1. Jessica Tilley
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    Jessica Tilley Member

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    How to start my novel?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Jessica Tilley, Mar 6, 2014.

    I don't know if this is the right place to post this or not. If not then if admin could move it to the correct place that would be awesome.

    Anyway, I have an idea for a novel that has been circling in my head for months now and I really want to take it somewhere but have no idea how to start it off or even where to take it.
    Basically, the idea is that an entire neighbourhood/suburb/town wakes to find bodies on the roofs of their homes. How they got there is a complete mystery (even to me at this point) but they possess the exact same DNA as the people in the homes.

    I don't even know if it is a good idea and if I should just scrap it, but it is really doing my head in.

    Thanks in advance.
     
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  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Not all ideas can be turned into a finished novel, but you'll never know that unless you start writing it. So go write!
     
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  3. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Best way to start, is word by word. :) No seriously, if you are apprehensive, then make it as simple as possible and write out everything like a road map. Give your characters names. Give them jobs, ages, tattoos, favorite drinks...you get the point. Draw a rough map of the neighborhood. Where is it? What time of year?

    Then the fun part, write out a time line of events. This could include major or minor ones, but whatever is going to help you to remember and stay interested in your story. Once that's all done, writing the story is the easy part. :D
     
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  4. PastelParfait
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    PastelParfait New Member

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    I think it sounds like a really interesting idea! There are a lot of ways to start novel, but personally, I feel a novel is only as good as the characters in them. Do you have any in mind? Flesh them out. Getting to know your characters can often help you piece together the gaps in your narrative.
     
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  5. Monte Thompson
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    Monte Thompson Member

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    As the author you need to figure out why the bodies are there. I picture my ending first. The ending determines how I want people to feel when they walk away from the story. Next I decide the audience I want to write for. That determines the age of my protag. Gender of my main protag is the next thing then on and on until I have assembled a cast of characters. Then I block out the story. I make notes to myself about what happens from beginning to end, but no details unless there's something specific that I have an idea about in a scene. Once it's all blocked out then, using your notes, let your creative writing take the wheel.
     
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  6. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Interesting idea! Usually when I come up with an idea - I need a character to power it so I think who is the best person that can tell this story - a man in one of the houses, a teenage girl, a mother of three, one of the bodies on the roof? I run down the genders, their positions/jobs in world, the advantages and disadvantages of certain types and ages. Then I need some goals for the character - big goals - like finding out why there are bodies on the roof of his suburb and minor goals like maybe, he wants to ask his girlfriend of two years to marry him. Then you start weaving in problems. Things to hamper the goals.
    Everybody works differently - I write to find an ending but some people write with an ending in mind. Each one works.

    A good idea to get your idea flowing is just start jotting things down stream of conscious on a sheet of paper or open a document on your computer. Brainstorm. Picture things that could happen, might happen, where you could take the idea, obvious answers, bizarre answers. But just type it out. Don't stop until you have a good list.
     
  7. Mans
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    Mans Contributing Member

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    Excuse me, my English is not perfect or maybe my IQ is not high. I didn't get it
    :confused: Which bodies? Why some bodies must be on the roofs of the town houses? ... It seems very odd for me.

    May you explain more vivid for me?
     
  8. Larissa Redeker
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    Larissa Redeker Active Member

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    I like the idea.

    I start my stories showing somethings that leads to the central idea (or even it), in an impacting way. Something to make the reader to say: "WTF is it? I need to discover". Well, my works are like a blockbuster: explosions and punches and kicks at the beginning :p
     
  9. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Normally, I'd say just write and see how things develop. But this is such an odd idea (odd in a good way) that I agree with this quote, at least the first part of it. I think you need to figure out why the bodies are there before you start writing. You don't have to have it all worked out in detail, but just decide, in general, why this has happened.

    Then you can have fun. Then you make up your characters. Who discovers the bodies? What do they think when this discovery is made? Who gets called in to deal with the situation? Police? Paranormal people? Scientists? The bin men? Lots of ways this story can go. It can be a tragic story, or a comedy, or a bit of both.

    However, I do think you'll need to figure out the ending before you start. That way you can direct your characters toward that end.
     
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  10. Bjørnar Munkerud
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    Bjørnar Munkerud Contributing Member

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    Overnight corpses mysteriously show up on the roofs of all the homes in a town. The number of bodies correspond to the number of inhabitants in the homes they are located on top of. What's more, each body is an excact duplicate of one of the people living in that specific home, even down to their DNA, except dead.
     
  11. Bjørnar Munkerud
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    Bjørnar Munkerud Contributing Member

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    The thought that popped into my head when I read this idea was that the bodies are actually the result of a failed alien experiment/ (relief/rescue) mission. This town would have been chosen by the aliens, not long before the time of the beginning of the novel, for it's perfect number of inhabitants, location, remoteness and need for help. The sudden arrival of the bodies would happen if not at the very start of the story, at least very early into it.

    One of the inhabitants of the village would be the MC. You decide sex and age, of course, and the same goes with the name of the alien race, and everything else for that matter. This MC would be bent on dicovering the origin and reason of the bodies, almost like a crime story. Perhaps he or she is joined by others from the village in looking for an answer. At the end they probably find out the intriguing truth, and maybe they need to confront a villain-like character or organisation, and to boot they have to decide if they can trust the aliens or not.

    The way I imagine it is that a group of aliens, who have in recent years (which in their terms and minds may actually be thousands of years) taken to "guard the universe" because of their immense power (mostly in terms of numbers and technology), discover Earth and decides to try to help humanity, but to remain behind the scenes to avoid fear and military action, possibly with the end goal of recruiting humans into their "army of justice" (which they may or may not have previously done or tried with other races on other planets). They do so by copying a small group of humans' DNA, duplicating it and giving the clones (called "angels") superpowers, so that these gifted people (who have super-strength and can fly) will help humans against criminals and during natural disasters. Their first attempt fails, however, as at first they're not able to make the "angels" able to fly, and because the aliens dropped them from high above the clouds to avoid being seen, these first "angels" die on impact with the roofs of the town (the reason why they didn't fall through the roofs or woke anybody could be because the aliens also "blessed" them with not destroying anything when they don't specifically want or decide to), which are specifically the ones of their non-clone human equivalents.

    At some point later in the story I imagine the MC discovers that a similar incident happened in another town, but that this time the "angels" don't stay on their roofs for long, but roam a larger and larger area, solving problems for every person in their path, but act very shy and modest and choose not to interact with people unless necessary.

    You can tone down the science fiction if you so desire, though, but focusing on other parts of the story or making the aliens humans instead or something. I love your idea regardless of whether I gave you any more food for thought/imagination in this post or not. I'm excited of the result. Good luck. :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2014
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  12. Mans
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    Mans Contributing Member

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    Is that a popular tale or story in the west, something like Halloween? If not how do you know what is the Jessica's story plan?
     
  13. TheApprentice
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    TheApprentice Contributing Member

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    You want to know how to start this novel?

    Chapter one should be titled with the last name of the family in one of the houses in this town. The father walks out to fetch the paper from his lawn, and as he is walking back to his house, he sees a body on his roof top.

    Repeat this same thing for the next 4 chapters, but with different last names for each family.

    This adds not only mystery, but a bit of dark humor.
     
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  14. Bjørnar Munkerud
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    Bjørnar Munkerud Contributing Member

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    No, I just rephrased her idea in my own words based on on how I interpreted it. Since you said you didn't quite understand it and I figured I probably did, I took a moment to rephrase it for you, any anyone else who might not have understood it either. It can be a hard one to get because of the supernatural elements and the way she mushed her different points into one post, so I had to reread it a couple of times and use my science fiction and fantasy watching/reading/writing experience to decipher it as best I could. I'm not Jessica and I don't claim to know exactly what she meant, so don't take my word for anything. But sometimes it's nice to get someone else's take on things, in my experience; I've often been unable to express my point to others, but sometimes they rephrase it perfectly back to me as soon as I open my mouth. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
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  15. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    Parallel universe, shared DNA, people that have been sent to heaven but something has gone terribly wrong and they have fallen back to earth.

    Just my first random idea. Sounds like a fun and challenging concept.
     
  16. RabidChipmunk
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    RabidChipmunk Member

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    This is such a crazy idea (in a good way) that I couldn't help but smile a bit, so kudos for that!

    That said, I think a helpful way to proceed would be to lay out some foundations for what kind of story you want to write. For example, do you like the idea of these creatures being related to aliens? Or what about supernatural occurences? Is this going to be a mystery story? Horror? Comedy, even? All of these things could work.

    It may also help to determine the setting. How big is this area? Are there thousands of bodies? Hundreds? Just a few dozen? The answer to this question can help you figure out the scale of your mystery and, in turn, how to solve it.

    I hope I helped :)
     

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