1. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Two stories and two questions

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Lea`Brooks, Dec 25, 2015.

    Hello there!

    So I've had this plan to write a fantasy/romance story for a while. At first, I wanted to make it a novel. But the more I tried to plan it, the more I realized I didn't have enough content to make it long enough. So I decided to make it a short story. Since then, another idea came to me that could act as a sequel to the first short story, starting off almost exactly where the first left off.

    However, my dilemma is that they are two vastly different stories. The first is mostly just romance, following a young girl through a heartbreak and her subsequent depression, ending with her killing herself. The second is purely fantasy, following this same girl in the afterlife as she's trying to adjust to being, well, dead, and the consequences of her suicide.

    So now, I was thinking about meshing the two together. A prologue would show her suicide, the first chapter would start with her entering the afterlife, and the rest of the book would be her coping, with numerous flashbacks to show the relationship that drove her to kill herself.

    I know a lot of people frown upon too many flashbacks, as they can be jarring. But I really feel this is the best way to go about it, because it will make the story stronger. I just don't want it to be too off-putting. Does this idea sound like a problem?

    Question two in relation to the above book... I don't want my MC to seem crazy or obsessive in the story. I don't want the reader to skim the pages and think, "Man, what a psycho! She killed herself over a guy? Crazzzyyy!" I want it to be more... romantic and heart-breaking. Like she was so in love with him that when he left her, she sank into such a deep depression, she couldn't bring herself out of it. Any tips on how to do this properly?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    I think it's a really interesting idea. If the post-suicide portion is written properly, I don't think the too-many-flashbacks thing would apply.

    I don't have any personal experience with that depth of depression, so I might be one of the readers you described, but again, it might depend on how well you write that part - no pressure :).
     
  3. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks! :)

    The way I have the flashbacks planned is that she views them on a screen, sort of. Essentially, she's reliving her past to heal from it. So she goes to a building every day or so and views a different scene. I don't think I'll be inside her head as she's viewing the scene... I'll probably be inside her head as she first experienced it, if that makes sense. So I won't be having random flashbacks as she's sitting around thinking. They'll be more like... movie clips.

    I suppose I'll have to do more research on writing romantic relationships. I know how I want to write it, but I don't want it to be misinterpreted as just her being crazy and obsessed. I guess I'll figure it out though. :p

    Thanks again for the response! :D
     
  4. Jaiden
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    Jaiden Member

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    I don't know how well this would sit with you, or whether it would work, but one way that flashbacks don't seem jarring is when someone is beyond time-and-space and their perception of reality is no longer linear nor sticking with causality. That sort of works with someone dead as they don't need to be confined to one place or moment. I like your idea, and I think that having the flashback written as if in the present is the best way to tackle it.
     
  5. ILaughAtTrailers
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    ILaughAtTrailers Member

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    How does this story end? What's the last scene? What does she realize at the end of this story that I just witnessed that'll make me think I didn't just waste ten hours of my life? What's the theme?

    Unless she can come back to life at the end, and can reconsider her decision to kill herself, I don't like the idea of the second part just being about her fantasy and afterlife because to create meaning it has to be real, you know what I mean? She has to have the opportunity to change herself still even if it's in the last moment in the story because even though we won't see what she does we'll know what she does because we had just read her story and seen all the mistakes she made.

    Is the last feeling of this story to not kill yourself or is it something about true love or what?
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2015
  6. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    The second story, following her after she's dead, is my take on the afterlife. It details what the next plane is like, what the consequences for suicide are, and what comes next. Essentially, reincarnation. In the story, my MC will review her life on earth and if she met the goal she set for herself before her birth. She'll have to figure out where she went wrong and what she could've done differently. Eventually, she'll overcome the grief from her life and eventually be reincarnated.

    So, I suppose you could say the theme is both of those things you mentioned. It's about all struggles in life being a lesson to learn, and not run away, from. It's about moving on. It's about soulmates. So, yeah. A combination of those things.

    I appreciate your input, but I wasn't really looking for advice on the story/theme. I was more questioning how to handle the flashbacks and overly romantic MC. Thanks though. :)
     
  7. Samurai Jack
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    Samurai Jack Active Member

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    Write two distinct stories, alternate the chapters.

    Chapter 1, end of the relationship. Chapter 2, beginning of her afterlife.

    Then you get to simultaneously write about a girl absorbed in her own despair while writing about a girl able to learn from the world outside of that despair. The end of her relationship is the start of her understanding, the end of her life is her renewal.
     
  8. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I'm not sure you can write these as two separate books. Even though it's the same character and the same story they're different genres which is going to throw readers. Those who want to read tragic romance probably aren't going to want to jump to spiritual stuff etc.

    My thought is that this all has to be one seemless book, and probably told in different tenses. Past perfect tense for the past life, and either present or past imperfect for the afterlife. You could do this as a sort of review of her life - ie a look back, and each chapter could be a past portion of her life and then her understanding of it as a corpse.

    One thing I think your book will need is some sort of tension. The girl's dead so there's no tension as far as will she die as she already knows she has. And once dead - can you die again?

    So she needs not just a challenge - ie making sense of her old life as she looks forward to a new one - but something more. Something that both fills her with hope and dread. Heaven and hell would work as she sits there reviewing and trying to work out which direction she needs to travel - especially if you can personify them with angels and demons etc.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  9. EricaJRothwell
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    EricaJRothwell Active Member

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    I really find this idea interesting, I'd love to read it. I think most people have gone through, at least, some degree of depression during their life so should be able to relate to the main character. I very much like the idea of her being made to watch her flashbacks on a T.V. in order to heal.
     
  10. EricaJRothwell
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    EricaJRothwell Active Member

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    I
    I have to say that I disagree with the two parts of the story being suitable for two different audiences. I think the idea's sit very well together and take your run of the mill tragic romance into something much, much more interesting. As for tension, she is in limbo and cannot move up to heaven until she has tended to her inner demons.
     
  11. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I realized the books separately wouldn't work well, seek grow different they are. But I think it'll make a nice joined story.

    As for the tension, I guess I never thought too much about that. I suppose @EricaJRothwell has it right. My MC is stuck in a sort of limbo -- a gray, foggy world devoid of people (except her mentors). She has to move past her grief and understand her errors before she'll be able to move on to the real afterlife, where her family and friends are waiting for her.

    I didn't really want it to be a book with stakes though. Like if she doesn't accomplish x then y or z will happen. I just wanted it to be enjoyable. Someone that a reader could relate to and feel for and with. Kind of like a coming of age story. Is that wrong?

    Thank you! :p I was worried people would find it dull, so it helps to have some encouragement.
     
  12. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I think you need some tension. The MC needs a purpose and genuine chance of not achieving it. Could I suggest reading "What Dreams May Come" by Matheson. (The one they turned into a Robin Williams movie). It's actually quite uplifting, spiritual in its way, and yet a good read.

    Cheers, Greg.
     

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