1. feathersinflight
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    feathersinflight Member

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    So...beginnings.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by feathersinflight, Jul 7, 2014.

    I have two main issues that I want to raise up here concerning my story's beginning.

    1) In my story, I'm not quite sure how to set the beginning few chapters up. I know that it's going to be a dream, and it has decent importance in relation with the plot- it's not a simple "his blood curdled and he woke up gasping for breath" thing. But the action after that fishtails down: the MC, whose dream was detailed in the prologue, is disturbed by the dream and goes to the priest, also a family friend, for help. He coincidentally meets his estranged childhood friends who drifted away after a certain traumatizing event happened resulting in spotty amnesia/memory alteration for all friends, although to differing degrees (which allows them to piece the past together later in the plot). As it turns out, they also had disturbing dreams. They ask the priest for assistance, but he's pretty vague about the whole thing. All of a sudden, there's a flash from the backyard and they see a young girl curled up in the back yard well. The MC doesn't recall it, but it's pretty evident to the reader that the girl was in his dreams. But yeah, there's a pretty big gap of nothingness between the prologue and the appearance of the girl...do you guys have any ideas to make that gap seem not as boring?

    2) The beginning, after the girl's arrival, is just a friendship-developing thing among the estranged childhood friends and the newcomer girl. There's also some development/foreshadowing on the newcomer's front, because she plays an important role in later, more action-packed and conspiracy-revealing events. I'm pretty set on the friendship-developing arc to be a year, but I'm out of ideas for making it interesting. I'm also worried that readers may just drop it, because the beginning practically screams some kind of mystery/conspiracy thing going on, but it's not initially like that at all. I want to make it a "time of peace" in the beginning focusing on character development, world building, and subtle foreshadowing, before twisting the story into something a lot darker (for any of you anime/VN people, does Little Busters!/LitBus! Refrain ring any bells? If you've watched/read that, you should have a general idea of what I'm looking for). But the beginning's pretty dull, so it'll probably lose a lot of interest...
     
  2. purplehershey
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    purplehershey Member

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    Hello again there feathersinflight.

    Alright here's what I got for you:

    1) I think the time between the dream and the girl is going to be crucial for character development. The reader is going to find out how the character deals with a strange situation. Does he freak out to his friends? Does he freak out internally? Does he think too much into the dream? Does he shrug it off? Secondly, relationships are being established. He is obviously close enough to this priest and the family friend to tell them about the dream so this might be time to develop that relationship. How do these people interact? Also, you said traumatizing events resulted in all of them drifting away, get creative describing these, go into detail, drag the reader in so that they feel like they need to know what happened in their backstories.

    2) Is there any way you can create some subplots for these beginning period. I'm sure you don't want a year long montage of happy times, but is there a way you can create issues that might lead to more world development, some small plots that go up and down within the matter of a year that may not essentially result in any lasting change, but is more there to just purely develop the characters so much that when the novel does twist into its darker region each character has very little reason to justify it's action since the reader will know so much about them.

    Anyway, just my two cents. Hope I helped a little.
     
  3. feathersinflight
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    feathersinflight Member

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    That was really helpful advice! Thanks so much :)
     
  4. Timothy Mims
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    Timothy Mims Member

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    Hi feathers!

    Purple had some excellent advice, so I'll just add a couple of my thoughts for your consideration.
    Alright, the priest. Like purple claimed, the priest, I assume, is close to the main character. So for him to just "shrug off," as you put it, something that's bothering the main character seems strange. In fact, it would immediately lead me to believe that the priest is ignoring the problem because he is negatively involved somehow, which would make for an awesome conflict.
    Secondly, I, personally, try to avoid anything that is or is synonymous to "Suddenly," or "Out of nowhere," or "For no specific reason..." because I always feel that there could be some reason behind it. So, perhaps, instead of the girl "suddenly" appearing, maybe the main character has a moment of Deja vu, has a flashback of his dream, and then has to push someone out of the way ,or verbally tells someone to get away, seconds before the appearance. Or something like that :)

    I like it though, it has good potential. What always keeps me reading a book is conflict, conflict, conflict. Even if you have to throw in there the characters addiction to the smell of laundry detergent and how it's ruined his chances at a career as a laundry detergent specialist because he can't keep his hands out of the unopened Arm and Hammer Oxy Clean box.....
    Okay maybe not that extreme but you get what I'm saying :)
    Good luck!
     

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