1. Justin Rocket 2
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    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

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    Where to start?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Justin Rocket 2, Nov 16, 2015.

    My WIP is a MG novel with a targeted length of 50k words. I am drawing inspiration from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, though my own artistic sensibilities are strong enough that the finished product really ends up very different from that novel.

    Plot:
    A boy arrives at Sullivan's Boarding Home for Boys after he is discovered at the sight of a plane crash. Sullivan's Boarding Home for Boys is a rather unpleasant place.

    He has no memory of anything prior to being found by the search and rescue team at the crash sight. He has no memory of his parents. However, the doctor who examined him after the crash discovers that the boy's internal organs are in the wrong places and oddly shaped. The friendly doctor hides this information. Later, we learn that the boy has some psychic and extraordinary powers (such as learning to play concert piano in a day, having precognitive dreams, and telekinesis).

    Also, the boy is being stalked by an unknown person.

    At the first plot point, he corners his stalker and learns that the stalker is a guard trying to protect the boy. The boy is a prince of a galaxy-wide space empire which is in the middle of a civil war. The boy and a dingus were meant to be hidden on earth to keep them safe. However, enemies of the empire tracked the boy and the dingus to earth and caused them to crash into a passenger jet. Now, those enemies are looking for them.

    The second plot point is when the boy decides that he must retrieve the dingus to keep it safe from the enemy. He also learns that, now that his ship is destroyed, the dingus is the only remaining way the boy can contact his family.

    The third plot point is when the boy decides to destroy the dingus to keep it out of enemy hands. Thus, he defeats the enemy, but strands himself on earth. This sets up the next novel.

    Question:
    Several potential starting points present themselves. I could start when the search and rescue team find him, when the doctor discovers his weird anatomy, the drive to Sullivan's Boarding Home for Boys, when he arrives at the boarding home, or perhaps elsewhere.

    How do I decide?
     
  2. Gisella_M
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    Gisella_M Member

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    If it was me I'd have him waking up in the hospital. I'd hold back the weird anatomy thing and let him find that out a bit later. I'd spend the first chapter or so heaping on the mystery, then as he finds out bits and pieces they through up even more questions. I would drop in some hints right from the beginning though, make the reader aware he is not just a normal person, otherwise the whole alien thing will be too jarring when it finally comes.
     
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  3. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    I would have him start the story at the boarding school. You already gave the information that is critical for the reader to be exposed to as the story progresses. First problem you encounter is he is in a boarding school, why? Second he is sent to the school for a reason (think Xmen here). He has no memory of his parents so he is almost a hollow shell with part of his history. Third, his organ mixup: This does not need to be revealed in the beginning of the story, reveal it when he gets injured or something where his life is in danger and there is no option but to reveal why he is alive or why instead of damaging a kidney, it was the intestines or heart or something. Do not reveal how he got into the school and the plane crash until later. Keep it suspenseful. By telling what happened, in the beginning, it is too much detail we need to know at once. Tease us and give it to us later. Think of chapters as episodes in a show.

    When you introduce the stalker, is that your main story or a sub-plot?

    I gave you some tips, now go and Write!
     
  4. Justin Rocket 2
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    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

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    main story (the desire for home)
    sub-plot (the desire to protect home)

    Introducing the stalker/guard is part of the sub-plot.
     
  5. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Okay, so start the story at the boarding school. If he forgot his parents, he should also forget the events of the accident except for waking out of the hospital bed and then being placed somewhere different. It will be a confusing and overwhelming beginning in the life that took a turn. Imagine life when you are placed out of one environment into another without any reason to why.

    Guard/Stalker should be the tension and wanting an authority figure. Like a new father figure that the character strives for but not remember his parents.

    The dingus, whatever that is, ideally is the second half to a power. How does the boy know where it is. Is it instinctual? Is it something only he will remember by because it is a childhood object? Does it have a hidden location? You can add a spin where someone who tries to protect him from the stalker is actually and undercover and then reveals when he finds the dingus.
     
  6. Justin Rocket 2
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    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

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    If I start at the boarding school, I'm at a loss as to what the Initiating Incident is. What's the chapter one action which starts it all?
     
  7. Gisella_M
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    Gisella_M Member

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    I'd be tempted to have the hospital episode as a short prologue, then jump in at chapter 1 with him arriving at the school, everything is new and confusing, how to the other boys react to him? Maybe he sees the stalker?
     
  8. Diablo101
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    Diablo101 Member

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    You should watch 'Kyle XY' the first 3 paragraphs reminded me of that TV show, until you got to the freaking awesome bit of him being a prince of the galaxy wide Empire! LIKE OMG!
    ANYWAY! No more fangirling here on a story yet to be written....

    If I go on a same similar arc as in Kyle XY, the main character wakes up (In a forest) not knowing anything, and wonders into a city where he is placed in a detention centre and a psychologist takes him to her home and he is apart of the family, which he then comes to love and wants to protect.

    I would spur you on to a different starting point than the hospital, such as the Boarding school, and anything simple like a school yard argument or fight can bring in some questions after revealing something tiny in that.

    That could be me, for personal preferences, as I need something within the first 5 pages to happen (Lets talk about some kind of small action) otherwise i get bored and leave the book till i get really bored and find i have to read it eventually to get to the good bits in the next book XD

    Hope this helps with a starting point. And remember, Im only one person and you dont need to do what I want :p But you really should have a watch of Kyle XY, it might help you ;)
     
  9. Nemean
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    Nemean New Member

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    I would worry more about what the hook is. What catches the reader's attention more?

    Spaceship crash? Been there, done that.
    Guy enters boarding school, whole new world? Nah, really old.
    Kid wakes up with no memories? Pssh, done and dead. Oh look at his x-rays WAIT WTF?? Then we wonder, is he manufactured, is he another species, is he alien? Why is he here, what is his mission? Why is the doctor being quiet? Is he in on it?

    That's how I'd react, anyway.
     
  10. Justin Rocket 2
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    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

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    The first scene so far begins with
    I'm kinda hoping that's a good hook to start with. Later in that same scene, John Doe gets confused and thinks one of the doctors says something the doctor hasn't said, but has only thought.
     
  11. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    1. In the headmasters waiting room, the character waiting for their appointment of greeting.
    2. Somewhere in the boarding school, at recess perhaps, and tell the reader what he does to keep himself occupied

    If you were your MC, where would you want to tell the story. Start at the library? Classroom? Detention?
     

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