1. Nicola
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    Nicola Member

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    Interviewing The Dead

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Nicola, Sep 15, 2016.

    I'm writing a novel about a girl who interviews famous dead people.

    People like Marilyn Monroe, Hitler, Caesar, Rasputin, Marie Antoinette, Mozart etc. There's literally like 40 interviews done.

    BUT!

    I can't think of an actual plot line; why she speaks to them, her job, her relationship status, her friends etc.

    Here is an excerpt:

    [excerpt deleted by mod]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2016
  2. hawls
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    hawls Active Member

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    Using the interviewing famous ghosts concept alone it would make a really cute educational series for children.

    If you wanted a plot, the interview would have to serve the plot. That means that it would be less about interviewing the person about their own life, getting them to talk about all those well known achievements and so on, and more to do with how their expertise, thought lost in death, could help in the MC's current situation. Whatever that might be.
     
  3. Wolf Daemon
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    Wolf Daemon Active Member

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    Place her in a society where that is just a normal day to day job. Then make something happen in her life that makes her NEED to talk to more dead people. Could be a good mystery novel.
     
  4. HistoricalScience
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    HistoricalScience Active Member

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    Playing off this, maybe someone close to her passes and she tries to come in contact with that person. She is unsuccessful so she tries to speak to that person through other dead people. I don't know, I'm tired.
     
  5. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    Look at David Foster Wallace's Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. Although your story is much different, it can give you some ideas. His is interesting because he only shows one side of the conversation and we're left guessing as to what the questions are that these people are asking. Interesting read.

    As for the interviews, I'd be very aware of purpose for the interviews. The one you quoted is...pedestrian...for lack of a better term. I would want to walk away from each interview with a fresh perspective on that person. questions and answers like:

    "‘I never felt much fear about anything’

    ‘What did it feel like?’

    ‘We went into the sea, that’s all you need to know’

    ‘I mean, how did you feel on landing, did you cry?’

    ‘Lost…disappointed because we had nearly completed the trip’

    ‘What did you do, did you climb out?’

    ‘Yes, we got out straight away and talked, we were both panicking a little bit’

    ‘Did you sit down?’

    ‘Eventually’"

    Are frankly uninteresting. Do I care if she sat down? Not even a little bit. You could use this as a social commentary. Although the historical references would need to be TIP TOP. There's little room for artistic license because these were real people.

    If I were to read work like this, I'd want to walk away with something new and I'd want them to tie together in some fashion. Narrativity or some such word.
     
  6. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    'bastard, bastard bastard.'

    ...

    'So, Mister Hitler, you were a pretty bad chap, I'd say.'

    'Well perhaps, good days and bad days, you know, every child has a mother.'

    'Double-crossed the Russians, blitzkrieged cross the steppe..?'

    'Ja ja, panzers tore over soil, my people so confined in Central Europe. We needed to, how do you say, stretch out?'

    'An industrial murderer.'

    'Thank you, and my artistic legacy, my paintings?'

    And on, and so...
     
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  7. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    If you want a plot—could pitch it between Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and Ghost City. Or your ghosts... could maybe be troubled souls? You know in purgatory—the interview their confessional that'll hopefully have them get to the other 'other side'.
     
  8. Nicola
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    Nicola Member

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    Thanks for your replies :)

    I think it's a Voyage & Return type of plot so I've decided her life should be ordinary and uneventful; works in a cafe, lives alone with her cat ~ Amelie style before making initial contact.

    Hawls-Yes, some of the previous interviews often included the question 'my fiance left me, how can I get him back?' so I probably need to keep including that question.

    Spencer-I know 'did you sit down?' is a moot question, I've removed it. Amelia was describing climbing out of the craft which had 'ditched' or water-landed and I wanted the reader to get a vision of what she and her co-pilot would have done (stood and fretted or sat resignedly).

    Matwoolf-LOVING your choice of vocabulary!! It's very cool, although some of it I don't understand 'blitzkrieged cross the steppe..?' perhaps I should have done more research.

    Here's her brief encounter with Hitler:

    [excerpt deleted by mod]
    //

    Need to re-write this though, not long or detailed enough
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2016
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  9. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's good, you've an interesting premise.
    ...
    There's about 10 words of 1930s German that are commonly used, some over-used, so you have to be careful.

    Blitzkreig - is 'lightening war.'
    Lebensraum
    Untermunschen
    Panzer
    Volk

    ..
    Steppe is/are endless, flat plains, grasslands [of Russia, prairies.]
     
  10. Nicola
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    Nicola Member

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    Does the conversation sound convincing or would people question why he speaks English or why she isn't asking more relevant questions? I honestly think that this is the intolerant, dismissive way he would respond though.

    I must put some of those German words in to make it more realistic, thanks matwoolf x
     
  11. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    That's Lightning , not Lightening (its not war that's getting lighter )

    Lebensraum is living room - room for the Germans to expand into , essentially they wanted an empire like Britain had

    Untermeschen - is subhumans , slavs, poles, jews, gypsies , generally anyone who's not an Aryan (they also used Ubermenschen to mean the "master race"

    Panzer is a tank , its an abbreviation of jagdzpanzer

    and Volk is Folk , as in Volkswagen - the peoples car
     
  12. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    'Lightning,' thanks.#

    Terrorfluegen is a good one and also das bazooka.
     
  13. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    isn't that what was known as a panzerfaust
     
  14. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Fuck it. I'll raise you a Pickelhaube.
     
  15. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    My favorite is probably the schnelboot although i do also like the Flamenwerfer
     
  16. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Tommykucher

    We shall have to get a thread together, together, my Sven - because you know it's not forum appropriate all this geschwindekeitbeschrankung [from memory].
     
  17. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Achully, panzerfaust was the single usage shoulder-launched rocket device - technically, the equivalent to the American bazooka would be a panzershrek [sp, possibly] according to my sources.
     

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