1. Joker-Jayde
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    Joker-Jayde Member

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    Struggling with story arcs! :(

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Joker-Jayde, Mar 26, 2016.

    Hiya,

    I am currently writing a fantasy story.
    I have a main story line, which will carry on through to two possibly three stories.
    Basically...Jacob woke up in Purgatory...Meets a woman, they fall in love, he realises he has a wife and kids on earth...after thinking there was no way out of purgatory therefore falling for Jezabel, he choses his family over her and wants to leave purgatory. She is evil at heart, she had to go against her natural instincts to be good with him, so when he breaks her heart, shes back to evil. At the end of the book he discovers that he is in purgatory because he killed his wife and kids. That is the main story line for book one. However, to make a decent length story, it would be far too short and boring to just do that. I'm struggling with ideas of mini story arcs. A main situation for purgatory, apart from Jacob trying to find a way out and then setting up life with Jezabel. I need something that brings them together, something to happen that they have to beat, or fix, etc, with a few other characters too, I have a witch who refuses to use black magic, I have a witches coven, werewolves and may introduce vampires and a few other things I haven't made up yet.

    Has anyone got any advice how I can come up with a miniature yet still pretty big story arc within the main one?

    Thanks :)
     
  2. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe you could make purgatory have a series of trials before they are able get out? They'd be forced to relive scenes from their life, live, where they could possibly alter the outcome and show they've changed -- or not. For example: In life, Jacob got into a fight with someone he cares about. It went badly and Jacob never saw that person again. So he's forced to relive it, except this time, he chooses to stay calm and not ruin the friendship. Trial passed. That could be the way he remembers his family and that he killed them. And in Jezabel's case, she could either do things the same way or worse that she did in life. And since it's her personal trial, Jacob wouldn't be able to see it to know she's bad at heart.

    Just a thought. :) Don't know how that would fit into your story though.
     
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  3. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    They could meet in whatever way you want. Some kind of shared circumstance like working together or imprisoned together. One of them saves the others life. They happen upon each other in a bar. They share a friend who introduces them to each other. They literally bump into each other. Whatever.
     
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  4. Rethagos
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    Rethagos Member

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    Some of the ideas:
    How is it possible to exit the Purgatory? What kinds of dangers are there in store for poor Jacob?
    Is Jezabel simply going to let go of Jacob as he is still in Purgatory, with her? She could trap him there, out of sadistic joy.
    What is not expected in the situation? Could it be that Jacob didn't actually die? Is his wife's relative a witch, who sent his soul to the Purgatory? If so, what does it mean?
    Think of complications!
     
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  5. Joker-Jayde
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    Joker-Jayde Member

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    :O I like it!! I never thought of how they would actually get out of purgatory..I thought maybe a witch who refuses to use dark magic, kills herself when she delves in to using it to help jacob escape, but I'm thinking I prefer your suggestion!! Thanks!! It would also fit in fab!
     
  6. Joker-Jayde
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    Joker-Jayde Member

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    Jeazbel is definitly going to want to seek revenge on Jacob for breaking her heart, and in the second book when he finds out his wife is alive, she may also want to get revenge on her, kinda get her out of the picture without him knowing, thinking he'd go back to her, she'd be happy to be a last resort just to keep him with her. I'm aiming at a kind of will they wont they, make it so the reader hates the fact they want them to be together, they're rooting for Jezabel, even though they know he SHOULD be with his wife.
    I gotta think of dangers, I'm thinking food shortage, it isn't a town or city etc it's a squaller of a place where the damned go so there's no luxury, maybe vampires are harvesting too many people, or groups of demons stealing food etc
     
  7. Joker-Jayde
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    Joker-Jayde Member

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    I like the idea of them being imprisioned together, for both doing something wrong (to be imprisoned in purgatory they must have done something terrible!) Maybe Jezabel could do some good at this point to get them both out thinking it would win Jacob over..
     
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  8. Ziggy.
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    Ziggy. Member

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    I'm sure that you can make a competent, enthralling story out of what you've given us and it doesn't really have to be stretched out to be so thin either. You have this man who falls in love with a woman. If we got to complete basics of a three-act structure, you've got a lot of ground to cover, you've got the inciting incident, as well as some backstory, the introduction to the world, the relationships, the conflict of the protagonist, and the conflicts both internally and externally.

    I mean, I'm no expert and I don't know if this will help you but if you're looking for more things to happen in the plot, you always have to look at the circle of character and plot together.

    Why not throw all of these things together into the main story? This is a story of a man falling in love in purgatory while dealing with the guilt of his murderous actions. I'm just spitballing here so take what you want from this.

    Jacob is a man who is in purgatory--we can start this story knowing only his name and just that. The entire story will unfold giving us information of who he was, who he is. Let's say you show us the story of Jacob and Jezebel falling in love, and then Jacob discovering there may be a way out of Purgatory and so he goes on a journey through it, passing through stages of places, meeting people along the way; witches, werewolves, and Jezebel hot on his tail. Eventually, through the story of questioning how he died, where he is, why he is here and such, you'll get to a final act of revelation or whatever you choose.

    That seems to be a story with one long arc that focuses just primarily on Jacob, Jezebel, and a way to coherently place all of these tidbits into a larger story.
     
  9. Callista Reina
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    Callista Reina Member

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    I am curious about Jacob and what happened to him while he was alive. Does he have a good or bad heart? I noticed that, at first, you said he murdered his wife and children, then you said he finds out his wife is alive later on. Did he try to kill them and fail? Why did he want to kill them? Or is this a situation in which some other antagonist is messing with him in order to make it look like he killed his family and make him (and the powers that put him in purgatory) think that he is a murderer when he is not? I am just curious because I feel like the extent of Jacob's innocence/ guilt speaks to his character and what he would or wouldn't do in a plot, as well as to what forces he is up against. However, I think that, whichever path you take, your plot can definitely come from a series of events in which Jacob slowly pieces together what happened in his life (or perhaps what someone/ something wants him to think happened in his life) and then tries to get back to earth with Jezebel complicating the whole matter.
     
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  10. Toomanypens
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    Toomanypens Member

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    Hah,

    I will give you my brain for a bit
    - Jacob and Jezebel are in purgatory (they don't know it, but the audience does? or their are hints, or it has an atmosphere like he isn't sure who he is or whatever, and neither is she *two people in a hospital ward maybe?*)
    - Jacob and Jezzie get to know each other, its clear from her attitude to him initially that she has issues, but maybe he talks to her because he doesn't quite know who he is anymore, and maybe neither does she, but their are hints that she is trying quite hard to keep herself together for him
    - Jezzie starts to open up to him, and he remembers who he is, feels guilty and shuts down a bit
    - He seeks answers and to get back to his family, but arrives to their funeral, or maybe the smoking gun after he shot them all and ended on himself

    Hmmm...

    "Have you ever noticed how painful moments seem to last for eternity, yet all the good moments flash by in a blink of an eye? Waking up in this hospital room, I could have sworn that whatever life I had before these moments was pleasant, because I couldn't remember a thing at all. Waking up to this madness and pain throbbing in my head, I can't barely think, and it feels like it will last a lifetime.

    I wonder if the moments before death, those few brief seconds, are equally long."

    "I looked down upon the smoking gun, as before me my wife and our two kids were on the floor, and without a thought, I tipped the muzzle upwards and squeezed tight"

    The idea there being that you set up a kind of "yes he is in purgatory, during the split seconds, as he lay there dying"



    What arcs?
    I think that if they are in a hospital you have the phases of getting to know your surroundings and people, you have the standoffish stage, you have the breaking bread stage "lets get through it together", you have them bonding, and then you tell her story and he tries to help and almost does until he remembers his wife, he leaves her, and wakes up to find he's actually dying.

    I'd watch cool stuff like Ghost, cuz in that you have the story eventually wrap around to show that his friend ordered the theif to steal his wallet to cover up his corruption only to in the end go crazy and die himself trying to fight a ghost.
    At first that guy seems nice and helps out Demi Moore, but deep down he is self involved, and you slowly begin to see it.

    So maybe the stories are moments that start to show who he really is outside of this suave business guy or whatever he is. Like he makes a few choices with other residents that fucks them over, which are redflags to his eventual nature.


    I dunno, thats just my brain for a few mins, good luck
     
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  11. Joker-Jayde
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    Joker-Jayde Member

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    Thank you so much that has really helped me, immensely!! I've thought of a situation centered in Purgatory, but that actually came from an older idea for a story I had and I think I've found a way to incorporate it in to this one, keeping it very much on the back burner though, I just wanted to set a situation which would maybe put Jezabrl in danger and have Jacob realise his love for her, then maybe focus more on that story (it's a war between Purgatory and the Soul Universe) not focusing much on the soul universe though as like you say, there is an awful lot of ground to cover already, so I'll save that for one on it;s own I think afterwards, I just feel it creates more depth in to Purgatory and there are events going on in there which bring Jacob and Jezabel toegther, allowing them to fall in love, then creating a situation where Jacob finds a way out and has to chose, his wife or Jezabel. Only I know the twist haha (unless I've posted it above lol I haven't been online for a couple of weeks lol )
     
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