1. Timothy
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    Timothy New Member

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    Need some input...

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Timothy, Nov 30, 2013.

    So... hi.
    First off, I'm new here, so I'd like to apologize in advance for any errors or wrongdoings I may commit while posting this. Hopefully I posted this in the right section, I wasn't exactly sure where this question fits in the categories provided.
    Now, on to my question. Simply put, I'm wondering whether or not I'm being too predictable, or if I'm only going to make my reader roll their eyes at my lack of originality. I'm writing a fantasy novel based in a fantasy world of my own creation, with fantasy creatures, a separate language, magic, the works. I was laying out the plot line for my book, and I thought that, to keep things interesting, I should 'dispose of' several of my main characters.
    To start with, here's a short character list (only the main characters are listed, there are many more that come in to the story). You might want to have this in a minute.

    'Good' guys:
    Main character (a young human guy)
    Main character's friend (dragon, naturally)
    Main character's other friend (a giant eagle)
    Main character's mentor/old friend (an old human guy that doubles as a magician)
    Old mentor/magician guy's friend (another giant eagle)
    'Evil' guys:
    Main evil lord (a magician that is lord of the fantasy land)
    Evil lord's sort-of friend (a dragon)
    Evil lord's main minion #1 (another magician)
    Evil lord's main minion #2 (magician as well)

    My original plan was to have the main character and his dragon die, but come back to life. The good old magician/mentor guy would die at the end of the book, along with his giant eagle and the evil lord with at least one of his minions. My question is, is this too predictable? It's kinda obvious from the beginning of the book that the evil lord would die, but am I killing off too many characters? Also, does it make sense to have both the good dragon and main character come back to life? I need them both alive at the end of the book in order to present the opportunity for a second book, but I could get away with only killing one of them.
    The situations surrounding each of these deaths are quite complicated, and I don't think that many people would be interested in them, however if you'd like a little more background information, I'm willing to answer any questions you may have!
    If anyone has any thoughts on this, it would be great to hear them!
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2013
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    My initial thought is that this sounds rather more like a film than a book. There are some elements of what you have explained that would seem at first glance to have been chosen for visual appeal rather than narrative reasons.

    My question to you is this: Why do you have your MC and dragon die and then come back? What is the purpose in their death? What is the purpose to their resurrection other than continuing the plot-line in another, hoped for, sequel. You have a cast and you have a thing that happens, but why does it happen? What does it mean within the context of the story?
     
  3. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    A fellow Canadian!
    Huzzah! Get the clogs out, we're out in town tonight!

    As Wreybies said, their death has to have some meaning.
    I doubt the reader would care whether they died at the beginning of the book as no real attachment or length of time had passed between the MC and the reader.
    Seems like a possible plot driver at best.

    And all fantasy books are predictable.
    MC survives, kills evil god, happy ending!
    That's basically the plot of nearly every fantasy book. (Yes, I know that's a broad generalization. Sue me.)
    Don't worry about whether something is predictable.
    Worry whether the story sounds and reads well.
    No one hates fiction because it's predictable. Usually it's predictable because the reader is so non-engrossed he has time to nitpick everything and see flaws in the low quality of the writing.
     
  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    When your main two characters die, who is your viewpoint character? If there's no one alive who cares about their death, that's going to take a lot of the impact out of that death.

    I also am concerned about a death that sounds like it's intended as a plot device, but for some reason the above question came to mind first.
     
  5. Timothy
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    Timothy New Member

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    Alright, I've got some great ideas now, thanks to all the great suggestions you guys have given!
    So, in case you want the answers to the questions you asked, I'll answer a few of them...
    Why do I have my MC and dragon die only to come back to life? Well, the way I have it worked out, my MC's body dies, but his soul/spirit/life energy/whatever survives, and gets trapped inside this timeless vacuum of sorts. When his old friend/mentor guy discovers this, he creates a new body for the MC, and calls his spirit back to earth. The spirit then gets trapped in his new body, which is a lot stronger and slightly larger than his previous one. So, I suppose the MC dies and then comes back in order to get his new body. He also learns several new things about himself, and there a voice that talked to him in the void, so he comes back with a lot more knowledge, so his death and 'resurrection' is fairly significant.
    After reading what you awesome people have said, I decided to make the dragon fake her own death, so as to protect herself from the evil lord. So, there's that dealt with.
    As for the viewpoint character after the MC dies, I thought of perhaps using the old mentor guy (I hope this answers your question).
    Anyways, thanks for all of the awesome input! I've got a few more ideas now for how to work out my plot line, so thanks again! If you ever have any more suggestions, I'd be happy to hear them! This is really the first book I've thought about completing, so I need all the help I can get.
     
  6. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    A fellow Columbian! Welcome and greetings:).

    Something you should consider, especially with this being a fantasy work, is that it's possible to write yourself out of corners by introducing new elements or changing current ones.

    What you want: A protagonist, and his dragon, reborn.
    Sacrifice is important. If he's just brought back to life--by his teacher, no less--the reader will feel cheated unless there was a great cost. It's a rule I use for anything even close to divine intervention (or that doosex machi-nama thing that people are always talking about:rolleyes:).

    Another thing to take into account is the Chekov's Gun rule. It goes something like this: If someone is shot with a gun in Act III, then the audience must have been aware of that gun since Act I. Don't take the rule too literally; the idea behind it is effective foreshadowing, however subtle it may be. We need to see it done before it happens to the dear protagonist, or at least hear some people talk about it.

    Personally, I think it ruins the mentor relationship if he's brought back to life by this old guy. It's much more satisfying when the apprentice proves himself to the mentor by his own means. Consider an ancient rule or cursed artifact that does the deed; or perhaps a greater power that he has pleased, and will grant him one second chance.

    All of that aside, I think you need to break down and organize your ideas. Only you can do that. Look at want you want to achieve, and make up whatever the heck you like to make it work. Take a long walk, a second look to make sure it's believable, and start writing. It'll change while you write, too, so don't get too attached to specific elements;).
     
  7. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    While it's always great to say what's on your mind, it's sometimes better to ask yourself if it needs to be said, or what your objective is.

    Let's say a man builds his first pedestrian bridge over a wide river. He enjoyed himself in the process, but he doesn't realize that it's far from the best bridge, as it is rough and full of holes. On the day of the grand opening, hundreds of people fall through these holes, and are eaten by freshwater sharks.

    Why would you tell him that there are no redeeming aspects to his bridge? Since that is his only bridge, he will conclude that he is terrible at constructing bridges and mayhap never attempt such again. Outsiders will just think that you are insecure about your own bridges, because you feel the need to put other enthusiastic bridge-builders down. It's a lose/lose situation when you make statements like that.

    I'm not saying to lie and tell him he's got a grade-A Golden Gate masterpiece, but softening it doesn't hurt:

    "I really like that you used glass on the sides so that people can see each end of the river while their crossing. However, there are lots of holes, and people keep falling through them and getting eaten by freshwater sharks. I'd suggest reading 'how to make a bridge that's not full of holes' or just take a few bridge tours and see how other people build theirs."
     
  8. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    @maidahla - Hi there! Sorry, I don't know what you mean ..."this is an oblivious read." What are you referring to?
     

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