1. Prestige
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    Prestige New Member

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    Plottery Barn.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Prestige, Jan 16, 2009.

    I had this idea for a novel that I plan on writing (and have been planning on writing for some time now). And I would like some input, thoughts, or help on plot direction and / or character development over the course of the book. Like I said, I've had the idea in my head for a while now, but I'm far from being able to start writing. I'm not sure if I should make a plot outline or what since I've never written lengthy fiction before. So I would like your input. Or help, for that matter.

    I tried to put a little different spin on magic and superhero powers with this. Although the whole point of the book isn't religious in nature, the 'abilities' (or however you would like to call them) are directly impacted by the supernatural. Which is, in this case, the Christian God.

    I took a look at some successful powers-based / superhuman movies and books and tried to combine elements of the best of them to create my own sort of 'force'. Anyhoo. To the point.

    Central theme - It takes the verse Matthew 17:20, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." and applies it (quite literally) to reality. Think matrix / star wars with a little quantum theory / zero-point field manipulation thrown in to create some sort of modern faith-based force which allows for certain people to possess extraordinary gifts. They were divinely chosen by the Creator for some reason (help!). One rule governs the use of their abilities though. Their powers are only to be used for the purposes of the Creator. Oh, and I'm also searching for a different name for God than 'The Creator' if you have any ideas.

    Naturally, like any good superhuman novel series, I will incorporate a storyline that integrates good and evil. Yet at the same time I want to tie in romance and good ole' fight scene action. I'm curious as to how to treat the violence though. Because although I would love to implement some Jason Bourne-esque combat with high tech weaponry and all that jazz, I'm also interested in revealing a more innocent quality to the combat. I even considered using a character as young as 13 as the main character. Although I am not sure how that would pan out in the long run (help!).

    Anyhoo. There is also a big hole in the plot right now that I need to take care of before writing. It involves how the characters obtained these powers. Although it isn't even about 'obtaining' but more about learning how to use what every human was given. Which is Faith. My two main characters each possess superhuman powers. The first is a professional thief and has a highly developed sense of perception and memory, which, of course, causes her to be excellent in high risk operations such as grand larceny. My second character is Samson-like strong. Huge, hulking figure. Loosely based off Marv from the Sin City comics. He could literally rip the bars off a jail cell. This guy is diesel. I still haven’t come up with the way that he utilizes his strength though (help!). For the present purpose, let’s just say he’s the most trusted security guard for (A) the most high up drug ring leader in the United States or (B) the President of the United States.

    I have a couple small problems. The first being: These characters know that they’re good at what they do. They haven’t expressed any sort of dedicated Faith by any means, which conflicts with the first rule that I mentioned. One option is to limit the central theme to this: the characters are given their talents by the Creator, but do NOT need to have a passionate Faith to utilize them. If this were the case, I would completely scratch the rule about Faith and just center the book about how the Creator works everything to further his glory.

    Either way, I could use some advice on where this plot could be going.

    Here are some questions you can help me answer with advice and suggestions:

    - The telling of the story.

    Do you recommend that I tell this kind of a story in third person limited (i.e. Saint by Ted Dekker)? Or first person limited (i.e. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer)?
    Should I keep the entire novel through the eyes of one character and save the other character for another book entirely? Or should I bounce between both characters viewpoints chapter by chapter?

    - The plot

    In what way can I tie in the two characters lives together? Or do I even need to?
    What greater purpose of the Creator can be worked by these two individuals through their lives?
    I really want to bring to life the presence of sin in a way similar to the way Ted brought Marsuvees Black to life. I’m looking to turn these two characters into agents of good from their past lives. How do you suggest I do that? And what kind of antagonist can I put in their path?
    Also what kind of path can I give them? What’s the overall goal? The goal of the Showdown series by Ted Dekker was to show the power of redemption through the defeat of a hauntingly evil villain, Marsuvees Black. What kind of goal can my characters work towards?

    Thanks in advance for your advice, friends.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You should use third person. First person is more limited and requires more expertise to manage successfully. Given that you had to ask the question, I strongly recommend you use third person, past tense.

    For similar reasons, you should stick with a single POV. Writing from separate POVs requires more skill to keep the POVs distinct. It's less difficult to change POVs than to write well in fustr person, but the very fact that you were contemplating first person limited says that you won't need to jump to other POVs. Writing with multiple POVs will require more skill with character driven narration. With a single POV you can manage without using character driven narration at all.

    I won't comment on the plot questions. You;re asking the right questions, but the answers should come from within you.

    Whether a storyline works well has little to do with the plot summary. It will depend instead on how well your writing pulls it all together for the reader.
     
  3. Prestige
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    Prestige New Member

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    Right on.

    I have noticed how much easier it is to write in the third person. I am definitely a sucker for the first person though as far as leisure reading goes. Thanks for the advice. It helped quite a bit.
     
  4. Mesuno
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    Mesuno Member

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    Is your god omniscient?

    If so then the faith based power could be a reward for future faith - ie god can see what they will become eventually, even if the journey there is a bit bumpy.

    It gives you more scope for interesting characters at the very least - and conflicts between what they are now and the people they are becoming.

    But as Cogito said - its your story and they are your characters... you really should be finding answers to those types of thing yourself.
     
  5. Prestige
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    Prestige New Member

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    To answer your question, yes, the God i'm planning on using is omniscient.

    That's an intriguing idea! I will definitely consider using that. One thing I'm trying to avoid though is to set the goal in writing my fiction as a moral lesson. My friend started a novel and after forty thousand words it was very stunted, boring and gave him fits to write; one of the main problems was he was trying to force political statements into the story where they didn’t flow. He wanted to make a statement, but in forcing it, he was sacrificing the story.

    He told me, "If it’s part of the story, it’ll come out anyway, and if it’s not part of the story, it shouldn’t be there in the first place." So although rewarding my characters for their future faith is a mind-bending and interesting plot twist, I would want to limit that to only a minor twist. What I'm looking for is inspiration at this point. I have the general idea of what I want to be writing in my head, and I've been reading and viewing movies regularly to conjure up some sort of a plot.

    I'm sure it will come in time to me. 'Tis a bit frustrating at times. But hey, that's the writers life.
     
  6. Scarecrow28
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    Scarecrow28 Contributing Member

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    Personally, I'd say to use third person. It is a lot simpler to use yet, in my opinion, just as effective. 1st person limits the view to one character but 3rd person allows you to see the views of many.

    On the plot questions, I'm not really sure. It's your story and you know it better than anybody else, so you'll probably do the best job at patching up these holes :)
     

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