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June 12, 2020



I'd read Jane Eyre minus Bertha plus Darcy! I mean, exactly who of the Two Frankly-Kinda-Jerks would come out ahead, between Rochester and Darcy? I don't know!

There are "plot beat" things and "plot arc" things for screenplays and novels - it might be possible to look at some of those for the fiction you're vaguely aiming for and see what "shape" different books have taken according to these forms of representation and then catalogue what you have to see how to shape things and what you're missing? This is definitely not a way I've written anything, but it might be worth a shot, anyway?

(and YES. If you're unconstrained by anything, but don't know what you're aiming for, everything is... harder.)


KC - I have looked at those plot point 1 / 2 outline. It’s harder than it looks! I have a lot of “something happens here to make x happen” and I need to discover what that something is ... but writing it, because just general thinking isn’t getting me anywhere.


Ah! If you know where you need to get to, then that's easier!

Still, the whole "I need to motivate this..." thing can be challenging. Honestly, if you have one human who can be a vaguely-receptive surface for brainstorming out loud, a lot of things can get slotted in very quickly; you list out the ingredients you have, and then start explaining the pieces you're missing, and boom, there you go, having crazy ideas, at least one or two of which will probably work as scenes/bits.

(you do still have to write it, though.)


KC - I’m contenting myself writing backstory that will not be included.


That seems like a coping mechanism, but perhaps not the most *efficient* coping mechanism.

That said, when you are not quite sure where to move forward, doing something that at least gets you in that world and thinking about the characters and such is something!


KC - they tell me plot comes from characters, so if you are having trouble with your plot get to know your characters.


While that's true, I think you can form your characters for the convenience of your plot (as long as you don't... re-form them) - so if you need someone who will do X with Y provocation, you can build that character and backstory. Or if you have no clue but *want* to know what provocation would cause this character to do X, then you can get to know them until you've got ideas for what the suitable provocation might be. :-)

I've done some... weird stuff... which might only really be describable as niche semi-non-fiction fanfiction, when friends have mentioned this totally-inexplicable-thing they saw someone do and I've built a backstory and plot to make things culminate (ridiculously) in that totally baffling action. It's really fun, and it's also good exercise! I guess: try all sorts of things to get at what will make a particular bit of plot tick, and do whatever works for you. :-)


KC - but wouldn’t it be fair to say that fan-fiction stars with really well-thought out, established characters? I think I need to get my characters established as fully as they’ve been after a few seasons of a tv show. Though, given that one of them is essentially Mr. Rochester / my brother / Jerry, he’s pretty set. One of them is flat-out my Dad, and the heroine is a Jane Eyre mic]Ed is with my Mom. I think maybe my problem right now is that my parents wouldn’t do what I want them to do in the plot, but the literary Chan rafters would, and I need to make sense of that.


Sometimes plots can be made more directly motivating to the character involved (I mean: new spy recruits: you can have people who wouldn't take risks like this for money, but *would* do it for idealism/loyalty/sex/power/revenge/because-they've-been-cornered-so-they'd-be-embarrassed-not-to/for-that-one-baseball-card-they've-always-wanted), but yes, if you can't find some way of sweetening the pot, plot-wise, then you have to figure out if this person *isn't* quite [person you know] then who *are* they exactly, which backstory would definitely help with!


KC - I am not even close to that. Baby steps!


Not even close to knowing how to sweeten the pot, or not even close to knowing the ways in which this person isn't *quite* that person?

But yes! Baby steps, and it really is doable.


KC - well, I did some writing last night on backstory, which I can always change. Writing the wrong thing is better than writing nothing.

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