1. mystrian101
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    mystrian101 New Member

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    Great Plot... except for the beginning

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by mystrian101, Jun 18, 2011.

    Okay, so I have no idea how to start out my cliche fantasy story. It's pretty smooth and interesting once we get past the choppy start. So, essentially, a boy about fourteen years of age is chosen as one of the White Wizards, inherits his father's sword, his friend gets kidnapped, and he goes on an epic quest and meets other chosen white wizards along the way. But how to write that in a smooth, convincing, and interesting way is beyond me. I also have a pretty good idea of the setting and world.
     
  2. Wildflame
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    Wildflame New Member

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    These questions spring to mind.

    How is he chosen? By whom? Why?
    What impact do these Wizards have on the world?
    Who kidnapped his friend and why?
    Why did he inherit his father's sword? Inheritance implies death to me.

    Why does he have to go save his friend? Are there any authorities (nation-state, local nobility, local military etc) who might have a vested interest in figuring out why someone has been abducted? Depending on your world, this may not be hugely relevant. Independent or autonomous villages, for instance, will not have the kind of resources to address a kidnapping, but at least a headman might call a meeting and get details to help spur your hero on his way.

    There needs to be a compelling reason for your hero to go - he's fourteen, after all, and would most likely much prefer the safety of home. Hence why so many coming-of-age fantasies involve the hero being forced out from their home in one way or another, by being hunted by an enemy, having his family killed or stolen, or just plain having the home itself destroyed and thus no longer safe.

    I think of the Belgariad, where Garion leaves his home partly to save the world, but mostly to save his own skin because the Murgos are hunting him.

    Or Feist's Magician, in which constant attacks by the invaders force Pug and Tomas to travel away from home and thus start their journeys.

    Or Matthew Reilly's Contest (not fantasy, but I'm reading it now) - Swain is teleported into danger without any way to escape but to defeat his enemies.

    Figure out a reason to leave home that would compel you to go if you were in his shoes, and start from there.

    Hope these thoughts help get you going.
     
  3. mystrian101
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    mystrian101 New Member

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    Well, I have a better idea now, what if the main antagonist's army invaded and killed his father, forcing him to take the sword to fight with, kidnapped his friend, and started his journey. Or maybe, just simply, skip the chosen stuff until he succeeds with some insane challenge and just have his friend kidnapped so he we go save her. I dunno, 'tis hard to write the begining, and I find it hard to let go of a story and stop before it becomes ridiculous...
     
  4. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    May I make a recommendation? Instad of having the White Wizards be "chosen ones," perhaps they are all united because they're all fighting for the same basic motivation or cause. If these characters all have some kind of issue -- like a group that kidnaps people and they want to stop it (not sure the motivation behind the friend's kidnapping) -- then they all have high stakes, concrete reasons to be there, and conflicts such as deciding whether to be a White Wizard and then dealing with the sacrifices that are necessary to do so...

    I'm not sure what you mean by "Chosen one," but it seems that usually, that kind of thing is a cop-out because the writer wants to make their character special and doesn't want to work on real motivation for having him/her take up the quest. I'm not saying you're a cop-out or anything, but it's something to be wary of.

    Just something to keep in mind. :)

    As for how to write it convincingly and smoothly, the two biggest tips are 1) show not tell, and 2) make sure every scene is relevant, whether to move the action forward or to characterize. Avoid overly long scenery descriptions, huge history infodumps etc.

    Also, a lot of fantasy writers think it's fitting to use long-winded, wordy purple prose...don't...keep it straightforward and easy to read. :)
     
  5. Sang Hee
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    Sang Hee Contributing Member

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    Look man, if you wanna spice it up you need to put a lot of challenges and dilemmas into the story. One of the best things you can do is to have some of those challenges be some sort of imperfection like his father's sword would break or become lost, his companion would be a quite powerful girl with suicidal tendencies, etc. Just make sure that almost nothing goes smooth and the only progress comes from having a guile to overcome those obstacles, mostly in a way the reader can't guess.
    Hope this helps.
     
  6. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    The opening sets up why we give a darn about the main character(MC). What about this person wants us to go on a journey through whatever happens. Why are we compelled to know more? If you don't set up the main character, you will lose the reason your reader cares.

    You'd said: "inherits his father's sword..."

    Did his father die? Why is this significant? I the father a significant wizard himself? Does the young son have to both honor and live up to his father (though cliche)?

    The key is likely in the history that puts the MC in the place he is right now. If you don;t se t that, the remainder of what you write could be a lost cause.
     
  7. mystrian101
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    mystrian101 New Member

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    Yeah...

    I know, I just kind of suck at starting a story and figuring out motivations! I need to think I little harder...
     
  8. wolfi
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    wolfi Contributing Member

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    something I want to point out
    Yur thinking in now days terms, back then a 14 year old was a man and most likely was married and may or may not have a kid, 14 being a kid is "new" in the grand scheme of things. A lot of the heroes back then where "young" by now day standards and it just goes to show how our couture is really weird
    In fact it was very common in most "towns" for a 14 year old boy to go on a quest or shuch more so if they are in a "guild" like the white wizards
    or a knight hood
     
  9. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    What motivates you to write?

    While reasons can be different and intensities differ, motivation is a what compels people to action. It does not have to be complex. Don't over-think it.
     
  10. Jesstro
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    Jesstro Member

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    Not sure if this will help, but maybe just start writing out a scene with the MC. Let if flow and see for yourself what his decision will be as he reacts to a certain challenge you create. This may help open options for character developement and then you can look back at it and see what makes sense and what doesnt. These excercise usually works for me as I try and form a story and setting, a lot of times this brainstorming act will change your original plans for the MC.

    Hope this helps. Thanks for sharing sir.
     

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