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  1. beard
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    beard New Member

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    Writers block-ugh!

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by beard, Aug 4, 2011.

    I'm not new to writing but this is my first novel (I worked for my HS newspaper for 3 years, that makes me a pro right? ;) ).

    I'm stuck with too few words for what I'm seeking and have run out of plot ideas. I was hoping some of you could help get my creative juices flowing and bounce some ideas around. Here's the basic storyline.

    The year is 2081, not much has changed since now though. The book is written from the perspective of a helicopter pilot who makes deliveries for a man who grows organs on a farm (in Oregon, so he's an Oregon organ farmer....get it :D ).

    I've given them encounters with thieves and a natural disaster (flood) and have essentially wrapped the story up. I figured I'll hit 40k words or a little more with editing and character development, I'd like to shoot for 70-80k total though.

    The main differences that I've addressed are the loss of forests in the US, a huge rise in population which leads to the majority of the world following China's one-child policy, and an introduction of a devastation chemical into beverages. The chemical essentially destroys organs in a person's body, hence the need for an organ farm. Beyond that, there aren't many differences from modern day.

    Any help would be appreciated, even if it's telling me I'm an idiot (I know!) and should never be a writer. You probably won't deter me but I'd like your opinion regardless.

    Much love, Beard
     
  2. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Okay, I can't really give you ideas, that would be kind of cheating.

    Instead, I'll do this. How's the world the same? Technological progress alone should render that hard to believe. If you're going for realism and plausibility, you ironically need to change a lot more. Read about things like Singularity for ideas on that.
     
  3. beard
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    beard New Member

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    Thanks, I appreciate the comment. I'll definitely look up singularity and see if that helps.

    Just for the record, I'm not looking for someone to write the rest of the story out for me. I've put a good deal of effort into it already and am just stuck right now. I think this comment found in the stickied thread by Cogito sums up my desires perfectly.

    Elgaisma
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    There is a difference between bouncing ideas around and getting something to trigger or use and develop and asking someone to write it for you.

    There are a lot of ideas in my book I wouldn't have had or even considered without asking for help and input. I feel a great deal of satisfaction in my work no one else could have taken that particular combination and written it in that fashion or used the ideas in quite the same manner.

    The final product is mine however I will be adding a long acknowledgement page
     
  4. LostInFiction
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    LostInFiction Senior Member

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    Hi Beard,
    I'm in exactly the same position as you! I've just hit 38k words.
    I guess this means I won't be very helpful but that rarely stops me trying :D
    I've been reading articles in writing magazines and threads on here and have found this a really useful experience helping identify where I can improve my story. In this sense the length of my story is a prompt for me to look at what I've missed rather than just a word count for the sake of it and I can still see lots of possibilities for getting whats in my head better fixed to the page. In the last two days I've jotted down three areas for improving my story just by looking specifically at the levels of conflict in the story. I already can see that by going through the story and looking at elements such as character building, conflict, setting the scene, the five senses etc I'm going to find plenty of other avenues to help get me from novella to novel...
    So this may not be of much use to you but hey, it's sometimes reassuring to know that you aren't alone...right?! ;)
     
  5. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Ah, good.

    With that in mind, two other things.
    A. Ecological collapse like a 2nd Dust Bowl are very likely to occur again very soon, which would cause immense starvation, and also not allow population growth.
    B. Will humanity even make it to 2081? With both economic problems, like immense debt and a fragile world economy, and immense ecological damage combined makes it where you need to explain how we even got to 2081.

    Over all, the world should've changed. A lot. For the better or worse, that's your decision, but it not changing very much at all is just ludicrous.
     
  6. beard
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    beard New Member

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    I think I was trying more to downplay the changes rather than elaborate on them within the thread starter. Obviously there's changes, but they aren't drastically effecting the main setting for the most part. The world has faced another devastating war (in South America), population growth was kept unchecked for too long and places like India are now a wasteland with less than a million people due to disease and starvation. Border control is tighter than ever, etc. The issues that I mentioned earlier make character development and descriptive settings more difficult but I chose to leave them in for the effect. There's hardly any tree's in North America, try writing describing a farm in Oregon without mentioning tree's haha. Families are completely different now because of the one-child policy, you can't have sibling rivalry or the bond created by brother and sister. It makes everything more difficult but it's the reality of where I took my book.

    I hope that helps give it some more depth, I wasn't trying to say that everything is exactly the same, but some attitudes never change. The whole thought process of outsiders invading a town (us vs them mentality) has been around since the stone age and will continue to be around until the end of man. Individual's trying to better their community at the expense of themselves and individuals trying to better themselves at the expense of others are also timeless attitudes.
     
  7. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Politics? Sure. Technology? Heck no. Hence, that technology should be implemented in this world. Singularity will make this world very hard to exist UNLESS you make it a post apocalyptic one, allowing for some technological regression.
     
  8. beard
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    beard New Member

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    Killer, I respect your thoughts and opinions so please don't take anything I say as "it's my book and I'll do as I please!". I very well could rightfully take that attitude but prefer to leave things open for discussion. Healthy communication is important and I believe it improves everything (even if you don't change your mind haha).

    With that being said, I'm going to disagree with you. Politics aside (I hope they digress!) I think there's historical proof of technology advancing and digressing at different speeds. The Industrial Revolution and the recent Silicon Valley boom since the early '80's are proof of technology advancing rapidly in a short span of time. Each industry faces spurts of rapid growth from time to time. I also think there's been plenty of times when growth as slowed to a barely perceptible crawl and even digressed for different reasons.

    Da Vinci and Galileo (and some would say Einstein) all had ideas that were years before their time. If they had the funding of today's scientists and apprentice's to continue their visions we might very well have teleportation and flying cars today. Some of their theories and discoveries are just being recognized as legitimate ideas. We didn't digress from those thoughts necessarily but we dropped them for quite awhile before re-examining them.

    On the same topic, if a world crisis were to happen we could potentially lose most everything we currently have. Books, if preserved, would be able to tell us how to harness electricity again and we'd be able to regain most of what we have. It would certainly hinder the technological advances that we're seeing nowadays though.

    There will come a time when we begin to run out of ideas for new inventions (probably not run out completely). That won't be the end of civilization but it will slow new ideas and inventions down until something new is discovered (a new type of ore perhaps, or a new planets that we can inhabit?). I'm not a conspiracy theorist but I see the advantages of having those types of people around. There's only so many uses for our current supply of ore, diamonds, plastics, and metals. When we can no longer think of new ways to use those natural resources we'll have come to a stalling point until something new is discovered.

    My book isn't meant to be prophetic, I'm certain that the topics I've covered won't be nearly accurate in 2081 but it's my interpretation of the way things could turn out. I could see a world where we push deforestation to the brink and can't stop ourselves before it's too late. Construction would be limited to only brick and stone buildings from that point forward, moving entire buildings across the country might be cheaper than building them, especially if new oil reserves were found within the US.

    Reading opens doors to new worlds, that what we're taught as kids and that's what inspired most of us to become writers I hope (it certainly wasn't for the money haha). Imaginations are key when writing novels, anything can happen.
     
  9. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    What is the end of your story? I usually sit down and try to think first of what the story, theme and idea is that I want to tell. Then the time and place I want to tell it. Last I plot it out. Come up with a beginning middle (maybe a climax) and end. The end is very important because it gives a a target to focus on so that I don't get off on tangents and it helps me with what problems I want to solve to get to that end. Then I can write the discovery of these solutions. The tricky part is the stuff in between because you may want subplots to fill in the boring gaps.

    Good Luck.
     
  10. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    True, although I have some final thoughts to say on this.

    Yes, of course we can't predict the future, and yes, technological progress gets slowed down, (hence I actually said perhaps it would be a good idea to make this one post apocalyptic.) However, I do think fiction that takes place in our reality, and on our world, should at least try to be as plausible as possible in regards to the future. Now, to be fair with singularity, that to some extent is virtually impossible. We don't have any idea what world we'll have by 2050, much less 2081. The key is to try.

    As for technological progress currently, singularity will actually speed it up all over again. To what? Who knows, but technological progress probably won't slow down until either an apocalyptic event occurs or... we cross the singularity line.
     
  11. The_NeverPen
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    The_NeverPen Member

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    Although plant life seems unaffected, the chemical is fatal if ingested, right? So what has happened to the wildlife? How has that affected farming, food supplies, pet ownership and zoos? With the rise of organ farms, I assume that processing the chemical out of the water is either impossible or prohibitively difficult. What actions are being taken by governments? Has the space program refocused on getting water from extraterrestrial sources? Are some places less contaminated than others? Who controls those?

    I imagine that nations at war would try to attack organ farms to disrupt supply. What steps are being taken to attack/defend those areas?

    The most important questions to answer are about the characters, but there are so many, I couldn't even begin to ask them here. I see a lot of possible vectors for conflict in what you've given, but other than asking rather vague questions, it's hard to push you in some direction I know you haven't gone yet.
     
  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not clear on what your story is about. You've told us the setting, and some of the events, but you yourself sound pretty bored with those events. Who are the characters? What do they want? Why do we care what they want? Why is the period of time depicted in the story important enough in their lives for you to write a book about it? What changes for them?

    Even if your goal is to present a specific possible view of the future, that's not enough to make a story. The story is about the characters.

    ChickenFreak
     
  13. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A story concept means nothing. I can tell you now, it has all been done before. What matters is how you write it, the characterization, the flow, the imagery, all of it.

    There's no benefit in asking what other people think of the concept! They'll either say,"Sounds great," or, "it sounds like a ripoff of..."

    If the idea stirs you, write it. Then ask people what they think of the final story. After they tell you what they don't like about it, revise it, usually several times, until you're happy with it or until you throw up your hands and say the hell with it.

    Please read What is Plot Creation and Development?
     

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