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Query concerning my book.

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message 1: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
An emphasis of my novel's plot is that characters were robbed of their memories/identity and have been given "a part to play" as opposed to a name, like the Damsel or Stranger, because is allegedly suits them and sime even frame their new identities around this.

As such certain parts have bad reputations because of what they suggest about other characters and some get along well because their parts "compliment" one another. So favoritism and prejudices are an aspect of the story.

I was just wondering what people's reactions are to this backdrop/source of conflict since I'm still in the process of writing and want to see if I'm a good track.

message 2: by Jason (new)

Jason Crawford (jasonpatrickcrawford) | 587 comments Intrigue. I can see this being interesting if done well.

message 3: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Roberts | 616 comments I think it is a provocative and engaging premise that lends well to multiple formats - book, graphic novel, comic, video game, movie... etc. Can't wait to read it!

message 4: by Dan (new)

Dan This brings to mind the experiments where a group of college students was designated prisoners, and another group designated guards, and how they tended to "become" their assigned roles over time.

message 5: by Jason (new)

Jason Crawford (jasonpatrickcrawford) | 587 comments /shudder

message 6: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
OMG a video game would rule. My BFF, Matt, says it has a videogame vibe because the characters fight with things like shovels and suitcases in a wild west town/hedge maze as marionette drop in. I hope people like Edgar Allan Poe cosplayers lol

message 7: by Jason (new)

Jason Parent | 126 comments Courtney wrote: "An emphasis of my novel's plot is that characters were robbed of their memories/identity and have been given "a part to play" as opposed to a name, like the Damsel or Stranger, because is allegedl..."

Yeah, this idea can work, I think. What genre? I think be careful to make it significantly different from Divergent. It doesn't sound like the same idea, but when executing it, it could lean that way if you let it.

But if its dark, I'd like to read it! :)

message 8: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
Dark Fantasy/Horror.

Funnily I'm more concerned it'll get unflattering Hunger Games comparisons since there's boobytraps and a vicious gameshow quality. I wasn't a fan of Divergent, though, so it would be weird if it influenced the story at all.

message 9: by Mark (new)

Mark Courtney, if I'm getting your premise correct, the story is basically a group of people with their identities wiped out and stock "characters" have replaced them. Then they are put in a game show of sorts to compete against each other. Kind of like reality TV to a new level.

Remember that thread where you asked what book we wished we'd written? This one, that's my pick now, because that is a f***ing brilliant idea. There is loads of potential in it. If you query an agent with that pitch, you are definitely getting published.

message 10: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 503 comments I definitely agree with Mark. :)

message 11: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
You both made me want to cry with relief and -Mark - it means so much there's anything to envy about this premise.

Basically imagine you were told you're a Damsel - how do you think you would be treated in a place where people are making up their own games and face elimination every second?

message 12: by Michael (new)

Michael Benavidez | 1696 comments Really great premise and quite original to my ears.

message 13: by F.W. (new)

F.W. Pinkerton (FWPinkerton) | 28 comments Seems a cool idea :) So keep going :D

message 14: by Dina (new)

Dina Roberts I think it's a great premise! I look forward to reading it.

If I'm understanding it right, it sounds different to Divergent because each individual gets their own label...vs. having only 4 (or was it 5?) to choose from.

message 15: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
Defining your identity or being defined by it is common ground The Last Damsel shares with Divergent but bullying, overcompetitiveness and the power/peril attatched to stereotypes comes up.

Some contestants - because they chose to fight for themselves - have uncanny talents based on their parts. Like the Stranger will fall under scrutiny or be overlooked, depending on who's paying attention, while the Damsel is dismissed as unthreatening or can be so pitied that others might offer aid.
"Rescuing the Damsel" is a double-edged sword because she resents being underestimated and thought a burden.

message 16: by Oak (new)

Oak Anderson | 27 comments Onward! Sounds brilliant and quite unique. Good on ya'

message 17: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) The premise is pitch perfect, no doubt about that. Bear in mind that what I'm about to say is not against the premise.

It's the phrasing that may (or may not) alieniate people. No, I don't think you have to dumb anything down, just keep it simple. The backstory is fantastic, but what' the purpose? The characters' goal (s)? We now know where they've been, a hint of where they are now, but where are they going?

Before you freak out, I'm not saying give it all away. On the contrary, definitely keep it simple. I've worked my ass off with query writing, and synopsis for that matter. I managed to slim own and show a whole 300 page manuscript in a mere two sentences, so I know it can be done. Less is more ;)

message 18: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
When it comes to pitching the novel to agents/readers I'll have to think of what to emphasis. Since you only get a couple paragraphs I'll have to probably focus on the bells and whistles - like action/mystery/wonder - and let the readers discover the plot pertaining to people "playing their part" as they read.

I wouldn't be surprised if I spent a week thinking on how to simplify without undermining the appeal. I don't want the premise to sound generic, of course, but the riddle is "how do you stand apart from the crowd but entice readers who belong to it?"

message 19: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Pitching to agents is a completely different beast than pitching to readers. For agents, you have manuscript and that's it. You don't actually pitch to agents, it's a bit of a myth. You offer the opportunity, if interested, to represent this work to lead, eventually, somewhere down the road, to a finished product.

For readers, you have a finished product, and what you pitch is advertising (in a way that doesn't make you sick, of cours). I recommend first deciding which route you want to go, otherwise you might drive yourself batty.

message 20: by C.G. (new)

C.G. (CG_Garcia) | 86 comments The more you reveal about your book's plot/premise, the more I can't wait to read it! Your premise of people being assigned roles to play kind of reminds me of what they did in the Cabin in the Woods movie, but the movie didn't address it as thoroughly as you're doing so I'm excited to see how the various labels affects your characters.

message 21: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
Lily - Agreed. When it's promotion time I'll have to figure out how to talk to professionals verses potential readers. I'll probably browse similar titles that seem successful and see what their synopsis keyed in on as a jumping off point.

C.G. - thank you so much! I totally did not make that Cabin in the Woods connection but I can see it a little. Like people had to get twisted into personas that fit the symbolism they needed just to support the narrative.

Okay guys - answer me a question, totally as yourselves and whatever preconceived notions you have - if people introduced themselves as the following, what would you think of them?

The Distressing Damsel -
The Distinguished Gentleman -
The Dark Stranger -
The Musing Usher -
The Indomitable Prima donna -
The Wayward Guardener -
The Mad Barker -
The Desolate Butler -
The Skulking Maiden -
The Widowed Bachelorette -

If you don't want to respond to all - I totally 100% understand but even if you just gave your reaction to whatever one stood out to you, I would be obliged.

The noun = part - as in what a contestant was cast into before emerging in the House. (Chance)

The adjective = role - what the contestant assumed to define themselves or express their challenge against the Reigning Champion, the Vile Veil of Vicious Vesper, and those who have sided with her (Choice)

message 22: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Ooh, fun exercise! Okay, this will be very first reaction, uncesored, and babbling.

The Distressing Damsel - Gender confusion
The Distinguished Gentleman - Sexy
The Dark Stranger - Cliche
The Musing Usher - Intriguing
The Indomitable Prima donna - Amusing and intriguing
The Wayward Guardener - Huh?
The Mad Barker - A dog?
The Desolate Butler - Poor guy
The Skulking Maiden - Turn off
The Widowed Bachelorette - Tragic, potential for hope

message 23: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
lol the Stranger knows he's something of a cliche and you are weirdly dead-on for the Bachelorette. I get to have a bizarre love-letter/deconstruction of tropes, which I might as well embrace :)

message 24: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
FYI - you were elsewhere insightful.

message 25: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) lol I did give fair warning, babbling!

message 26: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
I just want readers to wonder how well characters fit their parts and if that will influence their behavior.

message 27: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) If the info is provided from the start, that they've been forced to play this part, readers will naturally wonder, I would think.

Not the best example, and I'm quite sure your book is completely unrelated, but I'm thinking of the Big Brother TV show. While I'm not a fan, some of my friends are, and I'll hear them wonder more than simply, who will get kicked out. They first wonder why each person is there in the first place. THEN they root for whoever they want to see get kicked out.

I'm using an analogy. It's not literal. Just a comparison.

message 28: by Dan (new)

Dan The Distressing Damsel - Why will she not conform, it is so distressing to expect her to behave in one way and discover that she has her own concepts and identity.
The Distinguished Gentleman - Vincent Price eat your heart out.
The Dark Stranger - Strangely compelling, yet very gothic, he oozes charm and mischeif in equal portions.
The Musing Usher - "Right this way, yes through there" while musing ways to hasten your demise.
The Indomitable Prima donna - Nothing can wear her down when she is on a roll complaining and berating, and bashing.
The Wayward Guardener - He is ever so tired of folks trampling his garden, that he has given up on trying to guard it, and now is seeking to neutralize the threat before it can get close to his beloved garden.
The Mad Barker - A straight jacketed raver who keeps barking and trying to bite
The Desolate Butler - trodden down by years of dull repetitive service, he will do anything to break the cycle.
The Skulking Maiden - would be assassin, watch for a knife between your ribs as you pass a darkened doorway
The Widowed Bachelorette - The Black Widow... poisoner extraordinaire

message 29: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Now see, Dan actually thought about it. Good for him. My babble means nothings.

(It's been a long day for me).

message 30: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
Dan...have you been reading some of my character

No I LOVE that your expectations are not unfounded yet also not dead accurate. It makes me feel like - in your case - there's room to surprise but you might not be disappointed if they're embodying some of the part.

message 31: by Dan (new)

Dan Well, the Damsel was one character you have described a bit in the past, the rest were based on the nuances you chose in their names.

I am looking forward to reading the story. :)

message 32: by Thomas (new)

Thomas Everson (authorthomaseverson) I like the premise as it reminds me somewhat of the anime The Big O, where people have had their memories erased and were set on a 'stage'.

The Distressing Damsel - Conniving, she wants something.

The Distinguished Gentleman - Pompous. Likely rich.

The Dark Stranger - Likely a hero that hides in the shadows.

The Musing Usher - A little insane, mumbles to himself as he observes people

The Indomitable Prima donna - Jessica Rabbit? Not really sure on this one.

The Wayward Guardener - I am unfamiliar with what a guardener is.

The Mad Barker - Town loudmouth. If he isn't yapping about something he heard, he's making something up.

The Desolate Butler - Sullen and quiet he doesn't really have much to say, but he sees a lot.

The Skulking Maiden - She has the deets on everyone. Likely in league with the butler as she needs the info he has.

The Widowed Bachelorette - Black widow.

message 33: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Fascinating all the different interpretations!

message 34: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
I know! What's great is- thus far - people are saying similar and different things. It's telling how much these words have their own identity yet people can apply individual notions to them.

message 35: by Brittney (last edited Apr 26, 2014 11:24AM) (new)

Brittney | 22 comments Dan wrote: "This brings to mind the experiments where a group of college students was designated prisoners, and another group designated guards, and how they tended to "become" their assigned roles over time."

I could see the Stanford prison experiments in this as well.

message 36: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
I'm a Sociology major so I'm familiar with the experiment. There is a prison vibe to the premise and the stress of that situation is impacting morality in the book. Like most people aren't killers but if you make everyone feel threatened or that competing for survival is necessary it will start messing with you until sympathy becomes apathy or even contempt.

message 37: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Survival of the fittest is a theme of your book?

message 38: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
In the occasional sense - like a head-to-head elimination, where someone/a troupe has to pull ahead or die, or that it's like somethings hunting everyone and you're hoping that it runs in the direction you're not heading...or someone runs slower...

It's like a weird balancing act because the contestants are all competent fighters but not everyone is a cunning problem-solver and there are times where luck is just a factor. I'm trying to avoid readers feeling like the characters are too cool for school with fighting and that there's still suspense and potential for misfortune.

I'm hoping people like the notion of weapons of choice, which are random, unbreakable objects that the contestants defend themselves with.

The Distressing Damsel - a dingy-speared shovel

The Distinguished Gentleman - N/A

The Dark Stranger - a dented crowbar

The Musing Usher - a length of rusted chain with a padlock pummel.

The Indomitable Prima donna - a retractable spyglass with a scratched lens

The Wayward Guardener - rusty long-nosed hedge clippers

The Mad Barker - a wooden cane with a splintered end

The Desolate Butler - a tarnished letter opener

The Skulking Maiden - a lopsided hatchet

The Widowed Bachelorette - a battered bat embedded with nails

message 39: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Okay, so their mental survival has the potential to wins out more so in the end than physical survival?

message 40: by Dan (new)

Dan Even the weapons have "character" I like it!

message 41: by Thomas (new)

Thomas Everson (authorthomaseverson) I like The Widowed Bachelorette's weapon.

message 42: by Michael (new)

Michael Benavidez | 1696 comments So kinda gladiator-style with a sense of playing poker with people who hide behind their mask? Only even they don't know what their cards mean? I like that this premise is hard to define, adds a solid layer of mystery to it

message 43: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Ooh, I like Michael's description.

message 44: by Courtney (last edited Apr 26, 2014 10:57AM) (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod

OMG - now I feel like less a loon for outlining a year+

Yeah, I'm hoping people will find layers to what's happening and will find it sick that people are risking themselves viciously for booby prizes and approval they don't want. Petty competition rears its ugly head here and there :p

And, yes Lily - depending on what's happening, a contestant needs to be the smartest, toughest or quickest person in the room but it's rarely just one of those things and compassion can get someone killed.

message 45: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Glad we could sum it up lol

message 46: by Brittney (new)

Brittney | 22 comments Michael wrote: "So kinda gladiator-style with a sense of playing poker with people who hide behind their mask? Only even they don't know what their cards mean? I like that this premise is hard to define, adds a so..."

I love the way you put that Michael!

I say the Stanford prison experiment simply because of the assigned roles and the fact that not all of the characters are happy to play the part....yet it seems as if they play their parts even better than what was intended of them. Which is what happened in those experiments. Not to mention the whole "killer" thing I could see that fitting in your story as well. Having survival of the fittest as a theme only makes it more appealing to me.

This had me laughing, but not in a bad way: "The Indomitable Prima donna - a retractable spyglass with a scratched lens"

You've already sold me on the whole everyone is assigned a part they have to play thing...and now you add "character" to the weapons. Courtney you just need to finish the novel so I can read it lol!

message 47: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Wells | 1826 comments Mod
I absolutely get your meaning there, Brittney, that adapting can become a scary thing if people take it too far. And Michael, again, you're totally appreciating the layers of internal/external conflict I'm hoping will surface.

Thank you all for making me feel like there's so much potential to this and that it might be novel in some way!

My roommate/BFF suggested making an interactive website where people can play games/puzzles (similar to the plot of the story) and unlock content, like character profiles or info for the premise. We haven't worked on that yet - more a summer project - but I was thinking of including terminology and other tidbits to help get readers invested.

message 48: by Michael (new)

Michael Benavidez | 1696 comments It's a hell of a way to sell the story and what's better here, is that you got us thinking up the rest instead of just you pouring it down our throats.

message 49: by Lily (new)

Lily Vagabond (lilyauthor) Orrrr... you could sell the idea to a gaming company and make a fortune.


message 50: by Michael (new)

Michael Benavidez | 1696 comments I'm with Lily! I can always use a new game I so eagerly want but will never finish (Thief, Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, KOTOR 1&2, the lisy goes on) xD

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