1. aguywhotypes
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    aguywhotypes Active Member

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    Working on this idea about a bookstore that floats away...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by aguywhotypes, Jun 23, 2015.

    I want to write a story about this small coastal community. I don't have the exact location, but north east coast.

    It is a fishing community. Lots of boats, lots of tourists in the non winter months. Parasailing, fishing charters, jet-ski rentals, etc. The place is busy with lots of color and water activities. Small mom and pop shops, and eateries with mouth-watering fresh seafood. I want to go there right now for some fresh lobster scampi.

    The focus is on this boardwalk that travels out a good bit over the water. Tied along this boardwalk are shops, etc. Way out on the tip is a small bookstore. It is square with a walkway all around it with brightly colored chairs. People can buy books and sit and read and enjoy the water.

    What goes wrong?
    Some how the bookstore breaks off the boardwalk and starts to float out to sea.
    How does this happen? I'm not sure yet. A storm the night before? or Some kids are screwing around and thought it would be fun to loosen up some panels or untie something or a sea creature caries it out to sea... all possibilities.

    Motivation?
    people are still inside and on this little bookstore and with all the normal boating activity no one really notices what is happening until it's out there fairly far.


    potential plot hiccups:
    - I need it to get far enough out there at sea before others/locals go after it in their boats to rescue it.
    - The rescue is to easy.


    ideas? I'm pretty happy with the initial idea. I think it needs a little more moxie or problems. It strikes me as something to easy to solve. I like the idea of a sea creature carrying it out but I'm not sure I want to go that big or over the top. My intention is a short story.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    This reminds me of James and the Giant Peach - I never did read the book but it's a children's classic and fairly short, by Roald Dahl. Somehow there was a giant peach and James got on it - at some point I think seagulls take the whole thing out to sea and they have an adventure.

    It also reminds me of Pixar's film, Up, where the old man's house floats up and away with the help of a lot of balloons. Nobody stops the house because everyone's too shocked.

    I'm not too sure what your question is, but the above titles might give you inspiration!
     
  3. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    It makes me think of Howl's Moving Castle, but you say you want this bookshop to floats out to sea? The bookshop is attached to a pier that somehow becomes sea-worthy? It's an interesting idea, I'd like to see other responses.
     
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  4. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    It sounds like an interesting fable.

    I'm curious, though. What's the driving idea or moral behind the story? Is it supposed to portray the awe and wonder of the little book store into some kind of fabled reality?
     
  5. aguywhotypes
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    aguywhotypes Active Member

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    the idea is that the bookstore is literally floating - just attached to the boardwalk that is fastened.

    The concept is a true floating bookstore. So the customers who come into the bookstore feel the movement a bit.

    Imagine large pontoons and the whole thing is built on that. It's tied down to some posts that go deep into sonotubes, or something like that. Maybe at four corners. The ropes are loose so you get a little movement but not to loose as to rock everything off the shelves if a strong wave comes along. It's got some sort of dampening in it and this is the appeal or advertising tag. The only bookstore in the U.S. of A. that literally floats!
     
  6. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    I see, so really the object of the story is based on 'an experience.' So you want to intensify the experience but don't want to end it with such a simple solution?
     
  7. aguywhotypes
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    aguywhotypes Active Member

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    No moral at all.

    I want it to feel like one of those stories that the uncle tells nieces/nephews around the dinner table at a big family get together or something like that.

    My basis for all stories are:

    What goes wrong? Something should go wrong.
    A change of state.
    or one of three things happen: you lose something vital and try to get it, or see something desirable and try to get it or experience something traumatic and try to overcome it.

    A very, very streamlined Steven James book When Story Triumphs Structure.
     
  8. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Location:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    too easy to solve
    rescue is to0 easy

    Sorry, it bugged me. ;)

    You could write the story and see where it goes, or decide what the story's about first. In other words, what does the story say, what does it mean? What goes wrong is a meaningless string of events without a why or a larger what behind it.

    It's a cute idea.
     
  9. aguywhotypes
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    aguywhotypes Active Member

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    Ahhh! Yes, I think this is what I'm looking for. Maybe the POV should be of someone in the bookstore when it floats out to sea. I'm wondering if there should NOT be a little boardwalk around it. That way people would be inside. It would have some high windows that would be round, like ship/passenger windows and since it bobbles around a little people would be used to feeling some movement and not realize that they have been floating out to sea. Until someone buys a book and tries to leave! LOL.
     
  10. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    Sounds good. Stories told around the dinner table are like fables, and the book store being like the inside of a boat is a nice analogy to allow interpretation.
    The comparison of fabricated experience with the real thing.

    :superagree:
     
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  11. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Ralph's side of the island.
    A bookstore on a houseboat fits your idea.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I really have no idea why, but this post made me joyful. ^^
     
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  13. rasmanisar
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    rasmanisar Active Member

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    I think this could work well. I wouldn't worry about complexities in rescue, or overly worked plot devices. Maybe make it a voyage of self-discovery and companionship rather than one of adventure. Who are the people in this bookshop? Why are they there? Some kind of writing, reading group? Are they friends, casual acquaintances? What angles could you work from that?

    Like you say, the rescue is a forgone conclusion, but that doesn't mean it will be quick, especially if there are complications - bad seas, difficulty locating them etc. So maybe the people in the bookshop have lots of time to wait, to reflect, to get to know each other. Time to tell stories. I think this is where the real depth of the idea lies. Maybe each of the group, prompted by another, could pick out a book or story that links with their own life experiences. Or maybe they realise that, surrounded by these books they love reading, they have their own stories to tell. Go from there.

    Sound good?
     
  14. aguywhotypes
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    aguywhotypes Active Member

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    I like that. I was always thinking it would be about the big rescue. I like this approach, more literary.
     
  15. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    I like the idea. It feels fun and surreal like life of pi.

    Right away I thought, wouldn't it be great if the out at sea bookshop came across another shop out to sea, like they just wave at the other shoppers who wave back and continue on seperate journeys.
     
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  16. drifter265
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    drifter265 Banned

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    Is the goal to get the bookstore back to land? Don't the people want to get back to land? How are they going to survive? I'm sure when they realize they've ran out of food that they're not going to care what happens to the damn bookstore.

    What is the bookstore's significance that changes this story from any other survivalist story about being lost at sea? I don't get it. I think you think it's cute. The bookstore is not a character, it should be a symbol for something - work on that. Work on the actual characters, maybe a romance or something and the book nerd finally gets stranded with the girl of his dreams that he never thought he could get and then he realizes that she's just like him or something and whom is scared and has low self-esteem and maybe one of his books in his favorite bookstore that's now stranded out at sea can be an analogy to this relationship and the book can be be something like a symbol for, "We all just want to be loved," or something like that.

    No matter what you want this story to be I feel it's missing a goal (like getting back to land) and a character.
     
  17. rasmanisar
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    rasmanisar Active Member

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    Personally I think making this about survival would be completely the missing the point. To me, the whole whimsical idea of a group of people floating out to sea in a bookstore sets the scene wonderfully for a lighthearted exploration into people interacting in an abnormal scenario. The bookstore presents an excellent metaphor for how each individual has a different story, a different past, but similar intentions - how they all ended up in the bookstore in the first place.

    Maybe I'm just being a romantic!
     

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