1. Chris Patenaude
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    Chris Patenaude New Member

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    Fantasy plot development assistance

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Chris Patenaude, Feb 21, 2015.

    Hello all!

    I am currently working on an outline for my first fantasy novel. First, a little background. The world consists of islands, with one large center island, and 8 surrounding islands. It used to be one large land mass, but because of a conflict of Gods, the sea level rose, creating 8 islands. Due to lack of contact between men on the island-nations, culture evolved differently on each. The center island has a King (and a royal family) that has been given a "fountain of immortality", which just generally add many years to life. Hundreds of years before the story takes place, the King's men discovered one of these islands while sailing, and this led to the discovery of all other islands. While each island has their own "government" establishment, they all had to swear fealty to the center King, and let him rule over the islands. The story begins with the MC being raised by a noble families of one of the other islands. He is the illegitimate son of the King, and was secretly brought across the ocean so he wasn't killed off by the King (which was the norm). The story begins with all islands being "fed up" with the main island and they all want an assault against the island. While they all have different motives (grudge, some want of immortality, some want to rid the world of immortality) they all team up for an assault. The MC must decide whether to fight for his father or the islands.

    My main questions are as follows: Is the "fountain of youth" a plausible reason? Does anyone have any ideas for motives? Should the ending entail some sort of self sacrifice? (I kind of want an a-typical ending)

    I also wanted the bastard son to rise up, and lead the assault. But the issue I have is, why would the other islands want him to lead the assault?

    Thanks everyone for your help! Even if you have suggestions not listed, that would be an amazing help, and I would be more than happy.
     
  2. Chris Patenaude
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    Chris Patenaude New Member

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    Here is the map I developed for reference!
     

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  3. Stephane Levas
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    Stephane Levas New Member

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    Here's an idea:
    The king rules harshly on the surrounding islands. Suddenly, the level of water starts to rise, threatening to immerse all the surrounding islands. The king refuses to help them so it triggers a war between the king and the islands.

    The MC secretly has contacts with his mother on the king's island and she's close to the king so the MC has access to important information. That's why he becomes a leader of the war against the king. The MC uses his wits and the information from his mother to lead the fight against the king.

    The water is rising, putting pressure on the MC to win the war against the king. When all the surrounding islands are covered with water, their population is floating in quickly made boats. They need to go on the only island, the king's island, quick because there is a big storm approaching. But the king's army won't let them find refuge on his island. The MC is helped by his mother and goes on the king's island.

    The storm arrives, the PC confronts the king during the thunderstorm and defeats him. He orders the king's army to let the boats come to the central island but it's too late, the boats are sunken, and the storm is too dangerous to rescue the people floating in the sea. They will drown, the MC's friend and allies will die.

    The MC is devastated. The people on the island claims him as his new ruler but he isn't in the mood. Someone brings a cup of water from the sacred fountain to the MC. He drinks it and suddenly, the water level decreases rapidly. In a matter of minutes, the sea is gone, the land reverts back to one big continent. The MC will be a good king, he will live long so the gods offered him the whole contient to rule upon.
     
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  4. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    the idea sounds like it could be solid, but it feels as though it isnt going to have much going on. maybe brainstorm some ideas and see if there is anything else that could make this more of a interesting read, maybe something such as what @Stephane Levas said or something a little different. have some kind of danger that would rear its ugly head within the story.

    and another question is, is this going to be one or multiple books?
     
  5. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    The fountain of youth is a plausible reason, yes. But it's a selfish one. So the person who wants immortality can't be some noble person who would sacrifice his life to save others. He has to be a person who wants gold, riches, the best house, etc. Immortality typically isn't a craving the selfless have.

    Motive? I wonder if maybe the story would be more interesting if the surrounding islands DON'T know about the center island -- or any of the other islands, for that matter. Maybe many of the islands are struggling. Not a lot of money, not a lot of food, plague, etc. But the center King is rich, well-off, has good farmers and plenty of people. The center King knows about the other islands, but chose not to make contact. He knows they are suffering and doesn't want to be forced to help them survive. So when the other islands find out about the center island and how well off it is, they become angry. Here they are starving, dying, struggling, and the center King knew about them the whole time and did nothing to help? That's pretty good motive to me.

    Bastard son raised by a noble family on a side island, you said? Be careful here to not make it too much like Game of Thrones. There's a big fan theory going around that Jon Snow, the supposedly illegitimate son of Ned Stark, is actually the son of Ned's sister Lyanna and the deceased Prince Rhaegar. Anyway. I struggle to make any suggestions here, as I'm biased by GoT. I was going to suggest the bastard got very close to the noble ruler, trained with him and whatnot. Then the noble ruler died, and it just made sense that the bastard would take over. But I believe that's what happened with Jon Snow... I could be wrong though. Need to investigate that more.


    Good luck!
     
  6. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I really like the other ideas that involve a desperation factor for the eight islands, as opposed to 'we're fed up for no tangible reason, yar, attack!' It will make it a lot more plausible. I also like your idea of only the center island having a fountain of youth. I almost think it should be destroyed in the end, either by the king: "If I can't have it, no one will!" or by the protagonist: "Immortality breeds demons, not gods!" SMASH. Awesome.

    By the way, my eyes aren't too good, but I think your map only has seven surrounding islandso_O.

    Edited to add: What about famine? Maybe freak hurricanes wrecked most of the crops on the smaller islands, and the bigger one has enough inland area shelter to suffer the least. However, the king is taxing the hell out of any export, and people are starving everywhere.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015
  7. tonguetied
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    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why not have the sea level drop and land bridges form allowing the out islanders easy access to the main island which has more resources such as forests. Previously the out islanders could not build a large enough boat to launch an invading army but once the land bridges form all that changes.

    There was another post recently that sounded very similar where the islands were separated by poisonous gas at the water level I think. I guess this all really relates to our planet hosting continents, same general concept in my opinion.
     
  8. bossfearless
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    bossfearless Active Member

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    I think you're missing a great opportunity to involve Lobster Men in your narrative. Freaking giant claws and everything! But honestly on its own, the fountain of youth doesn't grant much power. It just lets a guy who already has power keep on living so he doesn't lose his power in his old age. You need something else that the king's got that gives him a frightful dominion over the other islands (lobster men!).
     
  9. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Does your fountain merely add years to a person's life, or does it actually convey immortality, as in Woody Allen's 'not dying' remark? Does the person remain active and healthy, or does this mean old age drags out for him, or what?
     
  10. Skaruts
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    Skaruts Member

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    I believe you can explore the psychological adversities of living for too long. As decades pass, our view of life changes, and as too many decades pass, it might have negative effects on one's mentality. That might be one thing that could turn the King into a harmful ruler (by the way, a small detail, I think ruling over all the islands promotes him to High King, or emperor, or something like that - a greedy king is likely to enjoy a bigger and better title too).

    You can then build up the darkened atmosphere among the peasants and nobles, illustrate their desperation and anger, and their growing willingness to revolt and all that (I belive this is one of the important parts in making the story believable).

    You might also connect it to the protagonist's dilema of how to handle the situation. His father might have once been a good man, or at least not as bad, and his condition may not yet be without solution. His attitude may not even be solely a side effect of a long life, but also conditioned by external factors (some spell, or compulsion - who knows, maybe even created by the fountain fo youth in the first place) yet unknown to the protagonist, or some character with influence to the king (typically it's an advisor) with a sharp tongue and dark plans.

    There might also be characters who think ill of the protagonist because of his willingness to find ways to excuse the king. This might be a good source of intrigue.

    And even then the protagonist might still have reasons to side with the islanders. Because, in order to be affectionate to his father, he had to have strong reasons. If he lived his whole life away from the king, he'd probably be emotionally detached from his royal lineage. If that was the case, would he still be honor bound to the king, and would honor be so valuable to him or to that society? Or would he be otherwise emotionally bound, somehow?

    As to why he would be leading the armies, the typical reason would be due to his lineage. Typically, the king's lineage he has some extra super duper traits that others normally don't - which is starting to get annoying, in my opinion. They're usually super-swordsmen or have super-leadership. Personally, if they are well justified, I don't mind reading a story that goes with lineage traits (but I avoid it in my own stories).

    Or maybe he grew in someway that's useful. How was he raised? Did he become a great swordsman? Is he good with military strategy? Or if he's only a survivor, what events made him known to people that they ellected him the prefered leader? You could also have him just lead one of the armies, instead of everything. Or make him go lone wolf behind the enemy lines, affecting the overal outcome with that. Or lead a team of devout followers and do more or less what the lone wolf would.

    I would also say, don't forget the gods. :) They might have a few tricks in the bag too. Be careful, thought, devine intervention is delicate, it can easily create plot holes (such as "why didn't the gods just sort it all out?").
     

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