1. hawky94
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    hawky94 Active Member

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    Sub-plots?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by hawky94, Feb 19, 2011.

    Hey everyone. I'm starting the third chapter of my first-person novel.

    I've got a problem. My MC is returning from combat in Afghanistan, now his girlfriend is pregnant, he's unaware of this, I'm wondering whether I should create a sub plot, where the girlfriend finds out she's pregnant. Flip between point of views, or just have a telephone conversation between the two from his POV. Or have him go home and her announce it to him then, retaining the first person point of view.

    If you need a chapter excerpt then please let me know. Any help would be mucho-appreciato.

    Thanks. hawky94
     
  2. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't break first person just to cram in plot details that don't fit. If it's written well, there's no bad telephone call revealing information.
     
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  3. hawky94
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    hawky94 Active Member

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    Agreed.
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    How about a letter or an email or a conversation online - that way you can keep it first person but give her POV ? Before I turned my MC into a bird and let him observe something directly I had his wife send him an email so it was entirely in her perspective but because he was reading it there was no POV change.
     
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  5. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    I'd definitely stay with the 1st person POV. You can always have her POV become clear through an extended dialogue.
     
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  6. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd go with the last option.
     
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  7. hawky94
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    hawky94 Active Member

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    Agreed, thanks people. Really helped. Reputation upped for all.
     
  8. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I agree with everyone else about how you need to keep it limited to your MC's POV, as it is first-person.

    What about if she told someone else - her best friend, say - because she needed to get it off her chest. Her best friend tells a mutual friend of theirs, or the mutual friend overhears. Then the mutual friend, assuming your protag already knows about it, calls your MC:

    MC: [answers phone] Hello?
    Friend: "Hey dude! Congrats!"
    MC: "What do you mean?"
    Friend: "I mean, way to go, stud! Do you know what you're having?"
    MC: "Having? Umm.." [racks his mind, thinks the friend is talking about an assigment]
    Friend: "Girl or boy, dude? Or is it too soon to find out?"

    And it goes from there...you could show your MC's shock (show not not tell!) as the conversation goes on.
     
  9. hawky94
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    hawky94 Active Member

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    How's this for the conversation?

    Bursting in the door I saw the phone hanging off the receiver.
    “Emma? Emma what's wrong? Is something wrong? Are you okay?” I was frantic.
    “Yes baby I'm fine, calm down, I have news...” She sounded excited.
    “Well go on, tell me.” My stomach was going to explode with anxiety.
    “I'm pregnant.” I shook my head, and again. Surely she couldn't have just said? “Did you hear me? I said I'm pregnant?” I had heard her right.
    “Yeah I heard you babe, but, weren't you on the pill? I mean I thought that we were planning this. At some point, I just didn't expect it to be so, soon after we started, you know” We had been trying, but I thought that she was on the pill.
    “So, what are you going to do now? Now that you're becoming a daddy?” Christ she knew how to be playful in a moment which for me was utter shock.
    “I'll be home as soon as I can darling, I love you. And our little baby, do you know whether it's a boy or a girl?” I was anxious to know, I'd always thought that it would be much easier to relate to a boy, but I didn't really care now that it was actually happening.
    “I – we look forward to seeing you, be safe darling, I love you, I've got to get back to work, lots of cleaning to do. I love you more than life itself. Good bye my love”. She was ecstatic and now so was I.
    “I love you too, be careful, don't push yourself too hard, I'll see you as soon as I can” I hung up, feeling happiness pulsating through my entire body. This was true happiness, the thing I'd searched for my entire life.
     
  10. Leonardo Pisano
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    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

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    The aforesaid examples are really engaging. If you want some suspense, however, you could have the MC calling his girlfriend and then she is secretive.... He senses that but cannot yet put his finger on the problem. This angle could be great if the MC cannot be the father because he is already X months away.....
     
  11. hawky94
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    hawky94 Active Member

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    X months away from end of tour, interesting, but that would mean that he would have to go AWOL, seen as he's discovered that a rogue cell of the CIA plans to acquire nuclear weapons. And was going to tell his CO, but his CO doesn't believe him and he has to go off on his own and combat the forces of evil.
     
  12. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    Touchdown ....By doing the above you add dramatic tension
     
  13. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Hawky, your example is good as far as dialogue-realisticness and stuff goes, but it moves way too fast. Build up the tension for a page or two.
     
  14. hawky94
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    hawky94 Active Member

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    How could I go about lengthening it out? It is just a phone conversation... forgive my lack of ingenuity.
     
  15. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    dropped cell phone call can break it up
     
  16. hawky94
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    hawky94 Active Member

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    Can you please elaborate?
     
  17. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    often one party of a phone conversation looses cellular service

    example "Bay-Bee I just wanna tell ya---" dail tone
     

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