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I have two loglines, but no plot. Please, help me!

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Writer’s_Magic, May 20, 2018.

  1. I don’t know if you know this problem. But at the moment I have just the logline of two projects, which I’m planning. And I don’t know how to find the plot. Of course, I mind-mapped like a mad girl. However, the result is still the same. No plot. So, maybe you should know my ideas. Here they are:


    An American woman, who lives in the future, must survive because furious North gods want to see her dead. They heard a prophecy, which says she causes the (gods’) world’s end.

    Web series

    The descendants of superheroes (of course, my own characters) go together to a high school, where they learn how to become a superhero. But they also have the problem of a normal kid.

    Do you know any technique that transforms these loglines into two damn story? No mind-mapping. I tried it. It didn’t help.
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
  2. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    I wouldn't consider yourself at a logline stage. I would say you have that first step, that "thing" you think you want to write about. The next step isn't to plot but to figure out all the little stuff that buried in your concept (I'm sure you probably have done some of this).

    An American woman, who lives in the future, must survive because furious North gods want to see her dead. They heard a prophecy, which says she causes the (gods’) world’s end.

    There's a lot to unpack, like how things have changed in the future, where the North gods have been, what the prophecy says, what resources the North gods have to send after her (appear in person? Send in a flight of Valkyries?). How does she cause the end of the world? How does she learn about this? How does she survive before she knows what's happening (does someone come to help her?).

    Follow through with these kinds of questions, forgetting about "plot" and whatever else, until you have more flushed out of your concept. The idea here is to figure out what you have to work with. Keep asking yourself the kind of questions that must be asked based on your concept. The gods must learn about the prophecy, so how? They must go after the woman, so what are some ways they can do that? That kind of thing.

    After you've got this big mess of ideas spread out ahead of you, that's when you start to think in terms of plot. There are different plot structures to work from, most of which accomplish the same goals, and you should try to wrap your brain about the way they work in order to think in terms of structure for your own story - and you can always adjust them to fit your needs as you progress as a writer.

    The one that's popular here at Mythic Scribes is the seven point plot structure.

    Hook - Something intriguing to get you started, the inciting incident
    Plot Point - The character's call to action
    Pinch - A big crisis occurs and we meet the main threat
    Midpoint - The character shifts to become proactive
    Pinch - A second big crisis occurs, this time the main character helped create it
    Turning Point - The character realizes everything he's learned and needs to win
    Resolution - The big climax which resolves the situation

    ^ i would suggest googling the framework and reading more on the subject.

    If it sounds a little simple, it shouldn't. It's designed to be used for subplots, for side plots, for each POV character... layers upon layers of this structure mixing things up.
    evolution_rex likes this.
  3. DevorDevor So, you mean, I should ask the main questions. You know. What, who, where, why, when, and how. But in different categories: who are her enemies? Why are they her enemies? But that can’t be everything, do it? … Do you have other questions, too?
  4. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

    I think you need to stop brainstorming and starts freewriting. You have enough here to get started. Just get started. I pretty much never know what my plot/theme/characters are until after I have finished the first entire draft. I have an idea of what it might be, it it often changes so often as I write that I try not to worry too much about it until the very end. I do start with a logline, but the rest I figure out as I go along. As I free write tens of thousands of words I start to see what motivates the characters, what makes them tick, what feels “real”.... plot starts to form as a result of characters being thrown together in a boiling pot of trouble.

    It is not unusual for me to write seven or eight paragraphs before finding that diamond that I know is the true plot. Then I have to delete pretty much everything before that diamond, or rewrite it to bring that diamond to the surface and polish it up nice and shiny for the reader.... but all that comes from having written, not from spending a billion hours planning.

    Dive in. Get to work. You can always fix stuff later.
  5. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

    Oh, and I do use the plot structure Devor mentioned above, but I usually have to write about twenty thousand words, than I think “ok, where is my inciting event? Where is my pinch?” Then I delete most of what I have written except the most important bits and polish them up all shiny and rewrite the rest so it makes sense.
  6. HeliotropeHeliotrope Well. Freewriting isn’t my style. You’ll lose the way and your story doesn’t make sense then. So, another idea?
  7. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

    Is this your first novel? It is very common for newer writers to be afraid of exploring. You want a formula so you can write as quickly and efficiently as possible. You don’t want to waste time writing into a corner and then have to delete thirty thousand words and try again. That is normal. Newer writers will spend months planning a novel, too afraid to just dive right in and get started because “what if I make a mistake?”

    But writing is all about making mistakes and figuring it out as you go along. You can plot until the cows come home but at some point you have to start writing. If you don’t yet have a plot, than start writing. The first draft is you telling yourself the story. Don’t show it to anyone. Close the door. As you go along things will start to happen. A plot will form, trust me. It will. Then you can go back and tighten stuff up later.

    Do yourself a favour and get a couple writing books. Try “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott, and “Structuring your novel” by K.M Weiland.
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
  8. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

    Yeah, it’s scary. I went through all the same fears as you. It seems so huge and daunting and it seems like planning makes the most sense and you want it to do well.

    Try the two books I mentioned above. Read “Bird by Bird” first, then “Structuring your novel”. Meanwhile, just pick a point in the story and start writing stuff. Anything. Don’t share it with anyone because it will be terrible and that is okay. First drafts are terrible. You can burn it later. I would suggest you do it in a notebook, not a computer (I’m writing an article for this site on the value of the writers notebook). Take your notebook everywhere you go, put it and a pen in your purse or back pocket. When you have a minute on your lunch break, or at the doctors office, or between classes.... or anytime you see or imagine something that resonates with you (a person, or a setting, or a plot point) immediately write it in your notebook. Meanwhile, keep freewriting. Pick a scene that you see happening in the story and just write it. It doesn’t matter if it comes at the beginning, middle, or end. Just start writing it. You can arrange where all these little snapshots go later, once you know for sure what your plot is.

    Life is a snowball. Every minute you spend jotting stuff and freewriting in your notebook will build up to sometimes an hour or more a day you spent exploring your story. Plot will come.

  9. HeliotropeHeliotrope Oh. The 2nd one will be a Web series; not a book.
  10. evolution_rex

    evolution_rex Inkling

    I agree with everything Devora said. To me, all I see are basic premises, and so what I usually do after coming up with one of those are to start coming up with random details. You must have an idea or two for a scene or visual. Start building details around what you know about the story so far.

    Of course, I think up of premises all the time and often there isn’t a story for me. If you didn’t have a character or scene or visual or anything in particular that inspired you to make th premise, then maybe its just not passionate within you, which is fine. However, I assume the premise came from something so I’m sure you can come up with details.
  11. evolution_rexevolution_rex And if the logline is everything you have yet?
  12. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    If you have yet to write a complete story, I wouldn't be too dogmatic about what does and doesn't work for you. Like Heliotrope, I just dove in and started writing. I learned a great deal not just about writing but also about myself and how I work. It took years. I have two novelettes and two novels completed, and I still can't say for sure that I can write this way or can't write that way.

    You're asking how to turn an idea into a story. There are a hundred different answers. I'll offer another.

    Outline. Rather than freewriting your way into the story, try writing down ideas, snippets, even scenes. I call this telling the story to myself. The way you would tell another person in detail about your favorite book. When I do this, I'm looking for hooks. Not reader hooks, but me hooks. I'm looking for characters that catch my eye, plot devices, settings that seem cool--the raw material of stuff that will keep my enthusiasm during the long slog ahead. I usually wind up with multiple possible plots from a core idea.
    Heliotrope likes this.

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