?

What approach sounds best to you?

  1. Start with the rock and roll road stories, but use them economically as part of a larger book about

    50.0%
  2. Start with the r & r stories and include as much as I think is good as a part of the larger book?

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Do the rock and roll book separately as a tease to a sequel which will explore the darker side?

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Abandon the whole idea, it sucks.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Something else (elaborate please)

    50.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. aClem
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    aClem Active Member

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    Sustaining a plot over 50 years and other issues

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by aClem, Jan 30, 2014.

    I keep changing my approach to my "project," so please try to bear with me if you can.

    My original concept was a personal memoir that focused not on me as much as my brother, who was a heroin addict. I posted the beginning in the workshop and the reactions were negative about my subject matter and my style.

    The original beginning was a very unpleasant episode in my brother's life. The consensus, though not that many folks chimed in, was that it was a downer and lacked visual description. I rewrote it adding a bit more descriptive language but the second cut didn't fare any better with the critics.

    Taking the criticism seriously but unwilling to give up on the idea, I decided to try it as a novel, presented as fiction, but covering the same subject. I decided to start the novel at a point where things were going well, when my brother (or the narrator's brother, if you prefer) was in his prime and hadn't yet acquired his habit.

    The narrator and his brother were both musicians, and the story begins near the beginning of their first road trip. Drugs, sex and rock and roll in the minor leagues of show biz. I hope to post the opening soon in the workshop section but I seem to be prevented from doing this at the moment. Nevertheless, the opening is quite lighthearted and humorous (I like to think).

    As I have been writing, I realize there is a wealth of material there, and it might be enough to sustain a novel on its own. At the same time, the larger story is the one I really want to tell.

    So my quandary is how best to proceed. Should I:

    1. Start with the rock and roll road stories, but use them economically as part of a larger book about "the brother?"

    2. Start with the r & r stories and include as much as I think is good as a part of the larger book?

    3. Do the rock and roll book separately as a tease to a sequel which will explore the darker side?

    4. None of the above?

    5. Abandon the whole idea, it sucks.
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no one can decide for you what will work best, or what you can write best... and what anyone else might do has no bearing on what you are capable of doing...

    any/all of those plans could succeed, if written well... and any/all could fail, if not...

    and, given the poor writing quality of many bestsellers these days, any/all of those plans could succeed even if poorly written!

    the bottom line here is that regardless of what anyone who posts after me might suggest, you'll still have to make up your own mind on what to write...
     
  3. aClem
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    aClem Active Member

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    Yes, the final decision will be mine. I posted a first draft of the opening in the workshop/novel section. I have since revised it to include more description of the band members and a few other tweaks. If you care to read it (a bit less than 1500 words) I would appreciate your feedback. Thanks for your input here.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i can be much more detailed with feedback if you send it to me as an attachment... it's too much of a chore to deal with here and i'd need to see it formatted as you have it, not in the way it appears in a post...

    you can send it to me as an ms word document attachment, or rtf, if you don't have ms word... send to:
    maia3maia@hotmail.com and i'll get back to you with an assessment later in the day...
     
  5. aClem
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    aClem Active Member

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    Thanks you very very much for your generous offer. I want to do a short revision then I'll send it along. Once again, thanks!
     
  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    It seems to me the question is not so much sustaining a plot over 50 years, but how to approach the story. I think the first thing you need to do is decide what the basic story is that you want to tell. As @mammamaia says, you have to make that call on your own. Asking for suggestions in a writers forum is really writing by committee, even if you are making the final decisions yourself. Only you can know what your characters are capable of doing, what motivates them, what demons they must wrestle with, what the essential struggles are in their lives. So only those story ideas that come from you in the first place will have any merit if you're going to write them.

    Addiction is tough stuff if you get to the guts of it (I spent my first 15 years living with an alcoholic), especially if the addict loses the war (as is the case much of the time). So, telling a story inspired by your real life experience sounds like a solid start. Don't let anyone else mess that up for you.

    Good luck.
     
  7. aClem
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    aClem Active Member

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    @EdFromNY ,

    Thanks. I realize I was asking an unanswerable question. I'm going to have to just go with an approach and be prepared to abandon it if it doesn't work and try something else.
     
  8. Robert_S
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    Robert_S Contributing Member

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    You might try reading some biographies and auto-biographies to get an idea. I've read the auto-biography of Jim Morrison and it engaged me well enough, though the time span was much shorter for the main part, it did go into his younger years before The Doors.
     

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