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Oh my God. I've got it. I've got the thing that will bring it… - Silicon Rose [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Silicon Rose

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[Jun. 16th, 2005|09:40 am]
Silicon Rose
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[Current Mood |creativecreative]

Oh my God.

I've got it.

I've got the thing that will bring it together and link the beginning to the end.

I'll still have to plot out the specifics of the end, but I can link them together now. It feels silly that I've gotten this far and I didn't have it, but I have it now.

It is the SHINY PLOT POINT!

Yay. ^^

And I was thinking - you could call any story a "Plot Coupons" story. After all, the detective/spy needs to collect all the pieces of information to solve the mystery, you could say that in a fiction story the main character needs to collect enough experiences to change... I guess it's a silly sort of epiphany (and to me, right now, not nearly as important as the epiphany that drove the first part of this entry), but I'm going to set it up on my mantlepiece anyways.

I'm so jaded about stories right now. I'll probably go into more detail on that topic tonight, if I have time.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: ketsugami
2005-06-16 04:59 pm (UTC)
Yay! That's such a good feeling. ^_^

The difference between a "plot coupons" story and something that really works well, I think, is arbitrariness. In a good detective story, the reader is following along so that he knows why finding out the identity of the fifth man in the lineup will lead to cornering the murder. But in a lot of fantasy-type novels, that goals are just dictated from On High, and the story doesn't arise naturally from them. (i.e. "The gods hid the seven parts of the Staff of Awesomeness in seven different countries, and now you must visit them all before you can confront El Bad Guy.") Even a fantasy story that involves people going around collecting stuff can work, if the elements are woven into the story itself rather than imposed from the outside.
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[User Picture]From: froborr
2005-06-16 06:18 pm (UTC)
Exactly what I was going to say. I just wanted to add that Plot Coupons are also often traditional/cliche (the magic sword, the magic ring, the magic pet), and that it is possible to make a Plot Coupon story work if the search for the Coupons themselves is secondary to the story's focus. For example, a story in which the characters are a traditional assortment of standard fantasy hero-types looking for the seven parts of the Staff of Awesomeness, but the focus is not on the quest, but on the question of whether killing El Bad Guy will really make the world better for anyone. That story could actually be improved by making the quest goals themselves as cliche as possible (though the theme is perilously close to being a cliche itself).
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[User Picture]From: ketsugami
2005-06-16 06:22 pm (UTC)
Indeed. That's more for a parody/commentary story though, I'd think. Like Villains by Neccesity, which is one of my favorites.
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[User Picture]From: froborr
2005-06-16 06:30 pm (UTC)
"A Very Offensive Weapon" -- El Bad Guy has been defeated, and it's too dangerous to keep the Plot Coupons in one place, so they have to be redistributed is my favorite example. Not actually a very good story, but a very good example.

Also, it occurs to me that there a lot of situations where the plot is not central to the work and so, while it might be better without Plot Coupons, it's not destroyed by them. Almost any roleplaying game, for example.
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[User Picture]From: froborr
2005-06-16 06:23 pm (UTC)
I seriously think writing ought to be included on the list with sausage-making, politics, and structural engineering. Everyone I know who does it seriously eventually ends up really jaded about stories.
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