Where to begin?

View Poll Results: How should I start this adventure?

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  • Dive right into the main quest

    1 50.00%
  • Set up the world

    1 50.00%
  • Explain how the party got together

    0 0%
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Thread: Where to begin?

  1. #1
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Where to begin?

    So I'm planning an epic fantasy cycle set in a parallel Pokeworld named Kinmura (which is mostly based on ancient China and Japan, with a dash of India). The problem is, I don't know where to begin.

    Here's the basics of the story from my notes:

    Long ago, when the world was new, the great dragon Yofune was sealed in the underworld by Arceus, the god Pokemon. In his anger, Yofune often sends monsters to the surface world. These monsters do everything from generally bothering people to flat out destroying entire cities. As such, many cities enlist all manner of heroes to keep these monsters at bay.

    But, the cruel and greedy emperor of Kinmura wants to rule the world by doing the unthinkable--releasing and taming Yofune. A young swordsman hears of the emperor's plot, and sets out for the capital city far to the north, with his sword, a mystical flute, and his faithful Pikachu by his side...

    I have three options on how to start:

    A. Dive right in to the main quest (gather the Six Points of Magic, awaken Arceus, and stop the emperor)
    B. Set up the world and develop the party (Ash, Dawn, and a brand new character named Kiyama) via a long series of Adventure Towns and Adventure Areas
    C. Explain how the party got together

    Which do you think would work best?
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  2. #2
    Formerly GTT Grass Type Warrior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where to begin?

    In medias res maybe?
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  3. #3
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Where to begin?

    So, in the middle of an adventure, or in the middle of their travels?
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  4. #4
    Formerly GTT Grass Type Warrior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where to begin?

    Well, for a story like that, you usually don't wanna start from the beginning unless there's a beginning to start from. In that sense, you can start in the middle of his first adventure, possibly during an event that he's having some trouble with. You can then flashback to how he got into that problem in the first place (thus establishing the plot and characters) and then finish the first part with Ash and Dawn saving his ass from whatever trouble he was in. This could be how he meets them and that sets up a sense of beginning without actually starting from the beginning. Have you heard of the term "show, not tell?" Its much more interesting to see how the party got together than to have someone tell us. It also sets up their group dynamic much better.

    I suggest this style because its been my experience that setting things up from the very start can get kind of...boring. Y'know, first you have to write the character and establish the life they have and the mundane things before he hears of the plot, and then you have to come up with things for him to do before the plot actually kicks in full and then things get interesting.

    Starting in media res draws the reader in from the beginning by mounting up the tension from the very first sentence. Once the reader is drawn in, it's easy to keep their attention. They'll keep reading because they want to know what happens to the hero and why, whereas if you go from the very start, you risk losing your reader when they get bored of the mundane setup.

    That's just my opinion though and I'm certainly no expert.
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  5. #5
    Head of Stories Princess Crow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where to begin?

    Personally, I would like to see a combination of all three. I know that my advice might not be very helpful, but, as a reader, I think a combination of all three would be the best and most interesting to read. I'll explain what I would like to see and why below!

    Choice A. This sounds the most interesting and is probably the one that I would like to see as the most dominant. Jumping into the action is the thing that's going to hook your reader. However, if you just jump right in with a little introduction, your readers are going to feel lost, disconnected, and confused. This idea that you've cultivated in your head is very interesting, but, since it's all in your head, nobody knows about it as much as you do. An introduction to your universe would be the most helpful, so I would advise against starting directly in the action.

    Choice B. This covers what I wanted in the section above; an introduction to the universe. This will be the most beneficial to your readers, as they'll better understand where, when, and how your story is going to work. An introduction to the characters would also be useful. However, you said
    via a long series of Adventure Towns and Adventure Areas
    I would advise against this. A long introduction bores the reader because the introduction is a prelude to the content of your story. If you have a long series of Adventure Towns and Adventure Areas, the main plot won't be present, which will, again, bore the reader.

    Choice C. Understanding how the party came to be is also extremely important. If you don't explain it to us, we'll have to assume, which makes the reading experience different from what you would want. For example, I could think that they met at a fancy party, which could make me think that they're fancy and rich, while another reader could think that they met in a dirty alley, which could make them think that they're poor. Though, typically, readers don't go to such extremes in assumptions, things like this on a smaller scale could definitely happen. Because of this, I would advise you to explain how the group came to be.

    Here's my conclusion. You can agree with it or disagree with it, but I would love to see something like this:

    The group is going to an Adventure Town/Area, as if they have many times before. Here, we'll get an introduction to the world through the scenery you depict and the description you write, among other things. We'll also get an introduction to the main characters of your story. You could use flashbacks or some other method to depict how the group met each other, while not drawing the entire focus of the chapter to it. Then, at the end of chapter one, you could give a hint that relates to choice A, regarding the main plot. This hooks the reader, which will make them come back for chapter two.

    Hope I helped!

  6. #6
    Formerly GTT Grass Type Warrior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where to begin?

    Something else I can advise is starting with a brief prologue explaining the most fundamental things to the plot. Have you ever seen "Avatar: the Last Airbender?" In that series, the 'theme song' was one of the characters (Katara) telling us the very basics of their 'verse which gives us an idea of what to expect but doesn't ruin any of the juicy parts of the story. After that prologue, you can jump right in to the action.
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  7. #7
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Where to begin?

    I like the Avatar idea (great show, BTW), so I may start with that and then dive into an adventure, weaving the main plot throughout
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  8. #8
    Christmas Bubble Frog's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where to begin?

    How many fics are you currently writing?

  9. #9
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Where to begin?

    Actively, 2, (one of which I'm about to finish Season 1 of) cumulatively, too many to count
    Last edited by LightningTopaz; 29th June 2012 at 09:58 AM.
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  10. #10
    Christmas Bubble Frog's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where to begin?

    Quote Originally Posted by LightningTopaz View Post
    Actively, 2, (one of which I'm about to finish Season 1 of) cumulatively, too many to count
    Not to meddle unnecessarily but, don't you think adding a third to that batch might be a tad much? I mean I realize you like writing, but sometimes trying to do too much will end up biting you in the butt. Especially if you have to juggle three fics.

  11. #11
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Where to begin?

    I plan to update this one on weekends, and focus on my other two during the week. (plus, it gives it a feel like an old timey serial (where you had to wait a week to see what happened next)
    My URPG stats: Maya's status

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