1. Manofkent
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    Manofkent Member

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    Action and tension structure.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Manofkent, Aug 30, 2010.

    I am re-writing a long story that I wrote last year. I am changing many aspects of the story so the way I am telling it is also flexible.

    I have re-started using power structure and the structure is one of the things I am having trouble with. I have written most of the story but still do not know what order to tell it.

    The story is about a man of 20 with a long prologue from before he was born, and a short one about when he was 5. It is a journey/fantasy.
    Both these scenes are very high tension so I don’t know if I should tell these as prologues or flash backs.

    I am looking for some advice on how to structure the levels of tension throughout the story.

    I am starting to think that there may even be too many high tension scenes for one book. Reading Stephen King and Frank Hubert there are usually only 3-6 scenes with action and high levels of tension in one book. Mostly there is one scene of high tension to open or near the beginning, then the tension builds over the course of the book.

    Seeing as most of my action scenes are at the beginning of the story I don’t know if I should have only the first half of the story as one book, or if I should simplify the story and breeze over some of the action.

    Thank you for your time.
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    OK my book has not been published yet but people reading it have enjoyed it. I have learned a lot about writing fantasy over the past few months, a lot of things used within the genre and are seen as cliche plot devices are often the lazy way of telling the story, for example after advice on here I took out all prophecies which was tough but made a better way of telling a story.

    I would personally try and split your prologue throughout your story or find ways of removing it, unless it is really riveting. For tension do as much as you need to tell the story, I have action and reaction throughout my story. Have no idea how many action scenes - there is more than three though.

    Write the story with the plot elements you need to tell the story.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

    Write story, not back story.

    Where the past is relevant to the story, the necessary bits and pieces will work their way in. And that's the way it should be.

    Every story has some background that takes place before the story. Every character has a childhood, and parents with issues of their own. Every country has a history, and artifacts do as well.

    A good writer knows when to pick up the story, and where to end it. When details from the past need to be raised, the good writer finds ways for that past to come out in the course of the story.

    Get the prologue monkey off your back.
     
  4. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I agree with Cog. Weave it in naturally. No one wants to read through what I call "history diatribes." If you're struggling with this, maybe your character could explain parts of his past to another character and you could convey the key things through dialogue.
     
  5. Manofkent
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    Manofkent Member

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    Good advice thanks.
    I was getting too caught up in the back-story. I’m re-writing it anyway but the back story alone was 30k words long, which I think is too much for a prologue.

    I have started writing a brand new beginning which gives the reader a lot more time to get to know the main character before the adventure starts. I think I will tell the back-story when we meet one of the other characters at the beginning of act 2.

    Now I have started planning, everything is starting to fall into place.
     

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