Plot organization.

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Plot organization.

Post by Lady Goodman on Sat Jun 06, 2009 12:07 pm

Plots, for the most part, are relatively easy. It's the entire reason you sit down to write a book - because you have a great beginning and an end that you want to see transpired to paper.

The biggest problem I have with plots, is how to organize the in betweens. For example - in the book I'm writing now, I see a series developing around the main character. I'm not worried so much about that now, because I have to make the first book good enough to even get published before I can even think about moving on. But that doesn't stop me from putting little things in this book to be played out or detailed further in later novels.

The problem: My MC, Evelyn, comes from a highly abusive family. I touch on this very slightly in the first chapter and I had planned to put a tid bit description about this throughout the rest of the book. Throughout the novel, she spends the majority of her time in a high-stress situation in which I had planned on relating situations from her childhood etc. Many people I've talked to that have read my first 5 chapters are frustrated by this. In many novels I've read, authors sometimes spend the first 1/3 or 1/2 of the book just describing and setting up these characters.

Since my book is going to be approximately 20 chapters, the standard 70-80K words, as well as told from 2-3 character POVs (alternating between chapters) - I wanted to give you enough description of the characters to get a feel for how they are and then describe more about them as the book develops. I'm seeing more and more that this is rather unorthodox - and some people love the idea and others are immediately turned off.

As authors, how important is it to follow the formula set up by hundreds of authors - and how important is it to stay true to what you believe could work, if people just give it a chance? Should I save this layout for later (post-published) novels and just put in some more description chapters at the beginning?
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Re: Plot organization.

Post by ebyss on Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:25 pm

You know, lots of people are like you have to stay in one pov or the reader is confused. I say poppycock. You can switch between pov's. Look at Tolkien, King, and those are the two right off the top of my head, but when you are in first person, you do need to put some form of break, like you said, switch in chapters to show switch in POV"s

As far as developing characters, everyone always says the first chapter is not the place for backstory. Which I think is bs too, to a certain degree.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with developing characters as the need arises as the story progresses. I can't think of the books I read that has done that, but I have seen it done. When I think of them, I will post them.

As far as a set formula for authors, I do not think there is any. Any book I pick up always breaks the rules that all these different writing sites preach on. Not this one though :) Of course, then they always say well they are established. I think that is bull too. The authors started somewhere, and they each have their own style.
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If your story is good, and it keeps the reader turning the page, then go for it. Bottom line, agents and such aren't looking for this or that. I seriously doubt they think--hey this is an okay book, BUT OMG, she developed characters as the book progresses. REJECT!! They are looking for stuff that catches potential market attention and keeps them turning the page. If your book does that then that is all you need. After all the market wants one thing, a good read.

It is your book, write it with passion and love of your story. If it is good, it is good.

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Re: Plot organization.

Post by Garmar on Sat Jun 06, 2009 2:38 pm

Lady Goodman wrote:
Since my book is going to be approximately 20 chapters, the standard 70-80K words, as well as told from 2-3 character POVs (alternating between chapters) - I wanted to give you enough description of the characters to get a feel for how they are and then describe more about them as the book develops. I'm seeing more and more that this is rather unorthodox - and some people love the idea and others are immediately turned off. This doesn't sound odd to me. Your MC(s) should grow and change as he/she progresses beyond each problem, just like real people. I don't think I could slog through 2 or 3 chapters of description of the character without some sort of stressful situation being worked out by the MC, and the consequences of those actions spinning out new plot directions.

As authors, how important is it to follow the formula set up by hundreds of authors - and how important is it to stay true to what you believe could work, if people just give it a chance? Should I save this layout for later (post-published) novels and just put in some more description chapters at the beginning? I think you should write it the way you want to, as long as it is in a format that can be accepted by publishers, of course. It sounds like you have already developed a distinctive style, and the fact that you've evoked an emotion from others, as you said in an earlier paragraph, makes me believe that you are writing compelling fiction. The best stories I've ever read registered a strong reaction from me.

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Re: Plot organization.

Post by Guest on Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:11 pm

The only consistent formula I've seen is that a book must be in category A. B, C or D below to sell.
A. Gets the reader's interest in the first few (no more than 5) pages
B. Is written by a famous figure or is a non-fiction by an established expert in the field.
C. Is required reading at universities.
D. Has been banned with a lot of publicity


All else are attempts to expand on A.

My 02 cents worth
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