Issue with story direction


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Thread: Issue with story direction

  1. #1

    Issue with story direction

    So I'm starting to finally get some plot built and I'd like to ask for help with it.

    The original foundation.

    In my post-apoc story at some point after meeting the other main characters in a camp, there's a dangerous shortage of food and one of them proposes and idea. There's an empire owned farm within traveling distance and it's guarded by a genetically engineered horror of nature. 2 characters attempt to infiltrate the farm and retrieve food to supply the camp for a good while, inadvertently getting the modified killed in the process. Later on after returning home, they're under attack by a group sent out to dispatch them (it's explained earlier in the story that their camp is located near a place where the empire disposed of a failed experiment, more modifieds.) After that they're on the run.


    Building off the foundation.

    The idea I had in mind for after the matters of the camp being destroyed was that the main characters would flee to a big fortress, densely populated and where alot of world building can be done. (Exploration of characters and their backgrounds, the politics of the world, etc.) The first issue I run into is pacing: we're going from tiny camp under attack to a fortress housing several more, that increase in scale needs build up and I think visiting an enemy antagonist farm is sort of a sidestep from low scale works more like a taste of things to come. I'm asking for help as how I would go about doing build up.

  2. #2
    If pantsing isn't working for you, try plotting instead. Try writing out the plot of your story. Where they start and where they end, then fill in the middle with the bumps in the road along the way.

    I carry a notebook with me everywhere (for plotting I prefer pen and paper, but YMMV) to jot ideas down. While my partner watches the "Great British Baking Show" and what I refer to as "Murder TV" I sit nearby working on my stories.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by indianroads View Post
    If pantsing isn't working for you, try plotting instead. Try writing out the plot of your story. Where they start and where they end, then fill in the middle with the bumps in the road along the way.

    I carry a notebook with me everywhere (for plotting I prefer pen and paper, but YMMV) to jot ideas down. While my partner watches the "Great British Baking Show" and what I refer to as "Murder TV" I sit nearby working on my stories.
    This message seems a bit misinformed, granted that may be my fault for not being informative enough so on that remark I apologize. I am plotting ahead of the writing as I do the writing itself. My issue is that this particular idea is one I imagine could change the direction in which I'm plotting the story.
    Last edited by danielvaldez90323; January 21st, 2020 at 09:11 PM.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by danielvaldez90323 View Post
    This message seems a bit misinformed, granted that may be my fault for not being informative enough so on that remark I apologize. I am plotting ahead of the writing as I do the writing itself. My issue is that this particular idea is one I imagine could change the direction in which I'm plotting the story.
    So... you're plotting ahead, but only a few chapters at a time? I'm confused.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by indianroads View Post
    So... you're plotting ahead, but only a few chapters at a time? I'm confused.
    I'm plotting ahead period, I never said anything about a few chapters. On my outline I'm very behind by comparison to how far I am. At that I'd like to add you never really went head-on the subject of the original post.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by danielvaldez90323 View Post
    I'm plotting ahead period, I never said anything about a few chapters. On my outline I'm very behind by comparison to how far I am. At that I'd like to add you never really went head-on the subject of the original post.
    I answered as I did because when I read your original post it sounded as if you were changing the direction of your story midstream. If that's what's happening, you'll have to return to the beginning and comb the tangles out of it and change direction as necessary.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by indianroads View Post
    I answered as I did because when I read your original post it sounded as if you were changing the direction of your story midstream. If that's what's happening, you'll have to return to the beginning and comb the tangles out of it and change direction as necessary.
    I don't think I'm going to do that no, since it's scrapping work because future work hasn't made a connection with current. That's kind of what I was asking since the very beginning to be fair, of help from how I can wove a connection from the foundation to what it'll eventually become, in other words the buildup.

  8. #8
    Member KHK's Avatar
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    OK, just a thought.
    Put the whole hungry camp and hostile compound raiding part on hold. In a different file even.
    Write your story as you would like to in order to gradually increase the scale, up to and including the huge fortress.
    Maybe leave a placeholder or two here and there, to be revisited.
    Then return to the story and "inject" this raiding episode at the placeholder(s).

    What do you think?

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by KHK View Post
    OK, just a thought.
    Put the whole hungry camp and hostile compound raiding part on hold. In a different file even.
    Write your story as you would like to in order to gradually increase the scale, up to and including the huge fortress.
    Maybe leave a placeholder or two here and there, to be revisited.
    Then return to the story and "inject" this raiding episode at the placeholder(s).

    What do you think?
    I think it's important to realize that you're basically saying to rewrite things when I don't have a replacement. Not to say that I want to get to the big exciting parts first out of impatience as much as it is as a means for me to push the plot down it's merry way. Though I can see something like this working to some extent if it intended I bide my time.

    Day 2 of the main character being around camp and the leader is heading into the nearest by settlement area to trade up his spoils for food (the settlement in question being a noted as a connecting area amid 4 other far distant settlements). They pass by a sort of slave camp owner by the higher reaching empire, of people being forced to work in the hot sun planting fruits and vegetables. When they get there they find that empirical ordinance have setup a sort of donation center where they give food as a sort of peace gathering. The main character takes an offer up of food and one of the ordinance representatives asks them if they'd like to join their empire. After declining the offer turns into a demand, turns into a threat which leads to locals attacking the representatives and driving them out of the settlement.

    Day 3 and the rations weren't bountiful to begin with so the two aforementioned characters return to the settlement, passing by the slave camp again only this time finding that there had been a large increase in people working now than the day prior. When they get to the settlement they find it had been besieged and the empires leaves a placard stating they won't be crossed again, or else.

    Day 4 arrives and the rations leave. With morsels of food left it's only a matter of time before they die of starvation. So the main character proposes they raid one of the farms of the empire. The leader disagrees to this notion but the co-leader decides to go along with him to procure food. (I think a subplot of the leader fighting with the two other camp dwellers over designation of remaining rations could work.)

    Overarching with this all is information gradually growing on the farms of the empire, in part being those of them being forced to grow exponentially by drastic slave increase and a sort of field zone (keeping the farther back, aforementioned modified inside) being built around the original foundation of the farm, with a new one to surround the rest under way once it gets good enough for harvest.

    How's this foretold with any potential lingering plotholes? You definitely did get me thinking of how to write out the plot.

  10. #10
    Here is what I do in these situations: Google Earth.
    Seriously, open GoogleEarth on the place where your camp is supposed to be, and begin examining what is around the area, within fleeing range. You might be surprised what you find.
    I have found some great story-altering details with this technique. Nothing like finding a dynamite factory in the middle of your intended combat zone.

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