?

All for the hanging?

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  1. Naaz
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    Naaz New Member

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    It doesn't feel... Right

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Naaz, Apr 8, 2016.

    I'm fairly certain that this is a problem with most people who right, but while I've been planning my story, fairly well I might add, some parts just don't sound right. It opens on a man stuck in a fae prison, with him telling a fae how he ended up in the cell. I have it all worked out and similar, I've written a scene, but I can't get the ending.

    My original thought was that it was all in a virtual world, and he would wake up from this world. I would have things littered throughout supporting this, a sort of "all those little things make sense now" sort of thing, but even then, it doesn't seem right. So I scrapped that and had it based in a fantasy world, with no VR type stuff. Even then I'm faced with a problem: he tells the fae how he got to the cell, and then he gets hung (that being the punishment for what he did)? I like this idea, but does it not seem to anti-climatic? That, and the whole reason he ended up in the cell was aided by a love interest, and if this happens, then that chucks them out the window. My other ending was that he escapes the cell, but then what? It seems crude to have him returned, or have the fae charge him with some mission, and besides, methinks that would make it too long: I want a story, not a saga.

    Now I've worked through the ending, I suppose the decent thing to do would be to tell about the rest of the story... He is in the fae prison for the murder of five people (he claims it was only four), and that is why he is up for execution. He killed the people because they killed his mentor/father figure, and I do have a story worked out, it isn't him just walking from Hobbiton to Mordor then stabbing Sauron, end of story.

    Anyways, any help would be greatly appreciated, even if it mean my refiguring the plot.

    Thanks in advance, Naaz
     
  2. LostThePlot
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    LostThePlot Contributing Member

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    The device you are probably looking for is that his stay in jail was/is a magical interrogation method. He lives out seemingly years of time in jail, makes friends with a sympathetic neighbor and eventually tells him the story of how whatever happened. Once he's give it up then he's done, they let him out and that's that. Presumably your character is heroic enough to not actually earn an execution and once the imprisoners learn exactly what the circumstances were they don't want to kill him anymore.

    A little deus ex machina I'll grant you but it lets your framing device play into the overall narrative and give you a way to put in jail without needing to keep him there forever with access to his love interest to boot.
     
  3. Naaz
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    Naaz New Member

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    I don't know... I wanted him to be an antihero type guy, rather than a full up hero.

    I like the idea of a magical interrogation though. I'll keep it in mind, try and worm it in if I can.
     
  4. Feo Takahari
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    Feo Takahari Active Member

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    Stories told in flashbacks through interrogations often play off the MC's desire to conceal part of the truth. This can be as big as "the entire flashback narrative was false" or as small as "the MC is hiding a single fact that allows him to escape and turn the tables on his captors." If you drop enough hints and subtle nods to whatever the MC isn't saying, the reader will be surprised but impressed when they all pay off in the climax.

    Just throwing this out there as a possibility, but my first thought is that the MC tells a believable story of how he committed all the murders. As he's about to be executed, you reveal that at least one killing was done by the love interest, and that he could have avoided execution through the truth but chose to die so she would be spared.
     
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  5. Indefatigable Id
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    Indefatigable Id Member

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    Well, I think the problem would be (for me) that based on what I'm reading I don't really understand where your plot is.

    Some thoughts:
    You have a setting, sort of. I don't know what a fae prison is. But it doesn't really help you direct your story.
    The "fake/artificial world" thing is an interesting twist, if done correctly, but it won't have any impact if it is employed for entirely arbitrary reasons... aka, "just cause its cool" isn't a good enough reason to drop the "this is all a dream" bomb on the audience.

    What I can gather is this:
    You have a man on trial for crimes he did commit. His fate is certain, and therefore there is no conflict, no spark, no flame.

    Now you could make it so that he was on a revenge mission, and he was captured. However, getting captured was all part of his plan because it was the only way to get close to the last person he had to kill to finalize his revenge. And then you could have him accept death after this, because he was some kind of fatalist, wandering ronin type anyway who had no more reason to live after he avenged his master... so now you have a conflict, why the hell did this guy let himself get captured? What's he playing at? Who are his accomplices, or was he working alone? You can play off of paranoia while he recounts the brutal murder of all of the other baddies, foreshadow him breaking out by having him escape captivity several times in his flashback, etc.

    Anyhow, you just gotta work conflict into the mix. What does this antagonist want? Who is trying to royally fuck up his shit? Good luck
     
  6. Callista Reina
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    Callista Reina Member

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    Personally, I think following through on the hanging would be a very literary ending. I think you could do it well by adding a lot of tension and making it a very dramatic scene. Of course, this is the sad ending, but that doesn't mean that it can't be good.

    On the flip side, a pardon could also be powerful if done well. I think your ending depends on what you want to resonate with your readers when they finish the story.
     
  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'd say write a few scenes in detail, if you haven't already. By the time your character has come to life on the page, I think you'll have a better idea of what you want to do with him. These scenes don't have to be in chronological order. They do have to be vivid for this trick to work in your brain. Because you haven't got a fully developed plot yet, you have nothing WHATEVER to lose. Just write something that will immerse you in the story and your POV character's head. And go from there.

    You may well discover things about your character you haven't even thought of yet. What kind of personality does he have? Maybe write a scene where he's telling his story to that other person in the prison, so you can see how he interacts in the story's 'present.' Then write a scene that's a flashback from his life, and begin thinking about how (or if) his personality has changed. And why (or why not.) Get a solid emotional grip on how he feels about his world now and how he felt about it earlier in the story. I think your character's path will become clearer to you if you do this.

    Planning can be useful, but it can also be a barren activity, and your characters and plot can too easily become a connect-the-dots exercise. Maybe what you need here is a change of perspective. Dive into your story and see how it looks from the inside.
     
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  8. Tea@3
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    Tea@3 Contributing Member

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    Great advice!
     

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