's probably best to have a vague idea of where you want the story to go though. And I agree that planning is essential if you have a very complicated plot.
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Old 05-18-2010, 08:15 PM
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Default Re: Plotting Ahead of Time

I need to "sit" on my fanfics, but I don't need to develop them. I don't need to script out every tiny detail of the story, but I do need to get a feel for the characters and for the plot. Chapter summaries bore me, but whole days spent developing just one character do not. While I am all for making stuff up as I go along or changing the plot halfway through (hello, Metal Coat), I feel that working too much on the fine points of a story is simply not as fun as merely writing it and working the small stuff out as I go along. It's a strange process, and I often end up with absurdly-defined characters and a vague ghostie of a plot. But that's how my brain works, and it's dragged me through two full-length fanfics and three or four one-shots so I'm sticking with it.
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  #10  
Old 05-19-2010, 07:45 AM
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Default Re: Plotting Ahead of Time

I start with a beginning, than move onto the end. Mainly, think about the characters and how what will happen to them happens. Then, the middle, their quest, battle, or whatever starts to unfold. In the end, the climax, is when all the problems are confronted and removed, or the main characters are defeated and a dark reign of evil takes the land... Kind of a Lord of the Rings thing buuuuuut, you get the drift...
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Old 06-06-2010, 11:26 PM
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Default Re: Plotting Ahead of Time

I usually have everything planned out, at least vaguely, before I even put pen to paper. I take a month or so to think over different parts of the story, and then I'll start writing.

But I often do the exact opposite, and start with no plans or ideas at all. This doesn't really work out much, though.
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Old 07-04-2010, 04:45 AM
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Default Re: Plotting Ahead of Time

Well, like many people here, it kinda depends which story I'm talking about. With Through the Eyes of a Flareon, I basically started that because I really wanted to write a story that I could stick with. The plot began as a really vague path I was following with my friend, who I was co-writing the story with. The whole plot was that Dusty and Izante, the two main characters, would be introduced in the middle of a battle against two pokemon who belonged to mysterious trainers. Then eventually they'd be captured and brought miles away from their trainers. Once they arrived at a Team Rocket camp, they were split up but managed to escape, and then the whole story from there would be to make their ways back home.

That's really as far as I got. However, everything changed as it came to that part, and because I basically had a fight with the "friend" I was writing the story with, I couldn't stand having Izante as one of the main characters. So I found a way around that, and now I've got proper plans for the story. I get stuck at times because of the lack in planning I have done, but I do plan ahead. I used to be able to just freely write with no plans at all, and random things appeared, as well as twists, funny scenes and new characters, like in my first Sonic story, but yeah.

I mean, I try to plan properly, but sometimes it just doesn't work. I get plotholes, things don't work, or I simply have no idea for what would come next. But that's where inspiration comes in!

~GS.
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  #13  
Old 07-18-2010, 12:30 AM
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Default Re: Plotting Ahead of Time

With my writing the quickest way to kill even the best idea is to plan it out in detail. Since I love detail a lot of the energy that would normally go into the actual writing of a fic gets up and dies if I waste it by spilling it from the safe little bucket that is my mind onto a plotting sheet (or even worst, into a chatroom).
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