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  1. Philliggi

    Philliggi Member

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    Key moment in story- help req

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Philliggi, Oct 6, 2020.

    Hi all, its not often i ask for help with my stories, but im struggling with this one and thought I'd try and talk it through with fellow authors.

    So I've come to a crossroads in my story. My character - a pilot is trying to steal a plane to basically take him to the finish line of the book. He has everything he needs, access to the plane, the keys, the runway, and nobody in his way. Basically he can get onto the plane and fly away into the distance.

    However if he does that the book will be cut very short and barely hit 50,000 words.

    His partner has broken into an adjacent hangar and has the potential to find something which would stop him getting on it, however I'm hitting a brick wall with what that could be, that is feasible and realistic.

    I know all the unwritten rules about not dragging your book out longer than the story naturally would develop, but I thought I'd ask here first.

    A bit of back ground on it, the world as we know it is starting to unravel. Its basically the beginning of the apocalypse, but the people in my world are yet to realise it, except a select few - ie my MC. It is a down to earth story, with no far fetched entities. Everything that happens is realistic and possible, so i don't really want to go down the path of supervillian/dead body/kidnap situation or millions in £££. Everything I can come up with seems far fetched.

    Don't really expect miracles here, I would love it if you could solve my dilemma for me, but I know that's doubful, but have you ever been in a similar situation with your writing, and how did you overcome it?
     
  2. SolZephyr

    SolZephyr Member Supporter

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    What kind of interests/attachments does your MC have? Is there anything that would interest him enough to get him to check out what his partner finds long enough for someone else to hijack the plane? If not, what about an accident? Maybe the partner accidentally sets some gasoline on fire or something, causing the hanger to collapse on the plane (assuming the hangers are small and close enough for that to be an option).

    Those are my ideas, but like you said, sometimes a book just naturally ends at an earlier point than others. I think that's (generally) better than artificially inflating its word count.
     
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  3. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    I don't think you want an "and then" moment here. He was getting on the plane, and then a new situation appeared that made him change his mind. That shit is boring because no one cares about the new thing. When I come across that in a book, it makes me wish the book started at that point, as if the previous 40k pages were just the set up and the normal world, and this new thing in the hanger is the real inciting incident. It is frustrating.

    I think you want to read back through your book and see if you have enough conflict and moving pieces to sustain an 80 or 100k novel, or whatever you are going for. If not, this might be a structural problem. You go add an element or two earlier in the book, that would allow the characters to intentionally engage with something relevant in the hanger. Maybe they had conflicting goals, and they realize they can take the plane to pursue a different one, or maybe there is a trap in the hanger, or an enemy appears and shoots them down, but as a logical result of things that happened earlier in the book so that the appearance of this enemy is anticipated by the readers.
     
  4. Underneath

    Underneath Member

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    The plane has been siphoned of fuel or otherwise does not work. It’s been placed there for repairs.
     
  5. Urocyon

    Urocyon Member

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    Well, obviously we don't know the full circumstances of your setting, but by basically handing your MC his escape on a silver platter, you're cutting out a source of conflict in your story. I'd say the easiest of these four to turn into an obstacle would be "nobody in his way". You say that a select few know of the world's predicament, could one or two of those characters be present to spur a confrontation over the plane? Perhaps the craft is a single-seater, and your M.C. and his partner need to decide (or fight!) over who flees? Maybe the plane isn't as airworthy as it seems.

    On another tack, look into the personalities of these characters and see how they can be accentuated by certain issues. For example: is M.C. a chivalric character? If so, by sacrificing his own escape for another could bring that out. If M.C. was a greedy bastard, he might be enticed by finding a cashe of survival supplies in the hanger, facing a choice between the potential danger of gathering these valuable resources in the face of upcoming calamity or fleeing only to perish for want of supplies later.

    As for what plot-altering thing M.C.'s friend might discover? That probably should depend on what kind of apocalypse you've got: resources, expertise and priories would change depending the circumstances and tone of your story. Is it aliens, super-plague, asteroid impact, nuclear war? The unholy spawn of Anti-Santa and a radioactive Easter Bunny?

    Anyway: I'd say there's room for drama to continue, and I think it's certainly possible to turn this moment into a pivotal point for the characters.


    EDIT:
    Looks like in the time it took me to type this other people replied with similar ideas. Sorry for the reiteration in that case.

    EDIT No. 2
    I see now that you said it was fairly realistic, oh well. I like the radioactive Easter bunny.
     
  6. Philliggi

    Philliggi Member

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    The only real option i have is this.

    Earlier in the story my mc comes across a drug dealer who he crosses. The DD knows MC is a pilot and intends using him as one, but MC crosses him and escapes, and a conflict is created.

    It would be as for me to continue this storyline, however the massive problem I have with that is that the DD would realistically have no idea where MC has gone, so this hangar coincidentally belonging to the dealer, full of drugs or whatever is just too much of a stretch.

    Thanks for all your input so far, some good ideas here
     
  7. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    The plane is in the hangar, but... it has been taken apart and laying
    in all of it's pieces which would severely slow down getting out of
    harms way in a reasonable amount of time.
    Think in terms of a prank where a persons car 'inexplicably'
    appears in a second floor or random room of a building or
    house. In reality a group of knowledgeable people have torn it
    apart, and then reassembled it somewhere else. Just skip the
    reassemble bit.
    The plane could have a bomb planted on it by the drug dealer?
    Cliche I know, but it is plausible.
    Hell even cutting the lines to the flaps would be a huge problem,
    or even stealing the battery or some electrical components would
    be bad for the MC.
     
  8. Urocyon

    Urocyon Member

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    Couldn't the drug dealer track your MC through his phone? Not sure how sophisticated or knowledgeable that character is, but I'm sure even a high school student could find a way to do that nowadays. Why is the hanger belonging to the DD such a stretch? Sure if he's a backstreet hoodlum prisonjockey, but in this case it might be beneficial to give this character additional attributes that make him more of a threat. It might be more interesting to center the main conflict around the DD and MC, with the apocalypse as the backdrop rather than reversed, but again, not sure how you're playing it.

    From what you've stated, I think you might be running into the problem @John Calligan mentioned: a structural plot problem. Perhaps by introducing additional conflicts, such as new characters (DD henchmen who followed MC?) or deepening the existing conflicts (the apocalypse happening much sooner than anticipated) you could increase the drama in the narrative.
     
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  9. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 12/210 MP: 0/130 Contributor

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    The weather forecast. A hurricane or tropical storm is on the way.
     
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  10. Philliggi

    Philliggi Member

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    Thank you for this. Often the simplest option is the best. I was possibly overthinking it and I tried out the weather option and its opened up whole new possibilities for me. The story works aswell, rather than feeling forced.

    Since taking onboard this idea I've ploughed through 9000 words and still going strong.

    Again, a million thank yous
     
    Naomasa298 likes this.

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