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  1. Rossjay
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    Rossjay New Member

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    Having trouble with my plot

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Rossjay, May 26, 2011.

    I'm currently in the planning stages of a new book that I want to write, and have hit a snag. I know what I want to include in the story, but I'm having trouble stringing the events together to make a coherent story.

    The book is a YA semi-fantasy, set in an isolated village in the present day. The area is steeped in local legends, such as a large black dog haunting the churchyard, and, the main creature, the Ankou (a Celtic legend similar to the Grim Reaper).

    The Ankou is the Celtic equivalent of the Grim Reaper, and in my story I'm planning to draw from the legend that the last to die in the village each year becomes the Ankou for the next. "He" supposedly appears as a withered, almost skeletal, white-haired man who drives a black cart, with two animated skeletons following on foot. He marks his victims with a red mark on their door, and then, in the dead of night, comes for his victim and knocks on their door to indicate that it is their "time".

    My main idea is that a teenager moves to the village and befriends his neighbour, who starts to tell him some of the local legends. Soon, his friend receives a mysterious message on his mobile that turns the screen dead. The next morning, his friend has vanished. Now is the part where I get confused, as I can't think of events that could "bridge the gap" between this and the conclusion of the book, where the protagonist is taken by the Ankou on New Year's Eve and becomes the new Ankou.

    Can any of you help?
    Thanks in advance,
    Ross
     
  2. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    intriguing story. What happens to the old A. when their year is over? Are they just dead, period? I would be more interested to see (read) what it is really like for the friend to be that figure.
    Couldnt you just go ahead with him being the new A. and what happens to him after that? how did he die and why? MAybe the teenager in the story would somehow realise/guess what happened and try to do something to get this friend out of that curse ( I would def. call it that)? and will he succeed, and how? That way, I admit, it sounds a little like some kind of ghost-story, but I kind of like that.
     
  3. Rossjay
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    Rossjay New Member

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    My general idea was that the Ankou harvested souls and took them on to the afterlife, and that once their year is over, the Ankou can move on too. I was toying with the idea of a contest for the possession of any soul taken by the Ankou, in which the winner determines the fate of the loser, usually making them the new Ankou (because the Ankou will win almost without exception, and, as you said, being the Ankou is a curse).

    Also, it's the main character, not the friend, that becomes the Ankou at the end. I'm also trying to include a Hound of the Baskervilles-esque dog.Is this a viable story?

    1-Main character moves to village, befriends neighbour, hears stories
    2-Friend gets message that makes phone screen red, later vanishes
    3-MC asks around, learns more about local mythology
    4-MC finds out that the Ankou is the "watcher of the graveyard"
    5-He goes to the graveyard to search for the Ankou
    6-He doesn't find the Ankou but gets mauled by a dog
    7-He gets a red screen, flees to graveyard
    8-The Ankou turns up in his spectral cart
    9-MC challenges Ankou to contest for friend's soul and wins
    10-Another red screen message, Ankou comes for MC
    11-MC runs away but is cornered and taken
    12-Ankou reveals he let MC win but now is making MC the new Ankou
    13-A while later, MC/Ankou's thoughts are shown

    Thanks for the help,
    Ross
     
  4. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it sounds interesting. Pretty scary, but in a good way. Let us know how it proceeds. or if you are going to put a chapter/excerpt up for review later on. Have you thought about a name for it yet?
     
  5. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    I think there is not enough plot to occupy a whole book here. You need a sub-plot, a plot twist, and probably some other stuff too. Right now it seems like a short story.
     
  6. Rossjay
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    Rossjay New Member

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    I'm considering "Marked Man", "The Graveyard Watcher" and "Red Screen", but I'm still brainstorming ideas.
     
  7. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    yes, maybe some more plotting is necessary and like Norm said maybe even some subplots, otherwise it might end up on the shorter side. Is it going to be a novel by the way? lucky you to have already several ideas for titles, for me that is the worst part of the entire thing; coming up with a name that fits the story! Gaah, I can never find one good enough, only in one case (for another story) I came up with it right away, and it was like, perfect. :)
     
  8. Venom.
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    Venom. Member

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    Well think of your story like an ant farm. You've dug it up, you can watch it grow by logic or by force. By logic, wouldn't the teenager be curious and start investigating the town? Checking library records on the old legends? Nightmares?

    Just slowly think over the whole story and what you want to achieve and then think about what points work and what points don't.
     
  9. Rossjay
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    Rossjay New Member

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    @Venom- nightmares are a great idea! Thanks! I'll probably also have him digging up records and talking to residents of the town.

    Another sub-plot idea I have is the protagonist's contact with his old friends; it slowly gets less and less frequent, until someone tells him to leave them alone because he won't be coming back.
     
  10. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Another idea - the old Ankou sends the protagonist out on a series of quests in order to get his friend back. In the end, it turns out the quests have given the protagonist the skills/powers/magic items he needs to become the new Ankou.
     
  11. MrNomas
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    MrNomas Member

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    So the Ankou is like the grim reaper. What if the dog is another manifestation of death? Perhaps the Ankou takes souls to one afterlife and the dog to another? Maybe they are battling over the souls? The MC could try to enlist the aid of the dog to save his friend/himself.
     

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