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"The openings of my novels seem fine. This may be because they are generally only one scene long. But it may also be because I develop them differently than the rest of the plot." In that case, treat each scene as the "opening" of the rest of the novel. Develop it as you would develop the real opening, rather than the "rest of the plot." That way, your ...


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You can use Lauren's method to develop your plot, but I wouldn't advise you to write backwards. In my opinion you should always write every text in the order that it will be read. As you progress from one part to the next you will automatically create transitions from one part to the next, because that is how the mind works. If you work backwards, you'll ...


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Sequence is all and well, but don't forget your character development. And while we are at it remember that in the real world, everyone in the star of their own story. So you have the order of events, but if the story is that simple, it is just a tale. Remember Eddie will put rabbit ears on anybody whenever there is a camera pointed at them, and Bob used to ...


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You have all your parts; you've sort of discovered your story backwards. Now you need to reverse–reverse-engineer an outline. A very rough skeleton for an outline is: Intro: set up the story world Act I: Plot is set in motion. Ends with a disaster or reversal Act II: Reversal is overcome. Plot moves forward. Ends with another disaster or reversal. ...


2

It sounds as if your story progresses in a series of "this happens and then that happens" scenes. I think the key is to focus on cause and effect. This happens, and therefore that happens. Take a closer look at Lauren's awesome "plotting backwards" answer that you cite. Every single one of her prompt questions is about cause and effect. Edited to add: I ...


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Present tense narrative can work powerfully with flashbacks. What I consider to be one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century is Robert Cormier's 'Heroes'. It continually swaps between the present tense narrative and flashbacks to the past. The climax of the novel is the meeting of the two. To tell his story he needed the past and he needed the ...


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Writing for flashbacks is perfectly fine, as is the case in movies referenced by Lauren Ipsum's comment. Sometimes setting the scene is effective by setting a tone or expectation in the present or perhaps even just as a hook for the reader/viewer. An important point to consider might be, given the entire romance is in the past, is to make it seem as a story ...


1

I like the characters and I think it would make a really engaging story. What you have running there is a pretty good style and if done right, the readers won't put down the book. But then again, having just a style is usually not sufficient if you want the novel to be commercially hit. Most commercial novels have a generic structure - those three acts- the ...


2

I think there's a danger in writing anything to tide the reader over. Especially in the opening, where readers don't yet know whether the story is worth their time. That doesn't mean you have to start the story with the main conflict. But you have to get us caring about the characters, and you have to do that right away. A great way to do that is to give ...


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The problem is that the complexity increases exponentially with additional points of view. Ideally, you'd have only one point of view, the teen. At most, you should have two, the teen and his mentor, who increases the complexity by two squared or four. The people on the train should not be "point of view" characters, but rather minor characters. To use ...


2

Focusing on the theme can help immensely. You described it as: (The main point of the story is how each person sees the world differently and interprets the objective reality through subjective lenses) All prior stories I am familiar with that explore this theme use overlapping timelines, e.g. the same event told from 4 different characters' POVs. You ...


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One of my favorite tools is a bucket tool, and it is found in the bakery where they use it for opening and closing 5-gallon buckets of frosting. It is a wicked cross between a hammer and a pry-bar. There are also cleavers, meet hooks and bone saws in the butcher section (in addition to the meat grinder that ate about 1/3 of a friend's hand) and of course the ...


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Use the device that deactivates the tags they put on clothing/bottles/etc to stop them being shoplifted. She has to struggle to get her device/tag to fit into the machine/it doesn't work at first/it is urgent that it works immediately/whatever. Alternatively, have her make a chemical concoction that disrupts the mechanism. Think about the cleaning aisle. ...


1

Either I'm misunderstanding what you have said or I think you need something to tie various people together. I was just thinking of the disaster movie 'Towering Inferno' and obviously what tied really diverse people together was a fire. However, all the individual reactions to it, including the many deaths, were eventually subsumed by the putting out of fire ...


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Just because the reader knows the reason for the Bridging Conflict doesn't mean the characters will be able to overcome it. In your example, even if the reader knows all the extra security measures are because of the Zombie Apocalypse, that doesn't mean that the zombies won't break through the security measures. In fact, it lends some extra tension. The ...


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"Bridging conflict" is nonsense. You only need it if your characters are uninteresting. A good book has a protagonist with a problem. Apparently, on the surface, the book is about this person saving the world, but the real story is how he or she grows up and solves their personal problem. The adventure (or whatever you want to call it) that begins with the ...


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In a sense, this is the whole point to an epilogue --if it had the same feel as the main narrative, it would just be the last chapter. Epilogues exist solely to solve the problem of authors wanting to tell the readers things that don't --for whatever reason --fit into the main framework of the novel (and the same is true for prologues). That doesn't ...


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Sounds fine to me. The prologue and epilogue are literally before and after the story, so it's fine for them to be formatted differently or have a different POV.


3

I think everything is doable, if the reader gets the feeling it is fitting. I see no problem in the approach to have the book in first person and switch to third for the finale.


0

You should use supernatural powers for the sake of the plot, not for the sake of "power" or for "cool." In one of my screenplays, I gave the heroine "supernatural" powers to fix a problem inherent in the plot. It's all very matter of fact (and treated as such), but when she's done, she is finally "appropriate" for the hero.


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If complex novel-length plots come naturally, then try writing a single (or pair of) scene(s) from the longer story -- an episode in the larger arc. The challenge will then be to produce distinct and authentic voices for the characters without the back-story and world-building that the longer format would afford.


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Don't introduce powers if you won't explore their consequences. The presence of super super-powers would affect every interpersonal, social and political action. Do you want your characters wondering and worrying if the shy nerdy guy is just socially maladapted or has chosen to isolate himself because he will literally explode with the force of an atomic ...


1

Consider that there may be no central character premise, and that the story does not conclude by delivering a moral. (Typo'd as "amoral".) Perhaps the central premise is the train crash. Within that context, how are the characters changed, individually? If they interact, is their world-view challenged? Is their sense of certainty and self worth ...


2

A book has a moral premise. A character has a goal. You can have as many protagonists and parallel storylines as you want, but your book (or series) still only illustrates one single moral premise. The moral premise is what bundles a bunch of otherwise unrelated narrative strands that would better have been presented as separate publications into a ...


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An interesting option I have noticed used, in mostly older movies, is the late introduction of, ultimately, the most important character. For instance, there might be a multi-character story set on a moving train in which various characters act out their specific issues (one's nervous about seeing family, another's heading to a new job, etc.) and they each ...



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