Discussion in 'General Fantasy' started by Lady Ariana, Apr 4, 2009.
What is your plot idea? Got any helping ideas for fantasy authors out there?
Well, not to sound rude, but I'm of the opinion that people should come up with their own plot ideas. Originality is important to me, so I try to create them for myself. But if you've got some kind of idea of your own that you'd like others to help you polish or build upon, I'd be more than happy to contribute, as I'm sure others would.
But to contribute something anyways, I'll share my own method of plot creation. Rather than trying to build a plot from the ground up, I usually get some cool little idea in head and build on that until it turns into a plot of its own. For instance, I've always liked darker fantasy and mystery books, so I thought it would be great to have a story in which there's someone killing people, which is read from the killer's point of view, yet the readers don't know who it is. So they get the awesomeness of reading through the brutal murder, but it's still a mystery for them AND the characters to solve. And that built itself into a whole plot idea in my head, going from the idea of the killer, to cool scenes of how he killed people, to how to misdirect a reader and how the characters would react, and on and on.
So yeah, there you go, a plot idea. Mystery killer whom the readers get to witness in the act.
i have to agree with jorick there
I don't see why coming up with your own is important, it's not like it's hard. I have hundreds of them floating around. The story construction is the important thing; everybody has lots of plot ideas. Of course, it's much harder to write somebody else's idea than your own, which is why I feel sorry for ghostwriters.
Haha, exactly my reasoning for saying to do it yourself. It's not hard, so why ask for other people's ideas?
I honestly think it's b/c of reference plus having something to transform from plot wise. I did that quite a lot tbh. Only diff is I got the whole thing from stuff I've read by random.
Ah, point taken. I bet most (if not all) writers get ideas from things they've read. My whole issue with this particular instance is that it seems very direct, like they're fishing for ideas to take as their own. I don't ask a book what sort of plot ideas might be good for my own work, why does this person ask us forum users for plot ideas in such a way?
Erm maybe it's b/c of his/her brain working differently?
A lot of people have surprising difficulty coming up with a plot, even a terrible cliche'd one.
I gotta say that I agree with Jorick though. If you can't come up with a plot...you shouldn't be writing. The plot is the easiest part of novel construction, next to the good ol' fantasy stand-by of map drawing. If either of those are a challenge, things like character development, story pacing and climax are going to be nearly impossible.
That being said, a lot of fantasy authors admit to starting out playing RPG's to develop a level of comfort with plot and character development. Perhaps it would be best to start with a local group and see if their input doesn't help spark the fire of creativity inside....though I would beware the ones who dress up like their characters. Not because of some elitist stance or anything, just because those people are usually so wrapped up in their own personal experience that they aren't likely to be of any help at all.
anything with a fantasy character in the center of the plot. something like: an elf has to cope with changes of environment when she moves to a new place only to find herself surrounded by mortals. you could ask JoElle for advice =)
Writing with somebody else's idea as a starting point can give a fresh perspective on the idea. Of course, you have to be pretty good to pull it off well if it deviates from mainstream formula. I don't do it, personally.
I agree totally. But they can have one of my old ideas if they like; it's useless to me since it turned out to be incompatible with my style.
A young apprentice magician or religious acolyte performs a minor crime. Angered, hir teacher throws hir out, saying "don't come back until you know your place!" The acolyte, devoid of any path in life now, begins to wander the world.
Eventually, they meet up with the main protagonist (this works best with the acolyte as a supporting character IMO but it depends largely on the story it's put into). The acolyte comes from an order that believes in reincarnation, and as they travel s/he acts as a sort of spiritual guide to the hero and teaches hir about their connection with all living things, et cetera, insert whatever feel-good mumbo-jumbo you like. They meet various people who have different ideas on spirituality, including a few who believe in different types of reincarnation -- some think only animals have "souls", others think animals (inc. humans, et cetera) can reincarnate as other animals and plants have souls too, but only reincarnate as other plants, some think only humans reincarnate as other humans, whatever. they meet a particular group who hold the obscure belief that reincarnations do not have to be serial, and that soul mates (or twins, or something similar depending on story style) are actually the same soul, reincarnated. (Yes, Pratchett used this; no, he didn't invent it.)
Their journey requires the group to go to the acolyte's old school/temple/whatever. At some sufficiently dramatic point, the acolyte figures something out and, when they get there, confronts hir old master. They claim to "know their place" and explain their theory -- that all things are reincarnated, not necessarily serially, using the minimum amount of souls necessary. That minimum amount is, of course, one -- all life is connected by this chain, a single sould living billions of lives, and every action that influences others actually influences yourself in another time. the acolyte explains that all things are one in this manner, that the karmic consequences even out, and that thus, every person is one and a representation of the whole universe.
The master accepts this answer, of course, and says that the acolyte is ready to move on.
This can fit into a generic fantasy story as a subplot, and is quite flexible. I have no use for it and don't mind if other people want it. However, it's a very mediocre idea, so if your can't come up with better than this on your own then it might be difficult to write it anyway.
Ah, well, I didn't think of it in terms of using it as a jumping point. I still wouldn't suggest doing it though. Like I said though, my problem here is the blatant "hey, give me your ideas" thing.
Speaking of which, I just now realized where I got the murderer idea from. In one of the Sword of Truth books, Temple of the Winds I think, there was a character that had that going on. It had him killing prostitutes without telling who the killer was...
But at least I didn't ask someone for the idea, heh.
Ideas can come from anywhere.
Usually I get ideas and have to start a novel and then put it away because something else comes bouncing into my head.
My first novel started in my head while I was driving through Willamette National Forest on the night of a full moon and a childhood memory came slamming into my mind and a story began. That turned into a four book series. By the third and fourth book, my characters had just taken over. I never plot, the characters in my stories just sort of do their own thing.
I am now working on two novels. Both fantasy romance.
In on of them the male MC is an elf who is lost in the modern day world of humans.
For this story, I was sitting in a small restaurant in the Los Angles area. I saw the most amazing, PRETTY homeless man. I was stuck by the peace in his expression. That homeless man got my brain working ... and the next thing I knew ... I had an idea for my next novel.
The other story I am working on was inspired by a York Peppermint Patty. I was eating one of these and was just amazed by how delicious a combination chocolate and peppermint are. This novel is about soulmates and the human female MC loves chocolate, while the Elf male MC drinks peppermint tea.
See? Ideas come from anywhere ....
That was a pretty awful book, I thought.
Yeah, actively asking for ideas seems strange, but it's not important enough for me to bring myself to care that much. I assume the OP is by somebody who has just begun to get into writing and wants something to practise on. It can take a while to be able to tell which of your own ideas you can pull off and which you can't, so if they want to play around with others to find their feet, hey, whatever. It's slightly better than yet more stock fantasy stories that are all the same apart from the character names being churned out instead.
The problem with those stories is it's really hard to write them without going the bad-fanfic-style woe and angst route. Before you know it, your character is a Mary Sue and/or a sissy lusting after some human boy and moping all the time that he'll be dead within a century. It's too easy to let your protagonist suck up the entire focus of the plot and leave little room for any realistic level of development. But that's just me, I find traditional fantasy very hard to write well.
That's what is awesome about fantasy though. There are no rules.
I write modern day fantasy/romance. And they are sort of like modern day fairy tales. I like happily ever after. My elves are always a little naughty ... yet noble. The humans are clever and have a sense of humor.
But I invent the rules about how long who lives, what kind of magic or abilities they have, and rules about fae/human relationships. It's my world and I get to make sure everyone is satisfied.
I don't like drama and angst!!!
So, while there are issues and problems to deal with, mostly they are handled with intelligence and sometimes a sense of humor.
It's my story. My world. My characters. My rules.
I seldom have problems coming up with plots. Making sure they have a proper structure is more of a concern, along with the quality of the prose (I'd rather read a well-written novel with a cliched plot than a badly-written-novel with an original plot). Though I'm the kind of guy who can spend a week rewriting the same paragraph, so perhaps I'm slightly too obssessive about the whole thing...
you could let the plot right itself. My first novellette the grand total of my original plot was I have a main character (my runescape character even) he needs to get to the clan he joined and he needs to get kicked out. That was it. 16,000 words off of that. Of course it was a fan work so a lot of things were expected to be known but I really just knew he was on this hill and he needed to get kicked out. After travelling down the hill he got attacked by goblins which ended up being a parallel story with the goblins and it just kinda went off like that. I had no idea what was going to happen next, how he was going to get there or even where 'there' even was hahah. Sometimes just getting it started and sitting down and doing it produces the next event on its own. Although if you want it to be good, unlike mine I think, the editing will be heftier and take longer but writing it is a lot of fun
I agree, it wasn't great. But at the time I read it, I thought it was a decent book overall. And then I read good fantasy and was disabused of the notion...
And as for the not caring about it, neither do I. This whole thing started with me being bored enough to make a reply, and then coming back to see what sort of responses other people gave, see if I was weird in my thinking or not. So yeah, good on you for not caring about pointless junk, haha.
I MYSELF HAVE A PRETTY NICE PLOT, BUT I'M NOT GOING TO SAY MUCH, AS I'M AFRAID THAT SOMEBODY WILL STEAL MY IDEAS IF I REVEAL MY PLOT. I HAVEN'T GOT MUCH RIGHT NOW, BUT I'M WORKING ON IT.
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