Young Writers Society

Home » Forums » Resources » Writing Tips

My stories have no plot!

Post a reply
User avatar
13 Reviews


Gender: Male
Points: 226
Reviews: 13
Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:28 pm
Gringoamericano says...



I enjoy writing comedies. They often have concepts that I have never heard before (such as a comedy about wizard hunters, or a novel about starting a religion for money), but that's often just what they are, concepts. All I could ever get down is a few minor gags and character introductions. There is never any plot or driving force for the characters that I can come up with. How do I change that?
So I could just type anything here, and it'll show up at the bottom of my posts?




User avatar
937 Reviews


Gender: Other
Points: 73769
Reviews: 937
Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:42 pm
View Likes
Rosey Unicorn says...



Conflict.

Plot is conflict. What people like seeing is how one side is going to overcome the other to reach a goal. This can be centred around an epic battle (Most fantasy epics and some historical fic) or simply which guy a girl is going to take/how a guy and girl get together (romance). None of these conflicts are exclusive to any one genre. So you can have a comedy centred around an earth-changing event no problem.

All that's important is you pit two sides with conflicting goals/methods/ideals against each other (you can have people want to do the same thing, but go through completely different means, which produces conflict) and let them go. Or, put something in a single group's way that prevents them from achieving their goal.
You know you're a writer when you're not alarmed at hearing voices in your head, you can't read a book without analyzing it for plot & characters and you consider something you nearly killed yourself to write the most rewarding.

Guilty as charged.




User avatar
433 Reviews


Gender: None specified
Points: 2264
Reviews: 433
Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:07 am
Tenyo says...



The first thing I would recommend is trying to write short stories. Often when I used to get stuck writing character intros and a few random scenes was because I got bored or just wasn't in the habit of structuring things from start to finish. Always finish what you start, even if you have to bring things to an abrupt end just to get it done. It will make a huge change to your plotting ability.

Rosey's already hit the nail on the head. Conflict is essential.

If you write a lot of character introductions then you may be a character-based writer, rather than plot-based. In this situation you should take one of your favourite or main characters, and put yourself in their shoes.

Either A) Think of what they want more than anything else, and then throw something in the way of them getting it.

Or B) Think of what is the most important thing to them, snatch it from their finger tips, and then make them go get it back.

Comedies are great, but don't forget you still have to torture your characters and include some angst and misery, otherwise you'll never have an antagonist > never have conflict > never have a plot.
We were born to be amazing.




User avatar
103 Reviews


Gender: Male
Points: 3879
Reviews: 103
Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:34 pm
Dynamo says...



In these cases, sometimes it's a good idea to step back and find resources elsewhere. Try looking through some comedy movies and see how their plot works, and with that in mind try to think of ways to add a plot to your own comedy. Just be sure you find good comedy movies, because there's a lot of bad ones out there that were made simply as cash cows.

A good comedy that comes to mind is a movie called Weekend at Berny's. It's about these two life insurance accountants who discover that someone has been committing insurance fraud. What they don't know is that it was actually their boss who is the crook. So, when they tell their boss Berny about it he invites them to his summer home for the weekend as a reward, then goes to the mob to put a hit out on them. But, he's actually nailing the mob boss' wife and the mob boss knows about it, so he tells the hitman to kill Berny instead. When the two accountants get to the summer home they find Berny dead, and the rest of the movie is spent trying to make it look like Berny is alive so they can get off the island, because they find out about the hit and they think the hitman is coming after them, but as long as Berny is around they believe the hitman won't come after them. If you can find it watch it, it's a good movie and might give you some ideas.
Chicken <-- Egg <-- Rocket Powered Fist
Take that, science!




User avatar
6 Reviews


Gender: None specified
Points: 362
Reviews: 6
Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:08 pm
luckystar3000 says...



Write the beginning. Then try to ask someone to read it. Ask if they have anyone questions about the who, whats, and whys. Write the answers.
(And if it's humor, make them weird answers! :D)
*may my luck be with you*




User avatar
306 Reviews


Gender: Male
Points: 25030
Reviews: 306
Thu May 24, 2012 1:44 am
AlfredSymon says...



Hey! I like those gags! Your works' themes seem a bit identical to Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman's works, which I collect, so I think I have a slight idea or two about these comedies.

Take note: sometimes, just sometimes, the mundane slice-of-life short story rocks. If you're making a short story, even a small gag can stand as a minor conflict. It works as much as you will it, but of course, a bigger plot is better, so now, the real tip :)

Remember that plot and conflict are the same. A simple problem between the characters and the settings can work as a plot. An even complex problem can work well with a novel. Now, how to make one: the first character must have a goal first. What does he need to do? What does he want? For example, what would the hunter want? Does he want to capture a wizard? Or escape from the task given to him?

Next, add the problem! And obstacle for the main character, or much better, the whole world! In a short story or comedy, as I've said earlier, can just be a short scene in which the plot IS the gag. For a novel, obstacles must be well-hidden and expandable. The character won't find it at first, but as you expand the ideas and create more subplots, he will. Or, give the obstacle now, and an adventure can be born! Experimentation is best! Just remember: GOAL--OBSTACLE--GAGS! That's the formula for good comedy!

For more reference, there are sites out there for comedians like ya! Check out Writer's Block!
Need some feed? Then read some! Take a look at today's Squills at In the News.

The Tatterdemalion takes a tattle!

"Stories are like yarn; just hold on to the tip and let the ball roll away"




User avatar
10 Reviews


Gender: None specified
Points: 512
Reviews: 10
Wed May 30, 2012 1:35 am
octopi says...



I have the same problem, and here is what I do.

first, try to sculpt an idea from the concept. For example, here is a concept [this is a concept I came up with a while ago]:

discus, only with giant buttons

Now, try to sculpt an idea from it. Maybe add a setting.

there is an unknown world of Little People which uses buttons to play discus, and calls it dibiscus.

now get a little deeper into the plot. add a character. what is this characters motivation? what is the conflict? what is the complations? write it out.

There is an unknown world of Little people which uses buttons to play dibiscus. Jim, a Little Person, wants to win the Dibiscus contest and prove that he is not a failure, like everyone belives. But just when he thinks he's going to win hands down, a stranger comes in. the stranger is excellent at dibiscus, and he/she has motivations to win, too.

see what I mean? now you have a plot with characters, motivations, conflict, and complications. hope I was helpful.
~McKie
that awkward moment when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopi.

formerly camboftw




User avatar
410 Reviews


Gender: Male
Points: 42063
Reviews: 410
Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:03 am
BenFranks says...



As much as writers dislike doing it, try planning.

Go back to basics, what's your beginning? What's your build up? What's their challenge/conflict? What's their resolution? Are you making any contextual comments? How do the relationships change? Who falls for who? Where does this go? Destination, destination, destination? End it.

Plan your novel, or you'll just end up writing the first couple of chapters and then hitting a dead end.
Benjamin Franks
~ Editor in Chief, Pie Magazine | An Editor's Blog.
THE NON-FICTION GURU | Ask a Question