Friday, 10 May 2013
A DIFFERENT APPROACH
It was a couple of years ago that I first came up with the idea for my novel which involves the kidnapping and long term captivity of a young woman but I wonder if the idea, in a fictional sense, is becoming cliché already.
In reality such events are rare and few had given the idea much thought until Josef Frizl horrified the world when his secret family was freed from his home made dungeon, traumatised and rubbed out as people in their own right.
There have been more of that type of case than I thought, however unique they are, and now another terrible story has emerged of the three women freed from hell in Cleveland, Ohio but the shock factor, although still great, is not as raw as when we first heard about this type of case.
Since Fritzl, more and more writers are using the captivity scenario in novels and screen plays. I've seen it in the CSI series and other cop and forensic shows and I wonder if the reader or viewer is becoming desensitised enough to the awful idea to see it as becoming old hat in fiction writing.
But then there are only, apparently, Seven Basic Plots that make up just about every story ever written so the key must be the originality of the writer in how they present that plot - in this case, The Monster.
My story does have a twist, and there are other factors in it to raise interest and suspense for the reader. I have seven chapters written but reading back over them, I wonder if the captivity plot is really a necessary part and if all my characters are pulling together or apart as they should.
I often tell my students that if they are struggling with their story then it would be a good idea to take their characters out of it, stand them up on their own, write a few pages about their normal day, their usual traits and ticks, and then put them back into the story and see how they cope and react to the situation they've been dropped into. I also need to write a timeline to frame the events which should act as rough guide and set the pace of the story.
That is going to be the next thing on my agenda as I have quite a few characters now that I really need to get to know better before I can go back to the captivity aspect and ensure it is as original as I can make it. My "monster" at present certainly needs more work and it will be a good place to start again.
Summer is coming and I will have time on my hands to dedicate to this project but the initial June deadline I set myself to have that first clumsy draft written was probably ambitious. September now seems more likely and realistic but I really can't wait to get my teeth back into it.