1. MassThinker
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    MassThinker Active Member

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    Just a taught!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by MassThinker, Dec 11, 2011.

    A novel about a guy his homeless. He's greatest ambition is to collect bollets and cans, he consider himself "self-employed".

    Let's say his been doing it for ten years. Everyday.
    His poor, but he only lives at minimum until has alot (really many) bottles/cans.

    He goes to a store and return them in these bottle/can machines, and earns a fortune. His life takes a turn instead he becomes rich and powerful.

    Hahah, just an idea.

    Are there any books like this?
     
  2. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    The important thing to keep in mind is that there's nothing new under the sun. The story of the poor guy striking it rich has been done before (with some including an aesop of the guy learning that money doesn't buy happiness.) What matters is how you use that basic idea.

    Still, your story looks interesting.
     
  3. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    I agree with Link. Everything has been done before. It is in the writing of the story that you set yourself apart.

    So write whatever you want. Just make it good and different.
     
  4. Cade Johnson
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    Cade Johnson Member

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    I honestly don't see that working. You'd have to collect over 20 million cans to get even one million dollars. As we all know, one million dollars isn't a fortune anymore.

    You'd have to pick up one can every minute and a half for 70 years without stopping to sleep, eat, or use the bathroom.
     
  5. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Where would a homeless man store that many cans? And what is he living on until then, if he doesn't use them to buy his daily bread? there was actually a guy in my country that died as a millionaire after 30 years of can-collecting, he went straight to the bank with the money he got from them. No idea on what he was living on, though. plus, in dollars he wasn't probably even a millionaire, because we have a different currency.
     
  6. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    It's doable, yes, but I do wonder where he's going to keep this. How is he going to feed himself during this quest?
     
  7. Allan Paas
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    Allan Paas Contributing Member

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    As mentioned before, where and how would he store them? Carrying that many to bottle/can machines would take weeks, probably months. Unless he contacts some people and has them haul cans, bottles from the improbable storage area, to wherever they eventually go.
    What Cade mentioned is more or less correct. Even if he manages that, he'll be far too unhealthy from years of starvation and much more, in case he lives that long at all. He would not be sane anymore, if he ever was.
    In reality, becoming rich from cans and bottles, is unrealistic. So, a mystery/comedy/drama? That's how I see it.
     
  8. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Tesoro did mention that there was a man in his/her country who did exactly this for 30 years. Of course, how he was keeping himself alive is anyone's guess. I guess that's the question the OP will have to ask him/herself.

    My guess is that maybe the MC can go hunt small games in the forests (OP didn't specify where this guy is, so I'm assuming he's near a forest). As long as its not a national park or anything...

    ...wait, would people mind it anyway? I think they would.
     
  9. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    I think that it pays to be careful to not write 'taught' when you mean 'thought' and avoid confusing 'his' and 'he's', because future readers might relate your carelessness in crafting your post to lack of writing skills. Just using a signature quote by Thoreau doesn't make one an intellectual. As to the premise of your novel idea, it's not engaging, so you need to work in some other storylines that will captivate the reader. Just because it can happen in real life doesn't make a story interesting. It has to strike an emotional chord in a reader. And, if you want to be succesfull, preferably more than one reader.
     
  10. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    It may be a dumb idea, but I think you, OP, can change it into something even better. After all, anyone can change an otherwise unengaging plot into something amazing with time, effort, and imagination (Technical skills aside, ok? That, you can learn along the way.)

    This not-very-well-written paragraph below is my brainstorming of how the plot can proceed with this man and his can obsession:

    This homeless man, see, his hobby is collecting cans. One day, he meets a lovely middle-class woman who takes pity on his crap life (Explore said crap life. Why did he get like this? What does he want the most, etc. This can be a sub-plot. Why is he obsessed with cans? Does it provide him security? Does it replace something he's lost that's deepy affected him?)

    Anyway, the woman also has a crazy collecting habit, same as him so they have something in common. In an act of kindness, she includes his strange can collection to hers. They are now one symbolically, if you will.

    Then...um...turns out she has a lover who doesn't like this guy for some reason and jealousy rears its head.

    Um...


    Well, you do the work, OP! :p I'm not writing the story for you! xD
     
  11. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    If you are so intellectual, how did you not gather that English is his second language?
     
  12. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I concur. English is a very difficult language to master. Some find it easier to learn than others.

    The basic idea is okay, just needs to be worked on.
     
  13. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Link: This guys fortune was discovered only when he died (60 years old) and they found he had a total of 12 million SEK in the bank, he never spent any of the money he collected during his life. He was living as a poor man, and I think everyone thought that's what he was. I guess he was living on social welfare (sweden has a very developed system for this) and it seems like such a waste that he never got to enjoy all his money. Makes you wonder why he did it, doesn't it?
     
  14. MassThinker
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    MassThinker Active Member

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    You really stabbed me with your dagger there Mr.Assassin, I'm sorry. I was in a hurry when I posted. I live in a different time zone, that's why I haven't answered any posts. I'm not english.

    I'm sorry for not being able to reply sooner, I was asleep.

    You guys are completely right, where the hell would one store millions of cans? Let's say this guy collects cans for awhile, he makes a good starting capital. People consider him just a bum, a low life as they commonly would do.

    This man is a very intellectual chap. He takes the money he gathered over a couple of years and starts betting at shares, market. His building him up very efficent, his simply a genius.

    Certain groups of people starts to get interested in him. His goal is a nice house, a fine car and a caring wife. His not selfish, he's not doing anything for himself. He went through suffering being lonley and cold, sleeping with cardboards as roof. He's had a plan every since the beggining since he started collecting cans.

    He is maybe about to die. Under his quest he search for people deserving something, but can't achieve it. He decides 3-4 person that will take some of his fortune. I don't know it was just a thought.

    I'm also from Sweden, I stories like this many time here actually.

    I'm going to get better. I will.

    Your right.

    But, have you actually heard of a book like this I haven't.

    It was just a thought, just wrote a page or so still figuring alot.
     
  15. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh, you are? :) Well, you could always base the story on this guys life, and change just enough details that it won't be identical, changing the ending and maybe including a subplot of some kind. I definitely think it's doable. It's a fascinating story, really. I read about this last winter, I think.
     
  16. MassThinker
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    MassThinker Active Member

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    I remember alot of him. He was a tall and skinny man (or is) don't know if he's dead. He had a big grey beard, and was always wearing a funny hat with earmuffs, and always the same clothes. His shoes were in such a bad shape, dark in skin a very big size. He always walked around in the city collecting cans.

    Even sometimes he held speeches speaking in the middle of the town, about something I never understood. His mother and father died when he was young, leaving him very alone, and he was a loner.

    Some kids used to tease him saying a word I very much remember "It's raining in Östby" they said. The tale is that his mother and father died during a rainy night, he was always very angered by this, so he used to chase kids around. He never caught anyone, since he was old. Think it's a tragic destiny actually.
     
  17. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    I did gather that English was not his native tongue. Nor is it mine.

    English is a simple language to master. Try Dutch. An American once heard me speak Dutch and asked me if my throat hurt, he said it sounded like I was trying to talk and vomit at the same time.

    Feeble excuses. What hurry? Did someone threaten you to post without using spell check? Live in a different time zone? I live in pretty much the same time zone. And the English posters on this forum aren't that much earlier. Joseph Conrad was born in Poland, didn't learn English until he was in his twenties, and is considered one of the greatest novelists in English. If you want to write fiction in English, start by making sure everything you write in English is as error-free as possible. Especially if English is not your native tongue.

    By the way, if you consider my posts 'harsh', imagine how long your manuscript would survive an editor's desk at a publishing house.
     
  18. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    By the way, that I point out that Mass Thinker's Thoreau quote doesn't mark him as an intellectual, was not intended to point out how intellectual I'm supposed to be. The content merely contrasted ironically with the user name and signature. :D
     
  19. MassThinker
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    MassThinker Active Member

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    Your a real fan of straightforward communication, obviously.
    Now doesn't my signature say, "Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared to our own"?

    It's good that you have you're opinions.
     
  20. Vuor
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    Vuor New Member

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    Chill, AmsterdamAssassin -_-

    Feeble excuses? You've never had a time where you had to be somewhere and you wanted to quickly pen down/type something before you have to go for a few hours? I've definitely done it.

    I may be pretty new, but as far as I know this is a Writer's help forum. Don't take simple spelling mistakes so seriously. If it were so easy for him to go back and fix the errors then that's just it. Easy to go back.

    And English is one of the hardest languages to learn. It has some rules, and then hundreds of exceptions. It's difficult, and congratulations for mastering it.
     
  21. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe there are more than one, then, 'cause the one I heard about seem to be someone else. I'll post you the link.
     
  22. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    You obviously have been speaking English much longer than him. Also, English is one of the hardest languages to learn because of our ever evolving slang.

    And how you think you can judge someones intellectual abilities by how proficient they are in a second language is, well, ridiculous.

    Lastly, all of that is irrelevant. These boards are not for flaming and being rude. They are for helping each other out. There is many ways you could have written that without being a dick.
     
  23. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    I apologize if my writing came across as rude - I shouldn't hold everyone up to the same linguistic skill level. My first remarks were intended as constructive criticism, but I have a tendency to behave like a pundit on these issues, while I shouldn't related forum posts to writing skill.

    I guess I got a little riled up at being accused of being an intellectual... ;)
     
  24. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    As a general rule, it's not a good idea to write posts in a hurry and click Submit without looking over it. Everyone makes mistakes, of course, but there's a difference in 'making mistakes' and 'being lazy'. ;)

    As for the idea, why does it have to be bottles and cans? Why not let him find a lottery ticket or something? But keep in mind all ideas have been done. The whole 'poor guy gets rich' has been done. I think there was a movie called Beverly Hillbillies where some hillbillies inheritet a buckload of money and moved to Beverly Hills, and I remember one movie with Dan Akroyd and Eddie Murphy (I think), where one was poor and the other rich. For some reason I don't remember, they switched lives for a while. I'm sure there are more movies or stories, though.

    Speaking of poor-gets-rich, I remember a movie called Brewster's Millions, or something like that. The whole plot was that some guy inheritet 300 million dollars - if he could spend 30 million dollars in 30 days. Which is a lot harder than it sounds. ;) I thought that was much better than "Wow, I'm rich. Now what?" movies.
     
  25. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    This is possible, to the questions asked before:

    What does he live on? Collects cans while he panhandles, sells cans when he can no longer move them around, immediately banks/buries the money, and goes on. Saving for the rainy day, while walking in it.
    Doesn't check on the balance. One problem, taxes. If you put so much money in the bank, the IRS will want its share, if he doesn't know he has that much, he can't pay it.
    So burying/hiding it would fit better.

    oh, just noticed the thread hasn't talked of the OP for a while, sorry to re-rail the thread. :)
     

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