1. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Need some serious help

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Lea`Brooks, Sep 11, 2014.

    Hey y'all.

    So I've got this fantasy book that I'm writing. It's about an ordinary young woman who unexpectedly finds herself ruler of her country. Problem is, I planned on making it a sequel. So I have no idea what I should put in the first book. It causing great anxiety. lol

    I don't have the entire story laid put, I just know what twists I want to happen. There is loads of deception and most definitely some betrayal. Here's the basic breakdown of drama:

    1. MC becomes queen (obviously will be in the first book) and someone is trying to kill her.
    2. Believing her mother died giving birth to her, MC learns that her mother is very much alive (though crazy), and MC also has three younger siblings.
    3. MC learns that the man she's fallen head over heels in love with (and possibly married? Haven't decided yet) has actually wanted her dead since her birth.
    4. Dude that MC loves is all, I'm not a bad guy anymore, I only want you (and power). Join me, young grasshopper. But then there's this other bitch, and she's all, Don't listen to him, he's the one that's been trying to kill you, he's just trying to use you. And then the dude is all, I haven't been trying to kill you, I love you, yo. Commence confusion for MC.
    5. MC finds out that the bitch from scenario 5 was actually the one trying to kill her, cause MC is super powerful and the chick was all scared she was gunna destroy the world and stuff.
    6. MC gets super pissed that chick was trying to kill her (cause she trusted her and stuff) so she joins with the dude she loves and figures out he really ISNT a bad guy. People get divided, groups form, and war breaks out. People die, people live, and then it ends.

    Forgive my words. Sleep eluded me last night because I've been fretting over this for days now. I know I definitely want MC to find out about her mom in the first book. But should she find out at the beginning or the end? If she finds out in the beginning, then she'll also find out about her man in the first book. But should that happen in the middle or the end? If she finds out in the middle, then she'll find out that chick has been trying to kill her by the end of the book, in which case I'd end with MC taking her man's hide and them declaring war against that other chick and her evil doers. But is that too much drama for one novel?

    As you can guess, my brain hurts. I've been working on this novel for entirely too long (made an entire world, made cities, made races, made religion) and I've just now got to the story. And while I love my plot points, I just don't know where to divide it. I've look at Eragon, knowing a lot happens to him in the first book too.. But it hasn't helped.

    Where should the line be drawn? Where should book one end and book two start? Not asking you to write it for me... Just looking for some advice and feedback. :) Sorry if it was confusing.. Welcome to my brain. :unsure:
     
  2. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I guess I AM the only one that can figure this out, huh? :( Time to do some serious contemplation, I suppose.
     
  3. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I think you need to figure it out for yourself.

    You probably want to keep traditional structure for a novel in mind - the Three Act Structure is often considered pretty restrictive, but I've got a feeling you might need a bit of restriction with this one.

    So... you want to use the first act to establish characters, setting, and the main conflict (probably along with some sub-conflicts). Don't confuse three acts with cutting the book into even thirds, though. The first act is often pretty short in modern storytelling, and the third act isn't necessarily much longer. The second act is where most of your words come.

    In the second act, your characters go through a series of mini-crises, working toward resolution of the ultimate conflict. Rising tension, then resolve the mini-crisis but maintain/increase the tension for the main conflict. Repeat as needed. Try to blend internal and external conflict together. At the end of your second act, your character hits the ultimate crisis, the big climax that will resolve the central conflict for better or worse.

    The third act is the resolution of the ultimate crisis and the denoument. Wrap up the loose ends, although you may want to leave some loose in the first book to be resolved in the second.

    It sounds like you have a good idea of the mini-crises for your books, but I'm not sure if you've figured out the ultimate conflict for each one.

    No idea if it'll work for you, but for multi-book you generally want to increase the stakes per book. So maybe in your first book the new queen is just trying to survive. The main conflict is between her and a shadowy person who's trying to kill her, the ultimate crisis comes when she faces down the attacker and battles for her survival. Then in the second book, increase the stakes. The queen is now fighting a larger enemy, one that threatens her family, or her kingdom or whatever.

    No idea if any of these ideas will help, but it sounds like you're hunting for some structure, so... try this!
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I'm going to sound like a broken record but, you don't need to have all the details worked out before you write it. Start writing. If you get to a place you are not sure what to do with, skip over it, keep writing and come back to it.

    A lot of these details come out as you write. I just figured out a key plot element yesterday and I've have most of the novel written. I knew how it would fit into the plot and what it needed to do, but until yesterday it was a blurry thing. Now it's in clear focus.
     
  5. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks for your responses. :)

    @BayView, I'm aware of the three act structure. I've used it in another WIP and it worked out very well for me. But for this one, it's just incredibly hard for me to separate it into different books. Ideally, it would be a trilogy. I wanted the third book to be about the war, the second to be about my MC deciding to be with or against the man she loves, and the first book leading up to finding out about him. I actually wanted to end the first book with her finding out he's the bad guy. I don't know why I don't just stick with that...

    @GingerCoffee, normally I don't figure it all out. I just write and see where it goes. However, with this one, I keep finding myself getting stuck because it's such a complex story, I can't figure out when to reveal what where. So after I tried laying out the general plotline yesterday, I realized I needed to figure out what was going into which book before I could move forward.

    Again, I don't know why I don't just stick with my original plan... Girl becomes queen, girl finds out previous queen was her mother, girl has attempts made on her life, girl goes on a quest to find mother, girl finds out who's trying to kill her and that the man she loves is actually someone else that's bad, then girl finds mother and has her heritage revealed to her... Then in the SECOND book, I can have girl figure out the person trying to kill her in the first book is working for a bigger baddie, then have girl join with her man at the end... Then the third can be all about the war....

    I don't know why I don't stick with my original plan..... :dry: Now that I'm not crazy tired, it doesn't look so bad anymore...

    Thanks again. :)
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I wrote chapters without knowing where they would go, then rearranged them after more of the novel was developed.

    Have you considered writing sections?

    Also, don't be afraid to write sections you end up throwing out or rewriting if they don't work. I often recall the words from one of my business admin classes: "don't fall in love with your assets."

    Just a couple weeks ago I took out my opening chapter and half of the second. I loved the first chapter, but I was also fine letting it go because that's what worked.
     
  7. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    I think you're thinking about this all wrong. The events that conspire to make her queen? That's the first book! The mother being alive and the wanting to kill stuff is clearly the second book. And the third book should center around the "who do I believe" kerfuffle.

    If your main character get the throne and the guy in the first book I have no reason to keep reading. Draw out that romance angle for a good 250k words.
     
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  8. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Alright, I'm back to: you need to figure this out on your own.
     
  9. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    if you have no idea what to put in the first book, might I suggest that you don't *need* a first book? Eg. the first book should be wherever you've actually got a story. So start the story with her as the queen already. And forget about the sequel and all that faff - write and IF the story allows for a sequel, then write the sequel. But don't go dragging out a plot BECAUSE you want a sequel. Do a sequel only if the story actually needs it.
     
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  10. Canopyvine
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    Canopyvine Member

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    That was just what I was preparing to say: You are pondering between three plots (Find mother/become qween, decide whether she will stay with the man she loves, and the war), that could very well fit in one book and make it so much more interesting. Dragging out the plot usually removes from the end result, so I would suggest that you start writing and if the story goes over 1000 pages then you can think about splitting it.
     
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  11. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Mckk @Canopyvine That's actually incredibly helpful. I find that I HAVE been dragging out the plot in an attempt to make sequels. It just seemed like the right thing to do, yanno? It's a big story--long, complex, and full of twists--and the reason I wanted to divide it is because it will be a very large book to put it all in one. Maybe I'll just start writing it, without concern for books, and once I get it finished, I'll see if I need to separate it or keep it as one. Thank you both. :)

    @GingerCoffee I have tried writing in sections before, unfortunately that style just doesn't work for me. :( I tend to confuse myself if I do it that way. lol I do plan out most things I write though, so I guess I plan in sections.. if that makes sense. lol I just can't actually start writing (normally) until I know exactly how it's going to go. I never thought I'd be this person. Just sitting down and writing seems so much more ideal. Unfortunately, it just hurts me more than it helps.

    @Jack Asher Unfortunately, the events leading up to her being queen is only one chapter long. It's not your "traditional" queen..ing.... (o_O). She's just an ordinary girl who's at the wrong place at the right time (or the right place at the right time, depending on how you look at it) and ends up being queen. I am starting with that though. But there's really not much back story to it. I mean, there is.. but... It's complicated. -.-

    Thanks again!
     
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  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    @Lea`Brooks - I remember somewhere someone on this forum at some point (see how precise I can be?) mentioned they had a WIP about a girl. There's some oracle/shamen/witch/special person who's going to do something special - some big ritual or ceremony - and that's where the queen is chosen. And there was some big thing about how the last queen or last special person disappeared so the country hasn't had a queen for decades or centuries or a very long time anyway. And there's this girl who just so happens to go because she wants to watch the event, and the shamen-type person takes one look at her and chooses her and the girl doesn't know what happened. And it's because her mother was the queen who disappeared previously, or something...

    Was that your book??
     
  13. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's me! :D That scene is going to be the second chapter of the book. Then she's going to find out about her mom some time after... I haven't decided when. Or how... lol I'm still very fuzzy on the details, but the story as a whole is there. :p
     
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  14. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I think you should just write. Write the story as you want it to be told and worry about the cut off points later as it sounds like you are not sure yourself, where you want those cut off points to be.

    Good Luck x
     

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