I think I need a plot.

Bramandin

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I'm writing a self-m******** Isekai fanfiction that's been wandering through what I think needs to happen, but I'm not sure where it's going. The last year or so has been about trying to pacify a nosey politician, but I don't want to do the whole secrets and manipulation thing anymore. It's either stressful or I'm just bad at it. I liked the stories that were set in cages. The new section is slice-of-life but it just seems to be slogging through nothing.

This list isn't quite linear because they sort of wander from topic-to-topic and backtrack along the way.

  • Two sorcerers talk about a project one is working on, then the older sorcerer gives one advice, they meet up with other sorcerers and the isekai, one talks about problems with his father, then the conversation wanders in and out of arguments about school. They also talk about food and Earth stuff, telepathic etiquette, and arguments about trusting the older sorcerer and the isekai when they're obviously hiding something.
  • Then the isekai ruins a soldier's life in two parts while trying to be helpful. I'm tempted to write a third section about the soldier, but I gave her a bad name and she doesn't deserve the attention. And the isekai kills someone who was trying to murder her. And they talk to the one sorcerer's father, whose life the isekai also either ruined or saved. Another sorcerer accidentally kills a policeman and it's the isekai's fault. In between all this is discussions about cultural differences in that world.
 
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The Judge

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I've never read/seen/whatever'd any Isekai (I had to look it up to find out what it is) so I've no idea what the stories set in cages are, but if you like them and you're content to write fanfiction, surely the answer is to write those kind of stories. If you're writing for yourself only, then just write for yourself -- a story doesn't need an active plot if you're enjoying the actual writing. If you're not enjoying the writing, then write something else -- it really isn't rocket science. However, if you're wanting to improve your skills and perhaps sell stories, then yes, you'll need to learn how to produce a coherent plot, in which case it might be an idea to start afresh and trying plotting a story in advance if pants-ing it isn't working.

In any event, this isn't really a Workshop issue, which is designed for exercises and joint participation, so I'll move the thread over to Writing Discussion where it will get more attention.
 

Dave

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It sounds like you are writing a kind of diary/journal, only that it is in a fantasy world with fantasy characters. Diaries/journals are something that many well-known people, including a established writers, did in the past. The advice about diaries is usually not to worry about what you are writing but just to write regularly. However, published diaries are usually about the real world, and popular diaries to read are written during important or unusual times/events, with some public interest or historical relevance.

It also sounds like you have become bored with this format. You must have accumulated quite a lot of material over the course of a year, and I can't believe there aren't some "plots" hidden within that, but you say you "wander from topic-to-topic and backtrack along the way." Have you considered re-writing it as a more linear story then?

I'm actually reading a Kurt Vonnegut book, Hocus Pocus, at the moment that is written as if the supposed author wrote it on small scraps of paper that he salvaged from waste bins. The book is therefore made up of small unrelated paragraphs that "wander from topic-to-topic and backtrack along the way." Any kind of book is possible.
 
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Bramandin

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I've never read/seen/whatever'd any Isekai (I had to look it up to find out what it is) so I've no idea what the stories set in cages are, but if you like them and you're content to write fanfiction, surely the answer is to write those kind of stories. If you're writing for yourself only, then just write for yourself -- a story doesn't need an active plot if you're enjoying the actual writing. If you're not enjoying the writing, then write something else -- it really isn't rocket science. However, if you're wanting to improve your skills and perhaps sell stories, then yes, you'll need to learn how to produce a coherent plot, in which case it might be an idea to start afresh and trying plotting a story in advance if pants-ing it isn't working.

In any event, this isn't really a Workshop issue, which is designed for exercises and joint participation, so I'll move the thread over to Writing Discussion where it will get more attention.

I suppose it's wrong to call it isekai because it's western. The Dragon and the George and Chronicles of Narnia might be examples that you have read. Flight of Dragons, Pleasantville, and Last Action Hero are movie examples of the broader category.

I am interested in writing something that's publishable someday, I'm just using an old idea because I don't have new ones and I might have something to work with if I rebuild the world for my OCs.
 

Bramandin

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It sounds like you are writing a kind of diary/journal, only that it is in a fantasy world with fantasy characters. Diaries/journals are something that many well-known people, including a established writers, did in the past. The advice about diaries is usually not to worry about what you are writing but just to write regularly. However, published diaries are usually about the real world, and popular diaries to read are written during important or unusual times/events, with some public interest or historical relevance.

It also sounds like you have become bored with this format. You must have accumulated quite a lot of material over the course of a year, and I can't believe there aren't some "plots" hidden within that, but you say you "wander from topic-to-topic and backtrack along the way." Have you considered re-writing it as a more linear story then?

I'm actually reading a Kurt Vonnegut book, Hocus Pocus, at the moment that is written as if the supposed author wrote it on small scraps of paper that he salvaged from waste bins. The book is therefore made up of small unrelated paragraphs that "wander from topic-to-topic and backtrack along the way." Any kind of book is possible.
I think I'm influenced by webcomics like Kevin and Kell and Questionable Content. As the cast expands, old characters get shoved to the side as less interesting. Freefall has managed to gather characters that get some spotlight time, but it returns to the main two.

The story is mostly linear. My list just wasn't because I didn't want to list that they talk about school three times and such. It's Drop a Stone on AO3 if you want to read a few lines from each chapter of part ten. Most of that was struggling with one character's father, but it also had another character coping with becoming a vampire and another character getting to finally meet her mentor woven in. I just reread part seven and other than a few non-linear bits tacked on the end, it focuses on a sorcerer and his family.

Maybe my current part would be better if I write the part about the soldier's life being ruined as a separate story and not worry how it fits into the main theme. That will cut down on the number of characters.
 

Please Be Nice

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I'm writing a self-m******** Isekai fanfiction that's been wandering through what I think needs to happen, but I'm not sure where it's going. The last year or so has been about trying to pacify a nosey politician, but I don't want to do the whole secrets and manipulation thing anymore. It's either stressful or I'm just bad at it. I liked the stories that were set in cages. The new section is slice-of-life but it just seems to be slogging through nothing.

This list isn't quite linear because they sort of wander from topic-to-topic and backtrack along the way.

  • Two sorcerers talk about a project one is working on, then the older sorcerer gives one advice, they meet up with other sorcerers and the isekai, one talks about problems with his father, then the conversation wanders in and out of arguments about school. They also talk about food and Earth stuff, telepathic etiquette, and arguments about trusting the older sorcerer and the isekai when they're obviously hiding something.
  • Then the isekai ruins a soldier's life in two parts while trying to be helpful. I'm tempted to write a third section about the soldier, but I gave her a bad name and she doesn't deserve the attention. And the isekai kills someone who was trying to murder her. And they talk to the one sorcerer's father, whose life the isekai also either ruined or saved. Another sorcerer accidentally kills a policeman and it's the isekai's fault. In between all this is discussions about cultural differences in that world.
Plots are actually fake things that don't exist anywhere at all. No one reads or shares plots. Story is what is important.

Take each of those sentence fragments and just write them out in prose. Then you shall have your story and will have sidestepped the illusory path of plot.

I'm influenced by Samuel Delaney. He has wiser words written about how useless the concept of plot is for any who may balk at this.
 

Bramandin

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Plots are actually fake things that don't exist anywhere at all. No one reads or shares plots. Story is what is important.

Take each of those sentence fragments and just write them out in prose. Then you shall have your story and will have sidestepped the illusory path of plot.

I'm influenced by Samuel Delaney. He has wiser words written about how useless the concept of plot is for any who may balk at this.

Good point. I'm trying to think of the plot to Ocean at the End of the Lane and I don't think it's actually one story, it's like a three-book series with the word-count of a short book. I think it does a bit of other non-standard things, but the rules are for people who would just make a mess without them.

I'm not really afraid of making messes, just that I won't grow beyond that stage.
 

Please Be Nice

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Good point. I'm trying to think of the plot to Ocean at the End of the Lane and I don't think it's actually one story, it's like a three-book series with the word-count of a short book. I think it does a bit of other non-standard things, but the rules are for people who would just make a mess without them.

I'm not really afraid of making messes, just that I won't grow beyond that stage.
Sorry I am have trouble understanding everything you typed after "good point."

All I was trying to tell you is that plots do not exist anywhere under any circumstance. They are an illusion that writers must dispel to see clearly.
 

BAYLOR

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I'm writing a self-m******** Isekai fanfiction that's been wandering through what I think needs to happen, but I'm not sure where it's going. The last year or so has been about trying to pacify a nosey politician, but I don't want to do the whole secrets and manipulation thing anymore. It's either stressful or I'm just bad at it. I liked the stories that were set in cages. The new section is slice-of-life but it just seems to be slogging through nothing.

This list isn't quite linear because they sort of wander from topic-to-topic and backtrack along the way.

  • Two sorcerers talk about a project one is working on, then the older sorcerer gives one advice, they meet up with other sorcerers and the isekai, one talks about problems with his father, then the conversation wanders in and out of arguments about school. They also talk about food and Earth stuff, telepathic etiquette, and arguments about trusting the older sorcerer and the isekai when they're obviously hiding something.
  • Then the isekai ruins a soldier's life in two parts while trying to be helpful. I'm tempted to write a third section about the soldier, but I gave her a bad name and she doesn't deserve the attention. And the isekai kills someone who was trying to murder her. And they talk to the one sorcerer's father, whose life the isekai also either ruined or saved. Another sorcerer accidentally kills a policeman and it's the isekai's fault. In between all this is discussions about cultural differences in that world.


What is the younger wizard was researching? Why seek the advice of this older colleague ?Has it gone wrong and has it resulted in some unforeseen and potential disastrous consequences which are threat not him but everyone sees around him? Focus your narrative on the two and forget the rest, for now.
 

Bramandin

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What is the younger wizard was researching? Why seek the advice of this older colleague ?Has it gone wrong and has it resulted in some unforeseen and potential disastrous consequences which are threat not him but everyone sees around him? Focus your narrative on the two and forget the rest, for now.

Sorry, that one's on me. I got mixed up about which post this was.

He wasn't seeking the advice of anyone, his intention was to spend the day wandering around alone. I didn't lay it out in my sample, but his school is pretty much his culture's version of High School. I scrapped it so that instead of his randomly deciding to play hooky on the day that his peer is in the city he goes to, his peer's mentor approaches him for help.
 
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Bramandin

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Sorry I am have trouble understanding everything you typed after "good point."

All I was trying to tell you is that plots do not exist anywhere under any circumstance. They are an illusion that writers must dispel to see clearly.
I guess I'm confused as well.
 

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