1. Brandon P.
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    Brandon P. Senior Member

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    Is this first chapter outline too anti-climactic?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Brandon P., Aug 23, 2011.

    I've been bubbling this concept for a story about a female Conan-the-Barbarian-type adventurer, and I've just brainstormed the following plot outline:

    The heroine begins the story as a trained assassin who must infiltrate a fortress to kill an enemy general. She does a favor for a local villager who thanks her by showing her the entrance to a secret escape route that leads to the fortress's interior. Once she goes up the route, she bumps into an enemy patrol, kills them all in a fight scene, and dons one of the soldiers' clothing as a disguise. She then finds her way to the general's bedchamber, only to discover that his family is visiting. Realizing that her target has a loving family takes away her urge to kill him, so she leaves the fortress without accomplishing her mission. This gets her shamefully dismissed from the assassin order by her superior. Now that she has been disgraced, she leaves her country to roam the wilderness in search of a new life...

    This is only the first chapter, but my concern is that since my heroine ultimately doesn't kill the enemy general, the chapter might be anti-climactic and boring. If it is, how can I spice it up?
     
  2. CH878
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    CH878 Active Member

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    That sounds a heck of a lot in one chapter!
    Why don't you split it down the middle, with the first chapter reaching a climax at the fight scene with the patrol? How long are you planning on making each chapter? That first part could easily take up 3000 words.
    I don't see a problem with an 'anti-climax' at the beginning of a story. We haven't had a long build up so it's not like wasted effort and to be honest we're probably more interested in forming opinions about the character and setting at this stage.
     
  3. Brandon P.
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    Brandon P. Senior Member

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    Each "chapter" in the book is actually going to be its own short story; think of the whole project as being a sort of anthology rather than a single story. Therefore, each chapter might end up being rather long.

    You do have a good point about an "anti-climactic" first chapter not necessarily being a bad thing though.

    EDIT: I've given more thought to my book idea and have decided that I don't like it that much anymore. The problem with the anthology approach I mention above is that it's hard to tell when the stories should stop. If, on the other hand, there was one long story with at least one uniting theme running through the entire book, it would be easier to know when to stop.
     
  4. dotdotdash
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    dotdotdash New Member

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    I think that you have chosen to follow a very risky idea, especially with little writing experience. As has been pointed out the outline you have given seems a tad large for a single chapter. The outline reads like a blurb for an entire book and it does sound like a story that a sizeable novel would tell far better than a single chapter.

    Not wanting to dissuade you from writing but I do think there is a risk you have bitten off more than you can chew and that, if you do manage to complete the task, you're likely to find yourself disappointed with the end result.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    As I've said to you before:

    A story concept means nothing. I can tell you now, it has all 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 What is Plot Creation and Development?

    Why do you insist on seeking validation? Write the story, or don't.
     
  6. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    I'm more worried about the opening line, the hook. It sounds as though nothing interesting can happen then. She's only just setting off on a mission.

    Also, make her a newbie or a coward, or else reluctant to work for said assassin order. Believe me, the veterans will take out the general without a second thought, and the general's family too.
     
  7. The_NeverPen
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    The_NeverPen Member

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    What's more important to the climax is how it's built up. But if it ended with a meaningful confrontation of the character's personality, I'd say that's a pretty good climax. An anti-climactic ending would be more along the lines of deus ex machina squashing the assassin's target with a falling rock, or the assassin quickly dispatching her target and slipping out in a mere paragraph. Whether the conflict is internal or external, just make it big - symphony big.
     
  8. skeloboy_97
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    skeloboy_97 Senior Member

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    As CH878 said, split in in two at the climax.

    Dan Brown did it well in the Da Vinci Code, short n sweet chapters which stop usually at a climax.

    Hope it helps! :D
     

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