1. Marthix
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    Marthix Member

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    When/Where to Start?!

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Marthix, Aug 16, 2010.

    If you were to read a novel regarding a fictional war and it followed a particular soldier who eventually becomes a lieutenant...which story would you rather read?

    1) Story starts with soldier-to-be when he/she is being sold upon the idea of going into the military...goes through boot camp...and joins the military, officially entering their first warfare and such, etc....eventually ascend to lieutenant rank. This story would feature a plethora of moments where this soldier seriously questions what they learned about the military through the military recruiters back home...war is NOTHING like they said it would be. It's absolute hell instead. Kind of a slap in the face for the soldier, and they definitely grow, mature, and get stronger as the story progress.

    2) The story starts with them already holding a military officer position, they are later promoted to lieutenant. They already have name recognition, power, authority, and know war is absolute hell...etc.

    In essence, would you rather read about a revered lieutenant's life into the military...rather than starting it essentially in medias res? Thank you!
     
  2. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    You should rather be asking yourself which one is appealing to you as a writer, and choose the one you want to write. Because if you write a story just because others say so, chances are high that people won't like the story (not even the ones who suggested it).
     
  3. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    It is your choice, as Manav states.
    In my opinion though, going with your second approach may be more appealing. You'll hook your reader into the harsh beginnings of the war, then catch them up on your character between pauses by revealing his/her backstory. You'll get to show his/her emotional status of being a soldier and his/her full grasp on the war.

    T
     
  4. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    While this is your choice and should be one you decide. I prefer the First One. It sounds like it would have more story depth and raising questions about the aspects of army recruiters and all that sort of thing. Its also fun to watch a character go from a nothing to someone who rises to power.

    But the second option opens up a whole other can of possibilities and could be just as deep of a story as the first.

    In the end its true what they say, its all how you write it.

    But from what I know of both the options and in general and such I have to say 1.

    But find the one YOU want to write. Hell you could even write both. Could even have them set in the same War. Different characters, different focuses on this war, and all that.

    But its up to you.
     
  5. Tessie
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    Tessie Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Marthix.

    If you're really asking me, then I'd go with #1, absolutely. When you see the soldier start out as newly enlisted, then go through boot camp, and finally, actual warfare, I think you'll be giving your readers a full circle effect. It will show how your character matures, and it will be somewhat of a biography of him/her. And I think this would be a very special and powerful POV.

    For me, I am also going with this approach in my own military novel. It's based on four teens in the American Revolutionary War. I'm not planted on showing everything they go through, but a lot of my book deals with military life and the teens' own reactions.

    I hope this helps. Good luck :)

    T2
     
  6. Tessie
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    Tessie Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ooh, I like that Unit7!

    Yeah, Marthix, go with both, maybe. Two different perspectives, two different people, and one point. I don't see how you could go wrong.

    It is up to you, however. Decide which guideline is more appealing to YOU and go with it :D
     
  7. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Personally I would write both just a few pages and see which one you like best.
     
  8. Marthix
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    Marthix Member

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    Thanks a million everybody! I like the idea of the multiple perspective approach, one from an individual who's already a veteran...another from one who enlists. I like that idea and that is a story that I would definitely write. It's just hard for me to pen this to paper (or Microsoft Word) sometimes. I keep going back and forth between army recruit and army veteran. But as I've been thinking all along, I should perhaps go with two perspectives of this war...it wouldn't make as much sense to have them both recruits unless they came from very different backgrounds (middle class vs. elite class). I think two totally different perspectives to a war would be awesome. Thank you for enlightening me on that idea, especially Unit 7! I will write my story like that and see how the first pages turn out. I'm fired up to write this thing!
     
  9. Marthix
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    Marthix Member

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    Now what if I were to give my heroine (military officer let's say) an anti-hero role while the other main character acts as a regular hero. The heroine would all ready have plenty of military experience and have the scars to prove it...but she becomes a demagogue and bent on destroying a particular man along with his organization. Any thoughts on that?

    Also, could I have an antiheroine and a hero be on opposite sides for a period of time? If I have two different main characters, I wonder how'd they react if they were working for opposite sides?
     
  10. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Sure. Go with the obsessed antiheroine. She'd be the main conflict server and a considerable antagonist.

    Having your antiheroine and hero on opposite sides would serve well in your plot I think too. More conflict, more struggle.

    T
     
  11. Marthix
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    Marthix Member

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    Have you ever read a book that has done that before, tayleea91?
     
  12. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    No, sorry. I haven't.

    Perspectively, however, this side against side thing is well deserving. Think about the movies you've seen. In The Patriot, Colonel Tavington was an antihero. He was obsessed with gaining personal honor, and acted upon that obsession by doing whatever it took for him to gain respect. Because of this motive, he singled out people who would stand in his way. Benjamin Martin (the MC in the movie) and his family were victims of his pride.

    If you want to keep your anti-heroine and hero in the struggle to the end, good. Go for it. That take would seal your hero’s side and justification. Good would will as it always does.

    But another path you could take is to reverse your anti-heroine’s storyline. She could start out as the demagogue as you said. But maybe somewhere in the story, she realizes she’s wrong. That whatever pride or obsession she has isn’t morally right. (A soldier in The Patriot came to realize this).

    Think about Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Jane and John were both secret agents working on opposite sides. Remember how they reacted when they found out each others’ secret? Use that as an example. Maybe hook up your antihero and hero in the end. It’s your choice.

    So don’t worry about whether this has been done before. Someone will always start something new, right?

    T
     

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