StoryBuilder 1.0: Outline the Perfect Plot!
Posted by Melissa
Now that you have your fabulous main character (and whatever secondary characters you may have scrounged up to accompany the hero in his/her path to glory), and you have a fabulous and fantastical world in which to drop your character, you need a story to tell. Obviously.
Yes, plots are necessary, as little as some of us may enjoy writing them. So in the interest of helping you all in your path to storybuilding glory, here is a plot creator in the method of the previous two posts. Pick your story-telling options and then find out what adventure your character gets to have!
(Word of Warning: I don’t do plots.)
1. How It Begins
A. With Drama
B. With Danger
C. With Plotting
D. With Something Else Entirely
2. How it Goes
A. An Epic Quest
B. A Political Intrigue
C. War is Brewing
3. A Twist Along The Way
D. An Interesting Development
4. How it Ends
D. Well, That Was Odd
Alright, now for the fun part. Your story is all but plotted and planned! Wasn’t that easy? Let’s see what you’ve got:
1. How It Begins
A. With Drama: Your character is minding his/her own business when, in from the darkness, comes a tall figure of notable looks carrying some object of mysterious origin and meaning. This figure informs your character that s/he is meant for Great Things. This sounds all well and good until the Great Things turn into a very long and uncomfortable enterprise. But it will be a growing experience.
B. With Danger: Your character is minding his/her own business when, in from the darkness, comes an assassin who tries to kill your character for reasons unexplained. Obviously, your character really needs to figure out why his/her life is worth threatening. As luck would have it, someone else will come along very soon who has at least some of the answers and will join your character on this mission. Is this new character friend or foe? Hmmm….
C. With Plotting: Your character is minding his/her own business, taking a nice walk on a late evening. S/he stops in at the local drinking establishment for refreshment and overhears a plot of some sort to overthrow or otherwise upset the local or national government. Naturally, your character will end up involved. False accusations of treason are fast coming his/her way, and naturally those will have to be responded to with an outright rebellion. And it had started as such a lovely walk…
D. With Something Else Entirely: Other children received dolls or toy soldiers on their birthdays. Your character has, for whatever reason, been gifted by a magical gift-giving fairy with the gift of Importance. Now everyone and his mother wants you on their side of the latest uprising or intrigue and it is up to your character to find a cause and stick with it or else end up on a quest to retrieve the local chicken farmer’s Magical Missing Egg. Actually, that doesn’t sound like a half bad quest to start with…
2. How it Goes
A. An Epic Quest: However the story began, it inevitably resulted in a quest. You, a cranky warrior, a mysterious scholar, someone who may or may not be able to use magic, someone’s whose musical skills are barely tolerable, and someone whose skills and worth are yet undetermined have all found each other through one incident or another and are now slogging through marshes and climbing unconscionably tall mountains in order to achieve the object of your quest. Not that it is necessarily a literal object. Maybe your quest is to escape the other members of your questing party because they are very annoying and don’t get along at all.
B. A Political Intrigue: There are about ten different sides to this political debacle, and your character is wading through the morass trying to find out whose side is the right side, or at least the side who is killing the fewest peasants and kicking the fewest puppies. Your characters makes several friends and allies, only to discover that they are all on opposing sides, but all have their own virtues. One of them is probably going to end up betraying your character while another will be a love interest. The question is – which is which?
C. War is Brewing: Rather similar to the Political Intrigue, but with a lot more people on each side and a lot more upfront hacking and slashing. Your character is, as usual, trying to figure out which is the Side of Right and Truth and Justice, but his/her chosen side will often do morally troubling things which will cause moments of existential crisis. Everything is leading toward an epic battle, which will decide the Fates of Many. Your character will hold the key to success… for whichever side s/he chooses.
D. Interesting…: Your character’s singular goal in this story is to become the greatest chef this world has ever seen. Through war and intrigue and famine and plot, your character strives to hunt down the masters of culinary arts and ply them for their tricks of the trade. Alas, your character’s nemesis, a pastry chef of no small skill, is lurking in the shadows, sabotaging your character at every turn. Will your character ever achieve true mastery of the art of the kitchen? Will s/he ever cook for kings? And is that charming baker who s/he met along the way trustworthy? And will your character ever be worthy of attaining the Magic Ladle?
3. A Twist Along The Way
A. Betrayal: In a totally unexpected turn of events, somewhere along the way, that really attractive character who seemed so very trustworthy turns out to not be trustworthy. Your character spends one, possibly two, chapters reeling from this betrayal and several things go horribly wrong as a result.
B. Death: So, there was this cliff. And there was rain. And this one person saw a pretty bird and, well… Your character and any other companions mourn the loss. Unless it was someone highly suspected of being a traitor. Then they stand a ponder the mysterious Ways of Justice before carrying on.
C. Love: Your character was so sure that s/he loved the very attractive, rich, cultured, capable person that s/he met along the course of the story, but now it seems that s/he has fallen hopelessly in love with the annoying, less attractive but not horrible to look at, sarcastic, most often unpleasant other person s/he met along the course of the story. But who can explain the workings of the heart, anyway? Odds are, Love Interest #2 will turn out to be long-lost royalty, anyway.
D. An Interesting Development: Your character randomly gains the ability to see the future, but backwards, whenever s/he sneezes. It’s all very confusing and mostly useless.
4. How it Ends
A. Triumph: Your character overcomes every single obstacle placed in his/her path, even the ones that are statistically and rationally impossible to overcome (because s/he is that amazing) and the story closes in a sweepingly grand picture of resolution. Everything is in its proper place. A golden age is most definitely unfolding before the eyes of your character and his/her comrades, and everything will most definitely be fine. Unless there’s a sequel. Then everything will be rubbish again in no time at all.
B. Tragedy: Unfortunately, everyone your character ever loved along the way has perished. Most of them have perished nobly. A few seemed to perish for no reason at all except to make your character question all of his/her preconceived notions about heroism. Now, here at the end, your character stands alone, figuratively or literally gazing upon the graves of so many who have been lost… but it was worth it for the Greater Good. It was…. Really…. Please let there be a sequel with a happier ending.
C. Romance: On a high, grassy hill overlooking a significant city wherein most of the significant story events took place, your character and your character’s One True Love are locked in a tender embrace as they reminisce on all of the unlikely events which brought them to this place. Every outlook is rosy now. All previous misunderstandings and hostility erased by mutual life-saving acts which have sealed their bond forever. If there is an epilogue, it will probably involve two and a half children, just so the readers are sure that these characters meant it. If there’s a sequel, well, your character would really appreciate it if there wasn’t one. Things are great. Let it be!
D. Well, That Was Odd: Your character is sitting in a small, dark room in the predawn light, blinking fuzzily and rubbing sleep from his/her eyes. It was all a dream? That whole story that took up four hundred pages was all a dream? Your character lies back down and decides that maybe s/he isn’t getting up today. It’s just not worth it.
And there you have it, the perfect outline just waiting to be filled in with your creativity. Let me know what sort of story you ended up with! I’m quite curious what sort of havoc I have wrought.
About Melissagenerally in love with things Celtic, mythological, fantastic, sharp and pointy, cute and fuzzy, intellectual, snarky, cheerful, or some combination thereof. Such things as sarcastic bunnies wielding claymores might come to mind...
Posted on May 21, 2014, in Cliches, Fantasy, Humor, Inspiration, Lantern Hollow Press Authors, Melissa Rogers, Plot, Writing Hints and Helps and tagged creative writing, fantasy, plot, storytelling, world, writer's block. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.