1. Syph
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    Syph Member

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    Irregular Plot and Narrative Scheme

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Syph, Apr 19, 2010.

    I was going to name this thread innovative plot and narrative schema, but I better not jump the gun.

    The idea I had was a sci-fi detective drama. It sounds weird but the concept I have for it sound quirky and interesting (to me).

    The novel is written in parallel with an investigator who is searching through sources (e-mails, code, letters) and communicating with other characters through letters and e-mails etc.

    The novel would also contain lengthy traditional narratives from the present and from the past. These would be written in the third person, while the rest of the novel is written in the first person.

    As the order of the sources is ordered by the progression of the investigation. Readers have to read the book in a strange order to get the full picture of what happened.

    Basically, the idea for the plot is this: An AI in a small artificial colony commits a string of murders and frames a single man for all of them. The investigator is dispatched from a bureau investigating AI activities to determine whether the AI was involved or not and why.

    That is the extent of my brainstorm.

    What do you think?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you're a new writer, your best bet is to stick to tried and true narrative approaches.

    New writers too frequently try to make their writing unique by playing with unusual ways to tell a story, instead of concentrating on telling the story well. Chances are, the submissions editor who ends up with "innovative" narrative approaches will send it straight to the reject pile. At the very least, the first impression will be "amateur", and your first impression will be stacked against you.

    What comes to mind when I hear your intended approach is "haphazard, disorganized, and confusing."

    As for the story itself, a story concept means nothing. I can tell you now, it has been done before. What matters is how you write it, the characterization, the flow, the imagery, all of it.

    There's no benefit in asking what other people think of the concept! They'll either say,"Sounds great," or, "it sounds like a ripoff of..."

    If the idea stirs you, write it. Then ask people what they think of the final story. After they tell you what they don't like about it, revise it, usually several times, until you're happy with it or until you throw up your hands and say the hell with it.

    Please read this thread about What is Plot Creation and Development?
    =
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there are only two 'orders' in which one can read a book... either from front to back, or from back to front... so what do you mean by a 'strange' one?

    in any case, what cog said is true... no one can tell you if your ideas are good or will work... only a completed work can be judged...
     
  4. Syph
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    Syph Member

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    You have to look at the dates and time of the original works to get a fuller picture of what occurred. The book follows the timeline of an investigator with 'flashbacks' of narratives and sources written in the wrong order.

    An investigator may go too far back into the past when an investigation is started. He may search the wrong departments etc.

    Letter dated 21/06/2010 "Investigator required" -> Letter dated 19/06/2010 "Date of murder" -> Letter dated 08/02/2003 "Employment contract of murdered victim -> 27/06/2010 Narrative Investigator has interview with security guard.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that sounds to me like you're making the reader have to work too hard to figure out what's being read and what it means...

    and i still don't see how it's relevant to the 'order' in which one reads the book, since one still starts at page one and reads each following page in succession...
     
  6. Syph
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    Syph Member

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    Okay, lesson learned: don't test your reader...

    The source of this idea was the brilliantly written letters in 'A Short History of The Future'; and 'Next' at the end of each chapter or section.

    How could this format be integrated into a novel without copying directly from Wagar or Crichton?
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there's no law against emulating the arrangement of someone else's novel... only for copying their words...
     

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