When it comes to writing, is there a such thing as "challenging/complex" plot?

I’ve been thinking a bit on this topic, and I “might” realized something that isn’t even earth-shattering.

But the more I think on it again, I feel like some plots depending on the story’s genre and the writer’s will/intricate outlines are a bit complex when you think about it.

Like I had a brief ponder of an idea for a story I have mixed feelings for.

The story pretty much goes like this:

The world is in chaos as things that cannot be explained causing mayhem and utter destruction. People are fighting each other and to find out what is causing this great issue, that can potentially doom the whole human race along with the planet itself. Yet people still can’t understand why the world is being destroyed, even scientists are completely baffled by it. Come to find out upon someone somehow discovering something about the MC, it revealed that MC is the overall cause on why the world is going to ruins. Yet the MC does not know that nor does the MC know that they are a deity unable to control and contain their leaking divine powers which is causing mass corruption. The MC is just like everyone else who is trying to save the planet, but doesn’t realize that they’re the problem itself.

The point is that challenging/complex plots that require a person to do some good research and to get more creative and even give answers to the lingering questions that present itself in the story.

These plot need some serious outlining, depending on the writer and the genre.

But honestly, what can be consider a challenging and complex plot? Does that even exist? Is it purely subjective? Am I bonkers for thinking that?

Thoughts and feelings?


there’s definitely an element of subjectivity to how challenging certain story elements are to play around with, but some plots are definitely more challenging to write than others. one writer might be better with writing complicated subject matter like political intrigue and struggle with writing something other writers consider simple, like romance or quippy dialogue, but it would be disingenuous to say that telling a story like the twilight series is equally challenging as telling a story like the a song of ice and fire series.

this isn’t a condemnation of simpler stories at all. both have a place.

in my experience with trying to professionally publish my work, you’re often expected to start off with simple standalone novels, and it can be difficult to find someone willing to publish longer and more complex, multi-book stories from someone who hasn’t already made a name for themself one way or another.


I can’t be bothered with writing or reading challenging plots outside Mystery and Thrillers. Making things necessarily complex when they don’t need to be is pointless, and stupid because some genres are meant to be enjoyed and not challenge people. They are intended to be mindless entertainment.


Yes and no. Plots are so simple that there’s really only a handfull of them. The complexity comes from twisting the expected, from running more plots than one, and lack of clarity on the part of the writer.


Everyone has different ideas of what a “challenging” or “complex” plot is because everyone has different levels of knowledge and comfort. Some stories have had more research put into them than others. Some have more world building. Some have more perspectives to deal with. Then there’s all sorts of different topics and starting points. Really, it comes down to the reader and what they consider to be challenging or complex. It’s different for everyone

This actually applies to all stories. If you don’t know the answers and they come up again, can you really say your story is ready to go on the level you think it is?

Totally subjective

[casually covers whiteboard and bookshelf, and pushes all books off desk]

You’re not bonkers


So, overall, this is purely subjective and there’s no need to worry at all, correct?

@alenatenjo, @JohnnyTuturro, @J.L.O, and @ebs.

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Not purely, but like a bell curve: the majority of opinions trend towards x threshold.

A good example is TLotR trilogy. The reason HiSHE pokes so much fun at it is the plot is ridiculously basic, but the writing and convoluted way Tolkien takes care of hia story makes it a major feat to get through it at a young age.

So, many will find that story complex–enough so that its a bit of an academic read.


It’s not entirely subjective. There is a level formality to it. Like if you’re using different literary techniques (NW by Zadie Smith) or rearranging the events (Young Mungo by Shuggie Bain) or just being rigorous (Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel).

I read a lot of literary fiction, which tend to be meticulously plotted for the most part. A good indicator of a successful plot is when everything falls into place on the last couple of pages.


Then there’s also “aging out” of s book. Probsbly the most retranslated book is the Bible, and while some of the concepts are difficult, it’s basically a 6th grade read, especially since so much of it comes from a heavy oral tradition.

The NIV came out closer to when I was a kid–and its already outdated. KJV and NLJV is held onto by traditionalists who like tbeir worship with a side of comprehension issues. ESV is probably the most current English and The Message is someone who like metaphors more than tehy like reading. Its a bunch of books together, so its like throwing an encyclopedia at people and telling them to like it.

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