Author Topic: Past events which create a new story - How much do you need?  (Read 1641 times)

Sam Cooper

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Past events which create a new story - How much do you need?
« on: January 02, 2012, 10:55:37 AM »
Hello all, and let me first thank any who have thoughts to share.

I have a question about the amount of data needed to tell of an event which had occurred but is not really part of the story. A bit like a prologue but more of a setting of events which brings the time to the time of the story.

In a way it is the first hook, but I don't want it to over-ride/over-shadow/have the story depend on it, nor have the reader  want/need to know more than what I give. (I know that is hard as each reader has their own imagination, so I'm trying to find a balance.)

So, how much is too much, how little is too little? I've been playing with this for a bit now but don't want to make a prologue because of the stigma, but believe that to go without such an opening leaves too many questions at the beginning.

As it stands I have used about 100 words.

Thank you

Sam

Offline Joe Mynhardt

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Re: Past events which create a new story - How much do you need?
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2012, 10:59:36 AM »
From my own reading experience such things are normally shown through the eyes of a witness, who then goes their own way and forms the rest of the story. As long as you concentrate on the character and the event as just an event, I think you'll be fine. Normally it's better to get it done in as little words as possible. I think putting it up on the Review board will be the best way of finding out exactly how much you need to say.
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Offline 510bhan

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Re: Past events which create a new story - How much do you need?
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2012, 11:02:23 AM »
Could it be done through 'second-hand news' that is part of your characters' story? A broadcast overheard/watched, an ad campaign on billboards, newspaper article, radio announcement whilst driving, observation/comment by a coffee waitress as she recognises or reminisces about something as she serves the MC?
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Sam Cooper

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Re: Past events which create a new story - How much do you need?
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2012, 11:02:56 AM »
There is a time space of a few thousand years between the actual story and that event. I am using ancient writings on walls as a tool of communication.

I will consider the review board, normally I don't like to put work intended on publication there, but since it is just the beginning, it might be an idea.

Thank you, Joe.

Sam Cooper

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Re: Past events which create a new story - How much do you need?
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2012, 11:04:27 AM »
The world has been through some changes, so nothing so modern as media in that sense, Sio. I guess in a way you could compare it to lost ancient civilisations only a bit more drastic.

Offline ma100

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Re: Past events which create a new story - How much do you need?
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2012, 11:06:17 AM »
A conversation is quite a good way to go. Interacting with someone else whilst keeping the story in current time. However as Joe said it's hard to say without seeing the piece. :-\

Use the prose workshop then Sam.

Sam Cooper

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Re: Past events which create a new story - How much do you need?
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2012, 11:09:20 AM »
Good idea, ma.

The problem with conversation is that it normally ends in tell which is something I want to steer away from. The story is told in 3rd past tense, so I think narration is the way, then again, if I was sure, I wouldn't be asking, so I appreciate others ideas as sometimes I get too stuck on mine, very un-Cancer sign of me :)

Sam

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Past events which create a new story - How much do you need?
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2012, 11:09:58 AM »
Hmm . . . sounds like it would be better suited to a prologue then, but if it doesn't carry the weight that sort of information usually provides it could be a red herring for the reader.

PM me if you don't want to put it up. This is tricky speculation.
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Offline Joe Mynhardt

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Re: Past events which create a new story - How much do you need?
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2012, 11:11:51 AM »
Use the prose workshop then Sam.

The prose workshop is not visible to the unregistered public, so it's not even picked up by search engines. You don't even have to use the name of the piece.

Old stuff like that can only work with dialogue. Maybe a scientist presenting a lecture. Only problem is stretching it out too long or making it too much like an info dump.

Here's an idea: What about two or three professors arguing about the actual event. One scientist believes this while an archeologist is sure it happened a different way. This puts in action, tension and obscures a few not so important facts about the event. Nice way to put in some suspense.
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Sam Cooper

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Re: Past events which create a new story - How much do you need?
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2012, 11:19:08 AM »
I shall give the prose a post but am always aware of info-dumps.

heidi52

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Re: Past events which create a new story - How much do you need?
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2012, 01:04:30 PM »
Could it be someone who recently learned to translate the words and relaying what they said?

I didn't say that right, but I think you get the idea.

Sam Cooper

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Re: Past events which create a new story - How much do you need?
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2012, 02:26:56 PM »
The language wasn't lost as it is written by those who survived, so it is known. But I believe this could work as a blurp in the back of the book rather than part of the written story. I thought about it being a prologue but don't believe I want to put too much info of that past. It is more to set the time era.