Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Battling with indecision.... Opinions please!

As many of you know, I'm working on outlining the latest, greatest, final revision of my novel Product of an Illusion. And since this is going to be THE VERSION, I'm giving more thought than usual to a lot of aspects of the plot and character. There is one aspect in particular that I'm indecisive on, and it's a pretty big one, so I thought I would ask your opinions.

Let me first briefly describe the concept:
There is a teenage girl who can teleport. Her mom is a time traveller (but daughter doesn't know it). And this teenager girl will fall for a super human Italian heart throb. The problem is that the heart throb's uncle is the leader of a faction of super human people that are harvesting DNA from other superhuman people to create an army of ULTIMATE super humans to take over the world.

So that's it in a nutshell. The choice to make is this:

1. Should the book open with the teenage girl already aware of her teleporting abilities? And the conflict is between her and her mom. Her mom is very over protective and has led her to believe that she is the only one who is different (aka super human). But teenage girl wants to go explore the world, find others like her, and use her teleportation abilities to help people. Mom believes it is best for her to keep her abilities secret and that it is not safe to go flitting about the world randomly popping in and out of places. Of course the teenager will rebel and will then have to face the consequence of her actions.


2. Should the book open where the teenage girl lives a fairly normal life, well as normal as you can when your mom is a secret time traveller. And the book opens with her discovering her teleportation abilities which then leads to the discovery of the super human factions, super human hot guy, etc.. etc... And then learning what her role is and taking action.

I've read books that successfully do choice one or two. In Wings, by Aprilynne Pike, the main character Laurel discovers what she is. I think she figures things out by like page 24. Or another example- Harry Potter- the book opens with Harry thinking he is just a normal boy. But, then on the other hand, in Graceling, by Kristin Cashore, the book opens with Katsa very aware of her extraordinary abilities as a killer. Her abilities are full developed and the conflict is built upon this.

What do you guys think?


  1. I vote for 2. That one appeals to me more.

  2. That sounds very cool! I like both ways. I struggled with this too for a time going back and forth when I didnt know yet how to tell my story. The main problems you run into with track 2 is that your MC lives in this fantasy world that she's already aware of and so its harder to get that info across to the reader without making it sound like an info dump. When your MC doesnt know about the special world, they get to learn about it with the reader, so in a way your job is easier. But I'd try writing it both ways and see what feels better-and see which way feels more exciting. You're the only one who can decide this in the end. You may run into plotholes with one way and not another, or the plot holes may help develop the plot into something more exciting, you never know. Just play with it and the right way will come.

  3. Hey Terry and Frankie! Thank you so much for your opinions. It really helps!

  4. I agree with choice number 2 for the reasons Frankie said. How weird would it be to find out you had special powers? That would be interesting to experience with the MC.

  5. Definitely have her discover her powers before the reader's eyes - it will make us part of her journey from the get-go and create a stronger reader-protag bond. Good luck!

  6. Choice 2 -- awakening/origin stories are more relatable, IMO.

  7. I think I would make the decision based on the rest of your story. Is your story mostly about the conflict that happens once the whole super human thing is out in the open? If so, it probably isn't essential (and may burn some of your word count) to include the pieces of how she found out.
    However, if a big part of the story's conflict is the teen girl dealing with adapting to her new super human-ness, then her finding out should probably be a part of the story.
    Yeah, clear as mud, right?

  8. Totally clear Renee =)
    Well, it's good to hear that everyone is pretty unanimous with choice 2. That's how the original story is written BUT I've had choice number 1 nagging me. I've been trying to tell it to go away. And now you guys have given me the strength to really give choice one a kick in the rump. Thanks for your opinions peeps!

  9. I'm gonna have to pick Numero Two-o. Because I don't speak an ounce of Spanish. Besides Numero.
    But I think it's more challenging for a writer to do it where the character is clueless because the reader already knows, and they're like, "Okay. When will this kid find out already?!"
    So you have to do it in an epical (not a word...yet)


  10. I think I prefer choice 2, but I thought Wings took forever to get started. I liked Wings, but try to have some action close to the beginning. This is just my opinion of course. Your story sounds really cool.

  11. Go with what best defines your character. Will I love her for some reason in either version?