1. Edytawriter
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    Edytawriter New Member

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    Theme suddenly changes

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Edytawriter, Sep 27, 2015.

    Hey guys. I just want to know, is there a word for sudden complete theme changes in a story? They aren't common that's for sure.

    For instance if I had a historical fiction about the Salem witch trials, and the first book was ALL historical fiction, all about events based on actual history, like where Mary Warren gets Alice hung, Mary gets accused and goes to jail and gets let out etc. But after that what if RIGHT at the end of book 1 a girl named Edith comes in and saves her before she is stoned by the villagers with wind powers that are supernatural and are not even plausible to actually happen during this time period. This sudden change from possible to impossible is already big. But after Edith takes Mary away they disappear from Salem and in book 2 Edith takes her forward in time showing Mary all of Americas history and convinces Mary to become an atheist and that witchcraft is not real. Mary is then taken to live in modern society, 2015, and learns to cope with modern society but has conflicts with.bullies and.such. she is tempted to accuse.them of witchcraft, but soon learns if she does that in her new society she will be seen as a nutcase.

    So what is this sudden change from possible and historicalfictiony to impossible, science fiction,.time travel, etc. Called? Is there a name for sudden change in genre like this? Or a sudden change in a story? This is definitely a form of irony, but it's extreme irony. So there.must be examples where other authors did this. You guys have any? Are these sudden changes in my story interesting/recommended?@
     
  2. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Just so I am clear, when you say that wind powers are not plausible in that time period, how are superpowers such as that, limited to any time period exactly?
     
  3. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    No idea what such a writing technique is called; mabye amateurish?

    Seriously, the way you've pitched it, it doesn't sound the sort of thing a publisher would go for. Like GRRM (spoiler alert!) saying "And, in my next book, a big cuddly bear is going to come along and make everybody be friends, and they'll all live happily ever after!"

    On the other hand, I rather like the idea of creating a parallel between how Mary handles bullies/people she doesn't like back in the 17th century with how she'd handle them in the modern day. But I'd make it two books within a single book, the first setting the scene in 17th century Massachussetts, the second in the present day. Or, take a look at Anya Seton's Green Darkness for her handling of a similar scenario. I actually have a similar idea in mind, where a historical character with bipolar disorder has a connection with a modern-day sufferer.
     
  4. Sifunkle
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    Sifunkle Dis Member

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    I think an abrupt stylistic shift like that is going to be pretty jarring to most readers. The ones who liked the historical feel will be upset, and the ones who would appreciate the new vibe wouldn't read far enough because the historical stuff will put them off. As the styles contrast so much, I think you'd have a hard time finding readers who a) like both styles, and b) will tolerate the abrupt shift.

    So if you want to go this way, you need to make the shift less abrupt! Perhaps you might be able to insert a few sci-fi/fantasy/whatever elements all throughout the historical section - not necessarily neon signs, but just subtle hints that all is not as it seems, so that when the style shift comes, it's seems that you'd planned it all along. If there are absolutely no plot/setting/character points that would work, you might pull it off if you can manage to write with a particular voice, or allude to themes that aren't common for historical fiction.

    Or the other (probably better) option would to somehow meld the two together. Maybe your narrative can elegantly wind between the historical scenes and the modern-day scenes. That might be a convenient way to emphasise the type of parallels @Shadowfax suggests. Or you could think up a framing device - perhaps right at the start of the story, you show how Edith has travelled back in time, and she's an onlooker for most of the historical section, until she steps in to rescue Mary. You could even make Edith the POV character, even if Mary is the protagonist!

    He hasn't been foreshadowing that for ages with that Bear and the Maiden Fair song?
     
  5. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wondered the same thing, but I'm tentatively guessing that the idea is that there's a difference between leaving the past as it actually was in history and adding supernatural elements to the present and future, versus creating an alternate past containing superpowers.

    But that's purely a theory on my part.
     
  6. Edytawriter
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    Edytawriter New Member

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    I think the idea in my head is to combine my Edyta story with The Warren Conspiracies (the Mary Warren story) and please read my previous posts also to know about Edyta. I thought it'd be interesting if I used Mary during the modern times, since she's already socially awkward during her own time period, yet she still is used to her own time period and culture. You're right, it probably is a good idea to make Edyta the POV, yet it is still tempting to do the sudden theme change just for the shock of it. Eh
     
  7. I Am Vague
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    I Am Vague Active Member

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    In all honesty, that would possibly be the cheapest cop out I could imagine. I feel like I would do nothing else but put the book down and never pick up another one in the series. I mean, the whole reason I'd be reading it is because I liked how the story was going as it unfolded. If it suddenly changes and throws in things that just completely go against the current of the ENTIRE story up to that point, I'd be pissed I wasted my time for an ending like that.
     

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