1. stubeard

    stubeard Active Member

    Jul 16, 2010
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    Have character dynamic idea; trouble with plot

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by stubeard, May 10, 2012.

    Dear all,

    I've had an idea bouncing around in my head for a while, which I really like, although I'm having problems turning it into a workable narrative.

    The fundamental concept is to tell the tale of a late-17th-century mysterious adventurer through the eyes of a young lad (aged 16-18).

    I want to tell the story of the mysterious adventurer's pursuit of a MacGuffin, against various enemies, but I don't want to tell it through his eyes/thoughts. Previous versions of the story had the young lad as a standard protagonist, with a textbook hero story-arc, who meets the mysterious adventurer on the way. But I really don't want to write that story.

    The trouble I'm having is that, while the young lad is, ostensibly, the main character, it is the mysterious adventurer who is really the protagonist. What I'm finding difficult is how to keep this young lad in the story, and I'm worried the reader will not be invested enough if the eyes of the story are not the protagonist's.

    Does this kind of idea ring any bells with anyone? Any general thoughts on the entire concept would be very, very much appreciated.

    P.S. I guess this could've gone in 'General Writing' forum rather than 'Plot Development'. My apologies.
  2. Ettina

    Ettina Active Member

    Nov 21, 2011
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    How young is the young lad?

    I had a mental image of a kid around 5-8 years old - which, if you could pull that perspective off correctly, would be an interesting way to show an adventure like this. The trick is how to show things a child wouldn't understand. (For a good example of someone doing this really well, check out Who Has Seen The Wind.)

    But I'm guessing you meant more teenaged than younger child...
  3. killbill

    killbill Member

    Feb 27, 2012
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    where the mind is without fear...
    Read Sherlock Holmes and pay attention to Watson. Mysteries are best suited for this kind of narration because the things the narrator can't see or understand helps built up the mystery. Also, you can utilize the full potential of "showing". The child might not understand everything but the readers will understand what is going on from his observations. For that you have to sometimes use detach tone and the problem you might face is using too much detach tone, so you have to find the right balance.
  4. shangrila

    shangrila New Member

    Nov 7, 2011
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    Try "Morningstar" by David Gemmel. The entire story is first person, written from the point of view of a bard, but the real hero is actually another man altogether. It might help.
  5. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
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    Massachusetts, USA
    My first thought was Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island.
  6. jg22

    jg22 Member

    Oct 15, 2011
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    There's no problem with having the protagonist different from the main character. My story has a similar set up to yours (wherein the main character meets the protagonist along the way). Since your main character is different from the protagonist, it's important to make the main character relatable and likeable enough for the reader to keep reading. My main character contrasts well with my protagonist, and constantly questions if his actions and motivations are really 'right, so that's a dynamic you might want to include in your own story.

    Since your protagonist is 'mysterious' use your main character to gradually unravel the identity of him through their friendship and dialogue, this way you will maintain a distance between the reader and the protagonist which keeps the reader's interest and investment in finding out more about the protagonist, ending in a pay-off when his identity is finally disclosed.
  7. louis1

    louis1 Member

    Jan 3, 2012
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    give the young lady a goal of her own.
  8. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Dec 30, 2010
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    Why is the young lad in the story? How is his story related to the protag's? Their stories must intertwine - otherwise it wouldn't make sense in the first place that this young lad is following your protag around.

    If you're having trouble keeping your young lad in there, maybe it's a sign that he's not necessary and shouldn't be in the story. That's usually how it is when you realise you cannot find a role for the character within your story beyond the fact that you the author simply WANTS him in there. Funny though it is, an author's sheer will is not always enough :rolleyes:

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