Black Girl, 24
-movies, art, music, baking, cooking, some tv, books, anime, cute stuff, blah de blah.
you'll see, i suppose.
Anonymous said: Hello; I've been trying to write a plot for a novel for two years now, and I'm still drawing a blank. I've been through many advice blogs like this, but I need very specific help (the next step up). I'd really like to make this novel an intellectual fantasy with lots of philosophy, romance, and tragedy, but I've no idea how to formulate an appealing plot. I have the information on the subjects of philosophy (etc), and my characters are solid. But how do I get a good conflict going?
It’s always difficult to receive questions like this because I can’t be sure of what else we can offer you that isn’t already out there.
Check out our Conflict tag. You’re not going to find anything in this answer that hasn’t already been explored there. What you’re essentially after here, Anon, is a personal guide tailored directly to you, explaining how you can write your own novel. Ironically, the only person who has access to that kind of guide is you.
Back to Basics
You have big visions for your story. That’s great! However, you’re not going to get every single idea into your first draft… and you’re definitely not going to get them in there and executed to the standard you expect of yourself.
It’s not that your ability is lacking. You’re not incapable. You’re not doing anything wrong… you’re just setting yourself unbelievably high goals which is why, after two years, you’re still looking at your story in despair and leading yourself to believe you need some kind of Professional Opinion to help you advance.
I doubt this will come as a shock, but I’m not a professional. I’m so far from being a professional I’m like a Wikipedia article for writing advice. Everything I’ve learnt, I’ve taken from the internet (or personal experience) and I’m the kind of article-editor who sources really obscure pdf files and websites that look like they were made by someone with clipart, blingee and Windows 98.
So instead of thinking to yourself, ‘I’d really like to make this novel an intellectual fantasy with lots of philosophy, romance and tragedy’ as you embark on a draft, think instead, ‘I want to finish this draft’.
Before that, you’ll want to write x-amount of words a day. Before even that, you’ll want to put your fingertips to your keyboard and actually press down some keys.
That is the very first step to writing the intellectual, philosophical fantasy novel of your dreams.
You Probably Already Have A Plot
When you’re reading a book, make a note of key events. It’s different to reading for enjoyment… because when you pick up a book that you really love, nothing that happens in it sounds all that absurd. Things are happening, which makes other things happen and it keeps your interest.
Yet as soon as you write out every individual event it all sounds a little… basic. It’s easy to convince yourself that epic, amazing things need to be happening in your story all of the time to make up a good plot.
Generally though, it’s very simple, basic things that kick the story towards the more epic parts later on.
When you make up a plot, it’s probably going to sound generic until you disguise it like the great novel-writers before you with your immense vocabulary and writer-ly wiles.
A plot, put simply, is just ‘things happening’. The fun part is, you get to decide what exactly is happening and why.
Remind yourself of the difference between plot and story for a moment. Then take your characters and position them around the stage of your story and make them do things.
You get a good conflict going by deciding what your main character wants, and making sure most of the other characters and the environment they’re in prevents the main from getting that thing.
Give yourself more credit, too! You have solid characters, so you’re literally one step away from having good, solid conflicts…!
- Writing Conflict: Make Your Character(s) Work
- Coming Up With A Narrative
- Plot Basics
- Conflict in Literature
- Plotting Methods for Meticulous Plotters
- I Have Characters and World, but No Plot!
- How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method
You can write that novel, Anon. I know you can. You just need to take a step back, do some basic graft and then work upwards from there.