1. FishKettle
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    FishKettle Member

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    The what connects to the what on who!?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by FishKettle, Feb 21, 2010.

    Issue's explaining a new concept within your own stories universe.

    (Not sure if this should be in the plot section or what, sorry.)

    I'm sure this is a common issue but for lack of a word to search for, I thought I may just ask all of you for your thoughts on the matter.

    There are things often within a story that do not appear in the real world. For goblins, dwarfs and such things, a description is often enough to explain them to the reader. However, what if it is an extra sense or supernatural ability? Since most people would not have encountered these things first hand it becomes more difficult to explain to the reader.

    My own example (and the reason I thought to ask); Mind reading. I know how I would like to portray it and the various feelings that I've attached to the notion. Upon trying to introduce this to the reader however, I am flailing about trying to fit this all in without making it too noticeable that, that is what I'm doing. As this is also a central part of my story (mind reading) I need the reader to catch on quickly.

    I have a few ideas as to what I will try but was curious as to what others have thought to do?

    So how have you gone about clarifying something within your story, or explaining a new idea about the way your world works?
     
  2. Neoaptt
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    Neoaptt Banned

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    Surprisingly i have used mind reading before. I use italicize for mind dialog. Something like this.

    "He looks cute" what am i doing here? I heard the girl across the room.

    Simple things like that.
     
  3. Kayliss
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    Kayliss Member

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    I was writing a book, I never did finish it. I had the same problem, and I solved it this way:

    My main character had a dual personality, and was unaware she had a very evil side that only came out when she was sleeping. So in the introduction I wrote everything from the perspective of that evil side, and cut it off abruptly. This served a dual purpose:

    1 It hooked the reader right at the beginning (a feature in other books that I personally enjoy)

    2 It opened up an obscure pathway that I could do anything with, but it let the reader know that there were things at work which weren't just readily apparent.
     
  4. FishKettle
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    FishKettle Member

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    I thought of doing a prologue that introduced it, just a short 2 paragraphs before cutting to the main story but I thought that it would seem completely irrelevant and would, in the end, not really read well.

    Example:

    The air was alive with voices. They rippled and interwove but remained separate in the same instance. Like an orchestra there were varying pitches and tones, this was the sound of the thoughts and feelings of those around her.

    Most people weren’t capable of picking up these noises but since the war science had progressed and created a set of beings capable of tapping into others minds or unlocking their own to achieve extraordinary things.

    By those that knew of their existence they were called Genes. Genetically modified humans.
    * * *
    Like bones the remaining skyscrapers of Turbolt City stretched up into the grey darkness of early morning. The ground levels stood open to the summer heat, piles of sleeping bodies lay heaped on the cool cement, while in the upper levels air-conditioners droned loudly providing artificially cooled air to the cities elite.

    “Switch off time gentlemen.”

    Black clad figures lowered themselves from their sniper positions as they were relieved, some covering yawns as they shuffled off to sleep for six hours, others jogging off to relieve a ground patrol.

    Seven tossed and turned, the thin blanket had already been thrown to the floor along with most of his clothing. He’d considered smashing the window that ran along side his bed but the glass was too thick.

    (Ignore any grammar issues, its just an example.)

    Although I don't mind this and found it works better at explaining things quickly, I don't wanna be offering the reader something they don't end up getting (in the opening part you'll notice it's from a females perspective and she doesn't enter the story until later).
     
  5. Kayliss
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    Kayliss Member

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    Since you didnt want to give away the mind reading to fast, maybe a small edit would be in order.

    I'd take a crack at it myself, if you didn't mind...
     
  6. FishKettle
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    FishKettle Member

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    Go for your life, creative exercises are always useful!

    And it may provide a fresher perspective.
     
  7. Kayliss
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    Kayliss Member

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    The air was alive with voices. They rippled and interwove but remained separate in the same instance. Like an orchestra there were varying pitches and tones, this was the sound of the thoughts and feelings of those around her.

    Most people Never could understand why she always seemed to understand them so perfectly. There were a lot of things most people couldn't seem to understand since the war...

    There were rumors, but that's really all there were. No one knew why there were some who seemed to be capable of achieving so many unbelievable things, They called these people "Genes"
    * * *
    Like bones the remaining skyscrapers of Turbolt City stretched up into the grey darkness of early morning. The ground levels stood open to the summer heat, piles of sleeping bodies lay heaped on the cool cement, while in the upper levels air-conditioners droned loudly providing artificially cooled air to the cities elite.

    “Switch off time gentlemen.”

    Black clad figures lowered themselves from their sniper positions as they were relieved, some covering yawns as they shuffled off to sleep for six hours, others jogging off to relieve a ground patrol.

    Seven tossed and turned, the thin blanket had already been thrown to the floor along with most of his clothing. He’d considered smashing the window that ran along side his bed but the glass was too thick.

    That's just basic. It doesn't give up too much all at once, but its lets you know there's more to it. Like I had mentioned about my book.
     
  8. Kayliss
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    Kayliss Member

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    By the way, punctuation isn't my strongest area. :D
     
  9. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    If it's an essential part of your world -- either because the hero can mind-read, because people in general can do so, or because there is a select group with this ability -- then you should include it right away. Don't worry about readers saying "Oh, look, the silly author is trying to get me used to telepathy; I should hate them now for allowing me to notice the efforts behind her art." (This is a very real fear, I know, but not a terribly rational one.)

    If you work it into descriptive scenes and character action right from the beginning, you won't need a prologue to establish it as a sense as important as sight or taste. Actually, there are a number of neat scenes you could use to get the idea across:

    * You can have a non-telepath character walk into a party where some political enemies might be, and have that character try to focus on a few "safe" topics in case his enemies are spying on his thoughts.
    * You could have a telepath greet another telepath on the street, subtly, without spoke words.
    * You could have messenger (non-telepath) told to memorize a message, then sit on a street corner and repeat the message mentally until she gets the text message "Thank you. The message has been received. You may leave."
    * You could have a character walking down the street, noticing the thoughts of passersby in addition to the weather, people's clothing and behaviour, and anything else unusual.
     
  10. FishKettle
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    FishKettle Member

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    Ah wow, that does read so much better!

    I shall have to see what I can come up with (as I'm not about to 'yoink' your suggestion).
    Thank you though, really given me something to think about.
     
  11. FishKettle
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    FishKettle Member

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    Ooooh, thanks Heinlein, that had actually been my second thought. To use events and such. Thanks as well !!!
     
  12. Kayliss
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    Take it, it's there for you.
     

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