novel structure problem

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samotnik
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novel structure problem

Postby samotnik » Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:20 am

Hi all,

I'm currently working on my second novel, waiting for the first to be published soon.
The problem I have is not exactly with the structure but mostly with the story lines tempo.
I got to the point where my protagonists(male and female) got separated, because the antagonists kidnapped the female and brought her to a different country. The male protagonist is trying to find her jumping into risky unsupported operation on his own in a foreign country(simply finds out the private jet number, tracks it and tries to kidnap the pilot - it turns out to be a disastrous plan). Meanwhile the female is having conversation with the main antagonist in which he reveals parts of his motives and background(she is an archeologist and expresses strong disbelief in what he reveals but slowly she changes her mind and actually agrees to help him). This part also gives hooks that will be exploited later.
I cross the two story lines using successive short segments for each story line but I'm afraid that it becomes too boring. Only two stories changing for almost 20000 words. I feel it's a bit long. Maybe the conversation is too slow or maybe the male's actions are too detailed. I think that another parallel story line will make it more interesting but I don't want to loose reader's attention.
This is still in the first 1/3 of the planned book size.

Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome.

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Crono91
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Re: novel structure problem

Postby Crono91 » Mon Apr 11, 2016 12:52 pm

Based on what you provided, I don't think anyone can actually provide advice on that.

It does currently sound a little dull, though, like a Bond movie. But I'm sure in context it's more interesting.
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Re: novel structure problem

Postby Aeoneye » Mon Apr 11, 2016 2:51 pm

Tempo problems can mean there isn't enough conflict or consequences relating to the protagonist's weakness or stakes. Bare bones plot concept, I think you're on a good track, but there are a few fundamental questions that might help.

What is the male protagonist's weakness?
Whenever the male protag wants something, make sure he is denied over and over again. When it happens, his weakness shows its ugly face, causing conflict. Of course the reason why he's denied could be his weakness too. Also, when good things do happen, it should have consequences. The more conflict the better. Every time this happens, it must move the plot--which should help pacing. In the end, meeting his goal should simultaneously free him of his weakness.

What is at risk for the male protagonist if the female protagonist joins the antagonist?
Be sure to foreshadow the stakes early on, and poke at it every once in a while reminding the reader how much it'd suck if she was in the wrong hands. And when she does get abducted, the reader should worry about what'll happen to the male protag's plan, and they'll want to find out what's next. This should branch out from the biggest stake if the antagonist gets his way, but since another character is involved, it adds another layer of risk.

I hope it helps.

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Dreaming Imrryr
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Re: novel structure problem

Postby Dreaming Imrryr » Mon Apr 11, 2016 3:24 pm

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Last edited by Dreaming Imrryr on Mon Apr 25, 2016 6:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

samotnik
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Re: novel structure problem

Postby samotnik » Mon Apr 11, 2016 11:32 pm

Thanks you very much for the replies.

Dreaming Imrryr,

I'm not afraid of critiques, not at all. I write for the reader and want to know if I'm doing it wright. Every constructive critique is very welcome.
The thing is that I first have to translate these 2000 words into English.
Having in mind my poor performance in expressing my thoughts here I doubt that it will make much sense to post something for criticism at all :-)

Aeoneye,

Yes, abducted was the word I was looking for. Not kidnapped :-)
Your thought are very much in the spot. The problematic part actually consist of two scenes. Two long scenes. There is no much conflict in there. At least the conflict is at low level - verbal fighting, disagreements, rejections and inner dispute for the female and nothing but minor mishaps for the male during his attempt to find the jet, watching until someone appears and then following him. His actions are supposed to be interesting because he risks a lot.
These two scenes are essential for the story because:
First - when the males actions turn out to be a bad plan the antagonists use him to make the female do whatever they want(and thus giving him a chance to act and fall into even deeper problems)
And second - the conversation with the antagonist tells the reader that there is more than just what had been revealed so far.
The female decides to join the antagonists to avoid her friend to be tortured but she also developed very strong professional interest. This way she triggers him to rescue her. Again.

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roda havet
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Re: novel structure problem

Postby roda havet » Tue Apr 12, 2016 7:33 am

Coming from someone who is having a bit of trouble myself with my own novel. I think from what you have provided so far has potential. Keep up the good work. :)
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Re: novel structure problem

Postby Aeoneye » Tue Apr 12, 2016 8:04 am

How far into the book are these two scenes?

samotnik
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Re: novel structure problem

Postby samotnik » Tue Apr 12, 2016 9:23 am

Aeoneye,

They start at the end of Act 1 with the abduction of the female protag. It can be considered as a key event. The abduction is not planned by the antags and in fact is a result of her attempt to save her life. She is the only one, or at least the antags think she is, who knows something they need.
The hook, and inciting event already happened.
The two intersecting scenes describe why the antags need the information she knows so badly and the efforts of her male friend to save her.

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Re: novel structure problem

Postby Aeoneye » Tue Apr 12, 2016 11:35 am

After she is taken, everything changes. Establish this new world through both perspectives. This chapter shouldn't reference what happened in act 1 or even try to figure out how to save her. It's all new to them now, and they must evaluate what they're dealing with. This sense of wonder is invigorating to read. More importantly, it should move the plot along while planting seeds for character development and conflict for later chapters.

Afterwards he's free to explore and react to this new world. Then you remind us what his goal is, and why he thinks he can't get it yet. Once the reader is enticed in this new place, compare this new world to the old one to circle around.

1. Set up new world
2. Moderate conflict through exploration
3. Resolution after old world contrast

Also, great decision to make his plan go awry. Great conflict.

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Re: novel structure problem

Postby TwoStepCharlie » Wed Oct 12, 2016 11:36 pm

When the antagonist abducts the heroine archaeologist here, it sounds as if an
'info dump' is occurring between he and her and between you and the reader.

if she is abducted into a foreign terrain, she perhaps should not acquire so much insight about the antagonist so quickly.

Instead, she might be presented with the perspective of a third party. And then after that, she might hear the views of the antagonist (his views about himself) and then make up her mind. In other words, she might come to the country with a 'thin' or 'superficial' view of her own, then she might hear another view ... and then he sways her.

How? Well when she arrives (kidnapped) there may be 'factions' among the outlaws who snatched her. Maybe a rival band whisks her away even deeper into the country from the first set of kidnappers. She has to be rescued.

Maybe a power struggle. A lieutenant to the antagonist may hate his guts and fill her ear with a resentful picture of this brigand leader. Then the leader himself gets a chance to have his say.
Blow up the bridge?!


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