Author Topic: The opening to an unpublished novel I started a while back  (Read 213 times)

Offline DV

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The opening to an unpublished novel I started a while back
« on: March 25, 2022, 08:19:52 PM »
« Last Edit: March 28, 2022, 12:00:43 PM by DV »

Offline Clarius

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Re: The opening to an unpublished novel I started a while back
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2022, 05:13:16 AM »
IMO more telling than showing. This reads more like your own notes than the narrative you'd spin out of them.

Making your protagonist a career criminal is a hard sell. She'll either have to be an antihero or a Robin Hood. Antiheroes story arc usually ends with them redeeming themselves by an act of self sacrifice. Think anyone from Sydney Carton (A Tale of Two Cities) to Walter White (Breaking Bad). Robin Hoods are easier but need careful handling lest they come over as too self-righteous. And whoever she steals from has to have it coming to them otherwise the reader will sympathise with the victim and not the perpetrator.

I get that she's into bikes. How do you show that? I watch a show called American Pickers. Mike et al love their stuff. You can see in the way they react. They smile when they see it, their eyes light up, they approach it with reverence, they handle it with care, they talk about its merits, and they trade anecdotes about it.

Every character needs backstory to explain why they are that character. So here's what I'm thinking if I were coming at this type of scenario.

She grew up in a good neighbourhood. Nuclear family: Mom, Dad, and two kids. Dad's a mechanic. She's a tomboy. She helps him out. That's where her love of all things mechanical comes from. Dad's an upstanding dude, pillar of the local community. Old school type who does what a man's got to do. That's where she gets her values from. Then a criminal element move in and the neighbourhood starts to go downhill. Her Dad tries to do something about it but he gets killed for his trouble. Mom's a basket case, little sis's too young. Protagonist has to step up and bring home the bacon. All she knows is mechanics but she's too young to hold a job. So she has to work on stolen cars for the criminals just so her mom and little sister can survive. Then she meets the person who runs the local youth outreach program. That someone helps her turn her life around. She owes them. As an adult she returns to the neighbourhood after her mom dies to clear/sell their house. She meets her old mentor. Bad news. A ruthless property developer wants to buy the community centre and demolish it to build condos. The community centre is the only hope for the kids in the neighbourhood. The landlord will sell to anyone who has the money but the community group doesn't have the money. She has to help. It's what Dad would have done. She needs to get that money. Her only way to get the money is to steal a valuable motorcycle and sell it to the ruthless property developer. He's a shady type and not too choosy about where he sources his collectibles from. In fact he's in cahoots with the crime lord. Been using crime to depopulate the neighbourhood so he can buy up property on the cheap. The bike is on display at a dealership ran as a money laundering front by the same crime lord who's been dealing drugs and running rackets in her neighbourhood for years.

^ that right there is as synopsis of several chapters worth. The happy days before dad dies, the bad days afterwards, the meeting with the mentor character, the return to the old neighbourhood as an adult, learning about the threat to the community, her setting out to do something about it. You could tell this in real-time as it happens or as flashback when she returns as an adult.

If it were me I'd write a scene where she goes to the dealership posing as a buyer. She pretends to spot the bike and strikes up a conversation with the salesman. In this scene you show her love for and knowledge of bikes. She talks him into starting the bike so she can hear the engine (petrol heads get off on engine noise). She feigns illness to distract the salesman and steals the bike out from under his nose. It's poetic justice. She robs from one scumbag to thwart the other's ambitions. It's a double win. She gets to serve just desserts to both the crime lord who's been ruining her neighbourhood and the property developer who wants to destroy it.

All this is just my own opinion. You know what they say about opinions.

« Last Edit: March 27, 2022, 11:47:44 AM by Clarius »
O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us

 - Robert Burns

Offline DV

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Re: The opening to an unpublished novel I started a while back
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2022, 01:23:57 PM »
« Last Edit: March 28, 2022, 12:00:12 PM by DV »

Offline liahughes

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Re: The opening to an unpublished novel I started a while back
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2022, 04:29:05 AM »
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