Writers Anonymous
Writers, come in. Talk about your stories, problems, any advice you need, critique, etc. You don't have to be good, you just need to want to write! Fanfic or original fic writers, all are welcome. Read the rules before posting or risk Rhea's displeasure.
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Ever feel like you live in your own bubble and bouncing ideas off yourself is about as useful as trying to use a screwdriver to hammer in a nail? Need help fleshing out a character or closing up plot holes? Want to add a little plump to your plot? Have you written yourself into a corner in a round room and can't figure out how to get out of it? Do you have a great idea but aren't sure quite how to lift it from the ground? Do you have mushy middle syndrome? Do you have characters running around in search of a plot? Having issues in how to realistically get from point A to point B?

I thought this might be a good problem solving thread for those of us who need a little help or a nudge/push in the right direction. As for myself, there are times where I struggle and I feel like I exist on my own writing island and would generally appreciate having some other creative mind to brainstorm/bounce ideas off of to add a little gas to my writing tank. Maybe others feel the same way. Hopefully, this isn't an awful idea for a thread.

2/2/2013 . Edited by Rhea Silverkeys, 10/20/2015 #1

I think this is a great idea you have. hopefully people will come along and get it off the ground.

I most of the time bounce ideas to my gf but I'm sure I'm annoying the hell out of her.

But it helps even if she don't say anything, because as your talking about it you kind of hear it better than when your talking in your head and you automatically realize where you have gone wrong or if something is missing.

2/2/2013 #2

Thanks! Well since it was my thread idea, I'll voice the issue I am having with one of my stories. Point blank, I wrote myself into a corner by having too many antagonists and since I don't like to have loose ends laying about, I have to find some how, way, shape or form to tie these up.

Quick story summary- The female protagonist gets promoted and relocates to the NYC office of her company from Miami. The male protagonist, now, a wealthy real estate mogul with a dark lifestyle fueled from regret and loss, is still drowning over regret that he left the one woman he ever loved ten years before. Circumstance puts them together again and despite the years of hurt between them, their passion for each other is as strong as ever and they try again. Of course, the obstacles that exist aren't only within themselves.

1. Antagonist 1 - the abusive step father of the male protagonist who is approaching his parole hearing in a month. He was put away for assault and battery of the female protagonist as well as drug possession. He is not the type to turn the other cheek. He is also an ex-cop.

2. Antagonist 2 - The ex-fiance of the female protagonist. He is running for senator and he and his Machiavellian father will stop at nothing to prevent the female protagonist from exposing sexually scandalous information about him that would ruin his political career. Even though she promised she wouldn't say anything, trust does not run high in their political circles.

3. Antagonist 3 - The male protagonist's personal assistant. She wants him and she will use whatever she has to get him, even if he is irrevocably in love with the female protagonist.

4. Antagonist 4. The female protagonist's sleazy co-worker. He is also the bosses' nephew (there are 3 head bosses). He constantly plants seeds of doubt in her head about her new relationship with an old flame (the male protagonist) and its ability to have staying power. He also resents her for stealing his career thunder even though he desires her.

So, there's my dilemma. My initial thoughts were to have the senatorial candidate and his father use the step-father's desire for revenge to "quiet" the female protagonist and this was going to happen at a vulnerable moment for the female protagonist because the personal assistant has some-how contrived a scenario in which the FP catches them in a "compromising" position with the male protagonist. I was thinking a run-in with a taxi-cab as I put in foreshadowing in the earlier chapters where the FP says it would more more likely for her to be hit with a taxi than be pushed onto the subway tracks (this was in a conversation with her brother who was worried about her commuting via subway and was quoting subway death statistics at her.

This leaves the sleazy co-worker hanging. He is a loose thread and I have no idea what to do with him.

2/2/2013 #3

Do 3 and 4 know each other, or is it at least reasonable that they could know each other? Seems to me the "compromising position" scenario would suit both of their ends, so they could be working together. 4 could steer the FP to the right place at the right time, or give 3 a heads up as to when the FP is on the way.

2/2/2013 #4

Yes, Byronic, that was one of the ideas I had been playing around with. 3 and 4 work in the same office building (the MP's company owns the building and he has his office there). The FP and # 4 both work in the ad agency that has offices five floors below them, so it is conceivable that 3 and 4 would run into each other and could form an alliance. The only reason I held back was it seemed a little too coincidental.

Edited portion...actually, 3 & 4 combining forces to break the MP and FP up was the original plan until the ex-fiance decided he wanted to come into the picture and in a moment if impulse (or stupidity-you choose), I added him thus adding more complications to the already convoluted mix. That's the exact point when I lost control of the story. In the original plan, the MP and the FP were supposed to fly down to Florida together, to face their demons (the step-father) in the parole hearing and the MP was going to finally see his mother after 10 years and begin the forgiving process.

Now I have this other plot that is completely different from what I intended. The problem is, I already posted the ex-fiance in the next to the last chapter I wrote and if I get rid of it, I will tick off and confuse a whole bunch of readers. Since the ex-fiance's plans haven't been revealed yet, I suppose I could let them die a slow death without any reader being the wiser and write him out gracefully...but that would be another problem.

2/2/2013 . Edited 2/2/2013 #5

Would it be possible to write a brief scene from 3's point of view? Say FP and 3 and riding an elevator up from the lobby. FP exits on her floor where 4 is waiting for an elevator down. 3 notices 4 following the FP with his eyes and suggests he join her in the elevator. That alone would be enough for the reader to think back and realize that was when the alliance was formed.

It could even be written from the FP's POV, but it would be a little trickier. She would notice 4 watching her, and then wonder why he's getting on an elevator that's going up.

2/2/2013 #6

I did think of that in a way...see the edited portion of my other post. Ugh, it's a disaster area.

2/2/2013 #7

Ever feel like you live in your own bubble and bouncing ideas off yourself is about as useful as trying to use a screwdriver to hammer in a nail?

Actually, a screwdriver is sometimes helpful for that. I've done it before. Then again, it was just a thin cardboard-ish bit of wall.

But yes, I need a sounding board sometimes. I don't currently, but this might be a good place to come back to later.

Lm, it'd really help if you gave us names for these protags...Idk about anyone else, but if there's no name, it makes no sense to me. I can't keep anything straight. It's like you're talking about block of wood A's slight discomfort sitting on a rock and block of wood B's yearning to move to the other side of the wood pile for a new view. I have no way of connecting to any of it, so all the info goes in one ear and out the other.

3. Antagonist 3 - The male protagonist's personal assistant. She wants him and she will use whatever she has to get him, even if he is irrevocably in love with the female protagonist.

Think she's the kind to seduce one of the other men you've mentioned in order to make her love jealous and maybe even form a partnership for her plot against him? She may not have to sleep with the guy. Sometimes just suggesting there's a chance of it is enough.

4. Antagonist 4. The female protagonist's sleazy co-worker.

Sound's like number 3's best bet for a partnership. Being a coworker and a boss's nephew, he'd be perfectly positioned to make her life hell until she dumped the protag.

This leaves the sleazy co-worker hanging. He is a loose thread and I have no idea what to do with him.

Oh. Maybe that's why he's always putting doubt in her mind? Because the assistant already recruited him to screw with her. He could then step up his game at her behest if it looks like her other plans aren't working. He may also be informing on the fp, giving the assistant more ammo to shoot her with, an idea of her schedule to time the 'situation', etc.?

Giving it a shot.

Edit: Oh...already mentioned. Well, maybe I put some info in there that hasn't been said yet?

2/3/2013 . Edited 2/3/2013 #8

Well, I actually purposefully left out the names as I feared I would induce gagging and eyerolling. Bella and Edward are the protagonists. Laurent is Edward's stepfather. Demetri is Bella's co-worker. Tanya is Edward's personal assistant. Sam is Bella's ex-fiance. Obviously, this is an AU and a semi-OOC story. I say, semi because certain personality traits the characters have are amplified in this story.

Edward, because of his abusive step-father, has become a control freak (in and out of the bedroom). He is also arrogant and possessive. Bella, determined to no longer be a walking doormat, is finally coming into her own after Edward leaving her ten years before and after being with a very controlling fiance (Sam). She is happy to have control over her own life again and although she never stopped loving Edward, she sees the parallels between the way Edward is now and how Sam was and she is determined not to be controlled again. That is where the internal conflict is- the give and take of control and compromise. Can Bella and Edward fight their own internal demons and make it work between them again. Is love enough? Of course, the external conflict isn't making things any easier.

2/4/2013 #9

There is too much focus on people causing conflict. Why not add more conflict on the personalities of the protagonists? Or maybe some small habits they disagree on? Other things such as lack of free time due to work or responsibility to old parents/young children. The things working against the relationship doesn't have to be people actively trying to screw them up.

2/4/2013 #10
There is too much focus on people causing conflict.

Which is the original problem I wrote about...too much external conflict. However, some of the external conflict is needed as it serves to shine a light and magnifies the internal conflict. The lack of free time due to parental responsbility is a non-issue. Bella's dad died of cancer a few months after Edward left in her later teenage years.

The real loose end, the more than I think about it, is really the ex-fiance. His inclusion in the story is a non-necessity and only the relationship that was with Bella and how it affected her decisions then and now were important; his actual physical presence in the story is not. I had this whole intense scene planned between Edward, Bella and Tanya that was to be the true catalyst for the internal changes/realizations between the two main characters that would also lead to facing their other demons head on.

I'm going to stick with my original plan and try to figure out how to lose Sam and his father in a way that is realistic and believable. Right now they are sitting in Edward's office upon Edward's summons in an attempt to protect Bella, whether she wanted him to or not -- she didn't.

2/4/2013 #11

Which is the original problem I wrote about...too much external conflict.

If there's too much, you may need to remove some of the characters, or remove their motivations/ability to do things. Write them out of the story. You may need to retcon some of the characters to reduce their motivation to continue being a problem, or even remove them entirely and give their part over to another antagonist. I mean, the secretary trying to get into a compromising position with the protag could instead be a callgirl paid by antag 1's dad to break them up. She's not going to give a rats a** about whether the two stay together or break up, so that's 4 antagonists down to 3. And the ex-fiance may get pressure from above or the public to get his personal life in order or lose face publicly, which is far worse for a politician than being defied, and he may decide to find some other girl he can control to marry him and settle all rumors that his love life is in shambles. The longer something like this goes on, the more of a scandle it is and the worse it'll be for him.

And then to completely close things, digging up dirt on her or Edward would make him feel better. Or if he buys something he can lord over them, like Edward or Bella's employers or something, basically a pact of mutual destruction. If there's nothing to find, which I doubt very much, he can easily make something up and threaten to smear Bella's name if she talks.

2/4/2013 . Edited 2/4/2013 #12

Interesting. I orginally was going to have the PA drug Edward and have it orchestrated where Bella would find them in flagrante delicto, set up by the PA and the Co-worker. However, your callgirl idea might work better as the PA would have to make herself look innocent in the whole debacle and of course, she would intend to be there to pick up the pieces of Edward's mutilated heart.

The ex-fiance already has a new fiance that has been groomed her whole life to be a politcian's wife but the problem is, Bella has some very big dirt on him that could potentally ruin his whole career becasue they completely contradict his campaign platforms. The irony being, it is the same thing that Edward had been doing prior to him making the decision to find Bella again. Sam is really just the puppet though, it's Sam's father pulling the strings.

I think having Sam and his father work with Edward's PA, might be even more devious. I mean they are already in Edward's office so they already met the PA...Hmm, I think I am onto something here... thanks...you stormed me into a good direction.

2/4/2013 . Edited 2/4/2013 #13

Cool, glad to help. ;D

Hmm, I think I am onto something here... thanks...you stormed me into a good direction.

Awesomeness. And I didn't even roll my eyes once! Although honestly, the characters you describe may as well be Bill and Eve for all I care. They don't sound anything like the Sue and her boytoy I saw in the movie.

2/4/2013 #14
They don't sound anything like the Sue and her boytoy I saw in the movie.

And for good reason. I really had no affinity for tragic, whiny Bella. Yeah, in my story, she had issues but I am making her overcome them on her own time and by her own terms.

2/4/2013 #15

Exactly. Nothing to roll eyes about. And I haven't heard anything about anyone swooning because someone is just so cute and sparkly or whatever either. That was always my problem with Twilight. The vampire legend was romanticized into a fangirly fantasy that makes no sense at all and we're expected to buy it like it could ever happen in a million years somewhere in the infinite multiverse. Fat chance. Only ever happens in dreams.

But what you're talking about sounds perfectly legitimate, even if it isn't my cup of tea. So I can take it seriously long enough to help out.

2/4/2013 . Edited 2/4/2013 #16
Funny thing about the books though in the first half of the first book, yeah, Bella was shy, self conscious and klutzy but she also had a bit of a bite to her; pardon the pun. She was sarcastic and snarky and did have gumption. That is the Bella I want to write.
2/4/2013 #17

Bumping...I want to give this a chance to take off.

3/4/2013 #18
Hiroshi is your standard grade first year student, despite his outward appearance (which makes him look more athletic than he actually is) he is a nerd in every sense of the word. His bullies aren't typical bullies, instead he's constantly tormented by the upper classmen of his technology club. A dare with these bullies ends up getting him into a global robotics and mechanics competition, his opponents are none other than his bullies who have constructed working beam-swords, hover cars, and the like. Desperate, he wishes on a shooting star to find a team that could help him finally beat his bullies at their own game. That shooting star comes crashing down to earth and turns out to be an alien craft instead. It's injured pilot a beautiful human-like alien, who requests that he saves her ship's artificial intelligence unit. They manage to build a cybernetic woman just before she passes out and is put into an intensive care unit inside the ship. Due to some bug in the system, the ship's AI recognizes Hiroshi as it's 'creator' and instantly befriends him. Unfortunately his upperclassmen have a dark secret to their success, in exchange for advanced technology, the government wants them to capture Hiroshi's new teammate for the competition.

That is an idea I had after finishing Hand Maid May. I need some more ideas on how to give it more plot though...it'll be a one-shot that's quite long. (maybe 25-30 episodes worth if published in anime form.) It would be a nightmare if someone read this as 'standard Harem fare' with 'close to no plot' because it's kind of my first step into this category. I want it to be an entertaining story for something more than just fanservice, so if anyone has ideas they're more than welcome.

3/4/2013 #19

First I would suggest that you reconsider making it a oneshot. 25-30 episodes worth seems like it would be somewhat long, probably way more than 30k words. A oneshot like that may intimidate readers and prevent them from even clicking on your story.

For a harem story, you should plan each character a head of time. You've only told us about two females (one of which is unconscious). I've always assumed that Harem stories have way more members of the "harem." Of course, I base my assumption off of the reverse-harems I like. I think your focus at the moment should be on what other characters will join the team. Maybe you have a female mad scientist character who wants to experiment on Hiroshi. Or maybe you have a tsundere female character that thinks Hiroshi is weak and believes that he will fail if she doesn't join his team. And maybe the team captain is a busty teacher who fantasizes about doing naughty things to Hiroshi.

I think a lot of the entertainment will come from the character interactions. Not just how Hiroshi interacts with all the girls, but how the girls interact with each other. Maybe the tsundere character is jealous of the teacher because her b*** aren't nearly as big as the teacher's. Maybe your mad scientist wants to experiment on the alien as well, but the AI is very protective of the alien. Perhaps Hiroshi's mother hates all the girls and constantly tries to disrupt their interactions.

3/5/2013 #20

Hmm I think you're right about the focus being not on the male as much, because if it is then that would lead to too much fanservice. Which in my instance is bad. However I want it to be fanservice(or at least entertaining) to the males as much to the females, kind of ambitious for my first harem, but hell, if you're going to do something you may as well do it big.

What I meant was I'm going to write it as a one shot, and then break it into maybe three or four separate parts. maybe five.

I want it to be a sort of different Harem in a sense that it turns a lot of personality types in a different light.

Hmm, the mad scientist character type seems a bit overdone. I was thinking of actually having a witch in the group, though technically the same thing, you can be a lot more creative with stuff that happens. Okay, so here's what I have so far.

I have a Tsunadure who's really shy and only acts deadly when she's over crowded (I'm still developing her character)

I have an AI unit who believes that she's created by a human and won't believe anything else (even with enough evidence proving otherwise)

I have a witch who's kind of recycled from an old fiction idea that I had. (She still wants to "experiment" on him though, which is more fun for a witch. :3)

I have an alien archaeologist/scientist who remains in a coma for a majority of the story. (well, roughly half of the story anyway)

Hum, what exactly is sister complex? I've heard that term mentioned before but I'm not exactly sure what it is.

3/5/2013 #21

Someone with a sister complex is really attached to their sister. They always talk about them, worry about them, do things for them, etc. Their lives tend to revolve around their sisters. The same can be said about a person with a brother, mother or father complex.

The idea with character interactions is to provide development for those characters without necessarily saying out right. For example, rather than telling your readers that your Tsundere character gets deadly when in a crowd, you could show it in a scene where she's suddenly surrounded by people, panics for a second and then snaps and starts attacking the people of the crowd. Then you could have a nicer character (Hiroshi perhaps) calm her down and in that same breath introduce the Tsundere's crush on Hiroshi.

3/5/2013 #22

I need a bit of help on the set-up for the next part of my WIP. It is LotR, but a dark AU where Sauron regained the Ring and won the war.

This is rather long, but there is a lot of background-thought I am going through here. What I mostly need some help with, is whether my reasoning make sense.

Quick canon-recap for those that might not know the canon: Sauron is the dark lord (perhaps the first of his type in fiction). He is what is called a Maia in canon – a kind of lesser angelic being. Not human, in other words, more an immortal spirit but incarnated. He has a body, which can be killed. The Ring is a ring, but an object of power, and it was made by Sauron for the purpose of domination and to rule the other rings of power that are out there. LotR is about the quest to destroy the Ring.

The canon character other than Sauron who is important for this part of my story, is Aragorn. He is the last heir of Sauron's main opponents among men. As a child he was hidden so that Sauron would not find and kill him. Aragorn is heir to two kingdoms: Gondor which have been ruled by Stewards for many generations, and the northern kingdom of Arnor, which had fallen around the same time. He is Chieftain of the Northern Rangers – a remain of that kingdom – but has not claimed kingship of Gondor, though he proclaimed himself near the end of the War of the Ring.

In my AU, Sauron regained his Ring and won the war. He recovered the Ring first during the Battle of the Black Gate – in canon this is when Frodo claims the Ring for himself. (In my story Gollum was not there to take the Ring from Frodo and stumble into the volcano, and Sauron got there in time to take back the Ring instead.)

This means that Aragorn and the Armies of the West are trapped and lose their battle at the Gate. Aragorn is captured, and Sauron holds him as a hostage against Gondor. The reasoning behind this is already worked out, but it is part of the background for this nesxt part.

The part of my story I need help on, begins when Aragorn is sent to a mine in Mordor to work. There are other prisoners there, also captured in the same battle, and they are now working as slaves in the mine. Among them are also a group of surviving Rangers, Aragorn's men.

So, there are several reasons that Aragorn is sent to that mine, and that the Rangers are there, is one of them. Sauron's motivation for capturing Aragorn rather than having him just killed, is, among other things, that he wants to break him and make him serve him. Even though Sauron with the Ring is very powerful, there is a limit to how much he can control, so I have him rule through agents to a large extent. He wants Aragorn to rule Gondor on his behalf. The main reason for this, is that Sauron wishes to be worshiped as a god, and in Númenórean thought the kings were the priests. It has therefore been no worship of Eru (the god) in Gondor as long as there have been no kings there. While Sauron might be able, in time, to establish a worship of himself in Gondor and the other kingdoms of the West without Aragorn to lead it, it will be more effective to persuade or 'convert' Aragorn to do it. So that is Sauron's final goal with Aragorn.

Having the king return as a pawn for Mordor will also be rather devastating for the people, making them easier to rule as well, so that is another motivation.

So, Aragorn being sent to the mine is a part of Sauron's long-term plan to break him. It has to be a slow breaking, because Aragorn will not be of much use if he just goes mad from torture (plus it will rather make it a very different story from the one I wish to tell…).

Now, the mine is not just set up for Aragorn's benefit, it is more or less how it would work there anyway.

The prisoners are kept in large cells, about 50 in each, and there is not much interaction between the different cells. So what we will see, mostly, are the prisoners of the cell Aragorn is put in.

They get one meal a day, which the guards control. This is to ensure that the workers don't starve to death too quickly, but it is not enough to sustain them over time with the work they are put to. That meal is taken before work, and there might be more than one cell eating at the same time. Each prisoner is given a wooden token at arrival: it must be shown to get the meal. In theory everyone will have one meal a day. I say theory, because if someone steals the token, then you'd get nothing, and the thief can get two meals.

In addition, each cell is given extra rations. These are just put into the cell, and the distribution us up to the prisoners. Since the one meal is not enough, these rations are rather important, though they too are low. If a cell earns some favour, they might get more food, or less. Rations are not at a constant level.

In Aragorn's cell there are two main groups. The Rangers, who keep together but are reluctant to let others in (more on that back-story later), and one other lead by a man named Faron. Faron was a man-at-arms of Imrahil. Not one of his knights, but a foot-soldier. He has managed to gather a group of followers, mainly by strength and bullying. And the fact that the Rangers mostly just keeps to themselves and do not interfere beyond what they need to protect themselves. So Faron is the main force, though he is vary of provoking the Rangers. Faron has a core-group of stronger men, and a following of weaker men who most of all seeks the (relative) protection he offers. Or at least some chance of protection; Faron is not set up to be very nice, and the protection is mostly against himself or his men…

Then there are some men who are not part of any group. The most prominent of these are Thalion, once a knight of Dol Amroth. Some others are like him: not willing to join Faron's group, but not quite able to form any group themselves. Not one able to challenge Faron, and Faron guards his power. But they have some personal strength, which they get by on.

It is mainly Faron who controls the food, and I have him as the only one not being too thin (even among his own men). But he and the Rangers have a silent agreement that they take what minimum of food they need, and does not interfere with the rest of the distribution.

Now, the back-story is that it has not been so all the time, and that is also one reason for the tensions that arise when Aragorn arrives. At first the Rangers took a much more active role, both because they were at that point the only close-knit group, and because they saw it as a responsibility. They saw to the distribution of the food, and they also had a healer. While they also then kept a bit to themselves, they were not as exclusive and would let other prisoners close and even into their group. Thalion was one of those who were closer to them.

Not everyone was happy about the power they had, though. Both among the other prisoners and the guards. The guards – especially the orc captain Gorgol (I found a name!)—did not like this because the Rangers were too fair for their taste. The other prisoners, led eventually by Faron, did not like it because food was still sparse, and they did not think it was a good idea to let everyone have a little and grow weak, rather than letting at least some keep their strength. Or, simply put: they wanted more food. They also did not trust that the Rangers split the food fairly and did not keep more themselves. Both issues, I think, contributed, or perhaps the argument was just to make it look better.

The result is that Faron grows stronger, and the guards subtly supports this development. In addition the Rangers are at one point (one or two months before Aragorn arrives) are betrayed, accused of plotting rebellion. I have not fully decided whether they actually did plan a rebellion, or only were accused, though I lean towards the former. (There are many more prisoners than guards, so an uprising would cause trouble at the least.) This betrayal leads to them losing two of the men, and later their healer also dies, and all of them punished in one way or another. After that they withdraws, and don't trust anyone else close to them again. Thalion is suspected, though they don't know for sure who betrayed them. Thalion swears his innocence -- I have not quite decided yet whether he is guilty or not -- but the rangers are not taking any chances. This is also one of the reasons that they keep Aragorn so close.

I have one plot-line that addresses this part (though the back-story of the power-struggle will be most sub-text than explicit - that is more a part of the world-building that I need to have clear, not something I'll put into the story). Once Aragorn arrives, the food-rations are lowered, so that they have less food than before. When Faron gained power, the cell was given more food as a subtle encouragement, but now those are cut drastically. This is, of course, to make things more difficult for Aragorn, and he suspects as much though it is not explicitly confirmed. Aragorn deals with this by going on a mild form for hunger-strike. He refuses to eat anything but the one meal per day the guards serve. The Rangers are not very happy about this, but they can't really force their Chieftain to eat more. Aragorn is certain that Sauron won't let him starve to death, and it does have some effect. When it becomes visible that Aragorn is losing weight rather fast, the rations are increased again, though Aragorn, encouraged by this, continues his fast. In the end the commander of the mine has to interfere. At this point the rations are as high (or a bit higher) than before, and Aragorn is keeping up mostly to see how far he can take it. What wiggle-room does he have?

So the commander puts an stop to his hunger-strike by threatening to have him force-fed, and to cut the rations again unless Aragorn beings to eat. Gorgol, the orc-captain, orders Faron to spy on him to make sure Aragorn actually eats. This leads to Aragorn and Faron reaching some compromise on the food-distribution.

Now, the breaking-theme is also an issue here. Aragorn is also a hostage, and he will at times be taken back to Bara-dûr as a means to keep Faramir (his steward, who rules Gondor) in line, about once a year the way I have imagined it. That is one of the themes in the two first books of the series: Aragorn being held as hostage, and made to suffer in order to force others to behave.

It is often a theme in stories where the hero is forced to do something in order to save a hostave. Or the villain torturing a friend/loved one as a psychological torture of the hero. I'm turning this a bit on the head. My reasoning is that Sauron wants to impress on Aragorn that it does not matter what he does, Sauron will get his will anyway. I also imagine that this is what gets to Aragorn the most: not the pain, which he would have expected once he was captured, but that he is used against his men, and as a means to break others. And he can't really do anything about it.

One of the things I want to do, is to show this theme in the mine. (The times when he is recalled to Bara-dûr will not, as I plan it, be shown directly. Those times will involve some rather heavy torture at times, and I prefer to keep that mostly off-scene.) What I am thinking, is to have Aragorn, with the Rangers, plan escape. Both because this will make for a less depressing story-line, and to show that they (or Aragorn) are not all beaten yet.

Haldor (OC, a captain of the Rangers, next to Aragorn in rank among the captured Ragners – he is already established as a character) takes the task of scouting out some possible ways out of the mine - using old mine-shafts and passages. Aragorn are too closely watched for him to do it himself. Haldor is caught – something he knows is likely to happen – but then Aragorn is punished in his place. And this stops all thoughts of escape for the Rangers. While they still are stubborn, it breaks something in them, and Aragorn sees this. They would risk themselves, and partly each other, but not him. And so the place where Aragorn might have had some rest/ gathered strength, becomes yet another place of torture. Not because of any physical pain, but because he becomes the means by which his men is broken and controlled.

Not fully, because I also plan that this is what wins the other prisoners over to his side - those not won over until then (I might have some that are never won over, I'll have to see how it works out).

So it is a mixture of success and failure on Sauron's part as well as for Aragorn. It's kind of a war between them, and none will fully win any of the battles. Saruon is trying to impress on him all the time that he is powerless and have no influence on anything: even the way Aragorn is treated as a prisoner depends on the actions of others and not himself. Letting him be with the other prisoners is a way to reenforce this, because he then also see what it does to them that he is a hostage against them as well as Faramir. But Aragorn does have some power and influence among the prisoners, which works against Sauron's efforts.

Does any of this sound plausible or implausible? I know it will have to be written very differently from how I just lay it out here, but it is the reasoning I need to make sure is sound.

3/17/2013 #23
Silky Button

(just ignore. I deleted the post since it was pretty much bashed by the first person to read it... was hoping for encouragement to start writing again, not hate for my idea, so I just deleted this for my own peace of mind... sorry to bother you all)

3/17/2013 . Edited 3/18/2013 #24

I have advice, but not all of it is pretty. My posting isn't working, so I've indicated paragraphs for you.


What if instead of trying to incite rebellion, the Rangers were trying something else nefarious? Like trying to smuggle something in or out? Or trying to other Rangers tranfered into their cell because they were alone in those other cells and having a much harder time of it? Then they can't really fight the charges since they'd be admitting to something else against the rules, which would still get them 'disciplined'.

As for who betrays them, I'd go for the quiet guy no one takes much notice of. The innocent guy that hugs the wall and seems totally naive and in need of protection. He may have thought he was doing the right thing, thinking that if the Rangers succeeded, they'd be punished much worse, or he may have just been talking to someone, not realizing THAT guy would rat them out. Lastly, he may have just done it so he could join Faron's group, either figuring it was self-defense, or just persuaded by Faron or one of his inner group that everything's going to be fine.

This is, of course, to make things more difficult for Aragorn, and he suspects as much though it is not explicitly confirmed.

Faron can use this to his advantage, telling the others that somehow Aragorn is at fault. This would help if Aragorn tries on any level to resist bowing to him. It's basically an ace he can hold up his sleeve. He just has to ask people to remember back to when Aragorn got there and their food was cut down and OMG! it's all his fault--attack! And even if he doesn't use this, he can threaten it to try and get Aragorn to do what he wants.

I also imagine that this is what gets to Aragorn the most: not the pain, which he would have expected once he was captured, but that he is used against his men, and as a means to break others. And he can't really do anything about it.

Yes, that's what will break Aragorn. I was trying to think, what would break someone like him, and I couldn't think of anything until you said that. Powerlessness. The fact that nothing he does matters in the end. That's what would really get him. He'd lose his will to fight, seeing nothing accomplished, and find it easier just to do what he's told because it'll happen anyway. He's a jaded guy already. He'd turned selfish before the Fellowship, just thinking about himself for the most part. And now he's had his ability to even do anything for others removed, which just leaves him with himself. So why try? The only one he can help at all is himself.

Does any of this sound plausible or implausible?

All in all, I think you've got it down, as far as I know. I know the two main characters here pretty well from the movies and they sound totally IC here. Sauron is tricky and extremely smart and although he doesn't give a s*** about anyone and loves dishing out the pain, smart bad guys know when to resist dealing pain when something nice will hurt far worse.

Lady Pryde:

Well, we're not your target audience, so asking us might not work out so well. We're writers looking for great stories, but many fandoms have a crappy/contrived but totally-super-awsumnessss!!11! preference. It doesn't matter what the plot is, but if it's got something with no depth, half-assed writing skills and lots of kissyface, people love it. It's really stupid, but crap wins the popularity contest. If that isn't what you're looking for though, we're the ones to ask. If it is, asking us won't get you an accurate answer. You're better off posting in forums for the specific fandoms you'd be posting in.

Based during the reign of the Galactic Empire and pre Hogwarts years for Fem!Harry (named Annabelle)

Hate it already and I'll tell you why: Fem!Harry (named Annabelle). What the hell is the point of that?

The idea is that sometime between SW:Episodes III and IV, the Empire discovers Earth.

Thought they were in a galaxy far far away? How the hell'd they cross the space between galaxies and get to the Milky Way to find us?

Some time during the invasion, Vader senses four to six year old Annabelle in the 'care' of the Dursley's, beaten and half starved. He kills them, takes the child, and orders the fleet to complete destroy as much of England as possible.

Makes calling her anything but a straight-up OC even more pointless.

I read the rest but it all has the same problem of making it look like you've got a total Mary Sue being dumped on just 'cuz. I've never liked that. Then again, I'm bored just hearing 'Star Wars', so I probably wasn't going to like your fic ideas past the first sentence anyway. I've liked exactly ONE Star Wars fic and it focused almost entirely on a ship. Not the people on it, but the ship itself. It was such an awesome fic, I'm almost afraid of returning for the last chapter. The author said it'd be a tear-jerker, and I really liked that ship.

Anyway, I really think you need to go to Star Wars and Harry Potter forums to ask these questions. Probably Star Wars since it looks like Star Wars is going to be the main fandom in your crossover.

3/17/2013 . Edited 3/18/2013 #25

Thanks, Darkwinter :) I'll think about the suggestions regarding the rebellion/other infraction. Since that is backstory that won't be told other than in hints, I have some wriggle-room there when I write: I can keep it ambiguous enough that I can write without having decided 100% yet.

Yes, Faron will be using the food-issue to strengthen his position vs Aragorn. Aragorn is a threat to his (relative) power and even if Aragorn is technically Faron's king, this is a place where that does not have the same bearing. I did not mention this above, but there are resentment towards Aragorn among the prisoners, and not only because of the food. For some he is a rallying-point and a hope, but not for everyone. A defeated king will meet resentment.

It would only have been the leaders who would have known about Frodo's mission to destroy the Ring, and the attach on the Black Gate is a suicidal diversion on the part of the Free People. While it initially is Gandalf who advocates it (in The Last Debate, for those that want a chapter-reference. Chapter is found in RotK), Aragorn is right behind him, and did, when he looked in the palatir at Helm's Deep (movie and book differs there), start this tactic. And the soldiers would only know that they marched with a woefully small army towards Mordor in the name of a King they did not fully know, and that they lost. They would only see that their leaders acted foolishly, and not know why that foolishness were necessary. Of course there will be resentment: they are all prisoners because Aragorn marched on the Black Gate, and lost. So Faron have plenty to work with, and Aragorn much to win back.

3/18/2013 #26
One quick word of advice for Darkwinter999 (or anyone else reading this): I've discovered today that I can't get paragraph breaks, etc., to work when I post on this forum via Internet Explorer, but the formatting controls all work fine for me when I use Google Chrome instead. I don't think I've ever seen this happen before.
3/18/2013 . Edited 3/18/2013 #27
Yes, Lorendiac, I am having the same issue. Nor do I have the formatting controls such as italics or quotation format on my screen. Preview isn't working either. So forgive any of my text walls, they are not intentional or even made by my error.
3/18/2013 . Edited 3/18/2013 #28

Thanks guys, I'll try google. I'm glad it's not just me though.

Aragorn is a threat to his (relative) power and even if Aragorn is technically Faron's king, this is a place where that does not have the same bearing.

I don't doubt it. When people get, enjoy and want to defend their power, silly little things like royalty and should be in charge don't mean that much to them. In those cases, they look to possession being 9/10ths of the law because it's oh so conveniently ruling in their favor.

A defeated king will meet resentment.

Yeah. I'm sure some people will blame him for their current state, saying it's his fault Sauron has enslaved them. He should've done more, or he shouldn't have even tried to fight him off. Maybe he should've joined Sauron beforehand, won his favor and protected his people? When people have nothing--not even hope, they'll grasp at straws to find someone to blame.

3/18/2013 . Edited 3/18/2013 #29

Love the idea for this thread. I know plenty of instances where I wanted to bounce around ideas with another person but have been able to for one reason or another. I do hope that I am not to late to the party with this. There is an idea I'd like to discuss with others if possible.

So I'm working on a fic at them moment that is in the early stages of planning. What I'd like help with are some plot points as most of the conflict in this story is going to be sort of a battle of wills and subterfuge between the protagonist and antagonist.

The fic I'm writing is a crossover between Neon Genesis Evangelion and Iron-Man (Marvel Cinematic Universe line). A short summary of what I plan on having happen is this;

After the destruction of Unit 04, NERV-2 has Unit 03 sent to Tokyo-3 to be housed and activated. Having been partly constructed by Stark Industries, genius, billionaire playboy, philanthropist Tony Stark heads out to oversee the successful start up of Evangelion Unit 03. However Stark is over there for more than just corporate oversight, SHIELD has tapped him to investigate NERV and true intentions behind 'Project E', NERV, and Human Instrumentality.

The fic will cover the events in Evangelion starting with the 13th Angel and leading into the events covered in End of Evangelion. However I am trying to write this as more than a simple 'retelling' with a touch of Stark. The way I hopefully want to have this work out is to have the fic start off close to the original events, but start to veer away from the charted path the longer it goes on. Stark's investigation and conflict with Commander Ikari causing events to pan out differently than we've originally seen them.

For this fic I have the central conflict being between Stark and Gendo. At first it is merely because Tony is there investigating and looking into the secrets that Gendo wants to keep hidden. Though this quickly becomes more human focused for Tony as he takes serious objection to how Gendo manipulates and uses seemingly everyone around. However I see that these two men would more than likely engage in a battle of wits, subterfuge, and coercion rather than in raw violence due to one Gendo is not a fighter and the fact that Tony needs Gendo alive to see them through the Angel attacks. Though I'm not sure how to convey that in actual action and words in a narrative format so response for that would be great.

I'd also appreciate advice, critique and other helpful commentary on writing crossovers, characterization, and anything anyone else would be willing to throw at me.

This is my first time posting on this site so I was not sure how much information was 'too much' so if you'd like more information on what I've drummed up so far, feel free to ask!

3/26/2013 #30
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