1. Ralinde
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    Ralinde Member

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    Basic Plot Down: Advice on Expansion?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Ralinde, Jul 26, 2011.

    So the idea is I would like to write a story about an ordinary kid who becomes involved with the present day, hidden magical community. I've worked out a couple of things like some of his back story but I'm struggling to get any further for a couple of reasons.

    Firstly, I want him to go to a magical school of some description. Originally I wanted him to be magical but the obvious problem is that I don't want to do a Harry Potter re-write. So I thought I would make him non-magical but that eliminates the need to go to a magical school and therefore wipes out the entire setting for the story so I have to think of some other way to get him wrapped up in the magical community.

    Unfortunately, I like the school idea however but the dilemma is I don't want people to see this as just trying to copy JK's work. So I have two questions I suppose: would you still read it if it was about a magical kid going to a hidden school in the UK somewhere? And if not, any suggestions from you guys or ideas about places I might look for inspiration?

    It's been going around in my head for some time now and I need some sort of direction but I just can't seem to find any focus. I really would like it to be modern times and set in a magical community that has hidden itself from ordinary folks but I'm a little stuck on where to go looking for a bit more inspiration. Any pointers would be very much appreciated. I most certainly don't expect people to come up with anything for me of course. I would merely like to hear some suggestions about what people do when they are struggling for inspiration and ways that they can go about expanding their plot. All advice is very much appriciated.

    Cheers,

    Ralinde* :D
     
  2. jnk1296
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    jnk1296 Member

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    In my experience, you can find inspiration just about anywhere. You can find it on TV, on the internet, and especially in music.

    If you like the whole school concept, then go for it. In essence, there is hardly any idea that hasn't been done before, so it all would come down to how you write it out. In answer to your question; No, I wouldn't read it, but that's simply because I don't care for the genre. It would have nothing to do with your work.

    If you want to come up with more scenes, then try to imagine your MC in different scenarios that would apply to the story, and then write them out (or at least plan them out.) If you like them, then you can add them to your story, if not... well, at least you're thinking!

    That's all I can think of right now. Good luck with your story! :D
     
  3. ShatteredHopes
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    ShatteredHopes Member

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    Yeah, you can just go for a school, I'm sure what you envision is a lot different than that of Harry Potter or anything else as well. Another thing you could do too is assign the character a mentor or something of the sort to teach him magic?
     
  4. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ursula LeGuin did the magic school thing long before HP (though I don't think the mc was there for too long, but she did it). What I'm saying is, the HP concept isn't original, the characters are (mostly), and that's why it's good. So if you want a magic school, do that. I would probably read it.
     
  5. Dr Guillotine
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    Dr Guillotine Member

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    Just on the surface of what you described it sounds very close to Harry Potter.

    You have to remember your elements that are original, that you want to stress, and emphasize them.

    Maybe focus on those original concepts to get the ol' brain moving.
     
  6. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    That one sounds like Valkrie Cain, a character in the Skuldugery Pleasant series.

    Same ol, same ol, girl finds magical world etc. etc.

    Skulduggery is her mentor at first, China Sorrows lends her magic books from her library, Tanith Low teaches her fighting skills, and later on Solomon Wreath gets her involved in necromancy.
     
  7. mugen shiyo
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    mugen shiyo Contributing Member

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    You answered your own question. It sounds too much like Harry Potter. Harry Potter may have even directly or indirectly inspired you to begin writing the story you are about to write.

    First I would ask you to envision the plot of your story as far as you can. Does it sound like Potter? If it does and that bothers you, stop and think of something else.

    If it doesn't, I would think of ways to completely veer off what would be a conventional Harry Potter story. Why not just cut the middle man and send your character to magic-military. That seems to be what Harry Potter basically came down to. A military powered by magic and your character as a young Ensign officer cadet on his way to becoming...whatever you wish.
     
  8. Anders Backlund
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    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

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    Hey, I was working on one of these a while back as well. :)

    Eh, having a kid with magic powers who goes to a magic school is a pretty basic concept. It doesn't make it a Harry Potter copy any more then Clive Barker's Abarat is a copy of The Wizard of Oz.

    Instead of worrying about what other people might think, ask yourself if you think it's original enough to stand up to a comparison.

    Sure, if it seemed interesting enough.

    I definitely wouldn't pass it over just because the concept reminded me of HP, anyway.

    Oh, I'd say anything you yourself enjoy that isn't Harry Potter. In the end, you need to craft your own world and your own story, and you can only do that with materials you have collected from the works of those who came before you.

    I mean, my story was really more inspired by anime and manga then the Harry Potter books - Hayao Miyazaki was one of my rolemodels. I dreamed up most of the characters by looking through a deck of tarot cards and I had this grand aestetic idea, intending it to be a fantasy novel with the feel of a video game: An urban Neverland with swordfighting 12-year olds shooting fire from their fingertips, set in a world that was our world but better, full of symbols and secret doors behind every bookshelf, populated by the kind of larger-then-life characters who have no place in reality; a world where nothing could be taken for granted and good and evil were just a matter of different priorities.

    What I'm saying is, you don't specifically have to research stories about magical kids in a wizard school. You want to consider what sort of themes and concepts appeal to your the most and write those into your chosen setting. That's the only way you are going to create something that is genuinely your own.

    I would start by a whole bunch of questions. For example: What kind of magic? How does it work? What sort of folks are these magicians, anyway? Like, are we talking pointy hats and beards or have they evolved with the rest of the world? Why, exactly, are they keeping themselves hidden? What is the mythology of the magical world? If magic can be taught in a school, to what degree is it an aquired skill as opposed to an intuitive ability?

    Who is the main character? What does he want? In what way is he not Harry Potter? And if not Harry Potter, who did you base him on? What is his archetype?

    Disregarding the magic school, what is the story actually about? What are your themes, your motives, the moral of the story? What sort of style and mood are you aiming for? Really, these are all questions you need to answer before you even know what you are going to write about.
     

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