1. Bl4ck Catz

    Bl4ck Catz New Member

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    Streamlined Stories

    Discussion in 'By Writing Form' started by Bl4ck Catz, Oct 27, 2018.

    It’s hard to find a simple way to ask about this, but I figured that I’d give it a go.


    I love a lot of those sparse John Carpenter-esque action stories like Escape from New York and The Warriors and I decided to write a sci-fi, cyberpunk noir that has the kind of barebones story/fast-moving plot that those stories do. Ive decided to center it around a casino heist gone wrong to give the characters something to react to in order to keep the story and the action on the move.


    I keep envisioning it as a novel, but I keep butting up against a couple of problems that make it hard to keep that barebones style. The first is being able to fit the world-building aspects. The story contains elements of augmented reality, magic, and social inequality and a big hook of the story is exploring how they all play out together, however, they all take a bit of explaining that seem to slow things down.


    The second problem is that the story goes from slice-of-life to heist to kind of spy thriller to sci-fi action as it goes along. I think Ive found out a way to make those transitions pretty smoothly, but I wonder if it might be too much to do and keep the whole thing streamlined.


    So I guess I’m putting it out there to see if anyone else has had similar problems with this kind of streamlining and would be willing to share some experiences or advice.


    Thanks for reading!
     
  2. DeeDee

    DeeDee Contributor Contributor

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    Books and movies are a different medium, so it's extra difficult if you imagine your story as a movie but you have to write it as a book. In a movie you can have fifteen minutes of fight scenes anc chases. In a book you can't have that for twenty pages. There must be more to it. Also in a movie you can have Kurt Russel come in view and ten seconds later it's obvious how he's a fabulous guy, brave and smart, but if you have to describe that in a book, you can't just say: "Here comes a fabulous guy, brave and smart." So if you've choosen to write a certain type of book, go read similar books first.
    Show not tell. It's not an encyclopedia. Nowhere in Harry Potter does it say "Once upon a time the first magician was born and then there were more, and they went to live away from the muggles, then they build a school named Hogwarts, and also an extra 3/4 of a platform at the trainstation." Instead, we see those come up when it's needed: Harry is told he's a magician, he's invited to Hogwarts and goes there via some oddly numbered train platform. Then later we learn a bit more here and a bit more there. JK doesn't stop the story in order to waffle about the history of the magic world and it's workings.
    So does Psycho, and From Dust Till Down. Those are pretty abrupt transitions but they work just fine.
     
  3. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Loved by a Sweet lady. :) Contributor

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    While I would tend to agree with @DeeDee on this point, I will have
    to cite books in the WH40K universe, where war is constant (basically
    a lot of action and not a lot of slow down and catch your breath moments).

    So it is possible to have a nearly all fast paced action story for well into about
    300-500 pg novel, it is not going to be easy to do. Cause where I do agree with
    DeeDee is that you are using a non visual based media to try and depict things
    as well as a movie can, which is going to be the big obstacle in your writings.

    I would recommend you seek out books like those in WH40K and others that
    are fast paced nonstop action romps from start to finish, so you can get a better
    grasp of how to make a coherent story written while keeping reader interest and
    avoiding the dreaded plot holes that will hamper the story in the long run. :)

    Good Luck. :superagree:
     
  4. Bl4ck Catz

    Bl4ck Catz New Member

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    Thanks @DeeDee and @Cave Troll for the great advice. Its definitely given me some food for thought in terms of whether this is something I'd want to spend a lot of time on, or if it's another one of my five minute ideas.

    That's really the crux of it, isn't it? After giving it some more thought, Think that what I really want to borrow from those movies is the feel of them (i.e., a general sense of post-apocalyptic darkness and a sense of the surreal) and their kinetic momentum. So I think the key is to find a way to port that into book form. I think the best adventure books have that sense of movement and it might be a good idea to revisit some of those books.

    I also love the suggestion of looking into the WH40k series and probably the Shadowrun series since it's an inspiration. From what I've read, those books describe their action pretty well, but they both go on a bit longer than I'd want in describing it and are a bit too military focused for my personal taste, but it could be worth a read. I don't think that I want to describe every nook and cranny of the action or the sci-fi/social stuff as much as I want to make sure I can give a good sense of those aspects in a coherent way that will give people a sense of being there. So I think if I go forward with the story, it's really going to be a challenge to paint vivid pictures with an economy of words. Not my strong suit, but it could be fun to try.

    Someone suggested checking out novelizations of the movies that I'm thinking about and that's something I'd like to try. Also maybe checking out pulp detective novels and shorts. I think a big piece of the puzzle is figuring out what kind of tone tells that story the best.

    True enough! Hmmm...but maybe if I can get Kurt Russell to narrate the audiobook... :)
     
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