Tags:
  1. TheTranskinator
    Offline

    TheTranskinator Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2011
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    ...not sure...it's dark and I hear laughing... aww

    How to open a story about time control...

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by TheTranskinator, Mar 27, 2011.

    I'm currently trying to write a story about a teenager who has... (I know, cliched) super powers! His power is the ability to stop time. I have an opening already written, one that opens up near the climax of the story. It doesn't give away much, it's basically the protagonist walking onto a stage while surrounded by guards and pleading for a last chance to fix everything he ruined. It says nothing of his powers, nothing of the situation. It's a teaser for what comes later. My problem is that I know what I want the main problem to be, but I can't figure out a way to open the story.

    I'll give a rundown of everything I have decided so far.

    1. The protagonist is a teenager, 17 years old.

    2. He discovers his powers near the beginning.

    3. It hurts him a little to use his power.

    4. Somewhere along the line he finds out he's not the only person with super powers, and encounters someone who (cliche again!) can control fire. However, anyone with powers is uneffected by the protagonist's time stop, making him severely outclassed in a fight.

    5. The protagonist causes a lot of problems and gets a lot of people killed by doing some selfish and foolish things, including the (you guessed it, another cliche moment) girl he "loves" (he's a teenager. teenagers aren't actually "in love". we just think we are :p)

    6. I honestly don't intend on showing the causes of the powers. I'd prefer to let the reader interperet things on their own, and I'm not feeling the "gods gave it to me" or "yay, I'm scientifically altered" or finally "MUTANTS YAY!"

    So these points probably don't tell you much, but any help would be appreciated. So my question is what is an interesting way to open the story, and introduce the readers, and my character to his new found powers? I've tried multiple openings, but all of them are overly boring. The cliche "wake up, daily routine, wow I have powers" was boring, but I can't think of a more natural way to show it. Help please? Also, any additional comments, suggestions, ideas are welcome. Thanks everyone
     
  2. Irontrousers
    Offline

    Irontrousers Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2008
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    3
    Well, what's the story about?
     
  3. Ellipse
    Offline

    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2010
    Messages:
    714
    Likes Received:
    32
    As Iron asked, what is your story about?

    I think you also need to develope your MC's powers a bit more. Think about these questions if you haven't already:

    When time stops, can the MC move around like normal?
    Does he have to return to his original spot before restarting time or can he restart it from anywhere?
    Is there a limit to how long he can freeze everything in one sitting?
    How does using his power hurt him? A headache? Cramps? Diarrhea?
    Can he move a stationary object, such as a chair or door, when he stops time? Can he move or redirect a bullet in motion?
     
  4. Irontrousers
    Offline

    Irontrousers Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2008
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    3
    Yeah, also what Ellipse said. It's fine if you don't want to get into where the powers come from (knowing what's irrelevant enough to skip over is actually pretty classy) but as the writer, you do need to know the limitations and rules of your world, otherwise it'll seem sloppy and unconvincing. I've heard people say they find fantasy liberating because there are no rules; I'm guessing those people are, for the most part, hacks. Fantasy is about tearing down the rules of our world and replacing them with new ones, and I say that with all the authority of someone who doesn't like/read fantasy (I saw the LOTR trilogy, and through the whole thing all I could do was speculate about how elves are stupid and probably very easy to beat up. I mean really now, they are just silly.)

    Also, I should've just said this in my first post: IN MEDIA RES. When in doubt, just think of the first interesting thing that happens and skip the first three or nine paragraphs. It's a cop-out that works.
     
  5. Ion
    Offline

    Ion Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2011
    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    7
    I don't think you'll find what you want by asking this question. You want random suggestions for the beginning of your story. Well, here's my whirl at it anyway.

    Have your protagonist running late for something. Get it? It's funny. He's late, but later, he's going to control time, and so is not going to be late later. It's funny because he's not good at time management, but then he gets the power of ultimate time management, but he's still bad at managing time. Isn't that funny? I bet that it is if you get it, because I get it, and I think it's funny. So you'd probably think it's funny if you got it like I did.
     
  6. Mr. Blue Dot
    Offline

    Mr. Blue Dot Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Washington
    Maybe you can sprinkle some events in the opening that could be him developing his powers, or just pure coincidence in order to keep the reader guessing. Maybe stuff like he walks by the TV in the living room to go to the bathroom and brush his teeth. When he comes back to the living room five minutes later the tv is still on the same image as when he left. Could be his powers, could be the Tivo...

    I'm sure theres other stuff you can do as well. You could also try just making an outline and just plan possible ways to open the story that flow naturally into the rest of it. Jot down quick notes, half ideas, whatever you need to. It helps me out when I get stuck at least.
     
  7. Smoke
    Offline

    Smoke Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Messages:
    298
    Likes Received:
    6
    Start in the middle and then whenever you needed a bit of exposition earlier in the story, throw it at the first chapter. Then revise that mess into a coherent chapter.
     
  8. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Write the story, then decide where to begin it. chances are your best bet will be to trim off a slow start, and begin the story where things begin to get intense.

    With practice you'll develop more of an instinct where to begin, but it is most assuredly a learning process.
     
  9. TheTranskinator
    Offline

    TheTranskinator Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2011
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    ...not sure...it's dark and I hear laughing... aww
    To answer your questions, he can move around like normal. He doesn't have to return to his original spot, he can essentially teleport. He can freeze things indefinitely, but he gets more and more tired and his head begins to hurt terribly if he holds it too long, or uses his power too many times in one sitting. And he can move anything while time is stopped, provided he could move it in actual time. He can redirect objects momentum too, such as the bullet. Other effects are if he punches someone, they'll feel it. Gravity has no effect on things until time is restarted.

    I probably should have explained more. Basically, the main character is an average teenager. He's not a stereotypical hero as he's pretty self centered. His family life isn't great, mainly because he completely blows them off and stuff. Throughout one day, he slowly notices little coincidences that hint at his new power. (Kinda like what Mr. Blue Dot said) Eventually he figures it out, and throughout some experimenting he learns how to control it, although he's pretty clumsy at it. He uses the power to prank people, get things he wants, make everyday life easier etc.

    Meanwhile another teenager with powers (the fire control guy) notices that time is randomly stopping around him. (the time stops don't effect him, he goes by the same principles as the protagonist, except he can't stop/start time) From experience he knows that when one person with powers kills another with powers, they "steal" the power. (this guys part isn't set in stone. not sure yet. I'm trying to incorporate some revenge type of thing in here too and get rid of the power hungry idea, but I haven't thought of any yet) so he resolves to kill the protagonist. I like the revenge idea way more, having one of the time stops result in someones death. Not really sure...

    Anyways the protagonist begins to spend more and more time in his time stops, and notices that he starts getting headaches and begins feeling sleepy and light headed. At the same time though, he's using his powers to impress a girl he likes. Things go, the relationship blossoms, and he creates more mischief.

    Eventually the two super powered teens meet during a time stop and erupt in a fight. The protagonist has no idea whats going on, thinking he was the only "special" person out there. As he is fleeing the other, fire wielding guy his head starts to hurt. Through sheer luck he escapes, but not without restarting/stopping time in front of thousands of people. He passes out soon after as a result of his excessive use of his powers.

    Not understanding everything that is going on, the protagonist lays low for a little while and doesn't use his powers much. People that saw him use his powers and know him realize something is wrong with him though, and slowly he begins to be looked upon as a freak. (nobody understands what he can do, only that he can do weird things.)

    From here I'm not sure whats going to happen yet. Somewhere along the line he costs a lot of people their lives, exposes not only his powers, but the nature of his powers to everyone, and is subdued and arrested. Meanwhile the fire guy is majorly pissed off about something else, probably relating to the main guy, and kills the girl the protagonist likes (along with a whole bunch of people)

    The protagonist realizes that he's been selfish, and regrets the things he did, realizing (with a spiderman quote) that with great power comes great responsibility. People want him to be executed, but he pleads with them a chance to stop the fire guy before it's too late, and they let him do it. In a climatic battle he somehow prevails.

    I'm toying with multiple endings right now too...

    So thats the basic story I have so far. Sorry if it's an incoherent mess, I was in a rush typing it.

    My main problem is I can't think of a way to start the story that is fun to read. I don't like starting stories with a bunch of boring exposition or the "wake up, shower, live life" routine. I just need a good way to start the story and give me a chance to subtly introduce the powers.

    Also comments and advice on the story are welcome. In all honesty I made up some of it on the spot... :p
     
  10. 4trevor
    Offline

    4trevor New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Beaumont, Texas
    I like the thing about him mismanaging his time if it's done very, very subtly..I also like the TiVo thing, but instead of having it be random, what if it happens because he gets nervous or anxious? Just off the top of my head..what if he's running late to class and he rushes in and the teacher gives him some snide remark about being late that could be construed as either it being a real problem with him or the teacher is just a prick (develop teacher in that fashion to make it so) and he trips/is tripped as he's hurrying to his seat and his books and papers, whatever go flying through the air and time stops as he falls and he gets up and is stunned by what he sees: floating books/papers and everyone frozen (maybe he sees a kid doing something that no one is supposed to see and later that's a payoff, or maybe you use a find like this later in the story to payoff something else, like the girl he thinks he's in love with has some secret he discovers when he freezes time to sneak into her house and sit by her in her bedroom just to be near her and finds out--maybe you can go off on a tangent and figure out a way for this to help setup your revenge idea..anyway, that image would be awesome in a movie, I can really see it as an early scene. I think also that he should lose control of freezing time after his nervous/anxious feeling abates and this could be a comedic thing to make the initial discovery and his fledgling attempts to use/control it sort of lighthearted before he meets the antagonist and the plot gets darker..good luck!
     
  11. 4trevor
    Offline

    4trevor New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Beaumont, Texas
    Oh, and with him and the girl he's in love with..maybe he wants to simply sit by her but then he notices something and decides to investigate, and that leads to his discovery..if you think that works for your story? I was just thinking that it's good to show the flaws in protagonists, and this would be a good way to do it..he's a teenager and yeah, it's wrong to snoop in the girl's room, but as long as he doesn't violate her it's a small and believable flaw, something lots of people, not just teenagers might do. Also, what if the fire guy wasn't a fellow teenager..what if he was in his 30's? That would be an interesting way to propel the conflict because the fire guy would think differently and also have access to things that the teenager wouldn't, like driving, bars, things like that that could create natural obstacles for the teenager..would heighten the tension by complicating whatever obstacles you create, I mean..
     
  12. Ellipse
    Offline

    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2010
    Messages:
    714
    Likes Received:
    32
    You could always start it with the MC discovering his power. He had to learn of it somehow. :)

    You also mentioned the fire guy isn't effected by the time stop. Does that apply to his powers as well? What if he catches someone or something on fire during a timestop? It's gonna look very strange in the real world if a building burns down in a second. Then again, this could be the explanation for spontaneous human combustion. :cool:
     
  13. TheTranskinator
    Offline

    TheTranskinator Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2011
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    ...not sure...it's dark and I hear laughing... aww
    His powers are not effected by the time stop. And I like the idea of making him older too. (fire guy here)

    And I was thinking that during their initial meeting buildings and people die in the time stop.

    One thing that I wanted to show too was just how ordinary his life was before he learned of his power, instead of just telling about it. Give the readers something to relate too. But I don't know of any ways to do this and make it interesting... so I may just skip out on doing that altogether.

    After some serious thinking, I'm going to ask for another suggestion too. What is a reason for the fire guy wanting to kill the protagonist? Take any liberties you want, stretch the story as far as you want, etc. I just need some ideas.

    Thanks everyone who has helped me so far. It's greatly appreciated. I'd give you all cookies... but you know... the internetz are kinda in the way XD
     
  14. daydreams
    Offline

    daydreams Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2009
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    3
    When he stops time, is it applied to the entire universe except for himself, or just the entire Earth, or maybe even just within a few mile radius? Is time completely stopped, or just nearly? Is there a limit to for how long he can stop time, or how many times he can do it?

    Maybe he can discover his power is triggered by panic. Or it happens in his sleep the first time, so he wakes up to an eerily quiet house... where his parents and siblings and everything are frozen in time. Or maybe he's bored in class, thinking time must have stopped, and then realizes that's exactly what happened.

    The fire guy and why he wants to kill the protagonist? Might depend on from where the protagonist got his powers, and for what purpose. Is the fire guy trying to maintain some sort of balance by killing the time guy, or is there something else behind?
     
  15. Thanshin
    Offline

    Thanshin Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2010
    Messages:
    564
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Spain
    One question.
    Is your MC a seventeen year old male with the power to stop time?

    I think there's a facet of this story you'll really have to decide how to deal with before you think of starting.

    I'd actually consider giving him the power a long time ago, to have an easy answer to the obvious question.
     
  16. Mr. Blue Dot
    Offline

    Mr. Blue Dot Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Washington
    If there are two people with powers, there's bound to be more right? Maybe the fire guy met someone with precognition and told him that a guy who could stop time will eventually kill him/ take something important/ ruin a plan.

    Or maybe the fire guy just wants to be the only person with powers. He wants to be the only special person in the world, so to speak.

    Maybe the fire guy tries to recruit the MC into a group he leads, and the MC refuses, or messes up an operation some how. The fire guy doesn't want news of his group getting out, or a member of the group gets killed because of what the MC does.

    Maybe the fire guy is a mercenary hired by some one who wants to get the MCs father because he holds evidence against his illegal operations.

    Or... um... I think that's it for now.
     

Share This Page