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Drew
September 26th, 2004, 10:17 PM
Well, I have finally cut and pasted my WIP to something that resembles... well, nothing! I am being original for once! :p

Now, the beginning chapters are going to be relatively dull it seems...

In short: A private detective is given the case to investigate a the murder of a client's friend after the police all but give up. The only clues are mutilations on the body in the form of symbols. The detective is to uncover the meaning and origins of the symbols, and bring retribution to the crooks.

Now, there are the usual sci-fi twists. The murders are actually a sort of mafia running about the city's underworld (hehe.. where else would they be? :p). The twist is that they are actually a lot larger than this city, they are an interdimensional mafia... they have strongholds in several dimensions and are trying to control and police the dimensional portals for their own means.

So, it becomes dull in that the twists are not revealed immediately... maybe a few chapters in.

So, I sit down to right my prologue and I don't have any action. I have a woman coming into an office, telling her tale, and asking for answers. Not exactly a big attention grabber.

So... how should I begin? Should I tell about the crime first as it is happening? Should I just stick with the woman's plea and try to make it hooking? Any other ideas?

Thanks in advance fellas! I am so happy to actually have something a little fresh, but I am sure after Googling around a bit, my story will be shot down. :rolleyes: Hey, it happened last time (though that idea was fairly derivative and generic to begin with!)/

/end rant

Expendable
September 27th, 2004, 12:18 AM
Personally, I'd start with the crime, the murder as it happens. That's a good opening scene with a great hook to pull the reader in. Makes for a great prologue. Afterwards, you introduce your detective, telling us about him while he's reading up on the crime. That way when he gets hired, both the detective and the reader are on the same page while he goes to figure out who did it and why.

skwirlinator
September 27th, 2004, 04:24 AM
Maybe a series of mind sequences that are the views of the reason for the murder and fog glimpses into the act then WHAM! The reality in full detail of the woman's plea for help. So, What makes this detective the one for the job?
His recollections of past crimes as she describes the details of this one. Any similarities? Has the detective been 'stumped' by these same forces before? Are there circumstances in this crime that imitate some of his past failures? Does this detective specialise in this type of case?

Why did the police give up on the case?

Is the woman something special to the circumstance?

Are the strange symbols found anywhere else? Even Obscurely?

How about a NewsFlash or something that shows unnatural phenomenon occuring around the city? Related to the case or related to the entities or the detective or the woman? Or the corpse?

michaelS0620
September 27th, 2004, 09:15 AM
Since this sounds like a scifi-mystery, you could do a lot worse than starting like most mysteries do. Start it with the discovery of the crime.

If you haven't already, read lots and lots of mysteries. With it will come a better understanding of the genre which will allow you to write a better constructed story.

Michael

ironchef texmex
September 27th, 2004, 11:27 AM
The good news is that readers usually have some patience. Most people don't pick up a book and say "if something doesn't explode in the first five pages I'm throwing this in the trash."

I just got done reading Crowley's "Little, Big". In 700 pages nothing really ever happened. The reader became intimately acquainted with some characters and found out how their lives were altered by their connection to the fairy world. Not a fight scene in the book.

A lot of readers read more for characters then for violent action anyway. You can start with the crime if you want to, but you don't have to. Make your main character interesting and you can just focus on your private detective and how he or she is getting along/ perceives the client, so on.

Drew
September 27th, 2004, 01:43 PM
Here is another take I am considering.

Say that the detective has encountered these symbols before at other crime scenes. He has seen them wrote about in the newspaper, and talked about on TV. The signs have become something of an urban legend, and he has a bitterness towards it as they have one-upped him before.

So, he sees a segment on this latest murder on the TV. It sparks his interest and he watches. He finds out where the crime took place, and goes there. He actually approaches the woman and offers to help both to help her and to satisfy his own need to beat them.

What are your thoughts on that? It might be a bit more interesting that way...

And about the police giving up on the case... this is a big city that this story is based in, the police forces are spread pretty thin with all of the crime. They are still on the case, but they truly aren't giving it their all. This applies to the first idea though, the woman approaching the detective. It would not be immediately after the crime. Perhaps it would be a few weeks, the police still have no leads, and she goes to a detective to work it out.

With the second idea (above), he would approach her and woo her into taking the case since he has experience with this "gang" before.

Comments?

Expendable
September 27th, 2004, 04:20 PM
I don't know, it depends on the signs.

Too bold and the cops would arrest someone if the signs are too well-known. But give it a try and see how it goes.

KatG
September 28th, 2004, 01:47 PM
Well, if he wanted to go to jail, it might work, since the police would at least pull him in for questioning and ask him why he's bulling the woman to pay him money and whether he's attempting extortion. :)

Look, first of all, what viewpoint format are you using -- first person, third person limited/tight or third person omniscient? Because that's going to effect how you can set up scenes and how you're using point of view and delivering information to the reader.

Second, do YOU feel the opening scene you've got now -- a very traditional detective opening where the good-looking dame comes to the office and begs the P.I. for assistance -- is boring, or do you just fear that others will find it boring?

If you find it boring, what is it you're planning to do with your character in the story? Is he going to fall in love and then watch her die? Is he going to be suspected by the police for the murder? Is he going to be running from the bad guys the whole time or is it more verbal jousting with occasional attempts to drop a safe on him? The opening scenes can reflect the thematic and emotional content of the story.

Also, how much info do you want your readers to have up front? Do you want them to know about the signs right away? Do you want them to see the murder, etc.? This is a mystery, so you've got to figure out where you want your clues and that will effect what you present in the opening.

A possible way to go: P.I. is working on the symbols for someone else, another body. P.I. has police radio, hears about new body, shows up at the murder site. Police won't tell him much, but maybe he catches a glimpse of the body, or a cop who's a friend confirms it's like the other case he's trying to solve. The woman, also at the crime scene, approaches him about what he knows about these strange killings, and so on. Or, you can start in the future when the hero is tied up and have him reflect back on the case. Or.... You can do this any number of ways, from high action car chases to quieter forensic conversations. What's most important to you? What do you want readers to see first?

I just have one thing to request, and it's my own personal pet peeve. Please do not make the cops stupid. It is not necessary to make the cops out to be idiots just to make the P.I. look smart, and it's usually not real believable either. Just a thought. :)

Drew
September 28th, 2004, 10:15 PM
Well, if he wanted to go to jail, it might work, since the police would at least pull him in for questioning and ask him why he's bulling the woman to pay him money and whether he's attempting extortion. :)

Look, first of all, what viewpoint format are you using -- first person, third person limited/tight or third person omniscient? Because that's going to effect how you can set up scenes and how you're using point of view and delivering information to the reader.

Second, do YOU feel the opening scene you've got now -- a very traditional detective opening where the good-looking dame comes to the office and begs the P.I. for assistance -- is boring, or do you just fear that others will find it boring?

If you find it boring, what is it you're planning to do with your character in the story? Is he going to fall in love and then watch her die? Is he going to be suspected by the police for the murder? Is he going to be running from the bad guys the whole time or is it more verbal jousting with occasional attempts to drop a safe on him? The opening scenes can reflect the thematic and emotional content of the story.

Also, how much info do you want your readers to have up front? Do you want them to know about the signs right away? Do you want them to see the murder, etc.? This is a mystery, so you've got to figure out where you want your clues and that will effect what you present in the opening.

A possible way to go: P.I. is working on the symbols for someone else, another body. P.I. has police radio, hears about new body, shows up at the murder site. Police won't tell him much, but maybe he catches a glimpse of the body, or a cop who's a friend confirms it's like the other case he's trying to solve. The woman, also at the crime scene, approaches him about what he knows about these strange killings, and so on. Or, you can start in the future when the hero is tied up and have him reflect back on the case. Or.... You can do this any number of ways, from high action car chases to quieter forensic conversations. What's most important to you? What do you want readers to see first?

I just have one thing to request, and it's my own personal pet peeve. Please do not make the cops stupid. It is not necessary to make the cops out to be idiots just to make the P.I. look smart, and it's usually not real believable either. Just a thought. :)

Lots to think about thanks!

I have a bit of time off from work today and tomorrow and after I finish my classwork, I plan to hit up Word.

I will answer what I can...

First off, let me say this. I only have a general outline of the story, I haven't gone into a hardcore brainstorming mode to pick out each wrinkle in each character's shirt. I plan to think a bit more tonight. Often times, when I plan, the story takes an entirely different route and it is almost like I wasted time with forming a useless backbone.

Hm... well, I will tell you what. I am getting a few ideas flowing right now. I am going to brainstorm and write for a bit and I will get back to you. I've got a feeling that if I don't have a go right now, I am just going to waste time trying to dodge your questions (which feels like all I can do right now!). Hehe!

I'll be back in a bit. Thanks for the kick in the arse! :D

Drew
September 29th, 2004, 12:06 AM
Well, I churned out a very short, but to the point prologue. With your help and the help of a friend, I wrote the last part first. I am going to play with this, recappign what has happened leading up to the finale.

Now, I would like to answer some of the questions you posed Kat...

The story is done in third person limited POV. I find this easiest to write and read, personally.

Now, more to the meat of the story. I was considering his involvement in the case. I believe I am going to do it as such...

The private detective has dealt with these symbols before on one occasion. It was a personal case to him, involving one of his business connections. He never truly solved the case, and all but gave up on it as he was running out of funds and clues. With a bit of vengeance, he hears of this new case involving the same symbols. (These two cases are the only two cases that have ever been conducted on these symbols, the police are on the same page as the detective). Now, how does he get around the police? Good question, and something I will have to consider some more. The idea I am having now is that the detective will simply use connections. He has an insider in the police unit, he has a connection in the morgue... these allow him to get past more or less circumvent the police.

Now, I know this probably sounds really lame right now (what new story idea doesn't?), but it will take some work and some thought.

If anyone is interested, I will post the prologue I wrote. It is only about a third of a page in Word (11 point Times New Roman)...

Thanks for all of the help so far. :cool: