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Muse or bust?

oldegrump

I have several storie running around in my head, when I commit them to the screen some are cheesy, some are ok but go nowhere and so far, only one was good enough to post.

My dilema and question is if I should use an outline (which I seldom can completely follow) or to just let the story flow. I would like other authors Ideas please

Ross at Play

@oldegrump

only one was good enough to post.

I'm in much the same boat as you. After over a year of doing not much else, I've only posted one story which was even shorter than yours.
I'm starting out on a new strategy which includes, along with much trepidation, outlining.
You may email me at rossmurray.aust@gmail.com. Hopefully we might help each other out by passing on the discoveries we find along the way.

StarFleet Carl

@oldegrump

My dilema and question is if I should use an outline (which I seldom can completely follow) or to just let the story flow. I would like other authors Ideas please


An outline is just that - the outline. If you were writing a biography, then there shouldn't be many changes from the outline. If you're writing a true story, then it's again fact based and will follow the outline. It doesn't hurt to have at least a story synopsis.

Now that I'm done with my first book, I'm figuring out what to do next. I've half a dozen files on my computer right now with titles like 'History story', 'Fantasy story', 'High School Story' - and what I've done is write an initial opening paragraph for each one of them. That gives me a lot of things to play with and work on. But that's what I do, and may not work for you.

Here's the one piece of advice that I can give you, courtesy of a lot of expensive training my employer gives us to help us get better at our jobs, that actually works. Take whatever works for YOU from all the advice and writing guides and make it your own. Look at what others do, and then YOU personalize it so it fits your style.

Replies:   REP
robberhands
Updated:

@oldegrump

Well, for what it's worth. When I started writing my story I had it outlined from chapter one to chapter seven. Seven chapters and about 35k words. That was all I initially wanted to write. I wrote and posted the chapters on the go. The readers liked the story, and while I was writing I 'outlined' the next twenty-two chapters. and a sequel with thirty-nine chapters. All in all, 2118kb text or 383k words. Although outlined would be a pretty big word for the ideas I had at that time. I knew the beginning and the end of the story, and envisioned many scenes and characters playing a part in it.

However, it was fun, for the most part, and a great learning experience.

Crumbly Writer

While many authors aren't fond of formal outlines, generally it's a good idea to decide how and when the story eventually ends. This does two things, first it eliminates the endless progression of chapters where little changes in the story, often leaving the story floundering for an ending. Secondly, it provides you with something to aim towards. Thus, as you write, each story element should eventually lead to the conclusion, and you'll flavor the writing towards that conclusion.

The story description is also useful, because it's essentially a one or two paragraph 'elevator speech' summarizing the story's conflicts. By writing that upfront, and keeping it in front of you, it's a constant reminded of the central conflicts driving the story. While various story elements will drift in various direction, the description will keep you on track, reminding you what to focus on.

Once you have those, you generally don't need a formal outline. One sign that you have a successful story idea is when it takes on a life of its own. Essentially, at some point the characters simply take over the story, acting on their own, at which point you simply sit back and try to record everything they say before they move on to the next encounter. When it happens, it's an exhilarating experience, and since your characters generally know the story (and their personalities) better than you, the author, does, it's best to forgo a chapter outline at that point.

Finally, most authors churn for some time, trying to get into any story, but it's mostly a problem of finding the right story. One you find a story that appeals to you, everything else basically falls into place. Thus, if you haven't found it yet, you may just be fishing in the wrong pond. If you're struggling to find a stroke story that captivates you, expand your range. Try something more detailed (i.e. more of an engaging plot with interesting characters). If you're trying for romance, try an action adventure or sci-fi saga. Again, you'll likely try several ideas before you hit the right one, but once you find what motivates You, you won't have the same problems in the future, as you'll know where to focus in the future. On a similar track, if the story doesn't take off after several chapters (i.e. if it's a struggle to type out a given chapter), then you're generally on the wrong track. Either the story doesn't appeal to you, or you're attacking it from the wrong direction (i.e. the characters refuse to act if those actions contradict their basic personalities).

Keep trying, you'll find that one magic story, and soon you'll be surfing on that one wave for a long time.

oldegrump

Thank You all, I have some ideas to ponder. More Please

awnlee jawking

I'd go with bust. I find a nice pair of breasts provides far more reliable inspiration than my capricious muse ;)

AJ

Switch Blayde

@oldegrump

I would like other authors Ideas please


I tried outlining once. I hated it. It was boring to write the story from an outline and the writing seemed stilted. But some people swear by outlining. Just realize, you'll do more rewriting without an outline.

But even though I don't outline, I do know the following before I begin:

1. main characters and their relationships.
2. plot's conflict (what protagonist wants/needs and what's in the way).
3. inciting incident (what sets the conflict (and story) in motion).
4. plot's climax (conflict resolution)

Then I put my characters in situations and see how they respond. If needed, I add minor characters along the way. But because I know the ending, I write towards that ending. It keeps me on track.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

2. plot's conflict (what protagonist wants/needs and what's in the way).


A plot's conflict doesn't have to be driven by what the protagonist want's/needs. It can be driven just as well by what the antagonist want's/needs, where the protagonist is what's in the way.

Replies:   Joe Long  Switch Blayde
Joe Long

@Dominions Son

A plot's conflict doesn't have to be driven by what the protagonist want's/needs. It can be driven just as well by what the antagonist want's/needs, where the protagonist is what's in the way.


True. It's been argued to start the outline with the antagonist.

SB: That list is fine. I don't do a formal outline, but get at least those four in my head and jot down notes when necessary so I won't forget things. After that I'll develop a scene list, which gets more detailed as I get closer to writing the scene.

Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

A plot's conflict doesn't have to be driven by what the protagonist want's/needs. It can be driven just as well by what the antagonist want's/needs, where the protagonist is what's in the way.


The protagonist is the main character in the story. The conflict is there's something in the way of what he needs/wants. That "something" is the antagonist.

If the villain in the story is the main character, he's the protagonist and the good guy is the antagonist.

In fact, the antagonist doesn't have to be a villain. A story about two good guys vying for the same woman has one of them (the main one in the story) as the protagonist and the other as the antagonist. The antagonist might even be the conscience of the protagonist.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Switch Blayde

@oldegrump

I would like other authors Ideas please


Something else you should do if you don't outline. Outline after the fact.

When I finish a chapter, I write a brief summary of it. It helps me find things during a rewrite. It's also nice to read to get a flow of the story after it's written.

I also keep a character list, with relationships and descriptions and anything else pertinent to the character. For example, in my WIP novel, I have along with my protagonist's name and description, what weapons he has, what cars he has, what scars he has, his former military rank, etc. I use that reference often.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

The protagonist is the main character in the story. The conflict is there's something in the way of what he needs/wants. That "something" is the antagonist.


Not necessarily. There are a lot of accidental hero type stories out there where

Villian decides that person x is in the way of his plans and must be eliminated.

X must become a hero and stop the villian just to survive.

The story focuses on X as the main character.

Geek of Ages

@Dominions Son

They're using the traditional definitions of the words. Protagonist does not mean "hero", and antagonist does not mean "villain". The protagonist is the main character, the antagonist is the primary obstacle, and the deuterotagonist is the secondary main character, and the tritagonist is the tertiary main character. In some stories, the deuterotagonist is the antagonist, as well.

Replies:   Dominions Son
REP

@StarFleet Carl

Here's the one piece of advice that I can give you

Excellent advice. As they say, you have to be true to yourself.

Dominions Son

@Geek of Ages

Protagonist does not mean "hero", and antagonist does not mean "villain".


I am aware of that, and if you think I have implied otherwise you are misreading what I wrote.

X is the main character.
Y decides that X is in the way of what Y wants and decides to eliminate X.
This forces X to stop Y just to survive.
Again, X is the main character, but it is what Y wants that is driving the conflict.

I have read Dead Tree stories written this way.

robberhands

@Dominions Son

X is the main character.
Y decides that X is in the way of what Y wants and decides to eliminate X.

X fighting Y, or Y defending against X; it's an argument for the sake of arguing.

Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

The story focuses on X as the main character.


That's the point. The protagonist is the main character.

From wikipedia:

A protagonist (from Ancient Greek πρωταγωνιστής (protagonistes), meaning 'player of the first part, chief actor') is the main character in any story, such as a literary work or drama.[1]

Replies:   Dominions Son
REP

@oldegrump

I would like other authors Ideas please


Authors outline stories for a reason. Namely to organize their thoughts in a logical progression. So creating an outline is a good thing.

My creativity starts coming to the forefront as I outline. As I get ideas for scenes, I jot down enough to remind me of the scene. My outlines are never long or detailed; just enough to define the general storyline/plot.

Then when I start writing, my creativity takes over and I let it go in whatever direction it wants to take. To hell with the outline - the story is what is important. If what I wrote is good and fits the general storyline, even if it doesn't follow the outline, I keep it. If what I wrote is good but doesn't fit the storyline, I keep what I wrote and modify the storyline. If you don't like where your burst of writing went, you can always rewrite or trash what you wrote.

Trust your creativity and use the outline to keep you going in the right direction. When you have what may be a great story trying to get out, limiting yourself to the outline will destroy the story.

The problem with outlines is sticking to one. Think of an outline as a route traced on a map. If you limit yourself to the traced route, you are going to miss some interesting side trips.

Ross at Play

@robberhands

X fighting Y, or Y defending against X; it's an argument for the sake of arguing.

If you write in 1-POV the MC is your POV character. That could be either X or Y.
DS sometimes argues for the sake of arguing, but this time I think his point is valid

Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

This forces X to stop Y just to survive.


That's the plot's conflict.

Y decides that X is in the way of what Y wants and decides to eliminate X


That's the inciting incident.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

That's the point. The protagonist is the main character.


You completely missed my point. Yes, X is the protagonist, but in the scenario I set up, it's the antagonist Y's wants that drive the conflict.

robberhands
Updated:

@Ross at Play


DS sometimes argues for the sake of arguing, but this time I think his point is valid


Read SB's first post in this thread. That's the one DS initially responded to and you'll notice it is an argument for the sake of arguing. At best it was a lure SB blindly snapped at, so they now can happily argue along.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@REP

Trust your creativity and use the outline to keep you going in the right direction. When you have what may be a great story trying to get out, limiting yourself to the outline will destroy the story.

That sounds like great advice to me.

This is my an analogy for your advice using a road trip.
- Look at a map and plan your journey from A to B before starting out
- DO NOT look at the map WHILE you are driving
- Check where you are when to you stop for breaks; you may have strayed far from your original planned route. If so you have the options of either:
(a) going back to where you made a wrong turn,
(b) working out some way to get back on your planned route, or
(c) decide to aim for C instead.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Joe Long

@REP

The problem with outlines is sticking to one. Think of an outline as a route traced on a map. If you limit yourself to the traced route, you are going to miss some interesting side trips.


That's why I start with a general outline (the beginning, end, and major plot points) and fill in the details as I get closer to writing each scene. I often ponder a scene before diving in and jot down a list of things that are scheduled to occur.

Replies:   REP  Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

See my post right before your last one. It explains it.

It's: 8/14/2017, 1:11:37 PM

Replies:   Dominions Son
REP

@Joe Long

I often ponder a scene before diving in and jot down a list of things that are scheduled to occur.


That is when your creativity is starting to take over. Do you let it take you on a journey or rein it in to stick with the outline.

Replies:   Joe Long
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

See my post right before your last one. It explains it.


No it doesn't. The conflict is still driven by the antagonist not the protagonist.

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

If you write in 1-POV the MC is your POV character.


No, the 1-POV can be a bystanding narrator.

AJ

Replies:   REP
awnlee jawking

@Dominions Son

Unless I'm missing something here, I agree. I recently read a dead tree crime novel, told from the view of the police detective who was being targeted by a villain seeking revenge. I suspect it's actually a common literary device.

AJ

REP

@awnlee jawking

1-POV can be a bystanding narrator.


No. In 1-POV the narrator is part of the action; typically the MC, but a secondary character can be the narrator. If a bystander is the narrator, that would be 3-POV.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Dominions Son

@awnlee jawking

You aren't missing anything, but SB is tying himself into a pretzel trying to make that kind of scenario fit his preconceived notion that the protagonist drives the conflict, rather than expanding his thinking.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

No it doesn't. The conflict is still driven by the antagonist not the protagonist.


You don't understand plot conflict. Don't think of conflict like a war.

Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

If you write in 1-POV the MC is your POV character.


No, "Moby Dick" is written in 1st-person, but the main character is not the 1st-person narrator (Ishmael).

Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

told from the view of the police detective who was being targeted by a villain seeking revenge


So the police detective was the protagonist (main character). The conflict was his surviving the villain.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Switch Blayde

@REP

If a bystander is the narrator, that would be 3-POV.


Can be 1st, like "Moby Dick."

Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

preconceived notion that the protagonist drives the conflict,


Did I say the protagonist drives the conflict? The protagonist is the main character who has a conflict to overcome.

Please read before you speak.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Joe Long

@REP

That is when your creativity is starting to take over. Do you let it take you on a journey or rein it in to stick with the outline.


My general ending is the same but the details have changed quite a bit. When adding more detail I often throw in events I hadn't thought of before.

A few scenes back I wrote about the kids going out after the football game to a strip mine to roast hot dogs, drink beer, smoke some weed and have one of the guys suggest skinny dipping (based on a real life event.) That didn't change at all, but originally the focus was on the MC's interaction with his girlfriend as he waffled on whether to get naked or not (here, as in real life, everyone chickened out - but I didn't have a girl with me. Others did.) Once I got to the scene all those actions remained, but instead the focus switched to her getting deeper into drinking and smoking (self medicating when down emotionally) and lots of symbolism when they're sticking their dogs in the fire. Also her simulating fellatio on the weiner in public, and being grounded for going home drunk. It all shifted to her character development and path down a negative arc.

Geek of Ages

@Dominions Son

X wants the world to be a certain way; Y wants it to be a different way. Even if X is ostensibly the hero and their "certain way" is "the way it was", if they are the main character, they are the protagonist and Y is the antagonist who is trying to change it.

awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

So the police detective was the protagonist (main character). The conflict was his surviving the villain.


Her, actually, but yes.

AJ

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Something else you should do if you don't outline. Outline after the fact.

When I finish a chapter, I write a brief summary of it. It helps me find things during a rewrite. It's also nice to read to get a flow of the story after it's written.

I've never written a full chapter summary, but I do write a brief chapter summation (a one line description, rather than a point by point analysis) when I construct my ongoing story time lines. The time lines are useful to find when there are chronological holes in the story, and help when you need to find where to patch a story.

I do the same as you with character lists, which I then use to create the same (less detailed) for the books and when I post online (less detailed). Though I spend less time on their possessions and more on relationships to the other people in the story. Many also include physical descriptions, though I usually keep a photo library of 'image types' that I rely on instead.

Mind you, these are all 'tools of the trade' that we've developed after writing for a while and running headlong into problems forgetting essential details along the way. Thus I wouldn't worry about these details until you're sure a specific story will work out for you.

Typically, if I can make it though the third chapter, the story is a keeper. If I can't even make it though the first chapters, I'll likely never even get started on the story.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

The protagonist is the main character in the story. The conflict is there's something in the way of what he needs/wants. That "something" is the antagonist.

Not necessarily. There are a lot of accidental hero type stories out there where

Villian decides that person x is in the way of his plans and must be eliminated.

Not quite. No one is just an 'incidental hero'. Instead, there's always something central to the protagonist which drives him to rise up against the protagonist. I haven't read many stories which start with several chapters detailing the bad guy's background, only to switch to a sad-sack 'good guy' who feels obligated to save the day.

The reluctant hero, of which I've included many in my stories, is more likely conflicted about their role, feeling either unprepared or ill-equipped for the task at hand. Thus your description and mine can both be summarized as the protagonist's motivations. The antagonist, on the other hand, rarely gets more than a superficial and overly simplistic motivation for their behaviors. After all, few authors want their antagonists to be sympathetic.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

X fighting Y, or Y defending against X; it's an argument for the sake of arguing.

In both cases, there's something specific about Y which forces him to step forward and confront X. Without such, there's really no story. As such, Y is not so much an incidental hero as he's simply unprepared for the sudden responsibility or feels conflicted (perhaps unqualified) to perform the feat. It's his decision to rise up anyway, and find the means to confront the crisis that provides the drama. It's never the antagonist's actions which provide the drama, there merely provide an excuse for the action scenes in the story.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

My creativity starts coming to the forefront as I outline. As I get ideas for scenes, I jot down enough to remind me of the scene. My outlines are never long or detailed; just enough to define the general storyline/plot.

I concur with REP (I can't believe I actually said that). I don't actually write a formal outline, as I typically keep everything in my mind as I write, but like REP, I'll keep a list of action events, a plot's way-points, if you will. The plot has to achieve each of those way points, just like a runner has to make each turn, so how long it takes or what's involved in each stage isn't that important to the overall story, what's essential is that they tick off each plot point on the way to the final conflict resolution by the end of the story.

But then, I'm a little unusual, as I'll often get an idea for a story, and then sit on it for weeks or months, until the ideas gel and a plot develops. At that point, I'll start writing (always the title and story description first, although the title can change multiple times), only jotting down details as I write them, rather than recording where I expect the story to go.

That's another reason why I'll eventually dump any story I can't get at least three chapters into, because I simply can't keep that many ideas in my head for that long before some other story's ideas flood the area and wash away the original story's details.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

This forces X to stop Y just to survive.

That's the plot's conflict.

Sorry, but that's rarely the central conflict in a story. Go back and reread you Joseph Campbell. It's the parts of the character's history which force him to confront the evil facing him that defines him as a character, and which define the story's conflicts. Thus it's less about the antagonist, but more about what is is about the antagonist that pisses him off so much, that drives the story.

In most stories, it's easy enough to simply disappear into the woodwork, or simply take a long vacation rather than confront the enemy. The difference is, the protagonist is the ONE PERSON who DOESN'T avoid the spotlight, but is instead driven to fight an injustice he's in no way qualified or tried to contend with.

It's the story of his personal growth as an individual, on the way to doing battle, that defines him as a character and defines the central story conflict.

"X plants an atom bomb and Y must defuse it" is an extremely empty plot. There needs to be something in X which drives him to destroy things, and something about Y that sets him apart from everyone who's supposed to be defending the world but aren't doing it, that drives the story.

The same is true even in stroke stories (defined by most here as 'having no plot'). It's not just that someone has sex with everyone imaginable, but that there's something about the protagonist which drives him to pursue everyone, and something about his girlfriend which drives her to overlook her boyfriend's dalliances and participates in them herself which drives the stoke stories.

Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

Did I say the protagonist drives the conflict?


Yes, you did. In your very first comment on this thread.

2. plot's conflict (what protagonist wants/needs and what's in the way).


In the scenario I laid out the conflict derives from what the antagonist wants/needs. It is the protagonist who is in the way.

The protagonist just wants/needs to be left alone.
The antagonist wants/needs to destroy the protagonist.

If not for the antagonists wants/needs there is no conflict.

Your attempt to describe my scenario that in a way that makes the protagonist the driver of the conflict is just semantics.

Replies:   REP  Switch Blayde
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

That sounds like great advice to me.

This is my an analogy for your advice using a road trip.

Ross, your 'road trip' analogy (even though it was only a rehash of REP's points) was spot on. It boils down tot he essence why so few of us actually formally outline, but why we each have essential plot points or 'action events' which define each stage of the book, but how the character gets there is up to the characters themselves.

Replies:   Joe Long
Crumbly Writer

@Joe Long

That's why I start with a general outline (the beginning, end, and major plot points) and fill in the details as I get closer to writing each scene. I often ponder a scene before diving in and jot down a list of things that are scheduled to occur.

I'll very often spend hours, the night before any given chapter, outlining (in my head while trying to sleep) what specifically will happen in the next chapter. Then, once I have the details worked out, I'll relax and fall asleep, no longer worried about how it'll unfold. The best part of that approach, is that since I wont' always remember the exact details, I can fudge things in order to get it to flow while actually writing the chapter during the day.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

The conflict is still driven by the antagonist not the protagonist.

You're confusing the danger the protagonist faces with the conflicts driving the story (and the characters) to do what must be done.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

No one is just an 'incidental hero'.


I said accidental, not incidental. They are not remotely similar.

Instead, there's always something central to the protagonist which drives him to rise up against the protagonist.


In the scenario I laid out it's the most basic drive of all, survival.

I haven't read many stories which start with several chapters detailing the bad guy's background, only to switch to a sad-sack 'good guy' who feels obligated to save the day.


That's not what I am describing. I have read a number of stories, including a number of stories in dead tree format where the protagonist is attacked out of the blue on page one and spends half the story trying to figure out by whom and why while avoiding getting killed.

The reluctant hero, of which I've included many in my stories, is more likely conflicted about their role, feeling either unprepared or ill-equipped for the task at hand.


In my scenario, is not necessarily unprepared and not necessarily ill-equipped. Think ex-military special-ops veteran who just wants to be left alone and the antagonist has decided that they have to be eliminated for whatever reason.

Thus your description and mine can both be summarized as the protagonist's motivations.


Perhaps, but that description is not completely accurate for my scenario.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

You're confusing the danger the protagonist faces with the conflicts driving the story (and the characters) to do what must be done.


No, you are confusing the scenario I laid out with something in your own head.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Dominions Son

In the scenario I laid out it's the most basic drive of all, survival.

Again, if survival is the only conflict in a story, they can simply hop on a jet and fly off for a which vacation and there's no story left. Instead, it's the reasons WHY the protagonist feels compelled to confront the antagonist which drive the story. It's not HOW the antagonist threatens everyone (though that's what gets all the attention during reviews), it's about how the protagonist NEEDS to 'fix things'.

Perhaps, but that description is not completely accurate for my scenario.

Sadly, as Ross pointed out, your 'scenario' is SO specific that it fails to describe 90% of ALL stories.

If you want to continue arguing with yourself, then go ahead, but I doubt you're going to convince anyone else (aside from Awnlee and maybe robberhands).

No, you are confusing the scenario I laid out with something in your own head.

Exactly, you constructed a strange alternate plot that rarely affects many stories and are willing to argue it to the death. Since it'll never affect MY stories, or the stories of the people asking for help in constructing stories, I'm not going to waste time fighting with you over it.

Replies:   Dominions Son  Joe Long
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Again, if survival is the only conflict in a story, they can simply hop on a jet and fly off for a which vacation and there's no story left.


My last comment on the issue. My scenario might be unusual, but that doesn't make it invalid.

The protagonist can't simply fly off for a vacation, because the antagonist will purse him at all costs.

Joe Long

@Crumbly Writer

but how the character gets there is up to the characters themselves.


I setup a scene. I pick the people who are present in a location with things I want them to participate in and accomplish. Then I take a walk, a drive or a shower and visualize the setting. The characters take it from there. I transcribe and edit.

Joe Long

@Crumbly Writer

Instead, it's the reasons WHY the protagonist feels compelled to confront the antagonist which drive the story. It's not HOW the antagonist threatens everyone (though that's what gets all the attention during reviews), it's about how the protagonist NEEDS to 'fix things'.


I'm kicking around a premise for a political action thriller as my next project. The scenario is a handful of years in the future. Political violence in the US is spinning out of control. Extreme rightists and leftists are dying in the streets.

In that scenario many people just want it all to stop so they can just live there lives. Until the violence strikes home. What does a father do when The government is unable or unwilling to bring peace? He faces moral dilemmas which he never dreamed he'd be in. Do you take law and order into your own hands? Organize with other like minded folks? What about when the government starts firing on it's own people while they insist the people disarm?

I've been brainstorming it occasionally for a few months, and quite unfortunately real life events may outrun my imagination.

oldegrump

I just read through all of the comments. I did not know I would be starting a verbal war. I thank you all for your weighing in on this.

My music teacher said "if you can sing in the shower and enjoy" my work is done. Billy Crystal (In "Through Momma From The Train") writers write. I will weigh all of the comments and WRITE. That you all.

Please look at my story and see what you think.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@oldegrump

I did not know I would be starting a verbal war.

It wasn't your fault and this war was relatively minor. No babies were killed during this one.

REP
Updated:

@Dominions Son

Antagonist or Protagonist – it all depends on what point of view is being used to tell the story.

Scenario: The bad guy has been doing things for years and no one had a problem with the status quo. Then a Dudley-do-Right good guy decides to change the status quo. The good guy takes actions to change what the bad guy is doing.

Now from the bad guy's POV, there was no problem until the good guy started changing the status quo. Thus, the good guy is the antagonist and the bad guy is the protagonist. But from the good guy's POV, the status quo is a problem and the good guy is responding to the problem caused by the bad guy. Thus, the bad guy is the antagonist and the good guy is the protagonist.

ETA: Perhaps it is time to restate the scenario. Perhaps the two of you are thinking of slightly different scenarios.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@REP

Perhaps it is time to restate the scenario.


I was trying to avoid giving it too much detail, but here, to make it clear I'll lay out a more specific variation.

Protagonist/MC: Could be anyone, no great ambitions, just wants to live his own life.

Antagonist: Very wealthy, huge resources, head of a major corporation or criminal organization. He has goals along the lines of world domination. For whatever reason, he has decided that the mere existence of the MC is a threat to his goals. Perhaps he was given a prophecy that the MC would stop him. Perhaps, without realizing the significance, the MC witnessed something that could bring down the antagonist. Perhaps the antagonist is simply insane and randomly focused on the MC.

The story starts with the ordinary quite life of the MC. However, in short order, the MC survives, by luck or skill, an assassination attempt. Eventually, more attempts are made on the MC's life.

The MC's only goal relevant to the plot is the most basic of all human instincts, survival.

The MC can't just walk away, because the antagonist has the means and motivation to pursue him to the ends of the earth. Though, an attempt to do so could be included in the story.

IF the MC runs, perhaps trying to hide using a false, identity, he will have to keep running for ever, always looking over his shoulder, because he doesn't know who or what is after him, or why they are after him.

Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

In the scenario I laid out the conflict derives from what the antagonist wants/needs. It is the protagonist who is in the way.


You're making up your own definitions for protagonist and antagonist. To you, the former is the hero and the latter is the villain. Sorry, but those aren't the definitions in literature.

I'm done discussing this.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


You're making up your own definitions for protagonist and antagonist. To you, the former is the hero and the latter is the villain.


No, I am not, hero, villain, or hapless schmuck, the protagonist is the main character, but it's pointless to discuss with you because you wont countenance the scenario I laid out as valid.

The protagonist in my scenario is not a hero nor is he a villain. He's some schmuck thrown into a situation where he as exactly two choices, fight or die.

I am not saying the antagonist must always be a villain for every story, just that the antagonist for this scenario happens to be a villain. I don't comprehend why you can't see the difference.

G Younger

I think it depends on the individual. In my past life I was a project manager and totally buy into the outline concept for most things.

When writing I am stream of thought writer. I just fall into the story and follow where it takes me. I just get it on the paper and that is why I need a ton of editors/proof readers.

Does that mean I don't have an outline - no. I have broad strokes as to where I want it to go, but how I get there isn't controlled by the outline for me. I think it is me rebelling against using them all those years...

Bottom line you need to have some idea where you want it to go. I find for my shorter stories it is more critical so I don't let my muse wander off.

richardshagrin

If you don't pay the protagonist is he an amateur-tagonist?

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