1. LittleGirlWithBlueEyes
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    LittleGirlWithBlueEyes Member

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    How can I advance this plot?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by LittleGirlWithBlueEyes, Mar 1, 2008.

    I started a novel almost a year ago. I was really excited by the prospect, but as I got going, it became increasingly difficult to fully advance the plot to flesh it out enough to be a novel. I have five main/central characters, two protagonists and an antagonist (basically--there are the five characters on which the story is based. Of these, two of them are the protagonists and one is the antagonist (although there could arguably be two antagonists...the foil, she is, then.). I have posted their basic personality profiles on the character development board (link in next post) for critique. I know how I want it to end and I have a good strong beginning, but the middle needs work.

    The novel is a love story, but it is also the story of how changes or newcomers in a small town can destroy the fabric of a town. It could also be considered a murder mystery but I don't want to go down that/the thriller/romance route if I can avoid it.

    Basically, David meets Caroline on his first day in the invented town of Mecklenburg, North Carolina, where he is trapped after a flood causes the railways out to be blocked. He falls in love with her--or thinks he does, anyway--and decides to stay in Mecklenburg, where he works as a builder and quickly works his way up the ranks. She is already married. They strike up an affair, despite the fact that he begins seeing Caroline's sister, and Caroline is married (to a man who is, while nasty and gruff, a loving and devoted husband who would never hurt his wife). She becomes pregnant with his child. He marries Percy, and they have two daughters who die. David and Caroline's son, Charles, is raised as Alderman's. Alderman is unaware that Charles is not his son. Caroline and Percy are from a prestigious family within the town and they are the subject of scrutiny by the town gossip, Rose. Rose is the only character besides Caroline and David who is aware of the affair and she is able to successfully hold this knowledge over their heads throughout the novel, despite David paying her off to stay quiet (after she informs him early in the novel that she knows, and will tell).

    David and Caroline often plot out Alderman's murder. While Alderman is loving and devoted, he is 25 years older than Caroline, and can often be cruel. Caroline feels trapped in their marriage and has found an escape in David. She, however, is afraid to kill him and thinks that it will never actually happen. One day, however, while she is visiting her sister (being her only outside support system now that her daughters are dead), he leaves the house and shoots Alderman, then dumps his body. Rose, who is being paid not to tell, and Caroline, who knows better than to tell, are the only people who know it was him.

    Alderman is seen as a missing person, and despite being from a lower class family with a poor reputation, he is hailed as some sort of a town hero. David begins spending more and more time with Caroline without attempting to hide the fact that he is seeing her, on the pretense of comfort, and he, too, is seen as some sort of a town hero for comforting a grieving widow and her child. Percy begins to suspect something at this point but says nothing. Eventually, the couple are driven farther and farther apart. Alderman's body washes up after a month or so of his being missing, and Rose cannot keep quiet any longer. She confesses everything she knows about David and Caroline and the fact that she bore witness to Alderman's murder.

    Before he can be arrested, Percy takes David's gun (the one he used to murder Alderman) to the banquet hall where he often spends his time. When she arrives, he is in an altercation with two men who formerly worked for him, who are attempting to turn him into the police. Percy asks them if she can be the one to do it, and when they oblige, she shoots him.

    So, any thoughts? I'm really very partial to the characters and the concept (it's based, by the way, on Ryan Adams' song Carolina Rain, with which I am inordinately fascinated) and the plot I have laid out, but I don't know how to flesh it out more. Any suggestions? Should I bin the idea of a novel and just have it be an extended (10+page) short story?

    Thank you in advance, especially if you've made it this far! :D
     
  2. LittleGirlWithBlueEyes
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    LittleGirlWithBlueEyes Member

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  3. (Mark)
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    (Mark) Contributing Member

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    Shoot for 100,000 words. I think you could turn what you have already into a full length novel. I think the best way you can do this is by spending more time with the characters before this snowballing chain of events starts. Then, once you've developed them some, and introduced your main plot, spend more time with them. More conversation, more description etc. I don't think you need to add any more of a plot to this than you already have.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    don't see how you can keep all of that down to a short story length...
     
  5. soujiroseta
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    soujiroseta Senior Member Contributor

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    yeah there's a bit too much stuff to happen for it to be 10 pages. i think do what connolly said, aim for 100,000 making sure you develop your characters well and also advance the narrative in a pleasing manner.
    (it's based, by the way, on Ryan Adams' song Carolina Rain, with which I am inordinately fascinated)
    heard that song last night, its pretty good:)
     
  6. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    Right, for a novel to be anyway successful, there has to be conflict and momentum. Otherwise the characters have nothing to work for or against. Each character should have a specific purpose/objective, with their path to achieving this blocked, or hindered, by another. In each scene/chapter, your main characters must have something to strive for, then, when their objective has been twarted, they must 'react' to overcome whatever diversity, dilemma faces them. In this way each chapter works off the previous one, or wherever their journey left off, and builds up to the next.

    You can either synopsize each chapter in detail or have a rough idea and allow your characters to take you along the trail. Depending on your proficiency, one might work better than the other. In my opinion though, for a 1st draft, you need to have a specific 'road map' to at least acquire the initial shape to take you to the end of the story. Also, I really wouldn't worry about word-count until you've completed the 1st draft. Then you can either chop or flesh out. Hope this helps.
     

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