1. PassTheDrinks
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    PassTheDrinks Member

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    I need help in this way of writing my book

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by PassTheDrinks, Mar 31, 2016.

    My basic plot is a guy is in some sort of experiment. Put to sleep and injected with some sort of serum that makes him "wake up" as different people. Each time he "wakes up" (which he is not actually waking up, he is still asleep in the laboratory) he becomes a different person in a different life at a different time period and different location around the world (or at least the country to make it simpler, I haven't decided which yet). He wakes up completely believing that he is actually these people. Which range from men and women and children of different ages. I've got the characters down, their names, and their basic background story on a list. After so many different personalities go in and out of him, they start to glitch together...and that's all I got for this one so far. I would figure out the rest or change what I need to change as I go.

    I'm having trouble figuring out how to piece this all together. There are so many different characters. Luckily, I chose to write them all separately instead of going back and forth between characters at least until they all glitch. I'm also trying to figure out if I should keep their stories sweet and simple or give them a full chapter each.
     
  2. Witchymama
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    Witchymama Active Member

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    Whoa! Sounds like a spin on Quantum Leap.... I like the idea.
    Maybe you could intro with a bit about the experiment and then go into the other lives.
    Good luck on it.:bigsmile:
     
  3. PassTheDrinks
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    PassTheDrinks Member

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    That's another part I am trying to figure out. Should I start with the beginning of the experiment, throw hints once the personas start to glitch, or wait until the end to have it all explained? This is a big project for me and I'd like to get it right and make it so it doesn't confuse readers. I've been working off and on with this novel for a good two years since I even first thought of it.
     
  4. Witchymama
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    Witchymama Active Member

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    Ok. It's probably not going to be perfect right from the start. Try both ways and see which you like better. You can always change it.

    If I were reading it, it might be cool to see the experiment in parts, spaced out between the personas. But I'm weird that way.
     
  5. PassTheDrinks
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    PassTheDrinks Member

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    I would agree with you on that. I think I like the idea of putting in the real world, as I would describe it, spaced throughout the book. I believe that I was my initial intention when I first thought about writing it. Though, I do like the hit you in the face at the end of the book idea, as well. I'll try both and see what I like.
     
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  6. Witchymama
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    Witchymama Active Member

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    I have shifted whole chapters around on my WIP. A few times. Will probably do it some more. It happens.
     
  7. PassTheDrinks
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    PassTheDrinks Member

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    I had thought about taking the pages that I had written on the separate characters, staple the pages of their stories together but separate each character's story from the others and just throw them all up in the air and pick up random ones and put them in that random order in which I picked them up. I think I remember a friend of mine mentioning an author doing this once before but for a different reason and in a different way. Seemed like a good idea for me.
     
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  8. Witchymama
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    Witchymama Active Member

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    Hell yeah!
     
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  9. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    You could do an inception sort of thing. Don't give the reader any preview of the experiment. Only have the characters focus on similar or same things throughout the stories. Such as, have them all have a strange attraction to lilies or something else. Then at the end when the science is explained you can revile that the central focus came from the original person's personality.
     
  10. PassTheDrinks
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    PassTheDrinks Member

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    Oh, I really like that idea. I will have to think something of the sort.
     
  11. HelloImRex
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    HelloImRex Contributing Member

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    I agree revealing its an experiment slowly would be cool. I feel like that finding out it's all an experiment shouldn't be the end by itself and that there needs to be some sort of twist even later that's even weirder. I have no clue what that would be though. It would be kind of interesting if the guy was always obsessed with sleep and dreaming while inside the people inside the experiment. Give them insomnia or something. Then you could make it a twilight zone type of plot and reveal at the end that in the actual world no one ever sleeps. Sleeping isn't a real thing and the guy sleeping in the experiment was just the scientist's way of shutting things down every now and then and keeping things in order. Then it makes everyone question if they are in an experiment. That might be a little silly. Overall, playing with the idea of consciousness and creating similarities between all of the personalities has the potential to make it very interesting.
     
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  12. A lake.
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    A lake. Member

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    Is the experiment part of the overall plot or are the people and their stories what drives the main theme? Does the experiment have a point that it affects the other people or does it only allow the main guy to enter the people? It sounds like you have several stories for the people, do they tie together in any other way then just having the main guy experiencing parts of their life? Figuring out the story arc that is closest to what you want the final story to be and lay out your work to that outline and you should be able to start filling in all the blank spaces.
     
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  13. Seraph751
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    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole...

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    What if the thread that connected them all is that each one is a facet of your MC's personality or that some may represent defining moment's of for your MC?
     
  14. PassTheDrinks
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    PassTheDrinks Member

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    The experiment is the overall plot. At first, it was supposed to be a sci-fi. Guy is abducted by aliens and THEY experiment on him, implanting different personas that he "lives through" while put asleep. Which also allows the aliens to to read his mind while he is dreaming these things. Basically, it was their ploy to learn more about the human race, as they were curious of our existence. But I felt that part was a little far-fetched and changed it to a secret goverment experiment that this guy signs a contract for because he's a poor homeless man and they offered him two million dollars, barely explaining the risks. The main one being a chance of permanent psychosis as it has not been tested yet. He is the test.

    The stories themself of the personalities of the personalities do not tie together. I am writing them as a reminder to my readers to remember that everyone has their own story and everyone goes through troubles (as these personas each have a difficult time in their lives that they are going through. 8 year old boy lost his mom through armed robbery and his father becomes a drunk. 21 year old grad student takes up stripping to pay for college, grandmother who's young grandchildren died and her daughter ends up in the mental hospital for it, etc)

    My problem is because of the so many different personalities that I had to write this in separate pieces I can't seem to figure out how to piece this book together
     
  15. PassTheDrinks
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    PassTheDrinks Member

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    I've already decided from someone's advise earlier to make it so each personality does have a commen trait with my main character. Something small but distinguished. But that's as far as I want to take it.
     
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  16. Kallisto
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    Kallisto Active Member

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    That is one cool idea. But why? Why is he doing that? Is he trying to find some kind of meaning in his own life? Is there a secret he's trying to uncover? Is he trying to find a way to bring peace to world by living the mistakes of the past to find out what caused them? Does he think he's worthless? Is this something he started to do and just go addicted to? And what kind of risk is he taking? Is there a risk that he could suffer a stroke? What about medical issues caused by oversleeping? Do the drugs he uses to go and stay asleep have side effects? Does he have any control of where he goes?

    I think once you answer the question what your main character's goal, motive, and conflict the story will come together a lot better and you'll know which events would warrant a complete chapter and which ones only small sections. As it stands, it sounds like your issue is that you have this collection of short stories that are only moderately linked to each other.
     
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  17. A lake.
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    A lake. Member

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    I think it would be neat if the stories of the other people tied back to him maybe they had something to do with why he was homeless or why he took part in the experiment. But it sounds like the stories are already finished so I'm not sure that would work.
     
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  18. SadStories
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    I'm not sure if I fully get it, but here are my thoughts anyway: I feel like I see two ways for this to go. If you're writing more towards literary fiction, I would drop the frame story with the experiment and let the stories speak for themselves. I think your theme about people being different and having each their own troubles should come across anyway. In this case you will have to rely a lot on subtle writing. If you're writing more towards science-fiction, I would find some way to use the frame story to explore your themes more directly. For example the thing about aliens wanting to know what it is to be a human goes for the throat on your theme, I think. Maybe you can put that back, find some way to make it confront your characters in each story, and then have some kind of closing statement on it when your main character wakes up from the experiment. For example, maybe the aliens misunderstand humanity and decide to wipe us out. Maybe your main character then steals a time machine to get the people whose lives they lived, so they can stop the aliens. This route will be more heavy on your imaginative powers.
     
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  19. Morgan Stelbas
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    Morgan Stelbas Active Member

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    There are some really good suggestions on here on where you can take this. I know you are already considering one idea from @doggiedude . I also think @Kallisto posed some good questions similar to what I'd ask. Here are some ideas I have to tie them together:

    1) Could you include some obscure character that keeps appearing in all the stories... like a doctor/nurse at the psych ward with the one mother who lost her kids, a teacher with the kid with a drunk for a dad, etc. Someone who doesn't say much, but looks the same every time and the MC could be trying to figure out who they are and why they keep appearing as different people? Then at the end this same person has a special role in the experiment - like trying to keep the MC stable, from becoming too immersed in their life, or they are also under the experiment themselves and at the end the MC has to rescue them as they are close to permanent psychosis? I don't know... this may be a stretch.

    2) Could the MC be experiencing alternate realities where their future family members, or descendants would end up if your MC had made different choices?

    Not sure if I'm stretching from where you wanted to go, but maybe these ideas will help you think of another idea. Sounds like an interesting idea!
     
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  20. Vikingessa
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    Vikingessa New Member

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    Loving the idea. Maybe give vignette style a try? I agree w/ revealing the details too. Writing it separately instead of hoping around is an excellent idea. Sometimes too much hopping around will make me drop a book.

    I have a question though. Does the main character retain memories of the others? Does it leave an internal residue?
     
  21. hawls
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    hawls Active Member

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    The idea sound amazing and has incredible potential. But why would you make the characters he wakes up as be completely arbitrary and of no consequence to him or the plot?

    Unless you make these seemingly random people significant to the character, or the people running the experiment, there's no point.

    First of all, from what I understand your protagonist has no idea he is just some guy asleep in a lab when he's living as the 8 year old boy until he wakes up and then remembers being an 8 year old boy.

    "He wakes up completely believing that he is actually these people."

    So essentially, the protagonist does not exist in these moments.
    He's not able to influence the boy's life in any way. He can't help the boy by steering him in certain directions. He isn't even conscious during this time. He simply wakes up and somehow realizes the dream he had wasn't a dream it was real things that happened to a real person that wasn't himself.

    What is the point of the experiment. What are the people running the experiment hoping to achieve?

    I agree with @Morgan Stelbas, your protagonist needs to wake up from living as these seemingly random people and realize that there is someone or something linking them together. And since he's not even aware of being someone else when he's being someone else, keeping him trapped in a lab is going to mean he can't make anything happen. If there's no way to influence what is happening to the random people he is experiencing life as...

    What is the point? You may as well just write a bunch of stories. One about an 8 year old boy who loses his mother in an armed robbery. Another about a 21 year old grad student...and so on.
     
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