Plots Plots Plots


This topic contains 17 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  Snelson192 10 months ago.

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    Are you stuck on a plot or storyline? Or are you looking for one? Everything and anything plot or storyline related, ask and discuss away here!



    Oh I love this thread!

    I keep getting stuck on this one part of my book I’m at because most of my characters just riding a train. Boring. The train has to be there for the plot to advance, but gah! It’s infuriatingly slow!



    I know that feel! It can be tough to fill in the “necessaries”, especially if they’re very “in-between” sorts of scenes (ones that come between big exciting scenes so that the reader can take a breath and things aren’t overwhelming). But if you’re not interested in a scene, it’s unlikely a reader is going to be, so it’s definitely something that needs to be overcome (if only to keep moving forward).

    Sometimes, especially if it’s a first draft, I just skip over the scene – I leave a placeholder with some notes as to what needs to happen, and even what I think I’m missing, and I keep writing onwards. Often I will find places later where I need a conversation or event to have happened earlier, and now I have a place where it can possibly fit in!

    The other great way of working on this is Sooz’s fantastic “magical cookie” advice. Brainstorm what about this scene and scenario you’re excited about. If there’s nothing at all that excites you about it, maybe then it’s time to think about whether the scene really is as necessary as you thought it was. Maybe there’s a way to cut it and convey the necessary info another way?

    Hope some of my rambly ideas help. 🙂


    Tom Millman

    Hey Christina, I read on your profile that you’re writing a fantasy, I was thinking perhaps it would be quite good if they were looking for something or trying to solve a dilemma on the way?  Have you ever read  Agatha Christie’s murder on the Orient Express, it’s quite good because the train is a confined space but they were still able to make it interesting.

    With my own writing, I hate the travelling scenes, yeah I think the trains as a confined space would cause characters to clash as they don’t have anywhere else to go. I’m not sure if this is very helpful but I hope it does. 🙂




    @Christina: I have similarly difficult scenes in my book, except replace “riding a train” with “walking in a forest.” My biggest question now is “Why did I not study forestry in school? What are all these tree things??” #urbanproblems. I have no further advise than what’s been already posted. Leave a place holder on it and come back later! And Tom makes a good point that the confined space can build up tension between characters, a good tool for character development!

    I too have a plot problem with a project of mine. One of my characters is a Dreamwalker, in which she is capable of going to “Dreamworld” when she sleep. I’ve established that dreamwalking is a very special kind of magic to have and dreamworld is a very special place to go. The problem I’m having is that I can’t think of a way to connect all of this dream stuff to the main world I’ve created, so that it actually has a purpose and is, ya know, SPECIAL and IMPORTANT.

    What do dreams mean to y’all? In what way can dreams become a physical thing in the real world? Maggie Stiefvater did something absolutely brilliant with dreaming in The Dream Thieves, but I obviously don’t want to copy what she did!

    Any suggestions or insight? I feel like an Inception marathon might help.


    Tom Millman

    @Alexandra I must admit I haven’t read any of Maggie Stiefvater’s books,so I don’t know how she uses dreams in her novels but I have always liked the idea that the dream events have repercussions in the real world. With forests I just go with something like ‘ The forest was wild untouched by the whims of man, the cold air at odds with the burst of autumn’  for example, I know nothing about trees. 🙂



    Thanks for all the suggestions! I think I got it mainly worked out. @alexandra: I had that very same problem too. My book involves too much travel lol. The second time they walked through the woods I shortened it up a lot.



    Alexandra; I’m writing about dreamwalking, too!  I’ve had this idea since 2007 (yeah, long time…) and have – on purpose – never read any other books about it (except the spirit dreams in Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy/Bloodlines series). I don’t want to feel like I’m copying something. This way I HAVE to figure it out on my own. Doesn’t mean that in the end it won’t be similar to someone else’s, but I won’t have to feel guilty over it.



    Ok, fellow wordwitches, I need your help!

    Is it still okay to introduce a “second world” (more than) halfway through the book?

    Info: follows the story of a girl with an empathic ability, which leads to dreamwalking and eventually her disappearance / travel to the Other World. Of course everything’s part of the plot, and it takes time before her ‘ability’ is triggered (which results in the disappearance).

    But how far can I go with that Other World? She has to find someone in the Other World (someone who’s part of the story from the beginning, so his character isn’t new) and the way I see it, I have 4 options:
    1) the Other World is like the Normal World, where she has to find said person. What she need is provided (food, shelter).
    2) the Other World is still the same, but what she needs isn’t provided, so she’ll have to ‘survive’.
    3) the Other World has magical creatures (which may or may not be controlled by a Wicked Person who wants MC to stay in that world, keeping her from finding that person and thus returning to the Normal World).
    4) The Other World is a completely different world (which means I’ll have to do a lot of world building) (which might have elements from #3).

    My issues:
    Option 1: might be boring
    Option 2: offers a better story, but no action and I would also like to have (a bit) of action, because that would really go well with the character growth for MC.
    Option 3: appeals most to me at this point, because I can show character growth AND get the action. Plus, I can throw in a Wicked Mean Person.
    Option 4: appeals ALMOST as much to me as option 4, but might be *too* different from the Normal World?

    Which option do you like? Would option 3 still be okay to introduce to the reader, or just confuse them?

    Any other ideas are, of course, also welcome.  I hope it’s clear enough this way without putting my whole story online, haha.



    @shanna Given that I don’t know more about either worlds, it’s hard to say which option is better, though I am drawn to options 3&4! May I suggest you read Kelly Creagh’s Nevermore trilogy? The books take place in this world, but about 75% into the first book she introduces us to an “other world” that’s kind of like Wonderland a la Edgar Allen Poe. I suggest it because she introduces this new world WAY late in the book, and brings it back for a better look in the 2nd book. You may find what works or what doesn’t work in the way she did that.

    Hope that helps!



    Thanks Alexandra, I haven’t read those books yet, so that’s definitely noted. Also interesting to see that around 3/4 of the book she introduces that new world. Hopeful. I think, with the background given, my MC’s empathic ability and her connection to the person she meets in her dreams (same person she has to find in the Other World), it’s not strange when she suddenly disappears and finds herself somewhere else–especially because her first disappearance is very brief and they get longer with time.My main concern is just: can I make it a completely different world, with magic and strange creatures? Or wouldn’t that match the first part of the book? Then again, it *is* a different world… See my dilemma here? Lol.

    The Normal World, by the way, is the world as we know it.

    If anyone needs more info, let me know, I just didn’t want to make it too confusing. 😛



    I agree with Alexandra, it is a bit tricky without knowing the story, however, I think you should definitely make the other world different  and unique (s0 3 or 4) especially if you are portraying another universe etc. What do you want the purpose of this other world to be? Is it where this person she has to find is from? Or is it kind of like a parallel universe? In order to make it less of a shock to the reader, I wonder if there could be any foreshadowing done? Like if she does have an ability, maybe small parts of it can be ‘triggered’ earlier on – but only in little bits, like she may see a shadow that looks like a monster but on second glance its just a shadow etc.

    I hope that’s helpful,




    I’m with everybody else about 3/4 sounding best, though I’d be worried about introducing a new world too late in the book, only because you need solid world building to make it seem real and that’s the kind of stuff you don’t want to rush. Especially since it sounds like the rest of the book will be building toward this moment (i.e. going to the other world)? It’s hard to say without specifics, but that’s my take. I don’t think you would have a problem just with introducing the world, though–as in, readers wouldn’t be turned off if it’s done well just because it’s later in the book 🙂

    Is this a standalone or part of a series?




    That sounds really cool! I love the concept!

    In terms of dreams, sometimes if I’m struggling with a problem, I’ve discovered a solution in my dream (it doesn’t always happen). Other times I see the most strangest places (I’ve never seen in my life) and I’ve to overcome the challenges in that place. I also seem to realize the extent of my feelings in my dreams.

    One of my close friends is quite superstitious about dreams. She believes dreams mean something. And she always likes to narrate the dream and ask “What do you think that meant?” She thinks dreams are foreshadowing the real world.

    I am not sure of physical thing in the real world, but it would be very scary, if a character were introduced in a dream, and then showed up in the real world.




    Hey, thanks all! I think I can pull it off and introduce this world later on in the book — obviously as a reader you know something is yet to happen (otherwise the entire book would have no purpose, as it’s one of the big plot points!). I’ve talked to a few other people as well and they also don’t seem to have a problem with it (including one of my CP’s who knows much more about the story). I’ll have to think about how far I’m willing to take it.

    @aemarachlian it’s a standalone. Not exactly sure where I’m going to introduce this new world but as for the current word count (31K) and the rest of the story (somewhere between 70-80K, rough guess), it should be somewhere halfway.


    I’m going to think about all this and see if it works once I get there. If not, another rewrite. 😛


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