1. Dylan_Gardner
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    Dylan_Gardner New Member

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    Things you can't do in a novel

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Dylan_Gardner, Jan 14, 2011.

    So the novel I'm trying to write is a thriller and because of that I'm introducing some plots and themes that may shock my reader. I was wondering whether some of the following ideas may be considered inappropriate or if the reader would never forgive me.

    1. I kill off my most empathetic character who is killed by his sister who doesn't know that he's her brother, but thinks he killed her boyfriend even though he's still alive. Also after she stabs him, he rises to save her life and tell her that they're siblings before he dies.

    Crazy I know. Is that too evil to do?

    2. Although I am kind of targeting the story to be a young adult/adult book like myself, I am writing a sex scene that is both structurally and psychologically important in the plot. It's not a porno, but a collaboration of struggling feelings of desperation, seduction, passion and fragility.

    Yet is it appropriate?

    3. To create an unpredictable reverse cliche, I am planning to do a Ben and Alex scene from Lost. If you don't know what that implies it means I will have a teenager threatened and held at gunpoint where their carer can save them if they just come out from where they're hiding. But instead of them getting saved I'll have the teen simply shot in the head before the countdown reaches zero.

    Too cruel?

    4. The arguably main character in the book turns out to the one that manipulated the other characters into killing each other off including his best friend to chase his dream of immortality. It is the final big reveal at the end of the book.

    Is this really bad to do?

    These are some ideas I've developed and thought were good ideas, yet I don't want the book to seem more gothic than epic. Should I include these ideas, alter them or scrap them?

    I'd appreciate any advice, Thanks
     
  2. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, it might not be young adult, but there's no reason you shouldn't write all of those things. People have done a lot lot worse in other novels. As it's a thriller, over the top human actions and reactions are to be expected.

    Write it, and if you can't take the action seriously yourself, consider re-working it. But if you enjoy writing it, you think it gels and is genuinely moving, then don't worry about the content. People really aren't that fragile. :p
     
  3. sidtvicious
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    sidtvicious Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, until you write it we can't tell you if any of these are any good. As a writer trust me, I've done some terrible things to my characters as long as it makes sense for the plot do what you will.
     
  4. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    My advice, and purely personal opinion, is that firstly you need to find the main story arc of your novel right now. Can you condense what your story is about in to a couple of sentences? You don't need to plan the whole thing, but you should at least have an idea what you're at.

    If not, start thinking about it. After that, you can put in as many subplots as you think are necessary to add important detail and interest. Again, this is just my idea, but I think you're getting bogged down in detail and forgetting the big picture. When you start to get the work down on paper, or around the 35,000 word mark, you may find yourself in the centre of a never-ending maze. Any reader who can't follow your line of thought will get lost--unless you give massive detail and backstory to help. Unless you are a truly stupendous storyteller, of course.

    I speak from bitter experience!
     
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  5. The Degenerate
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    The Degenerate Active Member

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    Don't just hang your characters from a tree. Throw rocks at them too.
     
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  6. Torkyn
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    Torkyn Member

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    I think as long as you're not just killing them off any being cruel for no reason at all it's fine. I've read much worse things then that in young adult novels.

    I find that although it may sound bad, if it's well written it should flow with the story and should just make characters feel and connect more.

    You'll never know any of that though until you write it all out and see.
     
  7. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with madhoca you need to think about your main story and use sub plot when necessary.
     
  8. KrisG
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    KrisG Member

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    I don't think there is such a thing as being too cruel, as long as there is reason, motive behind it, for whatever reason...
    If what you write shocks your audience, fair play, its what I'm trying to do!

    There a few scenes, one in particular in the novel I'm working on, were two little children are brutally murdered, which is very detailed...
    Most people would think this is too much, but whatever...
    Children get killed too, and I plan to show that, not ignore it. I want my character to be terrifying, for people to cringe at the thought, to fear him.
     
  9. Kevin B
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    Kevin B Member

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    I agree with all of the above, nothing is too cruel, too evil, or too inappropriate. If you're thinking those ideas are cruel, and though it's not YA, read Richard Laymon's "The Woods Are Dark". It's been billed as a savage shockfest.

    :)
     
  10. KrisG
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    KrisG Member

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    I honestly am sorry to go off topic, but I must thank Kevin. Never heard of "The Woods are Dark", and after reading a few reviews, have decided that it's on my to read list!
    Cruel, evil, inappropriate. You speak my language ;)
     

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