1. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    A tree as a door to a another world...

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by spklvr, Nov 22, 2010.

    Is using a tree as a door to a world beneath our own too overdone/stupid? There are several trees all across the world, and they are guarded by a particular kind of demon. To use the door and get into the world, you need to have a pass, and those demons are the only ones that can open them.

    This is the one part of my story where I'm currently clueless. I'm not sure how big a part this will play yet either. I've been thinking of other things as well, but I feel like whatever it is, it's been done to death. :p
     
  2. Noval
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    Noval New Member

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    Ok, this will sound incredibly unhelpful but: Everything and nothing is overdone and/or stupid. What I mean is that ,as our good old Cogito likes to remind us, everything has been done before. Probably many, many times. It all comes down to the writer's skill and execution.
    Personally I think that trees being doors into another world could work very well. Especially if it's one of those giant, old trees. They always have something majestic and mysterious about them. Perfectly fitting for being some sort of door/gateway.
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have a fondness for this as my favourite fantasy series is still the Enchanted Wood/Faraway Tree.

    I don't think it is overdone - look forward to hearing more about it.
     
  4. Evelyanin
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    Evelyanin Senior Member

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    Sounds safe to me. I do know of two cases where a tree door had been used in a story, but it doesn't strike me as a rip off. If you had chosen a wardrobe, I would have advised against it, but unless someone else shows up with a story specifically about tree doors, I say go ahead with it.

    Just in case you were wondering, the two stories that came to mind involving tree doors, are "Prince Caspian" (I can't remember if it was used in the book, but it was certainly used in the movie), and "The Nightmare Before Christmas".
     
  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Trees as doorways is an ancient concept. Trees are one of those things that for reasons difficult to fathom, capture the imagination of the average human.
     
  6. miss_darcy
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    miss_darcy Member

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    That's what I was thinking too! And for some reason I was reminded of Pan's Labyrinth and Alice in Wonderland.

    But that's besides the point! I love the idea of trees being this magical gateway to somewhere else because usually the imagery and description in the book are really cool and it always makes me wonder when I see a tree that looks like a door way. And another thing, most ideas that people come up with have already been done in one way or another, so I wouldn't worry about it having been beaten to death, if it's in your story and it's written in your own way, people will think of it as a completely different thing. :)
     
  7. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    It was also used in the film "Sleepy Hollow" and if I'm not mistaken, the Bible.

    That it is something ancient kind of makes it safe to use, and I do think I will stick to it (unless I get some kind of genius idea...)
    But that's also what makes it kind of overdone, and while I'm not claiming to be original, I hate using stuff that's been used too much. Though I have never heard of or read about something similar to my "door trees". (There probably is though)
     
  8. Newfable
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    Newfable Senior Member

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    It depends a great deal on execution, in my humble opinion. Take the well known movie, The Nightmare before Christmas. Trees (some of them), served as portals to the other holiday worlds; the inclusion of such a device may have been simply because other options may not have worked. The question, “How do the holidays manage to get to Earth then?” goes completely unanswered, as the writer/director/guy in charge determined that it wasn’t important to the overall narrative of the story, and may drag things down a bit.

    If it’s important to your story, keep it; make it important. If it’s just a device to use, brainstorm to see what else you can come up with. If you find yourself coming up with other answers, see if and how they can tie into your story. More or less, if it works, keep it; otherwise, toss it.

    Remember, a cliché is only cliché if there’s little change from one medium to another.
     
  9. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    I completely support this idea, but I feel I must warn you that a huge concept like this will create many more questions. Why are the demons guarding the trees? Why only certain trees? Are they real trees or disguised gateways? If a birdwatcher happens to see the demon and takes a photograph, how do the demons deal with it? What worlds are we talking about anyway? To get back to Earth, are there trees to go back too? What if the world you're going to has no trees?
     
  10. Jaybrownuk
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    Jaybrownuk Member

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    I don't think it been overdone. I quite like it myself.
     
  11. Indivisible
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    Indivisible Member

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    It's funny, cause I had a similar idea like that... But the tree is very symbolic of the connection of heaven and earth, they can span high into the clouds, and the roots plunge deep into the ground. I researched a bit on the idea of such a tree, just to expand. It's been used a lot before though, but who cares, it's important that you make it something that is you, and truthful.

    I found a wiki here, you can read it, and the others linked on it; perhaps it may give you some ideas.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_tree
     
  12. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    "...Is using a tree as a door to a world beneath our own too overdone..."

    Probably - wait, no. Oh, I don't know! I like the concept myself, and it's been used in many of my unwritten stories.

    "...Is using a tree as a door to a world beneath our own too ...stupid..."

    Stupid is as stupid does. ;)

    Just write it, is my advice. If it doesn't work, then either change the concept or put the story in your personal "slush pile" and consider it a step on the way to writing something better.

    -Frank
     
  13. sereda008
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    sereda008 Senior Member

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    Done before? Definitely.
    Stupid? No.

    It is not really a stupid idea. As I understand it, somebody created those doors a long time ago, somebody who probably worshiped trees.

    I would suggest that you would just write it. The story may come by itself gradually.
     
  14. Midnight Pete
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    Midnight Pete Member

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    The tree door is an interesting idea, especially when it's guarded by a demon or nature spirit. Where does the door lead to that it requires a supernatural guardian? Is it an average-sized tree or a giant tree? Is the tree in a forest with many other trees or secluded somewhere? Maybe the tree isn't so much a literaly doorway as it is a means of teleportation.

    Please respond to me with your ideas!

    Thanks,

    Pete
     
  15. Gholin
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    Gholin Member

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    I also think that you're safe to do trees as doorways. You are, after all, telling your own story about them. I would definitely flesh out why demons are guarding them and have a background laid as to why they are doorways, but nobody should worry that they are writing a story about tree portals, wizard schools, or anything like that. It really has all been done before, and as long as you make it your own, do something original, and don't copy, you can write about anything you want.

    One more thing. It's been pointed out before that it's scary how close Harry Potter mirrored other works, but even though J.K Rowlings got away with it, it's wise to just craft your own tale and keep similarities to a minimum.

    Hope that helps you! Never give up! Finish your book and feel good about it!
     
  16. Donal
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    Donal Contributing Member

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    As has been mentioned before the Enid Blython Faraway Tree dealt with a tree that acted as a portal to other worlds. It was a childrens book and the people who lived and guarded it were a man who wore pots and pans, as well as a man who had a big Moon face. Its how you tell it that counts.

    Have you ever read a story about a young teenager having their adventures in their school of witchcraft and wizardry, where they are a favourite of the school-head and despised by a very mean dark teacher. Thats right - the Worst Witch not Harry Potter :)

    Its how you tell it that counts.
     
  17. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Weren't there scary Dwarves in the foot of the tree guarding the slide down ? - hmm can't remember if they were an original fixture or not
     
  18. Donal
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    Donal Contributing Member

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    I think they were Brownies who lived near the tree in the woods. Saucepan Man, Moonface and Silky lived in the tree itself as well as that Washing Woman (Dame Something-I-cant-Remember) :) Theres also that bloke who couldn't remember his name and that angry elf.
     
  19. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Dame Washalot and Mr Whatshisname (not sure of the spelling lol) - I think it was one specific story where Moonface's house was taken over.
     
  20. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've drawn some inspiration from The Divine Comedy. The worlds are split in several layers, ours being the middle. The trees enables you to go up and down into the different worlds. There are actual floating steps they walk on. That no one knows exactly why these demons protect the door is kind of a running gag in the story. However, a demon/human breed that lives in the world directly beneath ours has made a deal with them to let those with a passport pass (getting a passport is a lot of work and very expensive, which is why very few has them).

    The trees are a special and rare tree sort, that would grow in random places in forests. When humans began chopping the forests down, the few demon/human breeds that lived in our world created a fake, but powerful religion that made these trees protected. If someone successfully chops down a tree (those who try are usually killed by the demon), the tree will have grown back to it's original size in a matter of hours.
     
  21. Midnight Pete
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    Midnight Pete Member

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    Sounds like Norse mythology, too. The World Tree. :cool:
     

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