1. sprirj

    sprirj Senior Member

    Feb 2, 2009
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    Finding a website my accident...

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by sprirj, Jun 17, 2012.

    So I am at the point in my novel where my main character comes across a website which is horrific.
    The main character must be familiar or enjoy this website, but until that moment had no thoughts on its subject matter.
    But it is no coincidence he found it.

    How do I make a mundane action like surfing the web exciting?
    How do I make the reader believe that someone can be drawn to this website?

    Any thoughts on the subject would be great.
    Thanks to everyone who helped on my last thread. Tesoro and ChickenFreak especially, for the wise words.
  2. chicagoliz

    chicagoliz Contributor Contributor

    May 30, 2012
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    I don't understand what you mean by "the main character must be familiar or enjoy this website." What is horrific about it? I'm assuming it shows some sort of criminal/masochistic/violent activity. I'm not sure what you mean by "It is no coincidence he found it," either.

    Surfing the web will be exciting/suspenseful/compelling if you write it well. This is linked to your making the reader believe someone could be drawn to it. DESCRIBE the MC finding it. Delve deeply into his thoughts about what he's seeing, his reactions to what he sees and thinks, how he doesn't want to see it/is at first repulsed, but can't stop thinking about it, is drawn repeatedly to visiting it, etc.

    There shouldn't be a lot of mundane actions in your book. Why write about those? You can make just about anything exciting if you create the right stakes and get us to understand why the character is spending his time thinking about it. Getting my mail is exciting if I'm expecting an college acceptance or rejection letter today. That might be a day I write about. But if I'm expecting nothing in the mail, and I just go outside to get it because I need to clear out the junk mail and ads, because I never get anything interesting, and don't get anything interesting that day, and all I do is throw the ads into the recycle bin, that would be boring and mundane. And that wouldn't make it into my story. You have to pick and choose. In your example, sitting down at the keyboard to surf the web, just as something to do isn't necessarily interesting. But the *discovery* of this website is.
  3. Leonardo Pisano

    Leonardo Pisano Active Member

    Jan 21, 2011
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    Just a few flashes, which you MIGHT be able to use.
    1. Surfing the web is actually searching a server (say Google server). It's not real time. So you can make surfing a surrealistic experience, possibly.
    2. The web is significantly larger than what can be found by search engines. Google "the deep web" or "the invisible web" and you know what I mean. Again this can give a spin to surfing that readers may not be aware of and thus can be thrilled.
    3. Maybe using image search rather than keyword search can bring about the magic you are looking for.

  4. indy5live

    indy5live Active Member

    May 15, 2012
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    I'm with chicagoliz, I'm not 100% sure what you are talking about in terms of your MC browsing the internet and discovering a website, yet it's not a coincidence? If I'm looking for a house to buy and I buy a house that someone wants me to buy, it would be highly unlikely that I baught the house the person wanted me to buy by mere coincidence. They would have had to do something to draw me into that selection. See what I'm getting at? If someone needs him to discover the website; have a random random email sent to him, or have a friend already addicted to the website suggest it to him, or have him be tech savvy and he discovers someone from an IP address associated to that website is trying to access his computer, or have him be semi-mischievous and downloads software illegally and a download changed his homepage that he is curious about and browses...there are plenty of ways you can write it, but only if you throw out the coincidence factor. He can browse the internet and find whatever, but it would be hard for me to believe that he found a website randomly that he had to discover (the internet is just sooooo massive). The only way I can think of having your MC discover something randomly that he is suppose to discover is if he goes to some palm-reading website for a bit of entertainment and the website leads to some fancy verbage quotation that he doesn't quite understand so he googles the quote and there is only one result...how the palm reading website knew to generate that quote that lead him to the website can remain a mystery, because palm reading is mysterous...further information is required.

    EDIT: Well, I just thought of something. He can find the website by coincidence as long as it's discover later that it was no coincidence. For example, Facebook ads can have so many keywords that it literally targets just one person. For example, everything I hit 'like' on becames associated to my name, thus if someone had access to that information, they can generate a Facebook ad that required someone that 'liked' Brad Paisley, Cooking Network, Pitbulls, Baths, Running Red Lights, etc...see what I'm getting at. A person can secretly direct him to his website by making such a specific Ad that it targets only him. Go to facebook ads and see how that would work. It literally tells you how many people could possible see that ad. As you type in more requirements, the field gets smaller and smaller. Just an afterthought.
  5. 5305437093421

    5305437093421 New Member

    Feb 28, 2012
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    The character could have a routine like checking a few select websites first and what he looks for in them. Make that part quick. One of his regular websites can lead all sorts of places through ads or 'link of the day' and he finds the horrific website through there. If someone planned it to happen, they would have looked at his browsing habits and led out of his familiar territory. If you want to have only the main character click through and not everyone who visits the website, perhaps make the link appear in a members section on a page that can only be seen by him - for this, the 'planner' will need a little bit of computer expertise.
    Also, his browsing habits can reveal some of his character or backstory.
  6. Ettina

    Ettina Active Member

    Nov 21, 2011
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    What I do when I want a character to find something online is I go to Google and search for the thing myself. Just see what comes up. In one story, a character had to search for a guy's name and find a news story about the guy's body being stolen from a morgue (the guy was a vampire). I literally Googled the name of that character, and several of the red herrings were actual people with that name. (It's a reasonably common name.) Then I just pretended the news article about the guy's body being stolen was another hit for that name. You can add some humor in some of the random stuff they find.
    If they know what they want to find beforehand, then it's going to add a bit of a sense of effort to describe the red herring sites. If they don't know what they'll find, then the target site is going to catch their eye in some way. For example, my brother is into anime and manga, but not into porn. When he saw a link to some 'hentai' (Japanese animation porn) he just recognized the word as something Japanese and clicked on it, and was disgusted at what he found.

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