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  1. aguywhotypes

    aguywhotypes Active Member

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    Not sure this will work.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by aguywhotypes, Jan 29, 2015.

    Maybe I don't want to write a story. Maybe I'm writing a vignette.

    But I want to write a story about an old man who lives out on his ranch in the boonies. Somewhere in Colorado.

    His wife past away. He's got no other family. Once a month he sees the guy from the oxygen bottle supply company come out and swaps his o2 empties for the fulls, since he is old and lives up at a high elevation and needs to drag his o2 around everywhere he goes.

    I want it to feel like real life and not really have the usual 'story things' happening like goal, motivation, conflict, etc. I'm not sure I can pull it off without it.

    I think his first goal needs to be how to survive. How does he make money. I'm assuming he would collect some social security but something has to go wrong. I'm not intending this to be more than a short story.

    I want it to be interesting but at the same time low key, low action nothing to dramatic.

    But at the same time I need some sort of twist that keeps things interesting. Could he find something unusual, strange. I want to keep it mundane.

    I feel like I have to bring it over the top to keep it interesting.

    Are there any novels that you know that have been written with one character that does things by himself and doesn't interact much with anyone else?

    I guess for the conflict I could do man vs nature. This strikes me as being a bit boring...

    any ideas?
     
  2. Lea`Brooks

    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are you looking for fantasy or just life?

    It could be interesting (though I think it's been done) if his wife knew she was going to die, so she spent the last years of her life doing something sweet for her husband. Like he has an obsession with model trains, so she set up a room full of them for him to enjoy. Or he always wanted a fancy car, so she saved everything to buy it for him. Kind of make like a scavenger hunt.

    He finds one piece, thinks, "Huh, that's odd. That's not something my wife would have." So he researches the piece, and it brings him to another clue. Build up the whole story like his wife hid some huge, dark, scary secret from him. But in the end, it was a surprise that she left for him. She left the clues she did knowing he'd be suspicious and follow them.

    And maybe along the way, he has to interact with new people because he needs their help. So he ends up making friends. She did this because she knew he'd sit around and do nothing after her death. So she gave him something to do and introduced him to new people to keep him company after her death.

    Like I said, probably been done... And I don't know if it's what you're going for. But I think it's sweet :)
     
  3. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Write your vignette, don't worry about plot or any of that 'stuff.' Write it, and enjoy writing it. You'll layer tomorrow, the day after, a year later...OR you've successfully written a pretty, simple short about an old fella in Colorado doing nothing much. I'd like to read it: 1000/2000 words? But you have to write it.
     
  4. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    "His wife past [passed] away."

    I see a bit of contradiction in your post.
    No goal: "I want it to feel like real life and not really have the usual 'story things' happening like goal, motivation, conflict, etc."

    Yes goal: "his first goal needs to be how to survive. How does he make money. I'm assuming he would collect some social security but something has to go wrong."

    Yes unusual: "I need some sort of twist that keeps things interesting. Could he find something unusual, strange."

    No unusual: "I want to keep it mundane."

    No drama: "one character that does things by himself and doesn't interact much with anyone else?"

    Yes drama: "I guess for the conflict I could do man vs nature."
    Conflict in fiction is not limited to conflict between two people. Drama does not need to include heavy action.

    It sounds like what you want is on the tip of your tongue but you can't quite formulate the words. Start writing, don't worry what isn't there. Let it develop as you go.
     
  5. aguywhotypes

    aguywhotypes Active Member

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    This is 'Just Life' as you put it.

    Your idea is good, I do like that- scavenger hunt.

    I was thinking, both ways at the same time.
     
    Lea`Brooks likes this.
  6. tonguetied

    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

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    I never read it but maybe Walden Pond would be similar in some ways.
     
  7. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think you're on the right track with the idea of a vignette, if you really do want to avoid goal, motivation, and conflict. I don't really think you can have a story without some aspect of those elements, but you could still have a nice piece of writing.
     
  8. 123456789

    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is a much better idea than half the ideas regurgitated here. I think you'll be fine.
     
  9. Jack Asher

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Old people at higher elevation don't kneed oxygen anymore the old people at lower elevation do. My grandma is 80 and lives at 8,500 feet. She uses oxygen when she sleeps, but that incredibly common treatment for the elderly at any elevation.
     
  10. Poet of Gore

    Poet of Gore Member

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    without a real or obvious plot, what i would say to concentrate on is whatever themes and motifs you have, just drown your story in those
     
  11. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think I'd personally be interested in what he's thinking, and why he's on whatever journey he's on - I imagine it would be linked to his wife's death, or perhaps it could include a reflection on his marriage. I think as long as you make sure you bring in the human aspect in this - what makes this old man relateable, interesting, sympathetic, whatever touches us about this old man - you'll be fine. Truth is, your idea doesn't sound half bad. You're right it shouldn't be very long, but it doesn't need to be long to be memorable, good, or even great.
     
  12. aguywhotypes

    aguywhotypes Active Member

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    I might do this: he of course inherits the ranch that his dad and family once had and sells off most of it. Takes a little of the money and buillds himself a little cabin at the far corner of the ranch that he has kept for himself. He then secretly gives the rest of the money away to the townfolk.

    Or

    Maybe he is lonely after his wife dies so he constructs a petting zoo and amusement park so he can be around people.
     
  13. Jack Asher

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    You know there's usually a ranch house on the ranch, right? Why would he build a little cabin instead of just living on the already built ranch house?
     
  14. aguywhotypes

    aguywhotypes Active Member

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    Because he sells it. He saves an acre for himself in the back corner.
     
  15. Jack Asher

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    No, sorry I should have been more specific. Usually the ranch house is on the back corner, not in the center of the property.
     

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