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  1. demented-tiger
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    demented-tiger Member

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    getting my character out his front door

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by demented-tiger, Aug 23, 2010.

    I have a great idea for a story, but I do not know how to get it started. I won’t give it all away, but basically, the hero, a seemingly normal boy, somehow revives a warrior girl frozen in time for over a thousand years. From here, the boy and the girl he woke embark on one of those globe-trotting quests to fulfill their destinies and stuff.
    Now my problem is: how do I get the boy out his front door so he can revive the warrior girl in the first place?
    The boy is a city boy, though not just any city boy, but the crown prince of one of the most powerful countries in the world – albeit his family’s dynasty has been stripped of most of its power in the aftermath of a democratic revolution, leaving the royal family just above poverty (I may decide to have the royal family keep their titles and office, but be more like figureheads with only nominal power and still in the lower tiers of income). This revolution occurred over a hundred years ago. The world my story takes place in has just ended its industrial period and is settling into the early modern era, similar to the 1910s, giving the young prince many modern conveniences. There really isn’t an obvious need for him to leave the comfort of his urban surroundings.
    The girl’s “tomb” on the other hand, is in the countryside – specifically a sparsely populated mountainous region. I am not sure how to get the prince to this region. Because the revolution was so long ago, the royal family has had time to adjust to their reduced status, and therefore have no reason to go into physical exile. My original plot called for the boy to be pursued by the forces of evil in the guise of thugs and corrupt policemen, but I found this approach to have too many holes in it to be believable and it was more trouble than it was worth. I suppose I could have the prince be on a camping trip, but I do not know how popular camping was for urban working class families in 1910. I could really use some help and/or suggestions.
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Phineas Fogg Around the World in Eighty Days might be helpful for ideas its only 40 years before your story. There is a great cartoon Around the World with Willy Fogg. He uses all manner of transport.

    A young man in 1910, of a certain background would have done his tour of Europe. His circumstances would not have been too humble - might be worth reading up on Prince Phillip his family were Greek Royal exiles.

    The scouting movement began in 1906 and many went on adventures. General Andrew Anderson is an interesting character type Marjory Gilzean she will be easier to find in google than him. He was 1700s but at the start of the explorer generation and it may help with ideas. Although he would have been a bit older doing the same things in 1910 (not much in the UK in 1916 my Grandparents were working at 14)

    Agatha Christie is a little later but may give you ideas, movie Goodbye Mr Chips is in the right time frame as well.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Read The Hobbit. The problem is similar, how to get a comfortable homebody out into a larger world.

    Another relevant read is Destiny Road by Larry Niven.
     
  4. Motley
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    Motley Active Member

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    If the ex-royals are still figureheads in some way, or the new govt. feels a need to appease them, patronize them, perhaps someone would invite the young man along on a hunting expedition or a long leisure weekend at a country house or something like that. Being a rather unwelcome guest could give him a lot of time to wander around and stumble across a tomb.
     
  5. Tom Gold
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    Tom Gold Member

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    Mountaineering was - or had become - quite popular in europe at this time. It was often organised along the lines of a 'Gentleman's Club' with members being typically drawn from the upper classes.

    Despite their very rudimentry equipment and often scant local knowledge these people were not lacking in courage NB Edward Wymper, George Mallory. It wasnt really until after WW2 that climbing became popular amongst a wider cross section of society.

    Excusions of this type would have included glaciers and high alpine regions where you might conceivable find somone frozen - it was this type of frozen you meant wasnt it?
     
  6. zeem33
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    zeem33 Member

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    How about a simple holiday to the general location of where your character needs to be, then your protagonist can have one of those "oh, I'll sneak off and go exploring" moments :)
     
  7. Tom Gold
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    Tom Gold Member

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    Just had a thought! I'm not an avid comic reader but doesn't Thor get discovered in a cave high on a snow capped mountain by a lost scientist looking for shelter in a storm? I seem to remember this scene being played out in the not very good feature length TV movie of The Hulk some time in the late late 80's.

    If your guy was on an alpine expedition this might work. Heck, you could even have him find her in the crypt of an abondonned church - no need to leave the city that way. Just thoughts. Like your idea though.
     
  8. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, a little kick in the backside to force the character into the adventure always works well, also for the sake of adding some drama to the beginning of the story. Merrily wandering around and them stumbling on the tomb seems too much like how cosy children's stories would open.
     
  9. razcox
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    razcox Member

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    What about a hunting trip? It seems a reasonable passtime for a royal and something a figure head would almost be expected to enjoy in this time period. Maybe the main character doesn't like the sport though being more modern in his thinking and choses to explore the region instead. Or the object being hunted could escape and he choses to pursue it thus finding the cave.

    For inspiration on the cave woman i would read some of Jean M. Auel works which though fiction give a great insight into pre history.
     
  10. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    My first thought was that it's a hot, hot summer and the character leaves the city to go to the cool mountains, as people often did. Maybe the royal family still has a ramshackle mountain lodge, because nobody was interested in buying it when they were impoverished.

    Edited to add: Also, if you need him to go _looking_, what about an avalanche from higher in the mountain (it is a hot, hot summer after all) that spills a couple of interesting artifacts down to a more reachable area, so that he climbs up to see where they came from? He goes up hoping for something that he can sell for a minor fortune, and finds the girl instead.
     
  11. jameskmonger
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    jameskmonger Member

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    This might be a long shot, but what about an (albeit small) meteor? If a meteor hit the ground and i saw it, i would go and investigate. Also, over 1000 years she would have been buried by a considerable amount. Also the heat would thaw her.
     
  12. T.N. Tobias
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    T.N. Tobias Member

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    A good way to open with a conflict, make characters do things they don't want to do, and provide a little fodder for the denouement, is to have work make them do it. Seems it would be pretty easy to have him sent off into the wilderness for some work-related purpose, get lost and stumble upon the warrior princess. Plus, as Stephen King says, people love to read about work, God knows why.
     
  13. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    Interesting you should say that. I finished Bukowski's Post Office not long ago. It was completed not long after Bukowski left his job as a postal worker. It is semi-autobiographical and contains lots of fine details about the life of a postman.

    I really enjoyed the read. I wonder if this was because of the work detail...
     
  14. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you really want to drive the point home, you could make the main character's reason for being in the mountains mirror his character development. That is, the search for the tomb mirrors something he's looking for in life, and the warrior girl mirrors him finding it.

    For example, the main character lacks excitement. Therefore, he starts hiking and climbing, but it's still not enough to satisfy him. Then he finds the tomb, and will soon get all the excitement he wished for.

    Or the character is in the mountains because he lacks a purpose in life, and seeks quiet and solitude to meditate. (fill in the rest)

    Or the character is in the mountains because he's come out of a disappointing relationship, and needs to be alone. (fill in the rest)

    This could provide a coherent reason both for him being in the mountains, and for hanging around with the warrior girl, no matter how strange, dangerous, or obnoxious she may seem.

    (I can't help but think of Rumiko Takahashi's adventure stories, like Inu Yasha, where the main characters are forced together by fate and quickly form a love/hate-relationship.)
     
  15. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    The royal family is just above the poverty level?

    Well there is your excuse to get the lad out in the world. Somebody has to get a job and pay the bills. Since monarchs are king by divine right (meaning by the will of the Almighty) they aren't likely to settle for living in a double wide mobile home, flipping burgers for a living at just above the poverty level. Obviously someone, meaning the boy, must go out and get a "REAL" job, probably something in the National Park service or a Archeological expedition team member...something that will take him to a place with icy caves :)

    Except that somebody is going to have to pay the poverty stricken royal family's bills. Food, clothes, an automobile, utilities, taxes aren't free in a democratic revolutionary society.
     
  16. ap Oweyn
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    ap Oweyn Member

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    You said he was royalty and had all the conveniences of modern life. You didn't say he was happy about it. He could just as readily be disgusted by his situation. His family has little money or influence, yet they still live with this pretense of importance. Personally, I'm guessing that kind of paradox would really stick in my craw. Maybe he ventures out because he simply can't tolerate the ludicrousness of that existence.

    Some people simply don't like to be pampered and pandered to, particularly not when the whole thing feels like a lie. Why not have him simply reject that life?
     

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