1. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    A bit of a road bump..

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by sweetchaos, Mar 9, 2009.

    I'm currently developing an idea for a new novel. I'm excited about it, however, I seem to have come up against a wall.

    The basic idea is that our main character, Lita, finds herself shipwrecked on an island in the middle of the pacific and finds and ancient civilization. They are primitively advanced (think Atlantis), and highly secretive. I'm still working on how they've kept the Island hidden from modern satelites, I'll probably just turn back the clock a few decades.

    Anyway, I have numerous subplots, but I can't seem to come up with a major plot. Obviously, a large part would be Lita trying to find a way home and getting to another character. However, it feels like it needs more. Maybe the island is in danger, something that Lita can help with. Otherwise, it all seems kind of pointless. I have a few ideas about someone trying to overthrow the leader or maybe something supernatural, but I'm trying to stay away from the latter. There are a few 'magical' elements to the island, but it's more in herbal and natural remedies and the like.

    Anyway, I guess what I'm asking is for a chance to maybe bounce some ideas around with a few of you. I don't necessarily need detailed suggestions, just a direction to sort of head in. Once I can start asking myself questions, I can start answering them. It's just getting that little push.

    So, any tips? ideas? anything? It will be much appreciated.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The island in Lost remains undetectable from satellite observations. It moves, and it has unique properties that appear to bend space and time around ir. The exact mechanism is mysterious, which is always a good idea if Modern Science would seem to make it impossible.

    Brigadoon was a village in Scotland that only existed to the outise world once every 100 years.

    Possible plot components:
    The civilization is a threat to the MC.
    The civilization constitutes a growing threat to the outside world.
    The MC's presence on the island threatens a collision between the civilization and the outer worls that will destroy both if the breach is not repaired.
    The MC has the necessary outer world perspective, and perhaps even a destiny, to save the island's civilization, but only if she leaves behind everything and everyone she loves in the outer world.
     
  3. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    Thank you for the suggestions. A few of those seem to be something I should have thought of on my own and didn't even get anywhere near. LOL. I'll see what I can come up with out of those. I kind of like the idea of destiny (maybe a prophecy is known to the island kind of thing).

    As far as the island goes, I don't want to have to come up with anything too complicated. I realize the writers of Lost probably still don't know how the island stays hidden (writing on the fly and all). So instead of putting it on the back of a giant pink snail, it's just easier to go back to the sixties. There will be no time spent in the outside world, she's starting off on the island, and this way i just have to drop in a few hints here and there.

    And now I'm rambling... lol
     
  4. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    What if they turn her into a long-lost god? Get some internal conflict about staying aboard as a deity or returning to the real world as a just a human.
     
  5. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    Though I like the idea, and it would certainly be fun to write, I don't know that it's right for my story. I'm trying to stay away from magic and divine power. It has, however, got my brain workin' a bit. Maybe I can get a little somethin' out of it.
     
  6. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    It could be a subplot. Perhaps only a small group thinks she is a goddess, and that small group is converting others. Perhaps the disagreement starts to head toward a war between those that believe and those that do not.
     
  7. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    Hmm, I don't know about them thinking she's a goddess, but it does make sense that their would be split opinions about whether she is the one in the prophecy or not. If that were the direction I were to go in.

    Thanks guys, you're giving my some really great ideas here.
     
  8. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    I love this kind of thing :) (Alternative worlds WITHIN the real world). OK, as for how to keep it hidden...

    There are plenty of large uninhabited islands, and if they were relatively secretive the chances are no one would ever notice they were there, and there would be little or nothing to see from satellite (particularly if they knew that the satellites were watching and took steps to avoid their gaze). The larger your civilisation, the harder this would be to do, of course.

    They could have some special technology or magic (like on Lost) that allows them to remain hidden.

    Your other idea to turn the clock back to pre-satellite days (perhaps early post World War II) is an good one too.

    Trying to get home can be enough for a main plot, I would think...

    Another factor you might like to consider would be - a big problem when real world new civilisations were found - disease. It is moderately likely that Lita would be carrying some disease (even the common cold) which the natives did not have a well developed immune response too, and therefore might find fatal. Alternatively there may be a local disease that Lita fell ill with. She wants to leave, but what would happen if she unwittingly carried this disease back with her?

    Prophecies about mysterious newcomers have been done enough that you would need to be careful to avoid clichés.
     
  9. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    They are going to be fairly large, as far as island civilizations go. Not too large that they would harm the island, but probably not small enough to keep hidden from satelites. Also, there are all kinds of science experiments going on all the time. Maybe the governments won't have their eyes on islands, but students from universities might.

    I'm not nearly creative enough to come up with a technology able of doing this. And the magic angle isn't quite what I'm looking for.

    Though this will be a big part of the story, I would like there to be issues on the island. I'm sure the people there were facing a major problem before she arrived and I want to show that. There lives didn't start the moment she arrived. They have been an actual civilization for thousands of years and I think ti's important to give it character. Besides, I think I'm gonna leave her on the island, haha.

    This one is one I didn't even think of! I'm definitely look into this one.

    Yeah, that's what I'm worried about. However, I've actually been thinking about this one all morning. Most of the higher ups (royalty and such) don't put much stake in the prophecy. Prophecies are merely coincidence and faith. The villagers however, after generations of superstition handed down, believe in it. A LOT. The Queen, I think, is only going to go along with it for the sake of her people. That's what I have so far. I'm still getting around the little details. All of this is subject to change obviously.

    I dont' even know if there will be a prophecy. Until I know what the 'Big Baddie' (for lack of a better term) is, I won't know what sort of prophecy I'm looking at.


    Again, Thank you for all the ideas, guys. You're really helping this along :)
     
  10. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    The main goal of the MC in this sort of scenario tends to be that the character wants to get home--after all, you said she's been shipwrecked. So she thinks that any moment a ship will come to save her.

    Then, she becomes seduced by the nice life there.
    But after a while, she either finds out that things are not as idyllic as they seem, OR something happens e.g. she falls in love with one of the people there.

    Either one of these possibilities thwarts her from achieving her original plan, which is to GO HOME (Like Dorothy). There can be any number of things preventing her, false alarms and red herrings c.f. 'Lost'.

    In other words, the series of conflicts in the story are the MC's perceptions about herself and her home changing because of what she encounters on the mysterious island. At the end, she must escape back to her own world, or perish within the fantasy.
     
  11. Ohbalto
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    Ohbalto New Member

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    I'm a big fan of simplicity, so my first suggestion is just to have someone tell the main character, "our island is hidden" and have that be the extent of the conversation. Maybe they don't know about satellites, so there would be no reason for them to say, "here is how we hide from satellites".

    If you need to get more complicated than that, other simple ideas include, say, cloud cover (think of Monster Island in the movie King Kong, existing in a constant fog), or perhaps a semi-active to active volcano on the island. Going with the latter would afford some secrecy (plume of smoke, and heat from the volcano to obscure the island from heat-sensitive satellites) and maybe give you a fun volcano to play with.

    Ultimately, unless you're writing a techno-thriller, you might not need to sweat the tech angle of things very much. Readers are likely to accept that there's something which hides the city if they see that, within the context of the story, the city is hidden. That might seem like a catch-22, but it can work quite well (for example, "Superman can fly and has super strength because he's from Krypton" -- we don't go into the biological processes of how his body's cells process yellow solar energy differently than a human being's cells. We accept the explanation that Krypton person + Earth = Super powers, especially because, after hearing that he can fly and lift a locomotive, he flies and lifts a locomotive).
     
  12. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    If the island is hidden, you can try to explore what would happen when she discovers this. Assuming she would like to return to her previous life, there might come a time when she attempts to sabotage their methods. Then you would have a conflict between the character the reader connects with, and the civilization. There would be opportunities to show her developing ways to leave the island and failing. I doubt she would properly construct a seafaring raft.

    Additionally, if these islanders took such great pride in hiding this mass of land, they might be untrusting or hostile against the protagonist at first. What might she do to gain their acceptance?
     
  13. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    You may not be told HOW he processes solar energy different, but you are told that he DOES. This means the reader/watched is still given an explanation for his powers.

    And also, if there were an island that was under constant cloud/fog cover, or there was a heat signature large enough to throw off the view of an island, it is bound to be discovered. People are going to great lengths to understand volcanos and weather these days and anomolies like that would stick out like a sore thumb.

    I do, however, appreciate you ideas. I might be able to come up with something. Though I'm thinking going back a few decades might be the best idea. It just offers the chance not to have to come up with some reason to bypass the satelites. Thank you :)
     
  14. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    The MC is definitely not the kind of person to go around sabotaging the island for any reason. I do, however, have a second character from the shipwreck that gets to the island safely and is kind of a jerk. He will cause problems once she gets to him (he's on the other side of the island). There will be conflicts involved around him.

    And yes, the books will start off with this in fact. But I need something that was there before Lita arrived. Something threatening the peace of the island long before the MC showed up. I want the island to be a character of it's own, to have a past just like everyone else.
     

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