1. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    A story too big...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by sprirj, Mar 28, 2015.

    So I heard a story, just a seed. A situation, if you like that is a true event. Instantly my mind outlined an entire novel, and in my lunch hour I typed the outline up with key plot twists etc. However, I realised it was a story not suited for my style or interests. It is a world war 1 epic, and a completely new take on it (as far as I'm aware). My girlfriend has a passing interest in writing, but she didn't want to take it on. So now I'm torn, is it a story I should attempt, or should I just let it fade. I'm sure if done properly, it is the sort of story that would get picked up by Hollywood as its a human interest/horrors of war story. The problem is that it might require a lifetimes worth of research... Or maybe not, maybe I should wash over facts and concentrate on the story?

    Anyone had a similar situation or have any advice?

    Ps sorry for the title, I've been up since 5 am and realise the error *blush* edit. Thank you for changing title mods.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2015
  2. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If the you find the story interesting, if it's something you think you'd enjoy writing, then you should definitely give it a try whether it's "suited for your style" or not. Even if you're not sure that you'd enjoy it I suggest you start writing a couple of scenes from it and maybe you discover a completely new interest. Just make sure that you don't try to write a story because you think it would be good, rather than because you want it. That might kill your interest in writing.
    That's pretty much what I can say since I haven't really been in the situation myself.

    (Also, I fixed the title for you.)
     
  3. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Getting from the idea in your head to a fully written story is a long journey. Don't concentrate on it becoming a Hollywood film -- Hollywood has enough. All that matters is whether you have a story that you want to tell. Try writing it. If you're enjoying it, go for it, if you don't enjoy it, stop -- writing is supposed to be fun. People do it because they feel a need to do it, and they enjoy it. It's a hobby for many people. But many more people don't enjoy it, don't feel a compelling need to write, and therefore don't do it. No one says you have to. If writing isn't your thing, go concentrate on something else that is.
     
  4. PBrady
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    PBrady Active Member

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    Try writing a chapter?
     
  5. AASmith
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    AASmith Contributing Member

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    As someone who's day job consists of speaking with military professionals and history buffs, do not sacrifice facts for a story! You have to think about your audience. If you write a book about world war I, a lot of your readers will be history buffs and those readers will be writing your reviews. History buffs are HUGE on keeping it factual and real and they know their stuff. What I might suggest is to use that era, keep the facts of the time classic and simple, do your research and narrow your story down. As another poster said, do not think about Hollywood when you have not even started writing yet. Set small goals, like focus on getting our outline done, then move on from there.
     
  6. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, yes it's true that your story has to be accurate if it's historical fiction. But that doesn't mean that you have to put in every fact you know. It's just that your story can't be inconsistent with or contradict established facts.
     
  7. AASmith
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    AASmith Contributing Member

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    Yes I agree which is why I said he can use that era but not necessarily about the war. I guess the big question OP would be, do you know anything about World War I or that era?
     
  8. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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    Writing a story is a big task. If you are not the type of person to write with your blood, and if the story is not the apex of your life, I would suggest you take up a hobby.
     
  9. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    I Only know small bits of info when it comes to wwI, and a broad knowledge, but not enough that I could write a book about it. I think I've confused some members judging by the responses. Firstly, I'm not thinking about Hollywood, I just meant I could easily picture it being picked up by a film studio, it is a big epic story, and would work well on screen. I enjoy writing, but I have two (even three) on going projects, one of which is my main novel, which I enjoy. What I'm saying is that my knowledge can't do such a story justice, and it needs a lot of research and emotion putting into it. I don't feel like I can take it on at this time, but also think the idea is too powerful to just leave alone.
     
  10. AASmith
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    AASmith Contributing Member

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    Is there a way you can change it a bit. Keep the same story but put it in a time that is more current? I think if you want to get this published then you need to do the work to research it which is why I will never write about history lol. Possibly work on your other story and do the research them come back to it.
     
  11. tonguetied
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    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

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    Quite a dilemma you have. My first question is how do you know it is a true event? You said it was just a seed and you outlined a story around it which makes it a fiction and pretty sure it could not be said to be based on true events if only one aspect was true no matter how big. However it sounds like this seed inspired you so it would probably be of great interest to others. Keeping it historically accurate would be a challenge since WWI was a long time ago now. I would also think that a small amount of research might reveal some details about the story, it is unlikely such an inspiring event occurred without some notes about it already, search engines find just about everything. Maybe the story has already been written and you can simply come up with a new approach, nothing wrong with that. Hopefully it is not something significant that will simply be lost to time if you choose not to write about it.
     
  12. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    It was mentioned in passing by a middle aged man who had been researching his grand father, it was the unique situation that his grandfather found himself in, that could only of ever happened in that war. Inspired by that one dilemma, I outlined a story around it, all of those events could be changed, and altered, but it was that one event he talked about that is so incredible, and heartbreaking. It could not of happened in any other war.
     
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  13. AASmith
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    AASmith Contributing Member

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    Another option is to get a co-writer. Or you could just write the story the way you vision it and see what happens from there.
     
  14. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    My second novel involves a profession I don't know half enough about (yet), but it's the one it has to be. I've done enough preliminary research to know I'm in the ballpark as to general practices. When I come to a place where specific knowledge of the profession is needed, I put in a filler line like "(she's doing something someone in that business would do at that time of year)" marked in red so I can see it, then go on writing the basic human interaction. These fillers will get saved up for when I can do closer research or talk to someone who has expertise in the profession.

    So my suggestion is, get so you can sketch in the WWI background but focus on getting into the human story (you ain't writing a textbook, correct?). The more you get down on paper the clearer you'll be about the precise WWI facts you need and you won't feel like you need to do a doctoral dissertation on it first.

    You could also start out by writing some vignettes having to do with characters you might be including and their WWI situations. Don't worry yet about connecting them. Just do it to get your feet wet.

    In the meantime, here's a good source for you. The Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri, was designated the national US World War I memorial in 2002. If you're writing from a European point of view it might be only secondarily helpful, but they've got resources out the nose. If you can visit in person, do it, do it, do it. Be prepared to weep.
     
  15. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Let it fade. Story ideas and outlines are a dime a dozen.
     
  16. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    My immediate thought when reading your OP, @sprirj , is to fictionalise it. By that, I mean 'create' a war that has nothing to do with WW1, but contains similar scenarios. In other words, write either a fantasy or a sci-fi story about it. That way you won't need to do research, if that's what's stopping you. You seem to think the idea is a very good one. So find some way to keep the idea and ditch the things that bother you about trying to write the story.

    Sometimes allegorical stories have more impact than directly historical ones, because they are open to more fluid interpretation. People will say things like "Oh, what if that had happened during WW1?" Maybe strive for that.

    Or, as @Selbbin said, just let the story go. See if it haunts you. If it does, you might be motivated to pick it up again at a later date.
     
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  17. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    It's a footnote in my note book and maybe I'll approach it for my second novel, but I certainly can't let it distract me from my first book, which I've been working on for sometime now, and I'd be crazy to drop it in favour of a new idea. I hope I do something with it, because it is a horrible fact of war, that should be told.
     
  18. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    The biggest thing is making sure that the project that motivates you is getting written - if that's your "main novel" then orient yourself toward writing that.

    If this one won't leave you alone - I'm with whoever said "write a chapter" and see how you like it. If you enjoy WRITING it, and love spending time with the characters, then do it. It may not be a front burner project but back burner projects sometimes turn into magnum opus stuff - who knows. On the other hand if it's just a movie you'd like to see, but don't actually enjoy spending time constructing it, file it away for now, leave it for someone else, etc.

    Random question - what DO you normally write? How far off your normal genre would this be. If you're doing, say, Military Sci-Fi - this really wouldn't be all that much of a stretch. If on the other hand you're writing YA semi-comedic fantasy, then it's a bigger jump.
     
  19. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Woah, it sounds to me like you stumbled onto something major here. Maybe you should sell your idea to the highest bidder, or give it to a museum?????
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2015
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  20. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    My main project is a Sci-fi adventure with a pinch of satire
     

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