1. Brandon P.
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    Brandon P. Senior Member

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    Plot idea for an Egyptian-themed novel

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Brandon P., May 8, 2011.

    This was something I cooked up . It's set in ancient Egyptian times and involves revolutionaries:

    Aisha is the proud elected leader of one of the militia squads protecting Kharga, a confederation of anarchic villages around an oasis west of Egypt. Pharaoh Nebtawi, determined to reclaim the oasis, sends his son Mkalbuti to attack it, and Aisha's mother Shepsit is killed in the battle. A vengeful Aisha launches a guerrilla campaign against Mkalbuti, but treats the Egyptian soldiers she captures with such brutality that she is dismissed from the militia. After traveling by herself through the desert, she enters an Egyptian village and decides to redeem herself by inspiring the villagers to take up arms against the regime oppressing them, but this rebellion is crushed and Aisha is imprisoned. She is about to be executed when a large mob of sympathizers rescues her. After having a climatic battle with Mkalbuti, she allies the peasants with the Khargans. Now the revolution is about to begin...

    I've already written one short chapter of the novel, but would appreciate some feedback on my idea before continuing.

    EDIT: I read Cogito's sticky and now I realize that in this OP I did something he advised against (namely just put down a plot idea and ask people what they think of it). However, I'll still like some advice with how to begin the story:

    I'm not sure whether to start with the Pharaoh and his son plotting to conquer Kharga or put in a little prologue explaining how Aisha was voted in as a militia leader. I feel like the latter would reveal more about Aisha's character, but since it doesn't relate directly to the main plotline, it may seem to be gratuitous filler.
     
  2. Alex A.
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    Alex A. Member

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    you could add historical context too. The eqyptians had many different regimes. When one family line ended, it ended up in a civil war between upper egypt (southern) and lower egypt (northern) (i know its looks backwards but this is correct). You could have your main characters (ancient libyans?) help one faction to get them to be the next kingdom rulers or even get aid from the nubians of the south in order to try and take over a part of egypt.
     
  3. Brandon P.
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    Brandon P. Senior Member

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    Actually the story occurs in an alternative timeline (it's really more fantasy than historical), so historical context isn't needed. I appreciate your ideas though.
     
  4. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Don't start with a prologue about how Aisha was voted in. This is infodumpey.

    Perhaps you could start with her mother's death?
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Whichever choice you make for your opening will shape the story a bit differenty. It has to be your decision for it to truly be your story.

    You see, it isn't a question of which choice makes the "best" story. It's which choice makes the story you want to tell.
     
  6. Kio
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    Kio Contributing Member

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    What you have so far is interesting, something I would consider reading. However, a book's beginning usually does help hook in potential readers, so perhaps starting with a prologue isn't the best. I know some people won't like the idea of a prologue since it may seem to be too much of an introduction into this new world. As Mallory said, it may seem like an opportunity to ambush the reader with lots of information at the same time.

    I suggest starting the book with Aisha travelling through the desert and having her past slowly be revealed throughout the rest of the book. I've read somewhere that it's good if you start your book with a questionable line, a line that leads into something more. So, what I'm trying to say is keep Aisha's past a bit of a secret and let the reader keep wondering where she's from and what her motivations are until later, when they are already into the book.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto that!... the only one you should be asking is yourself...
     
  8. Brandon P.
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    Brandon P. Senior Member

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    Honestly, the more I think about my plot, the less happy I am with it. The idea of ancient Egyptians developing an anarchist theory in the modern sense is ridiculous and stories about rebels defeating evil dictators are already abundant. I'm considering either revising this idea beyond recognition or scrapping it (that happens to me a lot as a writer).
     
  9. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    If you think that part is ridiculous, you can focus on each character's goal, motivation and opposition. But then again, if you have lawless characters, bigger wars may take place. However, I feel that this would be an interesting plot, because you'll have a good resolution at the end of the story, and maybe should or can invlove the consequences for "defeating" the government or dictators. And you know, without those, the world wouldn't be as peaceful as we expect. We'll probably just be commiting more crimes and getting our way without any government regulations. That will create a story turnover if we ever wished that we had never defeated the government at the begining. If this is Fantasy, try having it in the recent time period and not the modern time. And I believe that this doesn't have to just happen to the Egyptians either. It can occur with Americans and other cultures.

    Those are just my ideas if I were to write a piece like that. Your idea sounds interesting to me. ;)
     
  10. jtbrazil
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    jtbrazil New Member

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    This is great advice, for someone of James Patterson's reputation. For someone trying to get published I would recommend writing in a way the reader or publisher would be more likely to like. There are many ways to tell the same story and still have you telling it.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    which reader and which publisher?

    since there are so many of each, and since no two would agree on which story is best, what cog said is still the best advice to follow... unless, of course, you're advising new writers to write every one of their stories a hundred or more different ways...
     
  12. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Some of my favorite stories are ones where a great idea is wed with great characters.

    Especially in a story set in ancient Egypt, which is exotic by definition and is hard to relate to...and doubly so if it's an alternate reality, I'm already lost...

    This is my problem with many modern fantasy and SF novels where the charm and novelty of likable characters in relatable settings become unimaginable places with neurotic characters. It forces the reader to put up with alien worlds and decode a puzzling character at the same time, argggh!

    A good character can serve as an anchor for the reader, and if we can relate to them it will make us care what happens along the way. Don't assume the reader will care, assume nothing, writing is a tough business.

    And lower Egypt was called the upper kingdom because the Nile flows south to north. The Egyptian culture was centered and dependent on the Nile.
     
  13. Brandon P.
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    Brandon P. Senior Member

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    EDIT: NM, I originally had a revised version of my plot here, but I decided that it wasn't action-packed enough in the beginning act (which is mostly romance).
     

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