1. St Saint
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    St Saint Member

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    How to Kickstart the engine

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by St Saint, Feb 27, 2009.

    So your little story is chugging alone, letting off puffs of character settings and backstory with small amounts of developement, but now comes the important part; the set-piece, the part of the story where the intro becomes the main story, where the character is forced to do things against his will for survival either mentally or physically, but now we come to my problem; how do I introduce the reader? Should I create a gradual evolution of a problem to ease the reader in, or just suddenly bring forth the problem from the depths of Hell to create a greater impact? If you need a specfic of what this plot-point is, please note that this will be a spoiler for Workwar if you have read it so far;


    How do I go from having my character do pointless menial work in an office to forcing him to evacuate an alien invasion as his building collapses under the weight of the mothership?
     
  2. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I always liked what Lovecraft did with The Call of Cthulhu, and At the Maintains of Madness. He would start with asking the audience a question or make a statement (usually with some cosmic slant), and then the set-peice was often the protagonist explaining why he asks the audience what he has asked or said.

    Other than that, with my own writing I employ either a style like that of Lovecraft's, or I simply set the image and jump straight into it. However, it depends on the story really. What is the best way to fit it all together.
     
  3. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    Can you firstly drop hints (or have a prologue) to set up the scene with something ominous happening, setting up the conflict to come? I'm NOT talking about an infodump explaining things, or a flash forward to the conflict and then a flashback to the guy's menial life, but something that really ties in to the story and sets things up in chronological order. Then you can flash to the guy in his office doing trivial things, but don't spend TOO much time there before the exciting stuff starts happening.

    I already cautioned about the use of the prologue--you can call it Chapter 1 if you want--but the main thing is to not just spend a lot of time setting things up because many readers are turned off by this. Don't start the story describing the guy's daily boring life in the office--that won't draw in the reader. This doesn't mean you have to start right in the middle of action (which I myself despise), but you need to start with somet
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    any way you want, that works for the story and the reader!

    a sudden shift can be dramatic and carry the reader right into the disaster along with your mc... but a more gradual development can be suspenseful and have the readers biting their fingernails... it's your choice to make...

    the point is, there's no one 'right' way or any 'wrong' way to do it... there's only what works and what doesn't... and a good writer can make anything work...
     
  5. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    ...

    I don't understand why part of my post is missing. It was all there yesterday. :confused: I do hope only a few words are missing because by now I can't remember what else I might have typed!

    Anyway I think I just mentioned that you should start with something interesting, even if it's not WHAM-BANG-ACTION. For example, starting with showing the beginning of the alien invasion, then flashing to the man in the office doing trivial things (but not focusing on that for too long lest it get dull). Then the mothership lands and you get the rest.

    Cripes, how come the site ate my post?? :mad:
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Best guess - you posted the submit button before you finished typing. Sometimes network delays can be rather long.
     
  7. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    An idea could be to have his day start off bad, you know just one of the damn days. Spilled his coffee on the way to work. Stubbed his toe. On the way inside his office someone bugs him to accept Jesus and tells him he is going to hell. Once he is in the office his boss drops a load on him--bastard. Now he will have to work late and will miss his sons soccer game once again!

    The day couldn't get any worse until crash, a friggin' mothership landed on his building.

    You get the idea.
     
  8. traffic101
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    traffic101 Member

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    I like action. So usually I start my story during the middle of it. Then later on I explain the background extra. Once you got them hooked, you can slow down, but it's getting them hooked that important.
     

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