1. CharlieSays
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    CharlieSays New Member

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    Feel Like Giving Up!

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by CharlieSays, Dec 10, 2010.

    Before I start, I just want to say... I'm not asking for validation on whether my story or idea is 'good'. I think that is a subjective term anyway and a book usually requires good writing to give it that shine, regardless of the story or characters. So I've tried not to include too much detail about the specifics. My problem is regarding the actual book 'framework'. I would love any ideas (do you know of any books that follow a similar framework or anything you've come across on your travels). I read a lot, but haven't yet found anything I can use. Most other world fantasy seems to either have all the action taking place in the other world with only the main character involved or all the 'normal world' characters just happen to find the other world and have the same motivation...

    I came up with a fantasy world and characters in highschool (over a decade ago now) and have been trying to write a decent plotline for them for years. Writing itself is not a problem for me. I can write and write until the cows come home (metaphorically speaking - I live in the city and therefore do not own farm animals of any kind). But the plotline is driving me insane. I'm good at writing interesting characters and settings and word count is certainly not a problem. I know I should probably just give up and try writing textbooks or something, but I love my characters and world and really want to make this work! If I could sort the plotline out then it would solve all my problems.

    First of all, the books are set in the late 1800s before the turn of the century. The main character (lets call him Bob) moves back to the town he was born in (not through choice) and befriends a few other 'normal' people. Bob then discovers by accident that there is another world outside of the normal one and he meets a weird character that wants to employ him in the other world.

    It's a typical 'other world magic fantasy' story, but it leads up to the turn of the century, so needs breaking down into several books. I need a mini story in each of these that adds up to the whole plot. I have this mapped out for the other books and know how the main storyline ends.

    The problem is book 1. I'm not sure how to get Bob's new friends involved in the other world. I liked the idea of a group of them travelling about together and joining up with people in the other world to help their cause. But I'm not sure that there would be any real motivation for the other 'normal' characters to want to get involved at such an early stage. Bob has a set purpose in the other world and a job to do, but the others are sort of tag-alongs since I loved the characters so much. I've ended up having to put the entire town in a scary situation just to give them a reason to go along with it. I didn't want the first book to be so dark though!

    I'm still battling with the idea of just using the personalities to construct characters in the other world that the main character meets instead. Or just leaving the other characters behind in the normal world and sending Bob off alone for the first book. He can then return to the normal world afterwards and maybe involve them in the second book a bit more.

    The other problem is that I love Victoriana/Steampunk stuff and wanted to have a strong contrast between the two worlds as they border one another and a few 'other world' characters live on the border in Bob's world and that's how they find him to begin with. I wanted to have the two worlds clash at times. But I don't know how to do this (if at all) in book 1 or wait until later on to worry about that.

    It's a bit of a mess right now. I just have Bob and his new friends in the normal world. A character from the other world who lives in the woods near the town meeting Bob. A big crisis that affects Bob's town and everyone in it, which gets Bob to agree to the job in the other world. He then goes off to the other world to sort things out.

    Lastly, I can't get away from the whole Harry Potter thing going on. My brother hasn't shut up about it for the last decade and since I'm trying so hard not to write anything like that, it's difficult writing magic fantasy stuff that's completely original without going over the top with new detail and confusing the reader (the books are for kids, so I didn't want to over complicate things). For the record, Bob is not a wizard. There is no wizard school! Not many wizards at all in fact. Although there are various different fantasy types. Does anyone else have this problem? Paranoia about re-writing a very well-known book? I guess it would be the same for any Twilight fans writing a vampire series! Coming up with a ton of original or less-used concepts to explain!

    I don't know. I just can't seem to find a strong plotline that makes sense and doesn't overwhelm the reader with new details. There so much content I want to get into the books, but I have no idea how to order it! Bob also seems to be travelling back and forth a lot - although that is partly his job, so maybe that isn't so bad! Maybe I've just had this idea for so long that my head is now too full of possibilities to pick out a few in a set order that works!

    : (
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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  3. Sarah's Mom
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    Sarah's Mom Member

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    I am probably not understanding what you are saying, but, why do you need that? Harry Potter didn't. It took 7 books to tell what happened to him. It might seem like each one was a "mini story" but they weren't. Just one long story of one character. And his friends helped him because they were friends and wanted to help him. Or maybe because they were also good guys and so, by extension, wanted to fight bad guys.

    I have the urge to say: quit worrying about it and just write the hero's story. I'm sure you digress enough to make it a fully packed narrative.
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Have you ever thought about writing the plotline info dumping all your ideas all over the place? Then take em out afterwards.

    I know people disagree with me but personally I find it very productive in a first draft to just throw everything at it - it is where my best story ideas come from.
     
  5. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Many of these things are things you need to decide, as the writer.

    I think you need to steamline your ideas. I would focus on one book at a time, and try to make it a complete story that works on its own.

    So in that sense, I would say - and that's just going by instinct - that it would be better for his friends to join Bob in the other world, at some point during the story.

    As for comparisons to Harry Potter, I wouldn't worry. Just write what it is you want to write. There were wizards before Potter. Don't try and desperately come up with less-used ideas, just for the sake of it. See what works for the story you're trying to tell.
     

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