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Old 05-12-2013, 09:57 PM   #1
Staiduk
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Default Need story advice -- what am I missing?

Hello!

I have been working on the second novel in the Kylie Wilson arc; the first I intend to release for free - so I have no difficulty discussing the plot of the novel and its details.

The thing is I am stuck - I've written little more than the introduction and I have no idea how to proceed.

I'm going to upload what I have so far.

I'm satisfied with the prologue - there is some rewriting that needs to be done; some conversation is a bit iffy but overall it's pretty good.

My trouble comes in Chapter One: where the reader is transported into the luxury boom-ship Princess Astoria.

I have to establish that Princess Astoria is a luxury vessel; with few people able to afford her fare. I believe I have done this.

I have to establish that Julian Todd - the secondary protagonist - is an eager young dreamer; a security guard with little knowledge or experience; but handsome and with just enough spirit that Kylie takes a particular interest in him.

I have to establish the fact that Kylie is a famous person; famed for her investigative ability. Once she arrives onboard Princess Astoria; she must be able to take control of the situation; cowing the passengers or at least threatening them into submission. And she has to do so right from the beginning - the story starts from Julian's perspective but Kylie is the protagonist; there has to be a way to introduce Kylie and focus upon her as the main character.

The single hardest point right now is dealing with Kylie's fame (or infamy; depending upon your position.)

I have tried to write a suitable beginning to the novel; but I fear I haven't done very well. I need to focus upon Kylie as the major character; from the viewpoint of the secondary protagonist (Julian). I need to emphasise the fact that he is smitten with her; making her subsequent torturing of poor young Julian all the funnier.

But everything I do seems to simply repeat past events. Wilson's actions in the Midnight Rose incident are, of course, detailed in Midnight Rose; the first novel in the series; and the first one intended for sale.

Since Julian loves Kylie because of the Midnight Rose; how do I effectively separate the two novels?

Oy - I'll just upload what I have so far; it will explain much. It's pretty bad, but I don't know how to fix it.

Understand that this is an S-F mystery; so I have to establish the protagonist; the secondary characters and the body FAST.

Please tell me where the story falls apart for you.

EDIT: I forgot to add this; but it's an important point I'm having trouble reconciling. the story starts (in Chapter 1) with Julian straightening his tie in the mirror; just before the Captain's Table Ball - the event which is the source of most of the plot. He's remembering something that happened the day before; where he'd physically assisted a lovely female passenger from unwanted attention. The problem is that that moment is the only piece of action for several chapters. While we might enjoy Wilson's in-your-face approach to a murder investigation; that's the only point where someone hauls off and clobbers someone else. Ideally that should be in the present tense; more fun that way. But starting the story there is far more difficult; I designed the story to revolve around the Captain's Table Ball. What do you think? Rewrite it to be more interesting in past-tense or take the story back 24 hours to put it into the present?
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Boomship Blues.pdf  

Last edited by Staiduk; 05-12-2013 at 11:45 PM.
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Old 05-14-2013, 05:04 AM   #2
llarian
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I'm an old sci-fi fanatic. I'll take a look at it and offer my opinion, for what it's worth.

In the meantime, take a look at Heinlein's "Friday", especially the last half where Friday travels outward from the system onboard "The Forward".
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Old 05-14-2013, 02:58 PM   #3
Staiduk
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I loved 'Friday' but can't remember much of it except Heinlein really cut the brakes loose with that novel. I'll pick it up...er...Friday.

Damn; I totally forgot about that girl. There are parallels between Friday and Kylie but not enough, I hope, to force a comparison between the two women. Kylie is lively, sensual and powerful; but professional to the n'th degree and wholly devoted to police work. Kylie's the product of a bright future; a second Age of Sail where colonists and trade are exploding outward while Friday inhabits a nightmare landscape which she (IIRC) rebels from and tries to escape.

Rats - thanks for the warning; though you might not have meant it as that - I'd better reread that book and see if I'm unconsciously copying her character.
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Old 05-14-2013, 10:36 PM   #4
Krys
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without having read any of your work.....and given I read about 4 books a day.....

The most common and personally satisfying way to turn from the 2nd protagonist to the main is simple.....

You explain the 2nd's day up to the point that "Kylie" walks through the door and end the chapter with a description of her.....in that horribly romantically daft way..."She marched through the door head held high, and what a head, gorgeous <colour> hair, and an exasperated glint in her eye. I was too busy noticing her to notice what she was saying "....and so gentlemen, get the hell out of my way."(insert whatever the end of sentence your protagonist was saying before she jumps into action).

Then put in a chapter pause, and start her story and end the chapter with her saying the line.

Catches you up neatly....however from a readers perspective, it's nice to get the second protagonist's views every few chapters as well......just a half chapter or something is usually good unless you kill the character off.

Okay shushing, I've probably said too much.
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Old 05-14-2013, 11:19 PM   #5
Staiduk
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No; you've provided good input; though I suggest you read the excerpt to get a better feel. The excerpt doesn't include the point at which Kylie arrives onboard Princess Astoria; but I have a few ideas as to how to resolve one of my problems. I think I need to remove much of Kylie's description from the prologue until she shows up on the ship - using Julian (the 2nd protagonist) as the descriptor. Typing madly - I'll see what I can do with that. Thanks!

Last edited by Staiduk; 05-14-2013 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 05-15-2013, 12:12 AM   #6
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I've read your excerpt now...quite a bit of detail there!

Reporters are witty, so with a name like Kylora, I'd say Killer Wilson would be a bit snappier than "bulldog".

Also Kylie seems a bit soft for a nickname, Ky would pack more of a punch. Unless you are turning this into a romance in which case Kylie would be appropriate.

Yes, definitely remove lots of description from the prologue, keep one or two defining features, or as she's famous, skip it altogether.

Also, that realisation that Wilson is similar to Gwyneth should not come in chapter one - nothing worse than signposting your twists.

I'm really curious to read the prequel if you have it handy.
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Old 05-16-2013, 03:59 AM   #7
Staiduk
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Thanks for your input, Krys. I agree I have to put more separation between Kylie and Gwyneth; though it's not seriously important. I want to leave it open enough for some people to figure it out. So that when Julian makes a total and complete ass of himself (which happens in about three pages) anyone who got it can enjoy his embarrasment as it happens.

As to the names; I'm not sure I agree with your interpretation of either Kylie's public nickname or her personally-preferred given name.

Which is a polite way of saying I don't agree at all, of course. Sorry.

One of the things that drives me nuts about Golden Age S-F (50's-80's) is that protagonists had names that made them sound cool. From 'Tom Stark' to 'Doc Savage' to 'Modesty Blaize' (she wasn't S-F - though REALLY hot...) to 'Barbarella' (yum...) protagonists had cool names. Like...Han Solo, for instance.

The problem is that when mothers name their babies; they do so 20 or so years before those babies become famous space pirates/soldiers/mercenaries, etc. So a person's name has nothing to do with his/her occupation outside the comic books and pulp fiction. Giving Kylie a 'cool' name has nothing to do with the years of university, training and 22 years of hard-earned street experience she has as a policewoman that makes her a successful investigator. The nickname 'killer' I must reject outright and I apologize for being blunt. I do have a certain amount of experience with the media and other than sports figures they do not assign nicknames to public figures; it establishes a potential bias in news reporting. In Kylie's case; it's uncertain where her nickname started but as I mention in Midnight Rose; it's likely it was coined in one of the precinct houses she once was assigned to as a police constable. To those who deal with weapons and hostile situations on a daily basis (like police or like myself as a veteran soldier) the word 'killer' would not be an appropriate nickname: indeed; if anyone tried to use it it would be a chargeable offence in almost any legal system you would care to name.

You asked to see the prequel; hopefully you'll gain a better understanding of Kylie at work and at play reading it. I posted it in this post here: http://www.orbiter-forum.com/showthr...2&postcount=10

Thanks again.

Last edited by Staiduk; 05-16-2013 at 05:28 AM.
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:57 AM   #8
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LOL! Fair enough! That was a long response - I'm happy for people to tell me to shut up and mind my own business :p.

I'll read the first one as soon as I finish my current werewolves in space book (no idea who wrote it).

It's nice to know lots of thought went into choosing the names
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:45 PM   #9
Staiduk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krys View Post
 LOL! Fair enough! That was a long response - I'm happy for people to tell me to shut up and mind my own business :p.

I'll read the first one as soon as I finish my current werewolves in space book (no idea who wrote it).

It's nice to know lots of thought went into choosing the names
(chuckle) Offering criticism to a comment is always hard for me Krys; except when Edward is writing the posts. Please know I greatly value your input and if I disagree with you on a specific point it takes nothing away from the pleasure and information I gain from your response. As one of the few who have taken the time to read and critique my work; I value your judgement and comments enormously.

Last edited by Staiduk; 05-16-2013 at 09:10 PM.
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