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Plotting the second book.

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Robert Donnell, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. Robert Donnell

    Robert Donnell Minstrel

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    The first book is finished. So the world, the rules the major characters, the situation is done. Now I want to get deep, have the characters, do evil things for good reasons so that the question of good and evil gets turned on it's head.

    Beginning: Bad guys come asking for help, People balk, say let them die! Racism and Bigotry are rampant.

    Middle: A major effort is made to help but there are signs that something is wrong, there is a giant conspiracy to murder the helpless Bad Guys.

    End: The bad guys turn out to be bad guys after all and the giant conspiracy was just the Good Guys getting in their licks early. So the Racists and Bigots turn out to have been correct, the Bad Guys can not be trusted, and the Liberal do-gooders turn out to be Idiots who should be shunned for being soft on the bad guys.

    So how do I go from that to a plot?
     
  2. BeigePalladin

    BeigePalladin Sage

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    ...wow, thats a damned avillicious plot you have there at the end. it probably dosen't read as badly, but the summary there is actually very, very offennsive. especially the flase profoundness of looking at "good and evil" when it seems to exist only to ake a point that no-one can change and being nice/trusting/liberal is stupid...

    also, I wouldn't describe the people against the badguys as "racists and bigots" if they have an actual reason not to want to help them other than racism/biggotry (and history is a reason) as that's rather offensie to call anyone who dosen't like someone else a racist/biggot. Also, "Liberaldo-gooders turned out to be idiots and were too nice" ouch. republican? because thats actually a very offensive phrase (I'm sure its not as utterlly offensie as this synopsis makes it read, but you might want to look at the wording here etc)

    other than that I have a question to ask, are you asking for help continuing this plot, or turning this into a more indepth novel, as the post is a bit unclear?
     
  3. Robert Donnell

    Robert Donnell Minstrel

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    What is above is an idea not a plot, maybe a plot sketch, still it is short of a plot outline. What I am asking is how to go from the Idea to the outline.

    Oh it is offensive, hell yeah, basically it is a retelling of our own society's problems, this is what Sci-Fi is good at. This is very similar to the Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country plot. I want to set it in my universe and add obvious references to today's political correctness. but make the Liberals out to be buffoons in the end. Look at the issues in the middle east for a reference point.
     
  4. Helleaven

    Helleaven Minstrel

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    If you write it just from your own political perspective, it would be just a tool for propaganda. If you want to criticise the political situation, you should be able to look from every aspect of it.

    A good writer (as all artists should) must see the world from a perspective that other people can't. He/she must a different approach. I've graduated from Public Administration and Political Science Department, and I can easily say that if you write it from your own perspective and if you just insult others who don't share your opinions, it would be seen as a way of propaganda. Not a piece of artwork.
     
  5. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I disagree with Helleaven. There is no reason whatsoever you can't write a novel with a certain political ideology that turns out to be the "correct" one within the context of the story. The history of Literature is full of just this sort of thing, and approaching it that way doesn't necessarily make it propaganda. In science fiction, there are many, many books where the liberal point of view is lauded, particularly insofar as any of them deal with environmental issues. Oddly enough, you generally see the "propaganda" criticism when people do the same thing from a right-wing point of view. People pointing out the mote in your eye and unable to find the plank in their own, and all that.

    I say go for it. If you can make this into an engaging and highly readable work of fiction, then you'll have succeeded. People who are turned off by the political philosophy that is the "right" one within the story might not read it (people like to have their own views affirmed, not questioned), but that's inherent in any kind of political content.

    Most science fiction stories I see that have any kind of political message push one side or the other. Rarely do you see one where the author is taking a wide look from all points of view and creating an objective picture (maybe because it is hard for the author to really be objective to begin with).
     
  6. Helleaven

    Helleaven Minstrel

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    Right side or left side doesn't matter. All ideologies make their own propagandas. None of them good, none of them bad. It's just like advertorials without trying selling something.

    I do add my political and religious opinions in my story. And I agree, writing a novel is a fine way to do it. But if you do it just to insult other's opinions (whether you're a republican or a democrat (in US)), then it is a propaganda.

    I'm obviously not a democrat and not a republican. We face with different kind of political problems here. I'm just thinking like a political scientist, who must be completely neutral.

    Of course they're just my opinions. If you can give your political view in a work of art, that would be totally good and succesful. All I'm saying is, the art must come to the fore, and the political view must be sensible of between the lines.
     
  7. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Helleaven - I definitely agree with you about the art coming to the fore. The novel must, first and foremost, be successful in its role as a novel. If it is not, then any political message is going to be relatively ineffective.

    I still don't believe the political message has to be sensible and 'between the lines,' however. It may be that the average reader in Turkiye would view things differently than the average reader in the US, but particularly in science fiction it is quite common to strongly push one political viewpoint over another.

    By the way - I would love to see your beautiful country some day. A friend of mine went there and brought back some great pictures.
     
  8. Helleaven

    Helleaven Minstrel

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    Steerpike:

    Actually, I think you're right. It depends on from where you look and as you can see, despite my efforts, I couldn't manage to be to be neutral enough. :)

    Yeah, on second thought, most of the American movies and books have a political message. But it's not always something that we can understand. Because here, everybody claims that they're democrats and republicans at the same time, soooo much different than US. And I think I am a little sensitive about that racism thing, since most of my family members live in Germany and they're living under the threat of Neo-Nazis.

    Steerpike, dear sir, you have my full respect! Thank you so much for using the name Turkiye instead of Turkey, this is a delicate matter. For many people from outside Turkiye it may be just a name and this may not be a big deal. But because of the homophony, there are people who doesn't even know that there is a country named Turkey, and they're making fun of it. It's annoying :)
    Thank you for your kind words about my country! You should definitely come! Istanbul is one of the most dynamic and multicultural cities of the world, you can see historical places like Hagia Sophia and in the night you can drink your wine as looking Asia from Europe or vice versa. There are many cities to see, all of them has ancient histories and ruins. If you decide to come one day, I would definitely welcome you with open arms. I can show you around and be your personal tour guide without a charge, so when you're coming, just inform me, I would provide all the informations you need, the hotels, places, foods etc. And one day I want to visit California, too. It seems so attractive as far as I've seen in the movies. But first come and be my guest, you're most welcomed. :)

    Robert Donnell:

    As you can see, I've changed my mind. Of course the final decision is up to you, but I think as long as it's written well, your idea is going to work. Some may not like it for that reason, and some may adore it. I personally love symbolism. So, I love the works which make me think and feel what it is trying to say.

    Write it well, write it reasonable, write it readable, and then everything is possible :)
     
  9. BeigePalladin

    BeigePalladin Sage

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    I can;t really say much on the plot (you seem to have a pretty good idea already) but I will gie a warning; right now it seems to be less about making a political statement about your views that insulting people who don't share your views (especially since the end goal is as stated to make a certain group look like idiots for not sharing your oppinnion) - I'd advise toning that down a bit in the actual work and focusing on why your view is right rather than theirs is wrong, or else it runs the risk of coming off as a tantrum or random insults instead of something worth reading :)
     
  10. Helleaven

    Helleaven Minstrel

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    Exactly what I was trying to say :)
     
  11. SlimShady

    SlimShady Troubadour

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    From the rough sketch it seems far too preachy for me. I don't like the idea of entire groups being wrong and one being right all along. The political undertones are likely to turn some readers off, although you might not be pursuing the more political approach in the writing.

    Overall this could be a good book if it's written WELL. Although, I am afraid that it may seem too politically biased. But, it is your own work and it would be entirely up to you.
     
  12. Robert Donnell

    Robert Donnell Minstrel

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    Asimov and Heinlein could both get pretty darned preachy, have you guys ever actually read Starship Troopers? Again this is exactly the same plot as Star Trek IV but nobody damned that movie for it's political point of view, why are you guys lining up to complain about a non-existent book?

    I have an idea, a beginning, middle and end, how does one get to a more fleshed out outline?
     
  13. SlimShady

    SlimShady Troubadour

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    Yes, but look at the time that Asimov and Heinlein were writing in. At that time literature was infamous for many things. Books could be racist and more biased back in the day.

    To get a more fleshed out outline you go chapter-by-chapter or even scene-by-scene. Whichever works for you.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2012
  14. If someone says they're going to do something that you would find noxious, why is it bad to tell them that you would find it noxious? Why are you obligated to wait until they've actually done it?
     
  15. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I suspect people are simply upset about the particular political approach you intend to take. I don't think that is a valid 'writing' criticism. If you believe in the story, write it. Works in the way of Asimov and Heinlein are still published today.
     
  16. Robert Donnell

    Robert Donnell Minstrel

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    When I wrote my first book I just went by the seat of my pants and I did get to an end of sorts, but the next book needs more structure, I just see the skeleton>flesh system as better than a pointless book but more mediocre than a good book. Kill Bill had many flashbacks that filled in the story as you went, but if you did a story chronologically there would be a lot of dull stuff and a few action scenes, with the flashbacks you get the necessary information as you need it.

    How does one form the skeleton?

    What steps are involved?

    How do you do it to start your books?

    As for Political Correctness most of the big proponents simply have no good intellectual reason to support their weak positions and use cries of racism to silence anyone who dare challenge their intellectual bankruptcy. Wait a minute, I want to write that down, I could do a whole chapter with that.
     
  17. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Robert,

    I admire you for sticking with it. You made a post requesting help with something, and, so far, I don't think a single poster has actually addressed your question. Unfortunately, the methodology needed to answer your question isn't my forte, but I'll take a crack at it.

    For my first book (almost finished with the rough draft, finally), I pretty much followed the method that you describe. I thought of a set of a characters and a situation, threw them together, and explored what happened. For the second book, I, too, will have to be more "structured." I can tell you a little of my plan, but, since I haven't done it yet, I'm not sure how much of a help it will be. Hopefully, some of the more experienced writers will chime in.

    First of all, I don't think I have to completely throw away my methodology that I used in the first book. I have my characters, and I still plan to have them react to the situations. The difference mainly lies in complexity. I need my characters to do certain things at certain points in time. I plan to use those milestones to guide the characters in the right direction.

    I'm not sure if you're advocating the use of flashbacks in your post above, but I would suggest avoiding them to the greatest extent possible. They can be tricky at best. As long as you throw in enough tension in the scene, you can make the introduction of necessary information exciting.

    So, after all that rambling:

    Take major events and put them in a list.

    Event A - Evil guys show up wanting help
    Event B - "Good" guys plan to kill evil guys
    Event C - Elements in "good" society want to help evil guys
    Event D - Good guys kill evil guys
    Event E - Evil guys turn out to be evil

    Next, figure out how you go from A to B.

    A -> Scene where Bob Evil talks to his friends about the need to get help (being careful not to expose their evil plans to the reader. Note that withholding information from the reader that the POV character knows is quite tricky. Be careful here.) -> Bob and his evil friends embark upon a danger fraught journey to Goodland -> Bob talks to Joe Good about his need for help -> B

    Repeat until you have a plan for each of your steps.

    You'll come up with cool ideas for scenes that will need to be changed here and there but keep moving toward your main events.

    Hope that helps, but I don't know that it will.
     
    Robert Donnell likes this.
  18. Robert Donnell

    Robert Donnell Minstrel

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    Wow thanks BWFoster78! Okay you have pointed me in one direction. Let me repeat back what I think you are saying:

    You have one IDEA per book, write that down.

    Write down the Beginning, the Middle and the End. Where the story begins, where it should be mid-book and how it should look at the end.

    Write down the "Events" that support the story arc (IDEA) from beginning to middle to end.

    The "Events" could be chapter summaries more or less but are not necessarily so, several could be included in one chapter.
    Write down “Sub-EVENTS” to support the “EVENTS” these will be the bones of a chapter.

    Flesh out the chapters next.

    Is this right? Is this how it is normally done?
     
  19. SlimShady

    SlimShady Troubadour

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    Well their isn't a right or wrong way as every writer does it different. I always do it chapter by chapter, which has worked for me pretty well. Just enough details to know where the plot is going, however it leaves room for change or varied character development when I actually start writing.

    As for outlining I just googled this and haven't read it myself, although it may help you:

    Create A Plot Outline In 8 Easy Steps
     
  20. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Robert,

    I'm not sure there's a "normally done." You just have to try stuff out and see what works for you. I've heard it said that some writers keep expanding their outline until it becomes their book. On the other end of the spectrum, some writers come up with an idea and go with it with no planning at all. You'll find both extremes and everything in between.

    Definitely correct with the Beginning and the End, not so sure about "the" middle. You might have a couple of "middles" depending on the length/scope of your book. You're pretty much right, though.

    Exactly.

    Right now, concentrate on the events, not on chapters.

    Each event will eventually become a scene. I'm not sure about the Sub-EVENT concept.

    Eventually, your list of events will get longer and longer. As you think about your story, you'll realize that, logically, you need X to happen before you get to Y. You'll also decide that you need one character to interact with another character to set up an event later. All these become scenes.

    Combine scenes (EVENTS) into logical sequences/lengths to create chapters. I tend to try to end as many chapters as I can on a cliffhanger to encourage my reader to continue through the break and that influences a lot my decisions on which scenes to include in which chapters.

    This is just one concept of how to organize your thoughts though. You have to find what works best for you.

    I tend not to be quite this detailed. I have a start point and an end point, and part of the joy of writing for me is finding out how my characters get from the start to the finish.
     
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