1. lashley2

    lashley2 New Member

    Nov 20, 2014
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    How to stay true to a narrative

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by lashley2, Nov 20, 2014.

    Right now I'm outlining a sci-fi type of story, and I originally set out to have a hard-boiled, noir-ish kind of tone. My problem right now is where the story is headed. I set out originally for this story to be kind of dark, but it's feeling a little bit... too dark. Every time I turn it over in my head, the only possible conclusions for this story are just awful and not what I wanted at all. I really like the idea of a hard-boiled, edgy kind of story but ultimately I want a hopeful (not necessarily "happy") ending. I've played with a lot of darker ideas and plots and I don't like any of them--I am thinking I may have to change the tone I'm going for, but I'm not sure what I would change it to.

    I'm worried that if I make things the way I want them, I will be going against the tone I set for my story. Does anyone out there have any advice about this? Or am I just over thinking everything?
  2. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

    Sep 6, 2014
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    I would say that tone is more flexible than the overall structure of your story, so if they don't match, it's the tone that should change.

    That said, it sounds like you don't really LIKE the overall structure of your story. I'm not sure if we can help you with that - you might just have to fight through it yourself.

    Simpson17866 likes this.
  3. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

    Jan 28, 2014
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    I suppose you could look at a) your characters, and b) their situation in the plot to determine why your idea seems to be heading in such a terminally dark direction. Is there anything you could change in either or both to alleviate the bleakness? Is there something about your MC that predestines him or her to that particular awful fate? Maybe you could give him some characteristic that'll provide that if he must go down to defeat, he will do so admirably.
    jannert likes this.
  4. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

    Dec 30, 2010
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    Sounds like your story wants to go one way and you want it to go another.

    When these things happen, I'm wondering if this is the story you should tell right now, or if you should tell another story and leave this current one for later?

    Forcing the story to go the way you consciously wanted is sometimes a bad idea - the flow and plot becomes stilted, like it's trying to be something other than what it's supposed to be.

    My advice is perhaps just to write and see what this story is actually about, as opposed to what you might want it to be about.
  5. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

    Mar 7, 2013
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    I'd say maybe let this idea cook for a while. If you haven't actually started writing, that should be easy. Sometimes it's a breakthrough in thinking that you need. If you're already writing, of course you can carry on, see what happens, and maybe a slightly different story will evolve. But if your story is going in the wrong direction, you probably need some distance on it.

    I've always felt that sitting at a computer writing is only about 20% of what writing is all about. Thinking (and feeling) about your story is huge. Take your time, forget your outline, and think about your characters and situation. Let them settle into scenes you can visualise. Give yourself some space and time.

    Notice I'm not saying abandon the project or move quickly on to something else. You need to stick with it. But you can also back off a bit, till the story ideas feel right. You'll know when that happens.
    Catrin Lewis likes this.
  6. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

    May 20, 2012
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    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    Fix the tone before you get too far in the writing. I usually play around with a few pages ( especially if I know it's going to be a long piece. ) Too dark and you'll have a hard time creating a believable upbeat ending - too
    light and you'll have a hard time working in an ending with some punch. I usually try to straddle between a mix to open up the reader for anything. Also, I don't like to lock myself in.

    Plus, some subjects just aren't for everyone. It's one thing to read about them another thing to write about them. Don't force yourself to write something dark if you're cringing about it. A lot of people think being ultra-dark is powerful. It's not really.
    Catrin Lewis likes this.

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