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Who else has characters but no story or plot for them?

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Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:53 pm
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Spwills says...



I don't know why this always happens to me. I can come up with characters easily, my brain just magics them up. But once I have this wonderful character, I have nowhere to put her, nothing for her to do. I know what kind of story I want to write, which writers and stories have inspired me, but I can never come up with my own plot and my character is basically stuck motionless on the page.
Does this happen to anyone else? Do you think up and idea first, and characters later? Where do you get plot ideas from? Looking foward to discussing this with you guys! :)
"Death's got an Invisibility Cloak?" Harry interrupted again.

"So he can sneak up on people," said Ron. "Sometimes he gets bored of running at them, flapping his arms and shrieking…"




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Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:04 pm
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stargazer9927 says...



I have the total opposite problem actually. I get the plot first and then the characters come later. Which is good because I work my characters around the plot and I need to know what's going to happen before I create their personality, because they have to be in sync with what's going on. I create new characters for even really old and long novels all the time, and somehow find a way to work them in even if I wasn't originally planning on it, and it always works out.
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Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:03 pm
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Spwills says...



That's something I'm having a problem with at the moment. I know what my character looks like and more and less her personality, but she can't become 100% realisitic until I know what the story is actually about and how she will react to certain situations. I'd rather be in your place, sounds a lot easier!
Has anyone got any plot ideas for an adventure/fantasy with a teenage female protagonist?
"Death's got an Invisibility Cloak?" Harry interrupted again.

"So he can sneak up on people," said Ron. "Sometimes he gets bored of running at them, flapping his arms and shrieking…"




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Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:05 pm
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Taxi says...



I have a big set of characters who currently have no story to experience. Over ten. The main character is actually one I'm using for a few things, but her actual story isn't done. Don't know why, guess I haven't gotten to it yet. But I do like working on characters in my spare time.
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Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:42 pm
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ChunSquirrelArtiste says...



I think it's actually better to form your characters before your plot (as long as you have the most basic essence of your plot worked out, like fantasy hero's adventure in other world, or high school romance drama, etc.). Plot is supposed to be propelled by your characters, by their personalities, beliefs, strengths and weaknesses. If it isn't, your plot can feel contrived and unnatural.

I definitely share your frustration though! I currently have my two protagonists fairly well formed, voices found, faults and strengths, worries, fears, and dreams all worked out to a T. I have my "evil side" (because this is a fantasy adventure) drafted out, but have no idea how to connect the protagonists to the conflict going on without making it seem constructed rather than natural and meaningful.




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Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:47 pm
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Rosey Unicorn says...



I had a character jump into my head awhile ago— I think last March. I kept her there, completely plotless with only an environment, till October. She then launched herself onto a plot bunny, brought it home, and let it make chaos for a month.

She fit surprisingly well, despite some minor alterations. While plot should be taken from the characters, you can come up with characters without plots. They'll find the story that fits them eventually. (I even kept the environment. Offices in AU supernatural fantasy, why not?)
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.




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Fri Jan 20, 2012 9:38 pm
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Paracosm says...



Who has two thumbs and is in total agreement? This guy!
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Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:45 pm
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hopeispeace says...



"I can come up with characters easily, my brain just magics them up. But once I have this wonderful character, I have nowhere to put her, nothing for her to do."

You have no idea how much you are like me. I can come up with characters, scenes, introductions, endings, randomly placed chapters, and clever bits of dialogue; little details. But I can't seem to devise real plots. The actual story for the nice little characters just doesn't exist, and it frustrates me so much.
I've been trying, though, to combine my poems with my characters and dialogue to make an actual story . . . but it's a work in progress. I'm trying to write plays lately. Wish me luck!
~HopeisPeace




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Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:17 pm
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RachaelElg says...



If you have characters, you have plot.

Why? Because "plot is a character wanting something, even if it's just a glass of water," as some famous old dead dude I don't remember said.

Or, I guess plot is really a character wanting something and not being able to get it right away, or the process the character has to undergo to get what he or she wants. Average scrawny, socially awkward kid at school meets the hottest girl in his grade and wants to get her attention.... bam. Plot.

More abstractly, Average Scrawny Socially Awkward Kid just wants to be noticed, because his parents don't really notice him because they're always so busy, and being Average means he's not even a particularly smart Socially Awkward, and so he's a bit lost and confused about what he's going to do with his life and wants a ray of light to guide him.

But meanwhile, Hottest Girl In His Grade, newly moved to the US West Coast with her family from the East Coast, wants some things of her own. One of them is to get the heck out of the West and back to all her friends and the dude she likes. So she's not particularly interested in any guy's attentions.

So Average Kid is now desperately trying to get the attention of someone desperately trying not to be there. Conflict. Bam. The plot thickens.

And then you just follow it. His attempts to get her attention, her attempts to escape and avoid everyone. For extra fun you look at other characters and what they want. Maybe Dad wanted Average Kid to be a baseball star. Or maybe Average Kid's best friend wants to be a baseball star.

You just ask, "Well, what's stopping him?" or maybe "And what's it going to take for him to get there?" and things just start unraveling.

Have characters, have plot. Just find out what all of your characters want and why they can't get it and look at where the conflicts between the wants are. If Harry Potter wants to save the wizarding world and Voldemort wants to rule it, only one of them is going to win. Conflict. Plot. Bam.
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