1. Kitbug
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    Kitbug Contributing Member

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    When you have two words...

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Kitbug, Jan 4, 2009.

    My dilemma...

    I started reading a new book the other day. The dedication read "To Elijah". For some reason this stuck in my head. I couldn't think of a story at the time, but the idea of a note that started out that way slowly formed in my head. Today, listening to a song about love, I got this idea of extreme loneliness. My question to you, is if you have any suggestions on forming a plot when you have two words, a note, and an emotion?
     
  2. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    So you're thinking of writing a story about this Elijah person? First, I think the place to start is figuring out who he is and what contribution he made to the author's life. Book dedications are usually for people who are very important in the writer, or inspired the story in some way. Or sometimes they do it because they are fans. As a teenager, I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and a my Mom helped an author for one of the books with the research. That book ended up being dedicated to me.

    Hope that gets your brain going.
     
  3. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like this seed you have...the note and an emotion. Before even worrying about a plot, my mind would first try to imagine who my two main characters are (Elijah and ?) and the cause of the extreme loneliness. Once I chose the cause of the problem, or the conflict, I'd then be able to begin imagining the plot. That conflict would have to be pretty clear in my mind before I'd be able to do very much with the idea of the note and the emotion.
     
  4. Kitbug
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    Kitbug Contributing Member

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    Thank you for the idea. At this point I've gotten a little further with my story. The note was written by the girl he loves, who died. I'm thinking that it was suicide, and she left the note that says "you are not alone", even though he really is since she's dead.

    This really all just came to mind when I started writing just randomly about him hoping I'd get an idea. My first thought after I came to all of this was that maybe it was a vampire story and she didn't really die or something. But I decided I didn't want to involve the supernatural (at least not vampires, it's too overdone) and that she really should be gone. After that I got an idea that maybe I would make it a short story expressing extreme grief and then have him kill himself at the end to be with her. But I didn't really want to do that, either. Though I may write a version like that just to explore my options.

    The third idea I came up with is that the story be about grief, loneliness and pain, but that even with all of that you can still go on and find true happiness. Basically have him meet his a girl who is essentially his soul mate, and put lots of obstacles in their way, including his pain over losing the girl he loved, but in the end their love prevails and he's happy again. My problem with this is that it's so cheesy. I don't like cheesy. So I'm still at a loss.

    Another idea I suppose would be to go through a good part of the story with the girl he loves being alive, and then kill her near the end, and have the ending just be something about being alone in the world. But I kind of like the darkness that started out the story with the note and the girl dead causes. Then again, it would also be dark to have it end on the note that sometimes you really are alone.
     
  5. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    I hope you don't mind me brainstorming with you, lol.

    The conflict sounds like it's about him dealing with the death (suicide or otherwise) of his girlfriend. That's not a full fledged conflict yet. What's the big struggle he has other than just being depressed about it? You need to add something to it. What's the consequence of her dying? Could it be that he then chooses a new girlfriend, someone who is very unlike she was. He does that on purpose. This new girl is a total jerk. How would he then work his way through his depression, the new girl, and finally finding his way back out to a happy life again? Maybe he begins tutoring students at the library at night, and there are a bunch of workers there he begins hanging with, including one who is a really quiet, but really cool chick who will eventually become "the one." Make the library workers (or wherever the other environment is--it could be a part-time job or a class he takes to learn German in the evening, I meaning anything) a really interesting bunch with their own quirks, and each of them helping him wind his way out of the dependency he had on this girl who died. Also, why was he so dependent on her? What did she give him? Did he think only she could give it to him? What could this new girl show him about himself...maybe that he's stronger than he really thought he was, that he didn't "need" someone to be a complete person on his own or something like that.
     
  6. Kitbug
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    Kitbug Contributing Member

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    No, I don't mind at all. In fact I welcome all the new ideas. I really like some of them. :D

    I think he was so dependent on her because she made him have fun. The background I've come up with thus far to his life is that his parents are divorced, he lives with his dad, but his dad is always off on business and his step-mother hates him. So he has a lot of other emotional issues, and this girl was someone who made him smile and laugh and have fun when his family life sucked. And he loved this girl more than anything in the world. So of course a lot of the pain is from how much he loved her.

    Another thought I had to add to the list of thoughts thus far is based off of one of your ideas. Perhaps because he is so hurt and looking for someone to make him feel slightly less lonely when his girlfriend died that he goes on rebound and ends up dating an incredibly jerkish girl (like you said), but that maybe he sleeps with her and gets her pregnant and as part of the story has to realize that grief can't make you stop dealing with life just because things hurt. Which would add another aspect to the story. Hrm... so many ideas.
     
  7. BitPoet
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    Hi Kitbug,

    I read your opener over in the reviews section, and I really like it. It's visual, non-static, and with the note you've built a strong metaphor, which you should (IMHO) keep as your main plot anchor. Don't let yourself be shied away by a cheesy looking outline ;) Whether a story is cheesy mostly depends on how it's done, not what is done.

    I did some brainstorming and association, and that's what I came up with:
    - When and how did he get the note? Maybe he got it after she died and believes it must have been written after the accident? (mystery++)
    - If it was suicide, maybe it wasn't out of desperation, but rather a sacrifice to prevent something bad from happening or evil to take over?
    - My first association for Elijah is the biblical prophet, who's supposed to have raised a boy from the dead. How about nicking the idea and have your hero try to do the same (not necessarily successful) and seek to revive her with some mystic artefact / ancient power?
    - I also like the basics of the "jerkish" girl idea. Maybe she forces herself on him in some way (blackmail?) to take part in his quests and they grow on each other? If she's jerkish enough, she would be ideal for him to reflect and evaluate his dependency and grief, which in turn would provide ample opportunity for subplots and conflicts.
    - She may be have some really dark ulterior motives that could be unraveled as the story progresses.
    - Why does his stepmother hate him so much? There's another point where a deep mystery may be hidden. Is she more that just his stepmother?

    I think it's obvious I'm really into fantasy, but no matter in what direction you take the story, I'm really intrigued and would be happy to read more.
     
  8. Kitbug
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    Kitbug Contributing Member

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    I really some of your ideas, thank you for the thoughts. =) One of my original thoughts was to make it some sort of fantasy (as that's mainly what I write), but I thought that I might try something different and keep this story away from that category. However, if nothing comes to me I will definitely keep your thoughts in mind if I decide to go fantasy.
     

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