1. blizzardwhispers
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    blizzardwhispers New Member

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    Completely Lost On This New Story Idea, Help?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by blizzardwhispers, Feb 3, 2011.

    So, I was watching TV, the Home and Gardens channel, and someone on the show mentioned the word "ravine." I have no clue why, but this struck me as an inspiring word so I sat down to write. After an hour, I had five paragraphs. It isn't really that long, so I was hoping you guys could read it over and tell me what you think of the writing? I'm kinda heavy-handed with descriptions, so I was wondering if I did that again. And I know the ending is week. I am terrible with endings. But it's more than that. Okay, I'll stop babbling, see you after the quote box.



    Okay, if you're still with me, and you have an opinion, I'd like to ask my next question:
    Where do I go from here?
    I have this really strong feeling to keep writing, but I'm already stuck. I know a few things, like some of what happens after Jasleen dies. Her older sister, who was already depressed when it happened, commits suicide Virginia Wolfe-style (fills her pockets with stones and walks into the lake). The parents are now childless, and the husband takes up drinking, shoves the wife into the car, goes for a drive, and gets into an accident. Just a lot of death and sadness and everything, stemming from Jasleen's death. I want to make it as non-soap-opera-y as possible. So, how would I go about that?

    Also, I don't know how to tell the story, time-frame-wise. Like, should I just tell it from the moment she dies, and keep writing until the town as a whole gets a little better, moves on? Or, should I start a few years afterward, when things have calmed down a bit, but it's never really gotten better? Point of view is a whole other story, no idea who should narrate. I was thinking about doing one of those narrator-is-never-named things if I go with the first one, but the second one is even more of a fog.

    Besides those basics, I really don't have much when it comes to plot. I have a few characters in mind, but not many. I'm just hoping for some good feedback to help get my brain started. Kinda a blank slate here. -crosses fingers-
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Hi Blizzard, welcome to the forum. :) This is probably the best online community for writers that's out there right now. Everything is relevant and you'll learn a lot.

    I'd like to point out a couple of things so you don't end up getting blasted. :) The place to post your own work for review and feedback is the Review Room, but you have to post two constructive critiques on the same review board before posting your own work (constructive as in giving specific, in-depth feedback, not just saying "that was good.").

    Also, these boards are great for getting some help when you have a specific plot hole, or need help making something believable, etc. As far as creating your basic plot, though, no one is going to help you very much with that. That's the sole job of you, the writer.

    I think it's amazing that you got inspired to create a whole story based on one single word. That's cool. :D Based on that, I'd say you don't have much to worry about with being inspired for the rest. Take some time; write out outlines; mull the characters over in your head and think what they would do.

    Hope I helped!

    EDIT:
    I read your post more closely, and here's something. Everyone in this family has died and you're focusing on the town. Narrow it down. Select a few people to be protagonists and antagonists. The town itself should be an important character but not THE most important character. Go from there. :D
     
  3. blizzardwhispers
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    blizzardwhispers New Member

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    Thank you, Mallory! Sorry about that. x)
     
  4. Heather Munn
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    Heather Munn Member

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    You've got to settle point of view before you settle anything else. Because the question is, whose story is this. It could be the Singh family's story, but your original POV seems to be one of their neighbors (which is the reason for the broad town focus.) This is either a story of personal/family tragedy or of the experience of being an onlooker while someone else's tragedy unfolds. Which of those it is will greatly affect where you should start and end the story.

    I realize that what you posted is just a freewrite that led you into a story, but I'll still comment on the structure of it: the shift from nostalgia to tragedy between paragraphs 3 and 4 is jarring and disorienting. I feel like when you move into the tragedy it negates everything that came before, like the narrator shouldn't/wouldn't have been having all those happy idyllic feelings about the place, especially since "Lake Jasleen had lost all its sparkle." Of course that probably happened because you didn't really know there was going to be a tragedy when you started out! But that's one of the things that needs to be smoothed over in revision if you make this into a full story. I like both the nostalgia and the hauntedness of the tragic memory, but they've got to be mixed differently, and honestly, I wouldn't go around making such sweeping statements about "the light had gone out of our lives"--because, well, lakes are still beautiful after children drown in them and that's one of the weird things about life, or in other words, this narrator can still feel nostalgic about the good times and haunted by the tragedy and have both those feelings about the same place, the thing is for them not to absolutely contradict each other.

    Finally, I think you're wrong about your flaws. I mostly liked your descriptions. They may be a tad long and there were a handful of things that didn't work, like "painted picturesque purple" and exaggerations like "since the beginning of time" and "a million branches breaking". But the feel of the nostalgia came through nicely in the little details the character notices, and I quite enjoyed reading it. The "purple and blue, purple and blue" part is good too, but you should give the reader a little more context for what he's seeing so it's not disorienting.

    And your ending is good, actually. I mean, not necessarily as a story ending. But as a scene ending it's quite good.
     

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