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Developing a story, would like some help

Posted: June 21st, 2014, 2:31 pm
by klbritt
Being the "pantser" that I am, I am finding I would like to develop a story and character more before continuing writing it. Sometimes its helpful to give yourself a prompt and then ask questions so you know how the novel will play out. I've written and answered some, but would love help from others so I can get a better perspective when writing. So, below I will write the tagline, if you will, of the story. Please write any questions you have about the tagline so I can gather them all and help develop my story :)

"Eighteen-year-old Rank Fischer is a time traveler."

Re: Developing a story, would like some help

Posted: June 21st, 2014, 5:12 pm
by Beethovenfan
OK, I'll play this game! ;)
So, how does he become a time traveler? What does he use to do it? Is it a machine? Is it magic? Some other kind of technology?
Who is Rank? How did he come by this odd name? Is it a nickname? Where does he come from? What's so special about Rank that he gets to be a time traveler? Is he the only one who can do it? Does he have other family members who can do it?
What kind of responsibility is involved with being able to travel through time? Does he have to be careful not to mess up the "space/time continuum," as they say in Star Trek?

How's that? Hope that helps!

Re: Developing a story, would like some help

Posted: June 21st, 2014, 7:49 pm
by klbritt
These are GREAT!!! Thanks :)

Re: Developing a story, would like some help

Posted: June 22nd, 2014, 11:47 am
by polymath
Several questions are for me important to a well-crafted narrative. What does the protagonist want, how does she or he strive to get it, and what problems prevent her or him from getting it, or vice versa what problem arises that causes the protagonist to want to strive to satisfy the problem. What inciting event begins the action that the want and problem arises for the protagonist. And one question specific to the given premise: What does the matter of Rank Fischer being a time traveler mean.

Plot movement begins from an inciting event. Plot movement starts barreling along a roller coaster track when the event antagonizes the wants and problems that arise and cause antagonism. Time travel as a motif has different meanings. H.G. Wells' signal work The Time Machine, for example, portrays time travel as in-person travel into the future, as though a historical look into the past, that supports the banned word rhetoric intent of the novel.

Re: Developing a story, would like some help

Posted: June 26th, 2014, 6:11 am
by Hillsy
To be honest - the first and only question that really jumped in my head was: "So what's different?"

He's 18 and travels through time - that's hardly a USP. Quantum Leap took time travel and gave it a twist; Sam Beckett inhabitted strangers bodies and had no control over where or who he was. Now THAT's unique. Basically, the unique element is going to drive the plot, IMO. Otherwise, is the time travel necessary at all...especially as basic time travel is considered pretty hackneyed now.

To quote Sanderson's second law: Limitations are greater than powers....start setting limits and make it completely different.

e.g I had a time travel concept sort of thing, where the character was an assassin/spy/detective/vigilante thing. He could control time but only in very small spherical areas. So he could unlock a door by "rolling back" time to a point where it was unlocked. Or search for clues by viewing the history of the location, like through a window. But he basically had to "rewind", so the fresher the information he sought, the quicker he could get to it.....Ok it was just a concept without a plot, but I'd chucked a crap tonne of limitations at it to make it feel unique