1. Reaperxx
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    Reaperxx New Member

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    Writing a Unique Apocalyptic Story

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Reaperxx, Oct 5, 2013.

    I'm encountering a few issues while planning out my story, and my brain has just gone to derp mode.

    I have the general plot down: Set in the future, apocalypse occurs, Earth goes through period of time similar to an Ice Age, mythological creatures ranging from demons to the Chimera. After a year or two of enduring this, humans have been able to adapt, as usual, and form an army to fight against these creatures (of course, lots of deaths have occurred, but the humans get their shit together soon enough). A group of soldiers find a safe haven (untouched by all the evil in the world), but only several can enter--gotta come up with a reason why...
    Overall, I want the ending to be neutral, not particularly bad with nearly everyone dying, or good, with Earth being renewed and happy endings, but just in the middle.

    My brain has just kind of spazzed out, and I can't think of how to end it specifically, nor how to get to the ending. And cliches. I'm not sure if I should make the Leading Council a group of dirty soldiers...

    Ideas? Help? Apologies that I'm asking so many questions, and if I'm being too general.
     
  2. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe ask yourself, what would complete the story arc? Maybe what you're looking at is a stalemate. Humanity and the creatures of myth reaching a point where neither has the advantage. For example, humanity has managed to build defenses such that it would be too costly for their enemies to breach, at least as things stand.

    I guess what you mean by 'nearly everyone' is subjective. Nearly all of humanity globally? Or the group of soldiers escaping to a 'safe haven'?

    Good luck as you move forward.
     
  3. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    If you're still in the planning stages - a clear ending isn't necessary before you begin writing. But one way of helping it along is to narrow your focus.
    Who is your narrator, your mc? Right now, the only thing that should be clear is what your mc's goal is and whether or not he'll achieve it by the end.
    And knowing this will actually help form a vague idea of an ending.

    I planned out one of my endings - vaguely - there was to be a confrontation between the villain and mc at the end of the book. I was undecided as who
    would triumph.
    Can't get more vague than that - lol.
    But where this took place and how it happened, the actual scene and it's explosive twist ending only came about while writing.
    I couldn't have planned the end scene if I wanted to, it it had to evolve.
     
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  4. Tara
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    Tara Contributing Member

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    Are you talking about a writer's block here? 'Cause that's just something that happens at some point if you're trying to write a story; you lose interest and/or don't have any new idea's. If you can't think of anything for your story at all just write. Anything's fine; write a detailed character description of (one of) your MC('s), describe the setting in detail, write random pieces about your story's setting or events taking place in the setting. It doesn't matter what you write, just don't think of it for too long. It always helps me to come up with new ideas, or to learn something new about my characters, once I know something new I can add it to the story and create another chapter.

    Like I already said: write. In this case you should write about settings, history, locations. I can't tell you if it will work in this case, but it could work. I guess you'll have to figure this out on your own. I have a suggestion though: if they are not with too much you can leave some outside to guard the place against possible attacks and make sure they're not followed while the others enter the place (if that fits in the context of your story).

    It has already been said that you should decide what you want to happen in the story. You can build the story outlines by writing down the main events and adding details later on. Don't write it like a story though, write it as a list of things you want to happen in your story. For Example:

    Soldiers find a safe haven (main event 1)
    -Only a few can enter (secondary event 1)
    +Because... (details)
    -Secondary event 2
    +Details
    And so on

    By writing it down this way you won't deal with "surprises" later in the story and you'll make sure you won't waste any time on thinking about the story line while you're working on writing the story itself. Of course this isn't the only way to do it (although it is the way I do it), maybe doing it like this won't work for you at all, it's just a suggestion.

    Good luck writing your story.
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I agree with Peach, just start writing, let the story unfold as you go. I'm still not positive where I will end my story but I didn't have even a vague idea when I started and now I do.
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    First, hi, Reaperxx, and welcome to the forum! Please read the rules, blah blah blah. No, seriously, read the rules, especially if you plan to post work here for critique.

    I noticed in your post that you don't mention an individual main character. I agree with Peach - you should have one, and that character should go through an arc. Even if the end of the story is neutral as far as human society is concerned, your MC's personal story should be complete, and should end with the MC having changed in some way because of the events of the story. It doesn't matter, story-wise, if the MC is better or worse off at the end, so long as there's a sense of completion of an arc. That will make for a satisfying story.

    Focus on one character, not a "group of soldiers." You'll probably find that most of your problems go away.

    And, of course, write. Write even if you're not sure where you're going - if you're anything like me, the act of putting words down on paper stimulates new ideas much more than staring off into space and waiting for inspiration does.

    Good luck!
     
  7. mrieder79
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    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

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    The plot sounds very promising to me. I don't think you need to have everything set in stone before you start writing. Even if you do, it may very well change during the process. Like everyone else said, just write.
     
  8. DanM
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    DanM Member

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    You may want to think about how exactly have these new creatures evolved? Genetic modification from human testing? Evolution from the new environment?

    Same for the humans still standing - what happened to them between then and now?

    I'm not saying you should spend the next two years world building, but thinking about the evolutionary developement of this new environment could give you answers to the relationship between these creatures and the humans - as well as help you avoid cliche.
     
  9. B93
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    B93 Active Member

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    When you have trouble making a decision, it's often best to list a bunch of possibilities and do just a little work with each possibility to see which is going to give the best result. Don't force yourself to make a plan or decision without thinking through those alternatives.
     
  10. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    It looks like you have a good start in general. You concern about writing an original apocalyptic story is a good thing to think about, in my opinion; I think apocalyptic stories really do need to be unique and really need to avoid cliches. It seems like the storyline in many apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic stories is generally very, very similar.

    It sounds like you should do a solid brainstorming session. Find some inspiration. Ask a lot of questions. Compare your story to popular apocalyptic books/stories and see if you can see any large differences - ask yourself what those other books/movies didn't think of, what they didn't do, where they were to afraid to go. Go there, maybe.

    Sorry I couldn't be more help.
     
  11. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    You know what I've never seen? The "Apocalypse" itself unfold. I mean how does a flash Apocalypse happen? Just BOOM! My clothes are tattered and my house is ruined and I live in a shanty town now. It'd be fantastic to see the slow boil of an apocalypse scenario from beginning to end as civilization slowly crumbles and humanity quietly transforms to primal instinct for survival. *Writes in note pad*

    Anyway as for your question, is it possible to even end? I don't believe an apocalypse can end in one book but a story has to. You can tie up enough ends just enough to finish off the story but leave us with questions and concerns afterward. Not questions and concerns that will piss us off but more along the lines of "Oh man I wonder what happened to so and so after he left" or "Maybe they'll find this character someday"

    Similar to the episode of Walking Dead, "Clear" where the characters leave Morgan in the town and tie up their business there. But it leaves you with questions and concerns that you don't particularly wanna know but at the same time keep you invested after it ends because the possibilities are endless. The story never truly ends and you kinda don't want it to.
     
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  12. Caesari
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    Caesari Member

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    Boy, would I be interested in a book like this. It could really be an interesting take on the apocalyptic scene, which is starting to be oversaturated with tired plot lines. That being said, OP has a very unique take on it, and I have to admit I like the premise.

    But, to answer OP's question, I enjoy a neutral ending. However, I feel like a small victory is usually a good way to compromise. Star Wars "Attack of the Clones," while not a very good movie, does have a neutral ending that works well in my mind. They win the battle, but they know danger looms. Yoda says something along the lines of "We have won the battle, but the war has just begun." Of course, he says it in a Yoda-y way.

    I feel like ending on that note, with a small victory but a little bit of a foreboding feeling, could work well as a neutral ending. It allows the reader to fill in the blanks however they choose afterwards. That is probably my favorite type of ending.
     
  13. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I totally agree with @peachalulu and @minstrel. I'd say forget about any more world-building which is all you seem to be doing here, and personalise this with a main character or two. Put them into the scenario you've already created, give them a push, and see what happens. Give them thoughts and feelings we can all relate to. What would YOU do if you were stuck in this situation, as a soldier, or as a creature, or as an 'innocent bystander.' That's the best way into your story, and a great way to unblock your writing.
     
  14. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Hey Now! I actually had a similar question the other day... What would it be like to read a story set in the apocalyptic event instead of in the aftermath. It may end tragically for all of the characters, but it might be an interesting story to see them struggle to fight the inevitable. Or what if it is a flash apocalypse, and everything just happens suddenly? One bright flash, an eruption of noise, some planetary shaking, and when it's over all you can see is chaos everywhere... what does a society do with that?

    This is interesting... the wheels are really spinning now. :rolleyes: (not to jack your idea or anything)
     
  15. mrieder79
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    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

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    My apologies if this has already been said, but perhaps you could try making the world as you go. Like Jannert said, just get some characters and start your story. You can build the world around them as you go to suit the needs of your story.
     
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