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tommy gun
08-12-2006, 04:34 AM
Hellow Fellow Forum Members,

I just joined this forum to find out about the writing scene for first timers. Ive recently decided to move forward with writing this novel I have in mind, and Im looking for somewhere to discuss the processes im going through.

The novel is inspired by current positions on energy, global warming, and the environment. The story amps up conflicts of interests envisioning an international espionage plot with very high stakes at a global level.

And throughout the story, a vision is shared that sees an optimistic future of the US and the world where our energy needs can be fulfilled, the conflict with the middle east mediated, the enviroment protected, and our economy continue to develope.

Im currently working out a plot outline and on my way to writing the first chapter. Ive not written any fiction before, or anything paid for that matter, but Ive written persuasive letters and reports to complete courses and get jobs.

On my attempt to write a draft, I think the only option for me is to just hole myself up in my den and get to writing. But if im struggling, or for revisions Im wondering what kind of editing help is available.

Well, that is more of just an introduction than any specific request, but any comments are welcome.

tommy gun

Good Word
08-12-2006, 05:34 AM
Welcome, Tommy Gun! A great place to get started is with this thread in the novel writing forum:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6710

Welcome to AW!

Soccer Mom
08-12-2006, 08:05 AM
Welcome Tommy Gun. Enjoy surfing around. There is a lot of wonderful information here ;)

Ordinary_Guy
08-12-2006, 11:51 AM
Hellow Fellow Forum Members
Hello Tommy! So I guess it's true... we get the highest caliber people here.

...The novel is inspired by current positions on energy, global warming, and the environment. The story amps up conflicts of interests envisioning an international espionage plot with very high stakes at a global level.
Well, you're definitely in the read section.

And throughout the story, a vision is shared that sees an optimistic future of the US and the world where our energy needs can be fulfilled, the conflict with the middle east mediated, the enviroment protected, and our economy continue to develope.
Definitely fiction... ;)

It sounds a bit speculative – maybe 7-11 years and dabbling in the subject realm of the ITER (http://www.iter.org/). Even it's something else, energy awareness is a great subject to shoot for and you can't do enough to raise consciousness. Good luck.

Im currently working out a plot outline and on my way to writing the first chapter. Ive not written any fiction before, or anything paid for that matter, but Ive written persuasive letters and reports to complete courses and get jobs.
You'll find this is a rich resource. There are some regulars here are that a solidly published and many that aren't – but will be. You may be a part of the group!
Good luck, Tommy!

Begbie
08-12-2006, 12:49 PM
Welcome, Tommy! Get started and tell a great story. Worry about the editing later. Good luck!

DeborahM
08-12-2006, 02:52 PM
Hi and Welcome to AW, Tommy! :welcome:

Ditto.

Kate Thornton
08-13-2006, 08:34 AM
Welcome. Tommy - I look forward to hearing more about your project!

tommy gun
08-18-2006, 02:05 AM
Hey all,

Thanks for the support. The moderator Good Word set me up right away with a very productive thread, Writing with Uncle Jim. It takes a very close look at the writing processes of long fiction, the nature and expectations of commercial fiction, and the requirements and qualities of publishable vs. unpublishable works. Many dilemas of beginners are addressed by that wise man, Jim.

But as the thread on his board has over 200 pages of posts, some of the information is buried.

If anyone knows where I could find an analysis on plot structure, could you respond. I am looking for other options such as "start a long arc for the main plot. then add a smaller arc for a secondary plot, and substitute the climax for the first plot." This is supposedly a classic example of a plot structure that surprises the reader, yet delivers what is promised. And I didnt know if others had more like it that i could choose from.

As for my story, I have a rich outline of the 10 interests involved, although some are probably going to be combined into single characters. And the plot revolves around several climactic scenes that are firmly on my list, but not so firmly in the right location, due to my interest in helping the climax be the most eye opening as possible.

As far as the story goes, a favorite character is the president, who is dealing with economic stability vs. future technologies, and who takes energy independence to be an issue of national security.

Another interesting component is an exhibition in Iceland where a completed, energy self-sufficient, economy is showcased. The electrical needs of residential, commercial, and industrial consumers are all met by renewable sources, completely replacing fossil fuels. Geothermal power plants were built to take advantage of the cracks in the earth's crust to provide 80% and wind power built off the coast provides the remaining 20%.

tommy gun

JanDarby
08-18-2006, 03:59 AM
Just keep in mind that popular fiction is about individual people, first and foremost, and "interests" and issues and facts and science secondarily.

Took me a while to really comprehend that, deep in my writing brain and fingertips, after coming from a non-fiction (lawyer) background.

Just make sure the issues don't overwhelm the people. Story = a character in conflict with another character. Put another way, story = a character solving a problem. Note the focus on CHARACTER, particularly the protagonist and antagonist (one of each). Don't let the problem become the focus; story is all about the character(s).

Oh, and in terms of the structure you were talking about -- don't worry about that much detail yet. Just write your scenes. Have a beginning (inciting event for the protagonist, who has a goal), a middle and an end (where the original story question gets resolved, and the goal is either achieved or not). The rest of the structure can happen during revisions, and, actually, you'll probably find with experience that you have your own internal structural rhythm, one that will carry over from book to book, but you'll only find that out after you've written several manuscripts, which is getting way ahead of ourselves.

Write the story. And keep plugging through the Uncle Jim thread, not just reading it but doing the exercises.

JD

tommy gun
09-15-2006, 01:41 PM
Ok, so Im back. I have written nearly half the scenes I want to include in my novel. The characters are definitely getting some feet on them. And there is a clear sense of direction towards a set of climaxes I chose in my outline. But I am having difficulty choosing the order of some of the subplot developments.

The main character is off and running from the first chapter, and is sent on a mission to uncover the truths behind an assassination. He follows clues and escapes attacks on a path to stop a string of sabotages. And just as he is about to stop a major explosion, an even bigger threat is uncovered.

Ive winnowed the story down to the main character, his plight, and the course of the main storyline. But in order to make the story complete, I need to include several minor characters who have significant roles in aligning perspectives as good or bad, and whos actions serve as motivation for other characters.

I know that its ok to have a storyline, with scenes from a subplot interspersed throughout the story as it builds up behind the scenes; I have read many books with them. But I find that I would like 4 subplots, all interrelating and causing trouble for the hero.

My story has a sort of a flat shape on a story board, where there are multiple interrelations between the characters' subplots, rather than a linear story line that follows events in a cause and effect manor.

Any ideas?

Linda Adams
09-15-2006, 02:38 PM
Work on shaking out your story setup. That's in the first 100-150 pages of the story. If your story is flat, there's likely to be some problems in how you set up the story.

Look for places where:

* You didn't establish the villian's motive well or you didn't give him enough of a motive to justify the story

* You didn't establish the stakes, or they aren't enough to justify the end of the story

* Nail any loose ends (by this, I'm referring to places where something was hard to do, so it got left hanging instead of getting tied off)

* Pay a lot of attention into making sure everything fits together and makes sense

* Ensure you have the hero's own conflict and role in the story nailed down.

tommy gun
09-15-2006, 02:56 PM
Thanks for your response Linda.

But I think i was unclear about one of my statements. The point that my story seemed flat should be reworded. Rather than a long chain of events in the course of the plotline, there are several plotlines that interconnect, shortening the length, but increasing the girth.

The villains motives depend on many concurrent forces. There may be 4 subplots that combine in order to solidify the conflict for the hero.

Angelinity
09-15-2006, 04:34 PM
the energy crisis topic is fascinating - and scary. been pondering a novel on 'peak oil' for a while now, but have finally concieded there's just too little time left.

i'm glad you're writing one, and that your story can give some hope - we need some of that. :D good luck! :)

jpserra
10-27-2006, 08:56 AM
Ok, so Im back. I have written nearly half the scenes I want to include in my novel...But I find that I would like 4 subplots, all interrelating and causing trouble for the hero. Any ideas?

Although there are some who can pull off 4 subplots in a story, generally more than 2 will lose the average reader. Who are your writing for? The whole of the general audience or a narrow subset of that audience? Consider adding fewer subplots and add backstory or a theme element to string the story together. Just a suggestion.

JPS