1. Rapaz
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    Rapaz Member

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    Too over-used?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Rapaz, Jan 31, 2012.

    I plan to write a story about a boy living in a communist russia-like environment. In this fictional world a bomb never tested on humans before is dropped somewhere but something goes wrong with it and instead of killing the targets it alters their DNA, giving them "super powers".

    Is this whole DNA super power thing too over-used? I mean, would you read it? I'm trying to stay as much away from marvel/dc/heroes as possible but it's still all very similar.

    I have some ideas for the power the main character possesses, but my main doubt is between choosing a "cool"/strong power or more of an unusual/interesting power. Which one would you like to see?
     
  2. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Anything can be made into a good book, if you write well enough. I would be more concerned about portraying the communist Russia accurately, because I have no first-hand experience of it, but I have heard many times that the West portrayal of Russia, especially in fiction, is wildly inaccurate and one-dimensional.
     
  3. jc.
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    jc. Contributing Member

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    Do it. People fall in love every day and that doesn't stop people from writing about it all the damn time. Just make it your own.
     
  4. Backbiter
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    Backbiter Contributing Member

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    If it feels right, write it. Don't worry about it being over-used - there are no truly "original" ideas.

    However, write it in a way that sets it aside from the norm. Give it your own magic touch.

    As for the super power ideas, just try to stay away from the cliches, unless you approach them from a new angle. I feel like the more unusual powers can be interesting to see a character utilize, as long as it's not something trivial like the power to instantaneously make a cookie appear in your hand.

    I also agree with jazzabel about the portrayal of communist Russia, although I'm not sure if you meant Russia itself or just a Russia-esque setting.

    Good luck with your story, and I hope this helped.
     
  5. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    LMAO!

    Agreed. Go ahead and write it. Everything has been done. What matters is how well you do it.
     
  6. Rapaz
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    Rapaz Member

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    Yeah I'm still weighing my options between researching about communist russia or creating my own setting.

    But thanks for the help guys, I might post an excerpt in the novel section later!
     
  7. The Magnan
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    The Magnan Active Member

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    Well I'm writing a story about cybernetic and gifted people going to war, so go for it, and enjoy writing it.
     
  8. The Magnan
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    The Magnan Active Member

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    Rapaz I hope your aware that to post in the novel section, you need to make two reviews or more first, just saying this now so that you know, otherwise goodluck.
     
  9. Rapaz
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    Rapaz Member

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    Yes I'm aware, but thank you.
     
  10. picklzzz
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    picklzzz Senior Member

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    I think it's a good idea, no matter how many times it has been done (I think there's a movie coming out about a bunch of guys who get super powers). What about this? What if the bomb or whatever is dropped and the unexpected effects are something other than super powers? Maybe they give the people the ability to travel in time, or to parallel universes, or read each other's minds? That part you may rethink with something more original. As for setting, I'm wondering why Russia? I get the Communist thing, but perhaps the bomb was dropped by some Communists from whereever on a place you're more familiar with?

    It just occurred to me about a nice place to write a story about. I used to attend college in a unique location where most people (even within the same state) don't know a lot about. It's pretty desolate there and there are a lot of natural landmarks (like bodies of water, caves, cliffs, etc...) that make it very interesting. It's so desolate, I could easily create a fictional town there. I'm very excited about this location and don't know why it didn't occur to me before. So, why not think of a place you've actually been and create a town within that area or really use a town you've lived in or been to frequently?

    Just a thought. That might make it easier. Also, think of weather. The place where I'm thinking for my story (and perhaps all others after) has very severe weather changes, which could be a great prop for any story.
     
  11. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    My advice with superpowers is give them limitations.

    There's lots of ways to do this: using the power has a disadvantage, or there's a limited amount of power they have before it runs out, or anything else that forces them to use it sparingly and/or face negative consequences when they use it.

    The main point is that you want to avoid a situation in which your scenes become cases of, "Oh, look, bad guys coming! But no big deal, we can use our superpowers to get away! Poof!" Not only is that really childish, but it also removes any element of suspense when your MCs are guaranteed to be safe from any kind of danger thanks to their powers.
     
  12. Ziggy Stardust
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    Ziggy Stardust Active Member

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    Watch the TV show "Misfits" ;)
     
  13. Jowettc
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    Jowettc Contributing Member

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    I'm a bit tired of the super powers personally but theres plenty more people who like the idea so go wild!

    I heard an interesting super power once: Stub Toe Power.

    I mean real serious toe stubbage - the kind that sends sparkles through your ears! Imagine - you couldnt do a thing - it would be like getting hit in the face with a block of ice.
     
  14. Rapaz
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    Rapaz Member

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    I have watched misfits, love it.

    I chose Communist Russia because I've always felt interested in it. I feel fascinated by the Russian culture which I sadly don't know much about. I've also taken into account the rough weather, it's going to play a part in the book. As for using stuff I know, I'll probably do it since I've decided to create a world of my own so I'll use some stuff I'm familiar with for the different towns, etc.

    As for superpowers, I haven't actually even started incorporating them, I'm kind of afraid I'll just go crazy with it, haha.

    --

    By the way, does anyone know any books about communist Russia? (Preferably written by a russian who went through it.)
     
  15. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    There is much to the "Russian soul" and no one book can accurately portray the culture, communist era or not. But the mix of Russian lit before and after the revolution should give you a good start.
    Most importantly, make sure you get hold of the new translations, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky are the best. Other translations are frankly awful because they were all based on the 19th century Victorian translations and it simply doesn't work, either for French or Russian literature, because those cultures aren't nearly as frigid as Victorian England used to be.

    Russia was a feudal country and Ivan the Great commissioned artists from all over Europe to come in and make Russia beautiful. The result is the magnificence you see in St Petersburg and Moscow, all the palaces and beautiful works of art. There is an amazing documentary called "The Russian Ark" I would highly recommend you see it. It is filmed entirely inside the Hermitage and it communicates "Russian soul" beautifully.

    As far as the books before the revolution, Dostoyevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov", "The Idiot" and "Crime and Punishment" are well worth a read.
    "The Master and Margarita" by Bulgakov is an awesome satire about communist Russia, excellent book.
    "Russian Thinkers" by Isiah Berlin, "Kolyma Tales" by Shalamov, "Chapayev and Pustota" by Viktor Pelevin.

    I think you'll find that Russians don't really see themselves as having lived through anything very horrible and the CP (communist party) even today has over 30% voter's support. Sure there were some awful things, especially during Stalin, but it was comparable to J. Edgar Hoover era in America - just as oppressive. The Russian landcape is different, they have lots of different nations (like China) and most people are proud of much of that era, of their country and their history, so if you are looking for the books about how awful it was, I can't think of any. Most will describe both good and bad aspects of it.
     
  16. SplashPlane
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    SplashPlane New Member

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    I agree with jazzabel.. I'd be wary of writing a book that takes place in communist Russia, especially if you're writing from the perspective of a Russian person. I'd echo her recommended reading, and suggest you do a lot of research if you're serious about the project. Especially Dostoevsky (on the psychological aspect) and Shalamov (his portrayal of the Gulag labor camps..for perspective on some of the worst aspects of the Soviet regime).

    Certainly not saying it can't be done. I would try and get in contact with some Russian people and to pick their brains a little. It's really difficult to accurately and convincingly write about another culture, especially one that you're not familiar with. It might be a bit easier to write about a culture that existed long ago, given the fact that all anyone knows about it is what they've learned through writings (ancient Greece and Rome come to mind). But when you're talking about the U.S.S.R., you're dealing with a society that people alive today actually lived through. If I were you I would consider getting to know these people, or at the very least read about them.

    And I don't really care for this term "over-used" that much. Many of the same stories are told over and over again in fiction. You just need to come up with a unique way of telling that same story. The super-power/mutant element is still one that would interest me anyway :D

    Take your idea and go with it! And good luck!
     
  17. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    with all due respect. Bullshit
    Show me Hover committing genocide, and I will consider hearing you out.
     
  18. SplashPlane
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    SplashPlane New Member

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    Well, there are definitely people in Russia who would contest that, despite the facts. I believe what she's getting at is that there are many various views and convictions in Russia concerning the communist regime (among other things), and in the West the general opinion is quite one-sided and negative.

    I can't speak much to the nature of the the Hoover administration, but it's quite possible that their philosophies (Hoover and Stalin's) were similar in terms of policy.
     
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  19. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thank you SplashPlane, this was precisely my point. I think that is a better approach to writing a book in that setting, it will turn out better, more authentic and more interesting than if it was just based on repeating the stereotypes.
     
  20. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    To all posters: please keep your discussions a) writing-orientated, b) to the topic of the thread, and c) civil.

    There won't be another warning.
     
  21. Rapaz
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    Rapaz Member

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    Like I said, I'm not going to try and do it exactly like it was in the U.R.S.S.

    I just want to create a Communist Russia-like environment but in my own world. I won't call it Russia or Communism but people will (hopefully) see the resemblance if I manage to do it well.
     
  22. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^ I think that's a better idea.

    Still, you should be able to find first hand accounts etc of some of those who experienced those times. It will give you plenty of food for thought. Keep in mind there were various other cultures (Armenian, Georgian people etc etc) that came to be entrapped by the Soviet Union; check out some of their perspectives.

    Someone made a good point: there are people alive who lived through those times.

    My grandmother is one (incidentally, she turns 86 today.) She would object to some of the points made in this thread, and so would I. Various other relatives never got the chance to.

    But do some research, and then perhaps come up with an 'interesting world' of your own.
     
  23. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    Some great reading suggestions have already been made, but I thought I'd throw this out there: I'm currently reading Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah and one of the characters tells lots of stories about Communist Russia. It's been a great read so far.
     

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