1. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Format a book to a story or a story to a book?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by GuardianWynn, Dec 21, 2015.

    Kind of funny, the story I am about to talk about is what got me to sign up to this site. So yes, you can all blame this story for your constant torment from me!! :twisted::twisted::twisted:

    So, I wrote a book from the POV of a dead villain. Which flashbacked to her life. That was the framing. But I realized from beta readers that the set up was kind of boring. The story of her death just seems to pause for the flash backs and the jumps from the flashbacks are too jumpy for nice story. So the concept needs to be redone.

    The issue is this. The story of her life doesn't really fit a standard story telling model. I mean I have a fairly detailed list of things that happen in her life and they aren't really story bullets. Or I don't think they are. The question is more like. Should I write a book of her life as it is and just let it be or section off her life into events that are more standard in story telling?

    If it helps I figured I will briefly sum her life. Mainly because if I section it. I wonder how you would section it.

    - A timid girl raised in a pre-industrial world. Very old west cabin life. Her look was designed in like "A little house on the prairy(I spelled that wrong didn't I?)" dress. Her husband is abusive and she sort of takes it in stride.

    - She is chosen by an angel becoming someone that was intended to bring magic to her planet.(Not Earth) and tragically(to her) the power of an angel put more distance between her and her husband and he died in a struggle trying to kill her.

    - Things went smoothly as she realized how better she was without an abusive man. But her son died by religious extremists that thought she was a demon.

    - She then in a sense became a demon(it is notable to say, demons and angels don't actually exists I use the terms to briefly sum up the concept.) In her sorrow she became a villain. She joined the devil(again to briefly sum who he is like. Not actually the devil) and went around the universe from planet to planet causing havoc with her power.

    - I don't sum this more because well. She did it for over a hundred years and she was sort of didn't have much trouble. She went sort of crazy. Having a very comedic undertone to her violence. Like she refused to face reality and eventually began to forget. She became the shell she wore to hide from her pain. She may have had bad moments but for the most part. She won. That is the tragic part. She was evil and she won.

    - She eventually did lose and dies. In the after-life the guardians of that know something she did not. That the devil she worked for had set up the death of her child as a way to break her and gain her as an alley, which (obviously if you read up to this point) worked. So they give her a chance to try and restore her humanity and redeem herself.

    - Spoiler. She does both. Not easily. Shedding that mask after over a hundred years of wearing it was by no means an easy task. But she even, as a spirit, joins the final fight against the devil.

    So what do you guys think?


    Editing to tag people that are awesome and maybe didn't noticed.

    @Lea`Brooks
    @ChickenFreak
    @jannert
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2015
  2. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    The reasons for her death and the lead up to it, do you want to go through it in depth, or would you prefer to refer to it through character flashbacks and internal thoughts?

    Alternatively, you could separate the story into Part 1 - her life, her troubles and her death, and then, Part 2, what happened after she died.
     
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  3. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Her death wasn't especially notable actually. Kind of. I mean from her POV she just slipped up. There were some background factors. Funny enough, this is the backstory to a villain. So I have a main story. She appears and dies there. Not that I think her appearence and death in the main story have a great effect here. I think I can rewrite the scene from her POV and the 1 overlapping scene I don't think is bad.

    Well, the separating the story is sort of why I opened the thread. I am wondering if the above passage can be one book or if it needs to be more than 1 book. If so not sure where to break it off. I mean, seems like a full book could be done on her life before meeting the devil. But not sure if that is a good artist choice or a horrible one.

    Side note. Do you remember this story? You were the first person to read a few chapter when I joined the site. :D lol Trivia! I always remember it.
     
  4. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I do remember a great deal of it.

    The decision you face now, depends on how you tell her story from when she was alive and the events which led to her death.

    What I mean, is, do you want the reader to know her story form the start or do you want to drip feed this information to the reader over the course of time?

    I have a prologue in my first book which is set fourteen years in the past but it shows three of the characters in a way which tells you the kind of people they really are, and is an insight to what they all do later in the story, but, it's a moment in time, it's less than two pages long and if it were to happen in real life, it would be done and dusted within five minutes.

    What you are trying to do with your character's living part, is explain why she turned evil, the stuff which forced her to go to the dark side, sort of like the first three Star Wars movies explained where Darth Vader came from, well, except for the virgin birth bit - everything was against him from the start, a slave boy who wanted more but there was always something in his way, he was so powerful yet he wasn't strong enough to save his mother, he has everything at his fingertips except he couldn't, or shouldn't, have the woman he loved, and when he did finally get her, his premonitions led him to exploring the dark side of the force because he'd been told that the ultimate power he could get, would save her.

    Everything he did, he did for the love of her but everything he did, was misguided because n0-one not even a Jedi, can stop death.

    So, Star Wars needed three episodes to tell the start of his story, mine needed less than two pages to give an inkling into three people's lives as anything else from my character's childhoods, (pre the present age the story is written in) could be drip fed in through the main story as conversations, flashbacks, or internal thoughts and memories.

    If you are unsure which way to go, (and you think you can do this,) write both scenarios and see what you think works.
     
  5. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I remember your prologue! :D

    I think the problem in my case is that I used flash backs to drip it before and the premise is a sweet timid and shy girl becomes this heartless monster that laughs as she kills people. I don't think drips can handle that.

    Not familiar with Star War but I suppose that is a closer case. But then again, the issue is if I can expand all of this in 1 book or if I should be a series.

    Because one book usually has a central theme but in her case that will shift suddenly and wrappedly. Like I am wondering is it better to do

    A. One book, and have moments where you are interested in her, only for the book to jerk you in a sudden shift in direction as major events happen like her son dying. No real theme, more like a biography.

    B. Make it multiple books with themes that represent her story.Like book one being a love story that is tragic because her husband is abusive and focus purely on her timid nature. THe book ending with his death and her moving on. Leaving the sudden jerks of direction of her son's death to be the plot of the next book.


    Does that phrase the question better?

    Thanks for your help! :D
     
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  6. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Hmmm.

    There's a thriller writer, I forget which one, and I haven't read the book (hubs has) but I flicked through when I was formatting my book) and his story wasn't enough for two separate books, so he wrote one book but separated them into part one and part two - I think there was a gap of time between the two parts, in your case, it would the the switch between the MC's nice side, and evil side.

    I can't give you the answer, but, if it was me, I would be tempted to go with option B, but if the story was too short to go into separate books, I would put all the parts into one book and separate them as part 1, part 2, part 3, etc.
     
  7. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    The length isn't the issue though. More like Option A spits in the face of traditional story telling. By not having a consistant theme or even over reaching plot. As in option A. The plot is trying to be happy with a husband and son, BAM husbands gone. Okay happy life raising her son BAM son is gone. Goes insane, becomes a monster. Starts killing people, story going from this urban love story to urban fantasy and now dipping into sci-fi with her planet hopping and being a mass murderer until once again BAM she is dead and is told she helped the devil that killed her son finally resulting in her reverting back to the quite shy girl you should have been sad to see go insane if I wrote this right.

    I mean how do you tell someone about that story? No part of the plot is consistant throughout. No part of the theme or style would even be consistant. It really is like the autobiography of a fictional character.

    While option B. Could expand as much as it needed to on each section. Part 1 could be a love story with consistant love story themes. I could add content to expand the length. Then part 2 could be the urban fantasy with her son's death. And so on and so forth. But not sure if it is a cheap alternative to try and force her life into multiple stories or if it is a better creative way to express her life.

    Thanks again. :) Thinking out loud helps. :D
     
  8. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    The only way you are going to know for sure, is to start writing it both ways. You will know - before you get to the end - which way feels right.
     
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  9. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just my two cents...

    If the protagonist is dead and the reader knows that up front, there's no hope for the character's continued survival after the story ends. I think that makes it hard to get identify with the character.

    Even historical characters, ones we know are dead from our 'now' perspective, have hope of surviving the stories told about them and that makes it easier to identify with them.

    Is it possible to reframe the story so the character survives? If not, can you hold back that information until the very last page? Or perhaps show the story from the POV of the afterlife?
     
  10. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    You would write two full books in completely different styles just to see? Not saying that is a horrible idea, just checking to hear if you are listening to that right. Because one style would be like 100k+ giant thing, while the other could be well... not sure average for the genre's but I see it as 50-70k pieces of the previous 100k+

    That is what I was planning to do. I stated my current version failed because of well, various reasons, one of which is your point. In a sense, this post captures the question better

    Does that make more sense?
     
  11. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I can see your point but, if the decision's making that much of a problem, then yes, I would.

    I know it's not quite the same, but I have pages and pages of stuff that didn't make the final edit but it's there because I followed the characters. The bits where they went a bit stupid, are now in a separate file. They'll probably never see the light of day but if I ever need them, they are there.

    You need to make the decision and stick to it because every day that you debate your choices, is a day of writing lost that you can never get back.
     
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  12. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh we all have those files I think. lol.

    I think I realized the problem too from this thread. Or I suppose your feedback. :D

    Half measures. Trying to compress her entire life into one book is well kind of what I did. I think I was looking at like a 300k work. I tried to compress it to 30k. Which... one word. FAIL!!!! But now I am asking if it would work as 100k? Simple answer. No. It is a 300k story. It needs 300k. lol.

    Oh, time isn't an issue. I probably am not even gonna start this project for a while. Like a few years. It will wait for me. I like having a plan ahead of time. lol


    I can see it now. A title.

    The Order: Chronicle of Kerrin
    Book 3: Redemption

    The thought makes me smile already. :D
     
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