1. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    One part, one MC or several parts and several MCs?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by WriterDude, Jul 23, 2011.

    Here's a fun little dilemma I'm struggling with. The ridiculously short version of my story is that it starts with a woman in a mental institution talking to a doctor. She was found in a weird costume and holding a bloody sword, standing over two dead people. According to her story, there were two other vigilantes in town as well, and they are the real dangerous ones. I'm about a third through the story by now, and that leaves me with the dilemma where to take the story now:

    1. Should I keep everything as a single story with just one MC, ending the whole thing with the woman finishing telling her story? The story would be quite straight forward, but it would also be more consistent and let you care more about the MC. She's the only one who really matters, and we don't even get to know if the other two exist at all or if they are in her head. Maybe the whole story was part of her imagination, or simply a lie.

    2. An alternative is to end her part with her finishing her story, but leaving a lot of loose ends. We then move on to Part 2 with one of the vigilantes as the MC. Part 3 will have the second vigilante as the MC. If I do it like this, each part can be independent (yet very much related, but from a different PoV). That means I can leave loose ends in one part and tie it up in another, but it doesn't have to be chronologically. I mean I can have loose ends in part 1 and solve them in par 2 and 3, and I can have loose ends in part 3 and solve them in part 1 and 2, and so on.

    I would normally go with my own advice and write them to see which one I prefer, but that's a bit tricky when we're talking two thirds of the book. ;)
     
  2. whitefairy24601
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    whitefairy24601 Member

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    If it were me, I would go with option two. The reason for that is I like to be intrigued by stories. So say I'm the reader. I read option number one. I know this woman's story, see what she had to say, smile and laugh a bit and then put the story down. Near the end I might even 'speed read' a bit to get to the point.
    With option two however, you have me a bit more hooked. Why? There are more characters to explore, more depth in the tale. Rather than the woman's story then done, I get to see the other two's- it is two right? I get to find out what everyone was thinking, more about whatever plot twist you have, make plot assumptions, aaand then have it all nicely wrapped up and final in the end. Who doesn't love loose ends?
    Really, this is your story, and this is just me giving what I think from what I am told. The story sound good and I wish you the best of luck in finding your path!
     
  3. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    I guess we have a winner. I like option 2 as well, so I think I'll go with it. Thanks. :)
     
  4. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I, too, prefer option 2. More going on. :)
     
  5. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yup, two sounds more interesting. The first option sounds better for a short story.
     
  6. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    Heh, thanks people. I'll go with the second one. But that leaves another question. The first one is the woman talking to her doctor, so it's part flashback and part the patient/doctor conversation. I don't want to have to "normal" parts after that, but want to give them different styles. The other two MC's don't officially exist, so they can't be talking to the doctor too. So what can I do with them? I'm thinking one could write down her story in a journal, perhaps as s debriefing of her mission. But the third? Suggestions?
     
  7. Heather
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    Heather Contributing Member

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    Personally, I prefer your origional idea, of your novel starting and finishing in a mental hospital talking to the doctor, with the reader never really knowing whether she is making it up or not. That way, if it is all told from your main MCs perspective, you could intentionally give her story inconsistensies, as the human mind does not always remember every tiny little thing. (I know I've mentioned McEwan's Enduring Love before, but it's a good example of a book written from a POV that the reader does not entierly trust).

    If you do decide to go with option two, then they could be telling anyone. One could be a journal. Another could be her sitting at a bar, telling some random stranger her story in one of those pour-your-heart out moments. Or they could be even telling another vilgliant from someone where else, almost in a bragging, laughing way about the things which have happened? Just some suggestions anyway :)
     
  8. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    Vilgliant? That's not even a word, genius. :D

    Hehe, just kidding. I like both ideas. The problem is she (the MC in part 1) is a regular human who got caught up in some really weird stuff and doesn't know what's going on. If I use at least one of the other two as a MC in their own stories, I can tell a lot more to the reader and still leave the MC in the dark about most things. Her story will still start and end with her talking to the doctor, and we still don't know for sure everything happened the way she say they did.

    Part 2 and 3 will revolve around similar events, but I won't retell part 1 from a different perspective. They will be confirming somethings from part 1, but not everything. Likewise, there will be loose ends from both part 2 and 3 that will be solved in part 1 (even if you don't know it when you read it), and some loose ends won't be solved at all. They wont' be too important, and the reader will get enough hints to solve them himselv in multiple ways. That way some of it could have happened, but it doesn't have to. And even if it did, it could have happened in several ways.
     
  9. Heather
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    Heather Contributing Member

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    That's the last time I'm trying to help you! :mad:

    How about then, instead of having three seperate parts (which I usually really dislike within books), you mix them all in. Start off with your MC, then a few chapters of one of the others, back to the MC, few chapters of another, and finish it with the MC. That way your story is still mainly focussed around your MC, as you'd origionally intended, but the reader still gets a wider scope of information?
     
  10. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sorry, it was too tempting... :redface:

    Hm... I like the idea. But how will that work with the story jumping between a flashback and the present? As it is right now, it starts with her telling the doctor about a being in a carcrash and telling him how it feels to know you are going to be in great pain in a few seconds. Then it skips back to her waking up in great pain a few days later. Later on she and one of the other characters are about to do something, and the story skips back to the present. She then tells the doctor what happened and so on. I've tried really hard to make the flashbacks and present glide into each other as fluid as possible, so it (hopefully) feels natural. Adding two stories into it might not be the best idea.
     
  11. Heather
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    Heather Contributing Member

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    No, I suppose not.

    I'm not really sure what else to suggest. I just personally feel when the book is split into seperate parts, the writer should have picked one and done it properlly. I suppose it depends on the final product though - it might work brilliantly in your case. :)
     
  12. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe instead of seeing it as three (or four) seperate parts, you could see it as three seperate books. They will still be released as a single book, though. They will be connected in several ways, and some scenes from one story can be repeated in another from a different POV. But they will be different stories.

    How would you like if there was a different style in them? The first one is a drama with very little action, so I'm thinking having another one with a lot more action. One could even be horror. :) (a woman tells the MC that "the city is under attack", but doesn't elaborate more. Her story could be more action. And under attack from what? I'm thinking vampires, of all things. But ugly, hideous vampires that barely resemble humans, and are far more animals than Twilight-vampires. If done right, it could make vampires scary. In theory.) :)
     
  13. Heather
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    Heather Contributing Member

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    Have you still not worked this out properlly yet? :p I like the idea of it being something mythical/fantasy, rather than an evil genius bad-guy. Sort of explains why the special vigilantes are needed, rather than just the police.

    I suppose it could make it more interesting. What about, for one of them (probably the one you want the most action in), you have the POV change so rather than being retrospective, it is actually directly following her. It'll make an interesting contrast of your first characters retrospective narration from a mental home, to the in-time, happening now, action packed narrative of one of the others?
     
  14. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hah, I've more or less finished the first part. Have you even begun writing your story, Sherlock? :D

    Want some trivia? When I started this, I wanted to do to superheroes what Anne Rice did to vampires. I want them to be superheroes, but in a realistic, dark, gritty way. So when the cops found her in a weird costume having killed two people with a sword, she was locked up in the mental institution. :p But that also meant I could want a real supervillain. None of the heroes have actual superpowers, so neither will the villain. There are still supernatual stuff involved, of course. I guess the villain is back in. :)

    And thanks for the tip. I think I'll write the action-part in present tense. I'm not a big fan of first person stories, and first person present tense is very hard to get right. Third person present should be fun, though.
     
  15. Heather
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    Heather Contributing Member

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    I have 759 words, thank you very much! ;)

    Third person should work for present tense (although good luck, I find present tense EXTREMELLY difficult to write). It'll make a nice contrast between first person, retrospective from someone who may be pyscho, and third-person, action packed present tense narration.

    I didn't realise your superheros don't have any powers - that'll be interesting to see how you make them interesting still, or more special than a cop/the army. So are you having a villian and the vampire-things as a side plot, or are the vampires the main story?
     
  16. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, present tense is very difficult to get right, and I know there's a great chance I can't do it. But that's no reason not to try, right? :)

    At first, superheroes without superpowers might seem strange. But when you think of it, no one in the Batman-universe has powers. (though there are a few exceptions like Poison Ivy). They use high-tech gadgets, like Green Arrow's many funny arrows. That's what my characters do. :)

    The three parts will have different plots, so the first part is all about how the MC went from being a normal cop to dressing up in a weird costume, arming herself with a sword and killing two people. On top of that, she was happily married and had two lovely kids, so what happened? And as I said, the story will come to an end. I'm not even sure if the MC will be in part 2 and 3 (and 4, if I write it.) She's not important anymore. Part 2 and 3 will have very different plots, and they won't be connected directly. Same with part 4. If I do write part 4, it will take place mostly in another dimension or another world. (and that takes a while to explain.) :p But despise all this, there will be a fifth story too, hidden in the other four. One of the characters mention the city is under attack. I'm not sure how much of that I will tell in her story, but I could leave that as a fifth story. I mean she could be fighting the vampires, and along the way she does her job to stop the attack even if she (and the reader) doesn't realize it right away. If you read just one story, you will get a start and finish. But if you read all of them, a hidden story will appear and connect all parts. I'm a genius, I know. :D
     
  17. Heather
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    Heather Contributing Member

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    Sounds good, I like it when, if it's a series of books, there's a bigger over-all plot as well as the main ones of the storyline.

    Wouldn't necessarily go as far as calling you a genius though . . . . :p
     
  18. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hey, didn't "someone" say something about compliments. :p
     
  19. Heather
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    Heather Contributing Member

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    Yea, but I only meant for me! ;)

    Seriously though, you have to get writting - I'd be interested to read more after that little opening you sent me the other week.
     
  20. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    Good news? I'm about a third done and finally decided on how to write the next part. The bad news? I write in Norwegian. :p

    But anyway, the first part is all about Sharon (the cop) and Cara (the guardian). Cara was supposed to be living all alone her entire life as she's not entirely human and protecting the knowledge of another world. Anyway, she has lived like that for 20 years, so she was so desperate for a friend that she kidnapped Sharon. How then will Cara react when Sharon is stuck in a mental hospital? ;) That'll be probably be part 2. As for part 3, I'm thinking basing it on Nyki, a reptilian woman from the other world on a one-way ticket to our world to defeat whatever is attacking the city. ;)
     
  21. Heather
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    Heather Contributing Member

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    Sounds good - but boo you and your Norwegian! :p
     
  22. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    Language, young lady. This is a family-friendly forum! :p (and try saying that five times fast.) :p

    Nah, just kidding. My next story will be in english, just for you. :p
     

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