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  1. Usagi
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    Usagi Member

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    Why/how would characters from books suddenly come to life?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Usagi, May 29, 2014.

    So, I know roughly what I want the story to revolve around. One day in an old library characters from books in the fantasy/ mythology section start coming to life.

    The problem is (apart from the world suddenly being overrun by magical creatures), that when they come to earth, they disappear from their own worlds. This is disastrous for the main character, as it means she can't do whatever she needs to do to save her family (or something along those lines). So she needs to get back to her world, and that is what the story revolves around.

    But what I haven't figured out yet is how or why these book characters are suddenly coming to life.
    Firstly, I need a reason for why some characters come to life and not others (for example only certain fantasy/mythical creatures come to life, so no human characters)
    Secondly, how did this happen. I have a couple of rough ideas, such as a human scientist wanting to bring to life one character from one book, but it goes wrong and suddenly lots of characters come to life, but I'm not convinced by anything I've come up with so far.

    Ideas?

    Thanks so much for anyone who can help!
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    If you sail up the East River from New York Bay, you will pass under two bridges in quick succession that link Brooklyn and Manhattan. The first is the Brooklyn Bridge, designed by John Augustus Roebling and considered one of the most aesthetically pleasing bridges in the world. The second, the Manhattan Bridge, is functional and only remarkable by the fact that subway trains run over it. It was designed by committee.

    Designing by committee means compromise, splitting the difference, least common denominator thinking, all of which is anathema to quality writing. You don't want your story to be designed by committee. You want it to be yours.

    None of us knows what is in your head about this story other than what you've posted. Any ideas we have would be, to varying degrees, at odds with what's in your head. There's no crime in having an incomplete story idea (I, personally, have several in mind at the moment). But you're asking for help with something that can only be yours alone. It's your world, your dilemma - your story. Give it time and work at fleshing it out yourself.

    I find that long walks help a lot.

    Good luck.
     
  3. Usagi
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    Usagi Member

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    @EdFromNY I actually find hearing other peoples ideas very helpful in developing my own. Hearing different ideas to my own does not mean my final product would be compromised at all.
     
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  4. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I offered advice. Whether you take it or not is up to you. Best of luck.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2014
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  5. HelloThere
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    HelloThere Contributing Member

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    Magic? I dunno. It's your story, and this sounds like a major part of the whole plot so I think it's down to you to come up with it.

    You've already got magical creatures coming out of books, it wouldn't be any more of a major step away from believable to say that only certain ones can come to life.
     
  6. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Have you seen the film "Inkheart"?

    That was a pretty good idea so in my opinion, you should think of something totally different and better!
     
  7. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I get that. I have a very loyal friend who I bounce ideas off, her main job is to pull me back down to earth when my brain starts coming up with stuff that does not suit my characters!
     
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  8. Usagi
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    Usagi Member

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    No I haven't actually (though I've heard of it), has it got a similar theme?
     
  9. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Sort of. It's a while since I saw it but it's about a man who, when he reads aloud, characters from stories cross over into the real world. He stops doing it the night his wife disappears. But, the baddies of the stories find this out when the man's wife appears in the storybook world, the twist is that the wife, while in the story world has lost her ability to speak. The baddies want to cross to the real world to find the man with the ability to bring characters to life so that they can take over everything and so it becomes a cat and mouse chase, a hunt for the wife and a game of survival. And the how does the story end? Watch the film!

    Anyone else feel free to jump in if I've got the story a bit squewiff!
     
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  10. IvoWriter
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    IvoWriter Member

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    Can't really think of anything bro. I try to very plausible with my stories. I want them to have at least SOME scientific basis. And yours has none. Even if a scientist tries to to make characters from book come to life how would he even do that? We don't have a machine that is even close to that? No math allows it, no theory?
    Your best shot is some kind of magic IMO
     
  11. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    That's the beauty of fantasy fiction, sometimes you don't need a reason!

    IMHO, if I were you, @Usagi I would just start writing the bits you know. All your unanswered questions will then begin to answer themselves! Good Luck x
     
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  12. Usagi
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    Usagi Member

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    Thank you!!

    @IvoWriter yes I've already accepted it won't have much scientific basis, and I've used the term 'scientist' very loosely. As cutecat22 says in fantasy you can kind of make up the science as you go along, otherwise it wouldn't be fantasy!
     
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  13. kburns421
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    kburns421 Member

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    If we're not going with a scientific basis, maybe someone makes a wish with some sort of lucky charm or magical item while reading a book in the fantasy section. Or maybe while looking through books, someone uncovers a magical book that was hidden there centuries ago that unleashes the fantasy characters.
     
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  14. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    That's a lot of post for no ideas to offer.

    How about book people don't come to life because people live in the people world. People come to life when they cross over into the literary universe. Imaginary creatures that exist in the literary world come to life when they cross over the bridge to the people universe.

    Or, the people become static book people when they go over the bridge or through the worm hole, while the imaginary creatures come alive when they come this direction.


    Welcome to the forum. :)
     
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  15. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, it's not that long, and my point wasn't to offer an idea, it was to offer advice. Which I did. And I stand by it.
     
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  16. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Your advice is good almost all of the time. It just struck me as overkill for a thread where someone just wanted some ideas within a very narrow scope.
     
  17. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    I'll actually have to second what @EdFromNY said. I think it was well said, actually. Not to shoot you down, @Usagi. You ask a fair set of questions, but sadly the answers are actually a part of your job. You see, you are the author, the creator of a fantastical world and it seems to me like the dilemma of storybook characters coming to life is at the crux of your world's mythology. Only you know enough about what you want to come up with a problem and solution that fits.

    If you have a magical world, presumably it would be an ancient spell, or prophecy or something like that.
     
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  18. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    OK, not to make this a contest, but well, I have a different take on the issue. ;)

    When is it acceptable to ask for ideas, and when is it not?

    And if it is never OK to ask other people for ideas, what sources are acceptable for us to peruse when we need one?

    I ask my son for ideas all the time. He's a great resource. I buy him lunch or dinner, we have a beer or sometimes two, and I pick his brain for his take on the world. It never fails to be productive.
     
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  19. Usagi
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    Usagi Member

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    Thank you :)
    But I really didn't expect people to be almost arguing over whether I should be asking this question at all... if you don't have any ideas to offer then please just don't answer, because I think it's perfectly fine to ask for ideas to get some inspiration.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2014
  20. Usagi
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    Usagi Member

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    And of course thank you to everyone who has offered their ideas, it's all starting to come together in my head now and I've started writing :)
     
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  21. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    It is not a matter of what should or should not be asked, but who can or cannot answer...and how adequatelY-- or rather, who is best suited to the task.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2014
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  22. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Yes, of course anyone can answer, and their opinions are valid. My opinion is, when we have new forum members, telling them they should answer their own question should be used sparingly.
     
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  23. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Although I do agree with @Andrae Smith in part, I think asking questions is all part of research. And that includes asking for ideas. Just because people come up with ideas for the author, it doesn't necessarily mean that the author will take on the idea but sometimes, something that an outsider (ie - not the author) suggests will trigger off something completely different in the author's mind which just happens to be what the author was looking for.

    As writers, there are often times when we can't see the wood for the trees!
     
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  24. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I agree it should not be done indiscriminately. No one wants to come to a forum like this and, regardless of the question, be told "do it yourself." And, in fact, they aren't. But there are certain basic elements of the creative process that cannot be done by another person.

    I realize, Ginger, based on what you have posted in the past, that your first instinct is always to be helpful and supportive - it speaks highly of your nature. But there are times when offering assistance really isn't helping. And I think this is one of those cases.

    The single most important tool a writer has is his/her ability to conceptualize, to determine the stories to be written and then to formulate that into the work itself. That has to come from within. It's one thing to ask, "is this logical?" or "would someone really act this way?" but quite another to say, "how would I even start to do that?" By providing that kind of assistance, we deny the fledgling writer the very learning process (s)he needs. It's like someone aspiring to be a professional athlete asking someone else to do the cardio work.
     
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  25. JosephMarch
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    I think that the library somehow should hold the key to this magic happening. I think we can all agree that libraries are somewhat magical already, and having this occur in a forgotten corner of an old dusty library would be magnificent. Maybe the book with the creatures somehow was shelved next to a book of spells? Perhaps your MC accidentally chants the wrong thing from the spell book, after opening it skeptically and pokes fun at the spells inside?
     

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