1. Frostcat
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    Frostcat Member

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    Plot Birth; Needs an epidural.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Frostcat, Mar 23, 2011.

    I wanted to say, before anything, thank you for this amazing website.

    I'm not sure if this is how I should be posting this exactly. I read the sticky on plot creation and development, so I believe I have this correct. If not, feel free to nuke my post. (Perhaps a message about why it was deleted?)

    My plan is to write a story about a young man who's essentially trapped in himself. The story should, in theory, take place over a day, at most. His last day in life. Much of the story would take place in flashbacks, which hopefully flesh out the character and the stresses in his life.

    The main thing for me is that the conflict is entirely between the character and his own emotions and feelings.

    Alex, the main character, was physically damaged and was saved by vampires. Probably terribly cliche, but that was the idea that popped into my head. Ultimately, he remembers bits and pieces of his life before he was saved. He recalls more, sort of flashbacks inside of flashbacks I guess.

    My idea is that, not knowing who he is, he feels he can't spend eternity as this enigma that is himself.

    If I understand correctly, the plot is "Man Vs Self" in that he's warring with his own feelings of loss and longing for something more. It's also slightly "Man Vs Man" because he's also warring with those whom, he feels, made him the way he is.

    I need help working out whether or not this is an adequate plot. Should I try to flesh out more of how he feels before I even consider writing it?

    The Plot In Utero:
    Conflict: Alex is a vampire
    Resolution: He has to decide that throughout the storyline
    Conflict: Alex doesn't remember his previous life
    Resolution: I have no idea?
    Conflict: Alex no longer wants to live, by the end of the story
    Resolution: Likely Baptism by Sunlight
    Conflict: I want Alex's sister to show up before he dies, but after the point of no return
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Hi Frostcat,

    I love your username, and welcome to the forums. :)

    So...I'm going to paraphrase your summary to make sure I'm not getting anything wrong.

    There's a dude named Alex who suffered a fatal injury and was saved by vampires. The good part is that he was rescued from death, but the bad part is that he's trapped in his own body -- and what do you mean by this? Is he unable to ever die? Is he trapped in a new body, i.e. a vampire body, and not his own?

    It would be helpful if you clarified a bit more about the circumstances.

    Also, I can help you more if you tell me what exactly you need. Is there a certain plot hole, not knowing how to begin, etc?
     
  3. Frostcat
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    Frostcat Member

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    Thanks!
    Ah, sorry, I forgot that you, the reader, don't have a direct line to my creative center!

    The summary is accurate.

    What I meant was that he doesn't really know who he is. He has some vague understanding of what his life was like, but it's like trying to hold sand, the memories slip through his fingers.

    Alex is perfectly capable of dying, but only by sunlight, and perhaps a few things. Mostly he's trapped by his own sense of longing to understand himself and his despair over the loss of something he can't even remember. It's amalgamating into an intense hatred for his 'new life' as a vampire. It's also warring with his intense need to know, his desire to thrive.

    The setting, or circumstances I think, is a 'country side' town. Alex has been 'dead' for a number of months by the time the reader steps in. He can't remember things like what the sky looked like, or what birds look like. He doesn't even know what the sun looks like. Through much of his day he's trapped inside a home, with other vampires, because he of the sunlight.

    There are about five or six other vampires living with him, each with their own lives to lead. Alex had to discover his own new life, but has no idea where to begin.

    Much of this story hangs on the fact that he doesn't know who he was, and believes that he can't know who he is. He can only remember very very small bits, he has family, he used to be a student of some kind, he enjoyed the beach (an amusing scene of the story has another vampire explaining what a beach looks like).

    What I want for the story is that we pick up around the time that he's in the greatest turmoil, discovering the bulk of his circumstances and feelings through flashbacks to his time at the 'Home'.

    Ah, sorry about that as well then.

    I'm not sure how exactly to begin, certainly, I have bits, paragraphs and the like, detailing the current time during his final hours. Some simply start like a candid photo, no real intro, just throw the reader into the story and let them begin to discover it.

    More importantly, however, I'm stuck with the flashback scenario. I'm certain that I want the bulk to be told in flashbacks, because I don't think I can accurately address it if it's happening in 'real time'. Mostly because I deal better with past thoughts.

    However, there are things I don't know how to approach. Is it wise to have the other characters available in the 'real time' portion of the story? Should they exist solely in flashbacks? How do I write a flashback like this? Certainly not italics or a huge open quote!
     
  4. Smoke
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    Smoke Contributing Member

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    Starting in the middle would invoke confusion, which seems to be your character's state. And this seems like an almost universal "finding oneself" fic, not that those aren't so varied that you could read 100 without getting bored.

    Just start writing what's in your head, then find bridges for what you have, then start filling in the gaps. Or start from the beginning instead of filling gaps, and use the gappy version as your treasure map.
     
  5. Frostcat
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    Frostcat Member

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    Smoke:

    Well, I don't recall reading too many 'finding oneself' stories, truth be told. I find myself a bit surprised now that I think of it.

    I suppose ultimately the twist is that my goal isn't for my character to find himself. He ends up killing himself in the end, as a sort of cleansing of all the things he's done and of the pain of things he can't remember. So... I'm not sure he ever really 'finds' himself.

    I have been attempting to just write what I can, little bits here and there, trying to organize them into a cohesive storyline.

    I didn't want to start at the beginning, it seemed more symbolic to start in the beginning. Perhaps I could write pan it out as flashbacks, and then meld the flashbacks into a story from the beginning, though.
     
  6. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wonder what happen if you started at the beginning ? You can always change the start to a later even and worse that happens is you have a clearer idea of the background.

    One of the best things I have done was to write a novella about two main characters as children it has gone to enrich the other stories they are in because I was able to add interesting details and use it in the story.
     
  7. Frostcat
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    Frostcat Member

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    That's true, as well. Hrm.

    It's peculiar but I find it difficult to know how to start from the beginning in this case. Likely because my brain sees the story without a past. I'll try to jot some thoughts on the past down and see if that jogs my mind.
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe don't look at it as this story - write a short story prequel. When i first came on the site I wrote Origin which was about the creation of my universe and Final Flight which was the death of my Main Character (80 years after the story I was writing). Neither seem very good to me now but they were very useful in my world building and character creation.
     
  9. Frostcat
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    Frostcat Member

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    Ah, thanks. Maybe I will try that, just write a short about the week or month before the accident.

    I'll see how I feel about that once I get my hands on some paper.

    Unfortunately, creativity does not occur to me in front of the screen (grrr).
     
  10. Smoke
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    Smoke Contributing Member

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    Maybe it's a cliche of a specific fandom. I either read that fandom, fiction that deals with outdated cliches, or fandom that is more involved in other cliches.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    do you really want to be numb while cranking out a plot!? ;-)
     
  12. Frostcat
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    Frostcat Member

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    Ah, perhaps not. I was trying to imply that the plot was sort of 'stuck' on it's way out and I could use some assistance. Like an epidural during child birth.
     
  13. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think you need forceps lol :) Probably tmi for a gay male but an epidural doesn't assist the coming out - unless stuck that baby is coming out whatever the Mum does. If stuck you get forceps or a c-section :)
     
  14. Frostcat
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    Frostcat Member

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    It's not really tmi, just very frank. My best friend recently had a baby, so I did know that. I was just trying to be amusing with the title though. Plot Birth; Needs Forceps didn't sound as good in my head. (Nor did "Needs Caesarean")

    Thankfully, however, I've made good use of this site so far, getting some help on ideas to pan out my plot, characters, etc. So, wordy missteps aside, thank you!
     
  15. NateSean
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    NateSean Active Member

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    Here's a question I didn't think to ask in your other thread: Does your character suffer from autism or any sort of psychiatric disorder that effected him in mortal life?

    In my vampire universe, the vampires can and do sometimes have inherited disorders. One character in particular suffers from high functioning autism. That could explain his growing inability to deal with his new situation.

    Just another thought.
     
  16. Frostcat
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    Frostcat Member

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    ... =O

    I didn't even THINK of that! That would certainly explain his inabilities. I suppose I should look at that as well. He is very adamant about it, to the point that he tends to ignore trying entirely.
     
  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    frosty...

    i'm a mom of 7, so know whereof i speak... and an epidural only supposedly short circuits the transmission of pain to the brain, from the waist down... it sure can't help a 'stuck' baby get out... and it doesn't always work, either...

    plus, having it done is both extremely uncomfortable and risky, as it involves a needle being inserted into a spot near the spinal column and can leave one paralyzed for life, if not done properly... even if done right, it often leaves the mom with migraines that can last for weeks or months...

    i had it done only once in my 7 childbirths and refused to ever let anyone near my back with a needle thereafter!
     
  18. Frostcat
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    Frostcat Member

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    Oops, I guess I wasn't clear on my clarification, either! When I said that it was stuck and I needed assistance, I was trying to imply it was 'painful' and 'nerve-wracking' for this particular plot.

    I do realize it's the wrong location of the body, however. I was just trying to be amusing. :)
     
  19. NateSean
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    NateSean Active Member

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    Are we all clear on our pain reliever metaphors now? :p
     
  20. Frostcat
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    Frostcat Member

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    Yes sir, NateSean sir!
     

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