Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Your own character's journey.

Here's my overview of how the character journey will work over the three acts of the plot.


  1. Hi Alicia:

    I have a 120,000 word paranormal called "Characters in a Romance" in which there is a cosmic black moment (explosion) and all the romance characters are blown out of their novels to all corners of the universe and they spend the rest of the book, like Dorothy in the "Wizard of Oz", trying to get back to their own novels.

    They have many adventures along the way with their biggest problem being their inability to prove if they are real or fictional. Neither the real people, who were also blown up, nor the fictional characters are able to come up with a proof for determining who is real and who is fictional. Try to prove you're real.

    Some even doubt if there really is such a thing as an author. Some authors who have placed themselves in some of their novels, have the problem of meeting themselves and being unable to prove which of them is real and which is fictional.

    Many of the oldest and most perplexing philosophical problems are mirrored in the problems facing both the real and fictional characters.

    What would you say the journey is here? It is a genuine journey story very much like Oz with each chapter a new adventure.

    Would it be:

    "From knowing who you are and your place in reality to not knowing who you are or where you belong in the great scheme of things to finding your rightful place in reality."

    That's how I see it.


  2. Thanks for the post!
    Vince, I replied at length here--

  3. Hi Alicia:

    Wow! You went into very interesting detail. I've been having trouble reading off a computer these last few days and will see my eye doctor in the morning. However here's what I have to say as of now:

    The explosion happens a few pages into the book. The hero is an ER doctor who also has a small medical office in his home. The heroine is a young widow living next door. Her son was playing with his dead father's fishing gear, which he was forbidden to do. The doctor just came into the house and is so tired from 48 hours on the job in the ER that he flops down on his recliner and goes to sleep.

    The annoying neighbor woman bangs on the door when her son gets a fish hook lodged near his eye. After much banging the doctor wakes up and lets her in.

    While the doc is treating the son the door bell rings and the heroine goes to answer the door. The doc says, "I can't see anyone. Send them away. I'm dead on my feet."

    The heroine answers the door and it is a woman holding a newborn infant.

    "I think you should see this woman," the heroine calls to the doctor.

    "Who is it?"

    "She says she the mother of your baby. She wants you to meet the baby."

    "Which mother and which baby are we talking about here?" (He was a sperm donor in medical school.) Of course the heroine is appalled.

    The child starts telling the doc about the many monsters that are in his back yard. That behind the bushes on the side of the house is a world that is fuzzy around the edges and light with strange lights. He wants to doc to check it out right away.

    The hero then goes out to see the woman and baby and says the baby is very cute and wishes her and the baby a wonderful life. The mother and child then leave.

    The heroine says, "Are you just going to let her go?"

    "I have about 20 women and kids just like her. Of course, I let her go what else would you expect me to do?"

    Meanwhile the kid is getting very disturbed about the monsters and wants the doc to check it out. The heroine begs him to do just this one last thing. So the doc goes into the bushes and sure enough here are monsters and strange life forms and what looks like wavy reality within the bushes.

    The hero come out of the bushes and says, "We have to call the authorities. There really are monsters in there."

    When they get back to his house to make the call, the TV is on and the President is telling the world that they discovered a cosmic black moment and that the world was going to end in a few minutes.

    "Everyone is advised to take proper precautions." He says.

    The world then goes black.

    PART II to follow.

  4. The second chapter opens with all people flying thru space into a strange glowing darkens. The hero and heroine and son and a few other characters that were flying along with them along the way finaly land in a place that looks like hell.

    In fact they find out it is hell but it is the hell that Dante describes in the Divine Comedy. The hero knows that at the bottom of Dante's hell that there is a way out, so he leads his followers down into the many rings of hell.

    Each ring has sinners. Along with the real sinners are those who have sinned against literature.

    At the bottom of hell is a frozen lake and along with the worse villains in history, there is a blonde woman with just her head about the ice. Her offense was being a TSTL heroine which she blames on her author and not herself.

    To melt the ice and free her to eacape everyone starts to read passages from Blaze romance novels which are scattered all over the place in hell. It works and our group gets a ferry ride across the river and come out back on earth on Easter Sunday.

    This was their first adventure. There are many more adventures per chapter. New characters are meet and left behind as many more characters join the group.

    Each chapter represents a literary theme or genre or a classic philosophical problem. There are time travelers who slide sideways thru time and consider time travel to be a disease. There is a whole country that is really a prison but the people who live there don't know it. There is also a whole country that writes all the romance novels for the entire universe.

    Part of the problem is that the characters don't know if they are real. Some are falling in love with others. They fear what might happen when they return home. What if one is real and one fictional? Some fictional characters say they will never go back to being fictional. So the story is part mystery. Who will be real and who will be fictional and can they change their fate? In fact, will they ever get back to the way things were in any event?


    PART III to follow.

  5. I can see by your suggestions and all the different characters who had possible different endings that I am not writing the book in that way.

    The hero and heroine and child are always together. They need to wind up in the same place for their HEA. The other characters, and there are many that tag along for a chapter or two, are left off in a new lands to fend for themselves.

    It also seems there are residents of these new lands which seem to be native who have always lived there. Some characters decide to stay in the new lands that they have found.

    Each chapter is a new world within the universe and each has its own story and reality. Some characters are finding themselves along the trail of adventure as the story progresses. Perhaps you'd say they settled.

    Right now my ending has the hero, heroine, and child getting to the end of their journey but it is unclear what kind of world that is. People and characters may get back to their right places but that does not mean the their reality will be the same as it once was. It's as if the world itself was part of its own character arc.

    I don't think I can make it clear what the final outcome reality is really like.

    By the end of the story, the hero, heroine, and child are not sure themselves if they are real or fictional as there have been indications along the way that they may be fictional.

    The first chapter after all was kind of paranormal with monsters and odd with the infant mother scene. It was more like a romantic comedy than reality. Of course, the reader knows that all this is part of a fictional work.
    BTW: I am a big fan of metafiction.

    At the very end, as of now, the child is sick and the doctor does not know how to save him. The child dies in the arms of his mother and the hero. Now they both hope that the child was fictional. Because of a unique twist of logic this death turns into a happy surprise ending.

    So now I must go back and think over having more long term journeys for the many sub-characters. Right now I think I will have them find a proper ending within their appearance in the book. But this is a lot to think about.



    1. Great events there! And you're personalizing the global (starting with the small group).
      I don't have a lot of wisdom, but with the explosion happening early, you could have an "exile to home" journey-- they want to get back home from this new situation.

      I would suggest that you might look at the opening and see if you can emphasize just a bit motifs that will be picked up later in the book. (You might already be doing that.) For example, the doctor hero could indeed be like Dorothy and want OUT of this "home"-- he might feel overburdened, can't even get a day off, he just wants to take a nap or watch the ballgame and no one will leave him alone. You could have the fleeting thought that he'd like to, you know, get in his sailboat and sail away. That is, if you can set up that he isn't in love with "home" in the beginning, then his later desire to get back will be a change.

      Also, the little boy is talking about monsters-- make-believe stuff. Later you're going to be dealing with the theme of reality vs. fantasy, so you could have the dr. on the child's first mention of monsters say, "There are no such things as monsters"-- you know, express the "realistic" viewpoint. That will establish reality vs. fiction as a theme in the very start, to have him stake out the "realistic" position while the child is more open to other possibilities.

      I like the dark humor of the president helplessly saying, take precautions!

      Anyway, you have several things in the opening which establish main motifs, so it probably wouldn't hurt to pump them up just a tiny bit. That will give the reader the subconscious sense of the importance of those motifs.

      You do have different endings for some people (settle in a different place, for example), so work back from that. Here's a guy who stayed in ABCWorld. Work back from that- why is him staying there the right ending for him?

  6. Hi, Alicia. I've written a broad synopsis and one chapter of a mystery, leaning toward cozy. I think my character's journey is lack of trust to trust, or secrecy to openness. In the beginning scene, she is avoiding going to Happy Hour with her coworkers - Happy Hour is a dangerous time if you are hiding your past. In the end, she will go to Happy Hour with her co-workers and share one little thing about her past. Here's my synopsis:

    When Marcy is ready to leave the half-way house, her therapist helps her transition into the “real world” in a cute guest house, near pleasant neighbors, with a great job. When her neighbor, Frank, falls and is taken to the emergency room, Marcy agrees to help care for his wife, Ebbie, who “sometimes gets mixed-up” and a half-grown Border Collie. Although another neighbor offered help, Frank kindly, but firmly refused.

    Marcy, who aged out of the foster care system, seeks an orderly, peaceful existence, but she’s soon drawn into the kind of mixed-up confusion she avoids. It turns out Frank’s hip is broken. After the hospital, he’ll go to a nursing home, then back home with a part-time nurse. He’ll need continued help with Ebbie, also with the dog. He asks Marcy to take the dog to a beginning agility class he had signed up for, paying in advance. The instructor, Sam, is a friend of his and Ebbie’s, so it will be fun for his wife to see Sam again and watch Marcy in the class.

    There are over fifty dogs and handlers, a nerve-wracking situation for Marcy. But they split into groups of three and four and Sam, the handsome young instructor, teaches Marcy and the dog basic jumps and turns. There’s an unpleasant moment when Frank and Ebbie’s neighbor, also an instructor, criticizes beginner attempts, but it’s quickly resolved, and the rest of the evening is fun. Marcy agrees to return the following week.

    The following week, Marcy arrives early at the dog park. This time Frank is back home, with nursing help, so Ebbie stayed with them. She begins practicing with the dog, but she (the dog) is distracted and runs off to nose in the weeds growing in a ditch that borders the property. Marcy goes to leash her, and sees what troubled the dog—the body of Frank’s troublesome neighbor.

    Marcy is questioned by the police—she found the body and it comes up she had the brief altercation with Lois (the pushy neighbor). As the investigation goes on, the dog agility people gather around Marcy, rather than condemning her. Lois had altercations with many of them, as well. A competitive handler as well as an instructor, Lois was always challenging point at agility trials. She even had brought a lawsuit against a class member.

    Marcy will try to avoid the ensuing conflict, but will be drawn back into it, not only by investigators who question her, but by Lois’s son, who turns up to settle his mother’s affairs, by Frank, who wants her to continue the classes with the dog, by friendly classmates, and even by her co-workers.

    When she finally learns who the killer was and why he did it, Marcy realizes the parallel with her own abusive mother, and she realizes that family doesn’t always mean blood-ties, it is who gathers around you in time of trouble. She will move tentatively toward trust, as she begins to share bits of her past with her new "family".

    1. I'd read it! I love dog mysteries and gave them up awhile ago when life got too crazy. My dog showing friends were my family for awhile in an alien place and it sounds great.

  7. Dana said: > lack of trust to trust, or secrecy to openness.

    Dana, this response got so long Blogger wouldn't let me post it as a comment, so let me put it on a page by itself. I'll put your name in the title. Here's the link: http://aliciarasleywritersjourney.blogspot.com/p/danas-cozy-mystery.html

    1. Thanks, Alicia. I'll go over there and take a look. :)


Comments system

Disqus Shortname