1. MattCasey
    Offline

    MattCasey New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2012
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0

    Plot Development Help

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by MattCasey, Dec 28, 2012.

    Hello all,

    First off, a new member here, so please bear with me.

    I am working on my first novel, a mystery/thriller entitled "The Thoreau Letter" and I could use some help with a plot development.

    The basic premise is a man who moves to Concord, Massachusetts from New York City with his family and they buy an old house dating from 1749. The man decides to do some renovations on the home, but his neighbor - the town's historical commission chair - sues to stop the renovations.

    Meanwhile, the man's family begins to find odd objects around the house - such as a Brown Bess musket left over the American Revolution hidden under a floorboard; a dusty manuscript written in 1864 by Nathaniel Hawthorne; a lost notebook from Ralph Waldo Emerson; and an old weathered book once owned by Louisa May Alcott.

    Meanwhile, the man begins to see a man around town that appears to be the ghost (or is he?) of Henry David Thoreau, and eventually the main character meets Thoreau while on a hike through the woods. The two get to talking, and when Thoreau hears where the man is living, he tells him that he once lived in the house.

    Eventually the main character receives the go ahead to renovate the house, and in the process of doing so, discovers, in a demolished wall, a letter from Thoreau.

    This is the part on which I am stuck on. My initial thinking is that the letter is strange because - despite being written in the 1850's - it seems to indicate that Thoreau knows that the man would be living there in the present day. But that might be a little strange.

    What do other writers think of the idea? Anyone have any good pointers and tips on where the story should go from here?

    Thanks,

    Matt Casey
     
  2. PaulKemp24
    Offline

    PaulKemp24 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2012
    Messages:
    67
    Likes Received:
    3
    Maybe the main character was a friend of Thoreau's in his past life and he ended up buying the house because Thoreau was somehow "guiding him" to buy it with subliminal messages sent from the grave. Perhaps Thoreau has something he needs the main character to know -- like there's still something else in the house that Thoreau wants the man to find but he hasn't found it yet. Thoreau needs the man to find this item because it holds some sort of message or has some sort of meaning to the main character. Thoreau is now guiding this man to find this item because it has something to do with their past life together or maybe of Thoreau's death. Maybe the item is an unpublished piece of Thoreau's work and he needs the man to find it and publish it or at least read it. Maybe the item is a clue about the truth of Thoreau's death.

    A little bit of a "Field of Dreams" sort of theme if you will. Thoreau is trying to tell the man to "publish this manuscript so that I can somehow be resurrected." Sort of like how Kevin Costner received signs guiding him to build the baseball field to resurrect Moonlight Graham. Maybe the whole thing is a test for the man.

    This was just the first thing that came into my head. Don't worry about the story being strange, as you hinted at. There's not really such a thing as "too strange," it all just depends on how strange you want to get with it. Remember, an awful lot of best sellers are beyond strange. Good luck.
     
  3. TheDoctor97
    Offline

    TheDoctor97 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    The Earth.
    Though I don't really have any specific ideas for book in general I do believe that it's a cool concept for a book.

    If you're interested in science fiction at all, and you want to see how someone else pulled off something similar to this (using time travel, in film) while still building good tension, the episode "Blink" in the new Doctor Who series does it quite well. I know that the genre isn't the same as yours, but I just thought I'd throw that out there. It might help spark some ideas.
     
  4. Griplan
    Offline

    Griplan Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2011
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think it would be cool if the letter was meant for some other person or force to find and now the intended receiver will impede on the current owner's life.
     
  5. DDNeal
    Offline

    DDNeal Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2012
    Messages:
    45
    Likes Received:
    1
    Do you know how the story ends? A plot is the connection between two points, the begining and the ending. If your missing either of those you just have lose strings.
     
  6. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    The story is yours. I won't tell you where you should take it. That is your job as a writer.

    No two writers will treat the same story idea the same way. That's why writing prompts produce very different results, even for very specific prompts.

    However, make sure you understand the difference between storyline and plots. The storyline is a chronological sequence of events that comprises the story. It tells you what happened, but not why.

    Plots are the connective tissue of stories. A plot consists of an actor, a goal or objective, a motivation, and an opposition. Any non-trivial story contains a number of plots, which interconnect to drive the story's events. Read What is Plot Creation and Development? for more detail.
     
  7. MattCasey
    Offline

    MattCasey New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2012
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the feedback. I was thinking that perhaps the letter reveals some secret about Thoreau. Maybe the antagonist - the neighbor - doesn't want the secret revealed because he would be for he fears that it would effect the way people view Thoreau.

    Although I do like the idea of a past life relationship between the man and Thoreau and in fact Thoreau did believe in reincarnation.
     
  8. domenic.p
    Offline

    domenic.p Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Messages:
    327
    Likes Received:
    63
    moved
     

Share This Page