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Need Help with Plot Development (1 Viewer)

MagicGirl33

Senior Member
I am working on a story (unsure of the length) and I have my main character, a young girl named Hazel, who just inherited a beaten down horse stable from her optimistic uncle. She is supposed to visit the ranch for the first time and find it in a haphazard shape. She intends to sell it but finds a white percheron (horse) and quickly falls in love. I want the plot to advance to the point where she's led to believe her uncle was murdered but I am struggling to come up with a reason why. I have a couple of ok reasons but I'd like to hear the community's reasons first so mine don't influence their own. Please let your wildest dreams flow. I'm ok with making the book fantasy.
 

Ajoy

Senior Member
Was the uncle actually murdered or is Hazel just supposed to believe it? What purpose has this stable served under her uncle's ownership (a breeding stable, a lesson stable, do they turn out performance horses for a particular sport? do they board horses for the local community?) - the function or failure to function of this stable could likely play a role in such a plot event. What time period is this - like is it in a time of insurance payouts (be it insurance on a horse, the stable, or the uncle)?
 

MagicGirl33

Senior Member
I'm thinking the uncle may or may not be murdered it depends with the plot I go with. Right now I'm leaning towards yes. Hazel doesn't know what the stable was used for but she only finds the one horse there and no one else so not boarding, maybe just lessons and keeping the horses for competitions and such. The time is more of a now / into the future time period so mostly similar to our time but with a few more advanced items. I thought about insurance but it gets long, complicated, and boring to read so I think I'm going to leave that part out but maybe a small mention of 'he had life insurance' or something similar to that.
 

MagicGirl33

Senior Member
Maybe? I was thinking more of my main character would uncover the mystery that lead to someone out to steal the stable and silence her family and I'm going towards her father running a horse racing company (he riggs the races) and he's after her uncles secret to breeding / buying grand prix level horses because in the alternate universe they live in, horses are like the technology of today, everyone wants them. The story draft is super rough to the point where all I have are doodles and sketches as well as jot notes and random ideas for the story in my notebook.
 

LCLee

Financial Supporter
I'm not sure racing would work with a Percheron, which is a breed of draft horse. They were usually tied to a plow or wagon. In France, they still use them as food.
As far as the murder, there could be a neighbor that wants the land for mineral rights. That's been done a lot, but so had every other scenario. Murders are mostly for revenge or greed, so take your pick.
 

MagicGirl33

Senior Member
Ok thanks! And btw I wasn't planning on the percheron as a racing horse, but I already penciled him into the plot so I'm gonna keep him and hopefully develop a better role for him along the way.
 

Ajoy

Senior Member
I'm thinking the uncle may or may not be murdered it depends with the plot I go with. Right now I'm leaning towards yes. Hazel doesn't know what the stable was used for but she only finds the one horse there and no one else so not boarding, maybe just lessons and keeping the horses for competitions and such. The time is more of a now / into the future time period so mostly similar to our time but with a few more advanced items. I thought about insurance but it gets long, complicated, and boring to read so I think I'm going to leave that part out but maybe a small mention of 'he had life insurance' or something similar to that.
I mention insurance because I've seen murder plots where someone was killed for uncovering or stumbling upon the murderer in the act of killing a horse for the insurance money (if the stable has upper level horses, that insurance payout can be in the seven figures).
 

Ajoy

Senior Member
Ok thanks! And btw I wasn't planning on the percheron as a racing horse, but I already penciled him into the plot so I'm gonna keep him and hopefully develop a better role for him along the way.
I think it would be believable for a draft breed to be a pony horse for race horses. Their large size and calm demeanor would make a good match for hyped up race horses.
 

MagicGirl33

Senior Member
I mention insurance because I've seen murder plots where someone was killed for uncovering or stumbling upon the murderer in the act of killing a horse for the insurance money (if the stable has upper level horses, that insurance payout can be in the seven figures).
Oh that's good. Thank You for bringing that up because I might use that if it's ok with you.
 

piperofyork

Friends of WF
Could the uncle have committed suicide (perhaps with all the appearance of a murder)? Or does your story require that it's murder?
 

piperofyork

Friends of WF
I'm not set on anything yet but I don't know how to fit that into the story though. Any ideas?
I'd need to know more about the story to give any good suggestions, but I'll give it a go!

Perhaps the uncle (1) made footprint-impressions up to and around the farm's well with boots taken from various lost & founds (subsequently burned or otherwise disposed), (2) drove to a distant county, picked a bar fight he knew he would lose badly - which he did, (3) waited until the bleeding stopped so there wouldn't be any evidence, (4) drove home, and (5) hung himself in the well. Anyone looking would think that strangers had roughed him up and hung him there. What do you think?
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
I'm not set on anything yet but I don't know how to fit that into the story though. Any ideas?
The BIGGEST piece of advice I can give you is to decide on what sort of story you want ... first. If you want to write a murder mystery, then you have to develop clues and a way to solve them. Your murderer needs to be fixed in your mind before you start the story, why they committed the murder, how, and why the perpetrator and the method is a mystery. Murder mysteries are popularly written and read, but they have a lot of overhead for the author to take on. You really can't do a good murder mystery "seat of pants". It's definitely a "plot it from beginning to end" project, and the plotting is much more complicated than the average completely plotted story.

It sounds like you're better off to simply write a "rehabilitation story". It's a much more natural choice for "seat of pants" ... meaning you make up the story as you write. So your hero has a crisis of conscience and decides to take on the task of shining the place back up and making it go. There are plenty of problems to solve to do that, and the possibility of antagonists who don't want that to succeed are good plot drivers.
 
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MagicGirl33

Senior Member
The BIGGEST piece of advice I can give you is to decide on what sort of story you want ... first. If you want to write a murder mystery, then you have to develop clues and a way to solve them. Your murderer needs to be fixed in your mind before you start the story, why they committed the murder, how, and why the perpetrator and the method is a mystery. Murder mysteries are popularly written and read, but they have a lot of overhead for the author to take on. You really can't do a good murder mystery "seat of pants". It's definitely a "plot it from beginning to end" project, and the plotting is much more complicated than the average completely plotted story.

It sounds like you're better off to simply write a "rehabilitation story". It's a much more natural choice for "seat of pants" ... meaning you make up the story as you write. So your hero has a crisis of conscience and decides to take on the task of shining the place back up and making it go. There are plenty of problems to solve to do that, and the possibility of antagonists who don't want that to succeed are good plot drivers.
I know but this is for me to brainstorm and come up with the killer. Every murder story has to start with someone coming up with the murderer.
 

MagicGirl33

Senior Member
I'd need to know more about the story to give any good suggestions, but I'll give it a go!

Perhaps the uncle (1) made footprint-impressions up to and around the farm's well with boots taken from various lost & founds (subsequently burned or otherwise disposed), (2) drove to a distant county, picked a bar fight he knew he would lose badly - which he did, (3) waited until the bleeding stopped so there wouldn't be any evidence, (4) drove home, and (5) hung himself in the well. Anyone looking would think that strangers had roughed him up and hung him there. What do you think?
That's good. I like the idea but I'll have to think of a good reason why before I can decide if that'll be in the novel or not.
 

Turnbull

Senior Member
Let me see if I can think of anything.
  • the percheron is very nervous around people, and is triggered by, say, nails.
  • blood on the stable wall
  • she meets someone who says very dark things about uncle.
  • uncle leaves a cryptic note
  • there's supposed to be someone taking care of the stable, but they haven't been doing so.
  • someone REALLY wants the girl to sell the property.
  • the neighbor says he doesn't like a person on the stable and is suspicious.

That's all I got.
 
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