1. AdamWriting
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    AdamWriting Member

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    Need a premise built around a unique talent

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by AdamWriting, Jul 19, 2010.

    A need help finding an idea for a story...

    A friend of mine has an unusual talent. He created his own form of Origami. If you're unfamiliar with Origami, it is the japanese art of folding paper into figures. Typically, the figure is folded from a single sheet, but my friend has modified this, using more than one sheet and multiple colors. Aside from the figures themselves, watching his hands go through the process is fascinating and entertaining. About a year ago, he made a video of his hands creating a figure, posted it on Utube and it went viral for a while.

    He thought about trying to make money with this skill through a "How To" book, but he decided against that idea. He's an honorable guy, he doesn't want to market a "How-To" book when he knows his techniques require a significant amount of talent and skill; it's not for everyone. He did come up with an interesting idea and he approuched me with it.

    Knowing I'm involved in internet marketing and I write humorous fiction as a hobby (I've never written a novel), he asked me if I could write a funny story where a character in the story has his unique skill of creating figures, and the skill would be an intragal part of the story. Once finished, I would help him produce a series of videos of his hands making the figures, post them on Utube, and we would use the viral effect to promote and lead people to a website where we sell the book.

    After seeing his first video go viral, I think his plan has some merit and I'm considering it.

    So now I'm trying to come up with a good story idea. He started making these figures when he was very young and he's given me lots of good material about his own experiences when he was a kid, so I feel this needs to be a kid's book (sixth to eighth grade). I get a sense that this would be a good "buddy-type" story; one kid is the wise-cracking trouble maker, accompanied by his buddy who makes these strange figures.

    I've always wanted to write a young adult novel, but I've haven't done enough research in it, so I'm having trouble coming up with a premise.

    Given all of this, can anyone suggest a good book for me to read; something that might inspire, or trigger some ideas. Also, after reading this, if any good ideas might come to mind, please feel free to throw them out.

    Thanks to all who participate,
    Adam
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am not sure where you are from but my thought when reading it was you need a Morph.

    Type into youtube Morph and Tony Hart - I can't access youtube from my laptop it slows it down too much, but there should be examples on there. I think it would be fun to tell the story from the point of view of the origami characters. There are a few children stories in the UK where there is a shelf full of toys or animals and they tell the story.
     
  3. BlueWolf
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    BlueWolf Banned

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    Sounds like a very talented guy!

    If the book was marketed at slightly younger kids, the main character's creations could become real. He could be an old lonely guy who befriends a neighbour hood kid in the area, then throw in the usual evil landlord/developer/mayor/etc. and you got yourself a story.

    Oh, and whenever someone asks for a funny book to read, I always have to say, "mine". :)
     
  4. AdamWriting
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    AdamWriting Member

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    Great idea. I just visited Morph and Tony and I see where you're going. My firend actually showed me films where he did some stop-motion animation.

    Right now, in the USA, the movie "Toy Story" is all the rage. I hadn't considered bringing the figures to life. Definitely an interesting idea. The first book that comes to mind to me is "The Incredible Journey of Edward Tulane", the story of a single Teddy Bear who gets lost and goes through a series of interesting owners.

    Definitely an idea to think about. Thanks!
     
  5. AdamWriting
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    AdamWriting Member

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    Yes, bringing them to life to actually interact with the kids is great too.

    What is SMITH about?
     
  6. BlueWolf
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    BlueWolf Banned

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    An average guy who's only stand-out feature is how average he is. Wishing he could be someone, wishing there was more to life, and then discovering that both are true, only to spend the next couple of days wishing he'd never had the thought in the first place.

    It is a ridiculously silly tale, filled with wonderful characters (yeah, I said that) who will carry you from page-to-page. Hopefully. LOL
     
  7. AdamWriting
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    AdamWriting Member

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    LOL, Sounds great. >> "only to spend the next couple of days wishing he'd never had the thought in the first place."

    I can certainly relate to that!
     
  8. AdamWriting
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    AdamWriting Member

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    Good ideas. This gets me thinking...

    He told me he started making these figures when he was very young. Apparently, his parents didn't have much money to buy toys, but he had access to used newspaper so he started making his own toys. He always felt bad that his "home-made" toys were some how inferior to the more professionally made toys, but his friends started making requests for various animals. He gave them away and became very popular in school through his art.

    If the figures he created were to come to life, perhaps they would also feel inferior to real toys?

    One thing I feel I have to highlight is the artist's ability to make just about any figure you can imagine - people, horses, helicopters, dinosaurs - you name it, the guy could make it.

    So the story should involve something having to do with new and strange characters showing up all the time.

    The immediate question that comes to my mind is, should this be a novel, or a series of short stories?

    Short stories would really allow me to capitalize on all the different things he knows how to make, but I question if it would be as marketable as a novel.

    If this was a novel, what would be the motivation of such creatures? In the original Toy Story, Woody was always the favorite toy and he felt threatened when a new toy arrived on the scene. The theme explored everyone's fear of being left along. Here, it seems the natural theme would be to explore the fear of "not being as good as everyone else." It reminds me of the "Island of Misfit Toys".

    Can anyone else think of motivations and/or themes that might work?
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Books are not written by committee. Books arre written by authors who work out their own story ideas.

    If you don;t have a story yet, just set the idea aside for now. Periodically, take itout, dust it off, and see if inspiration strikes. In between, it will be in the back of your mind, so everything you see and hear will be a potential inspiration.

    Think like a writer. Don't look for people to feed you ideas. You will be the better a writer by exercising your thinking this way.
     
  10. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    In a fantasy story, origami figures could act as spells. Instead of incanting words, you fold a piece of paper to cast a spell.

    In a quasi-realistic story, origami figures could be used as inventions that solve problems, MacGuyver-style.

    In a drama, the origami figures could be used to express feelings that can't otherwise be expressed adequately. For example, the character folds an origami figure to express his love for someone, or his sadness when he loses someone. He could use this ability for his own personal expression, or to help others express themselves.
     
  11. BlueWolf
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    BlueWolf Banned

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    It is your story, and you are the one to tell it - we can give you all the ideas in the World, but at the end of the day it is up to you to make a story out of it.
     
  12. AdamWriting
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    AdamWriting Member

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    Cogito,

    This is a discussion forum and that's what we're engaging in. I'm not looking for people to "feed me ideas". I'm simply seeking inspiration in a genre I don't normally engage in. The greatest ideas are always inspired by something. I'm not asking anyone to write a story or outline a plot for me. I'm simply asking fellow writers to brainstorm with me and so far, the posts I've seen have triggered a number of good ideas for me.

    I certainly would welcome your participation but, with all due respect, if brainstorming with other writers isn't your approach to stimulating an idea, don't knock it for the rest of us. Not all writers think the same way.

    Thanks,
    Adam
     
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  13. AdamWriting
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    I was thinking along the lines of a drama, but I like the quasi-realistic story (MacGuyver-Style). My original idea was a buddy-type story of 2 kids. It would be interesting if one of them had the power to make these things and they came to life, and he uses it to help his buddy - but of course, his buddy doesn't know. :)
     
  14. Elgaisma
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    If I had free reign and could write it lol I would have the origami as part of a children's entertainer/tv presenter act or they come out of his work. Youtube again lol (invaluable resource:)) Try Rolf Harris Cartoon Time. Sadly he has well and truly taken the catchphrase 'Can You Tell What it is Yet.' He is brilliant plays the wobble board, dijeridoo, painted the Queen's portrait, but he is a character that could carry off doing things with the origami creatures around him etc

    Or for something scarier try typing in Spirited Away and paper. Have you watched the Ghibli film?

    Although you are the writer inspiration comes from many sources, I realised 80s cartoons were too heavily influencing my work when I wrote the line, 'Give me light beyond, light,' and in the next chapter wrote something that sounded just like a Care Bear stare (it was supposed to be scary the end of evil within the circle of Kings, however just wasn't the same when my husband pointed it out) lol However the He Man influences are staying:)

    Plenty of stories and ideas come from a group or partnership. Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys are the first that come to mind. But scripts and comedy shows are often written as part of a team. And write now I writing a Christian Pilgrim story to go with my main one to try and work out how to increase the element in my story, someone suggested it and it felt right. I am also working the prophecy idea out I think. Anne McCaffrey has often teamed up with people.
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    And I offered my input. Take it or ignore it, but I will still express it.

    I firmly believe that brainstorming for an overall story idea is a bad idea. That isn't the same thing as trying to work out of a corner you've plotted yourself into.

    Exercise your creativity. Don't simply count on tapping into other people's imaginations.
     
  16. Fantasy of You
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    Fantasy of You Banned

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    I think people misunderstand the subheading of this board to mean "help come up with..." rather than, "help with HOW to come up with..."
     
  17. AdamWriting
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    AdamWriting Member

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    I understand your point of view and, of course, your welcome to it. Still, I feel this thread is helping me, and it may be helping others too. Yes, you can post whatever you wish, but I'd appreciate it if you would post things that encouraged the thread, not discourage it.

    Thanks.
     
  18. AdamWriting
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    AdamWriting Member

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    Well put... And that's why you're a writer :)
     

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