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Empress Theresa - what do you do with unlimited power ? (2 Viewers)

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moeslow

Senior Member
So many suggestions for improving my story!

It's easy to make "suggestions". They are nothing but alternative storylines. And of course, since they're your ideas, they have to be great ideas. Whether they make the story better or worse doesn't seem to be a major concern around here.

Harper Lee is still alive. Let me make some suggestions for an improved rewrite of To Kill a Mockingbird.
I'll give her a list go choose from. I do want to help her out: :D

1. Atticus marries a second wife who he doesn't realize is a closet racial bigot. When the trial of the black man is scheduled, Atticus's wife's bigotry becomes apparent. There is much domestic discontent. Scout is negatively affected by all this and starts going downhill.

2. Atticus marries a second wife. When Atticus is assigned to defend the black man from a charge of rape, angry whites rape Atticus's wife.

3. Instead of angry whites showing up at the jail to get the black man, a crowd of blacks frees the black man and helps him get away. Whites blame Atticus for this. His legal practice is ended. He has to take menial jobs. The embittered man's character deteriorates. Without a good parental model Scout degenerates into a troubled teenage, gets pregnant, and commits suicide.

4. Robert Ewell attacks the kids. Boo Radley tries to defend them but Ewell kills him with his switchblade knife ( not mentioned in the movie but mentioned in the book ). Boo falls, dropping his kitchen knife. Scout grabs the kitchen knife and stabs Ewell in the back killing him.

I could come up with other helpful suggestions if you need them, Ms. Lee. Remember, you only won the Pulitzer Prize. There's still that Nobel Prize to go after.
Again, harper lee was talking about an issue that was filled with drama. None of what you suggested adds anything to that nor are they interesting subplots. What you suggested smears the message and shatters the tone of the book. What you fail to realize is that you need to maintain a tone. you are all over the place. Focus your story. Choose one or two themes and spotlight them.
 

empresstheresa

Senior Member
From Cadence's post 138:


Note also, that, because I came up with that plot structure in 20 minutes, you should be able to change yours to improve it.


It shows that you came up with that plot structure in 20 minutes. It has no meaning.
It's nothing but a soap opera with mysterious forces thrown in.

Ever read Shakespeare's Julius Ceasar? What's that about?

Answer one: It's about a friend, Brutus, killing his friend, Ceasar, and having to pay the consequences. Is that all it is?

Answer two: It's about the impossibility of democracy, which was inconceivable in Shakespeare's day. The mob is at first approving of Ceasar's assassination, but within minutes Anthony's speech turns them against the conspirators. So easily is the moronic masses lead about. Is that all it is?

Answer three: It's about the inevitable breakdown of any state structure. Powerful men move in to take over more power than they should have, ( Ceasar ) others resist him, the state is torn apart, and freedom dies. Is that all it is?

Answer four: Roman Stoicism was much discussed in Shakespeare's time. At least two books were written about it a few years before Shakespeare wrote the play. His intention was to examine what kind of man to be.
Ceasar and Brutus are both Stoics. Ceasar compares himself to the constancy of the Northern Star, that is, his reason rules him, not his emotions which a Stoic thinks should have no place in decisions. Brutus says, "Brutus is at war with Brutus", that is, he suffers inner conflict between the need to kill Ceasar to prevent him from becoming a dictator, something which Brutus's reason pushed him to do, and his loyalty to his friend Ceasar, which Brutus's emotions push him to maintain. Reason wins out, but Brutus loses because he was acting as a Stoic, not a man with balanced reason and emotion.
So Shakespeare rejects Stoicism and warns of its charms, as other intellectuals had already done.


I've spent 18 years on ET, and it'll probably take 18 years for critics to analyze the meanings.
 

moeslow

Senior Member
18? Not if you her being hunted by a 1000 assassins or staring down 4000000 Koreans or getting skankied up to get over her teenage crush, disabling bomb, back broken etc. You have to much going on. You have to decide whether you are writing philosophical fiction or sci-fi action.
 

the antithesis

Senior Member
So many suggestions for improving my story!

It's easy to make "suggestions". They are nothing but alternative storylines. And of course, since they're your ideas, they have to be great ideas. Whether they make the story better or worse doesn't seem to be a major concern around here.

That's what this forum is for. You show us your work and we give you feedback including suggestions on how to improve.

If that's not what you want, then what do you want? Why are you here?
 

Blondie

Member
Making just a simple observation but the amount of passive aggressive comments in this thread remind me of when myself and the ex meet each other random in a mall or some place.
 

empresstheresa

Senior Member
Again, harper lee was talking about an issue that was filled with drama. None of what you suggested adds anything to that nor are they interesting subplots.


The first three chapters define Theresa. This is important because it will fall to her to clean up
the mess. What's the mess ? See below.


What you suggested smears the message and shatters the tone of the book. What you fail to realize is that you need to maintain a tone. you are all over the place. Focus your story. Choose one or two themes and spotlight them.

Everything is going fine, kids are going to school, adults are at their jobs, wannabee writers are sending literary agents 1,500 queries a week about paranormal forces, and all of a sudden HAL interferes and causes chaos. This is the mess.
"That figures" says Steve. "Just when everything is going fine we get a new problem."
Chapters four through twenty eight are about Theresa and her attempts to restore the world to what it was. "Order must be preserved or we are all lost" says Prime Minister Blair.
On the last page Theresa says, "We enter new eras but the old laws still rule." She has restored the old laws of nature.
 

empresstheresa

Senior Member
That's what this forum is for. You show us your work and we give you feedback including suggestions on how to improve.

If that's not what you want, then what do you want? Why are you here?

Every suggestion I've seen so far puts the story off course.

It's about Theresa's struggles against huge problems.
Expanding the romance between Steve and Theresa, and intoducing difficulties between them, only distracts from the main story and makes it a soap opera. There really are married people in the world who get along fine.

You may recall that very early on I asked that the thread be locked up.
 

the antithesis

Senior Member
There really are married people in the world who get along fine.

And no one reads books about them because they are boring. This is why most romance stories are about the first blush of romance. That's when its the most exciting. You've tried to have it both ways. You have that first blush of romance in one chapter and then the issue is immediately settled. It just feels so artificial.

I mean, you say she needs his support to help her save the world from her own destructive influence. So what happens? He goes to her and he never leaves her side. This makes the whole "she needs his support" a non-issue because she always has it. This defeats the potential drama this could have and deflates the suspense as she tries to solve the larger issues. So, what would happen if he weren't there? What if something happened and she had some crisis to remedy without his help or presence? If you had a scene where this happened, it would show that he was actually necessary.

Every suggestion I've seen so far puts the story off course.

We read what you have shown us and we have a reaction. You have thus far spent time attempting to argue that we should not have had the reactions that we did. Unfortunately that doesn't work.

We keep offering suggestions because we are writers as well. You don't have to take our suggestions as gospel. They are just examples of how we would improve things. It is up to you to decide how to improve and maybe these suggestion may give you ideas.

You may recall that very early on I asked that the thread be locked up.

If that's the case, PM a moderator and that should be the end of it.
 

Jeko

WF Veterans
It's about Theresa's struggles against huge problems.

Hyperbolise, ET. Properly huge problems are boring. It's the little problems which seem so big because of all the other things involved, they're what readers crave. It's easier to have a perspective on something small, and make it bigger.

Expanding the romance between Steve and Theresa, and intoducing difficulties between them, only distracts from the main story and makes it a soap opera.

You have a lot to learn, ET. I suggest you write other things, such as the LM competetion, to get a better skillset for novel writing. Your perspective on plot, character development and the purpose of a story are preventing you from bettering your work. You need to amend not the story, but your own knowledge of the craft. That's something I don't think a few people on a forum can help you with, as you're so defensive of what you believe to be true. You believe critics will spend 18 years to find the meanings of your novel? That's the first thing you need to see to. Never hope more than you work, ET.

And because of the amount of your novel that you have posted on here, and the amount of information you have revealed, I doubt any publisher will touch it in its present state. This is why I would suggest doing a complete rewrite, as many authors do. With 18 years of writing experience on this, I doubt it'll be hard. The idea is to hone the story and yourself at the same time. You only do that if you keep on writing.

It shows that you came up with that plot structure in 20 minutes. It has no meaning.
It's nothing but a soap opera with mysterious forces thrown in.

It's very akin to I Am Number Four, which is far from a soap opera. My version of Theresa would have the themes of:

1) A character trying to live a normal life, in abnormal circumstances (drama!)
2) The injustice of the world, oppressive like a vice (conflict!)
3) The power that people have hidden away (tension!)
4) Loss (emotional connections!)

If you'd like, I can write the first few chapters of my version and see what you think. I'll change the name of Theresa, actually. In fact, I'll try writing the thing anyway, as an exercise.

That gives me an idea - building on what I said earlier about honing your craft. Try writing Act One of the plot I posted earlier. We can compare styles, and how we craft the character and the situation. Not a competition, but a chance for us to bridge a gap of difference we have. We both write very different kinds of YA fiction. It would be useful if we found some middle ground to work on together. Sound good?
 

empresstheresa

Senior Member
Cadence,

I read your version of Theresa's story in post 138.
It has absolutely nothing to do with my story. It's as different as The Andromeda Strain and Gone With the Wind.

What the heck are you talking about? This is helpful advice?

=================================

antithesis wrote:
I mean, you say she needs his support to help her save the world from her own destructive influence.


I never said that. Theresa is never destructive.

Theresa needs Steve's moral support because she is under tremendous pressure, and in England where she is alone among strangers.
 
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empresstheresa

Senior Member
antithesis wrote:

You may recall that very early on I asked that the thread be locked up.
If that's the case, PM a moderator and that should be the end of it.

Actually, lately it has become kind of fun to put down all the put downs being thrown at my story. :chuncky:

When I see Cadence's version of Theresa's story in post 138,
I know I have something good in the publication trail.
 

the antithesis

Senior Member
I never said that. Theresa is never destructive.

Theresa needs Steve's moral support because she is under tremendous pressure, and in England where she is alone among strangers.

I read your chapter outline, Norm. The first couple problems she has to solve is because of her own bungling. Actually, initially it's because of that atom bomb thing because HAL stops all the wind. I don't know how that would help, but it does and then she has to do things to solve that problem which later become problems of their own that she has to solve, and then those solutions become even more problems. So there's global catastrophes all because Theresa isn't very god at this unlimited power thing. Or there should have been. You tended to ignore the effect her actions would take, like when she watered crops with salt water and filled the air with xenon gas so we all suffocate. But that's fixable.

Frankly, I think you should embrace that element of your story. It answers the question in the subject line of this thread much better than anything else you've shown us.

What would you do with unlimited power?

Fail. Most likely fail embarrassingly badly.

Make your story about that. It's already there, anyway. Just focus on that more and it'll be an appealing story for kids because kids can relate to someone who fails all the time.
 

the antithesis

Senior Member
I just realized that it may sound like I'm mocking you, but I am sincere in this.

I had said before that the only interest element in your story is how Theresa controls HAL. That HAL is a likely unintelligent being that causes stuff to happen as a kind of reflex or defensive mechanism to protect its host, so Theresa has to find ways to trigger those reflexes to get HAL to do what she wants it to. If you focus on her trying to figure out clever ways to accomplish this, it would make your story into something unique and worthwhile.

That can be wed to the larger, global problems. She tries to get HAL to fix something, but it overcompensates. So she has to correct it, but HAL overdoes it the other way. This would make the most interesting idea in your story central to all of the drama and action.

When I'd first heard about your story, I had toyed with the idea of writing a story like Empress Theresa but good to show you up. As I learned more about what your story was about, I gave up on that idea because I couldn't see making that work at all, so to make a good story would require a mostly new idea. Well, I was wrong. Doing the above would give you a much more compelling story while still retaining the global disaster plot you already have. You may have to give up on the North Korean part and Theresa's solution to the Middle East conflict. Those parts didn't fit with the previous "natural" disasters, anyway.
 

Jeko

WF Veterans
I read your version of Theresa's story in post 138.
It has absolutely nothing to do with my story. It's as different as The Andromeda Strain and Gone With the Wind.

Exactly. It's a completely different take on the core idea that holds your book together. Trying to write with it would be a fantastic exercise for us both.

What I'm offering is a chance for us to exchange advice more usefully, and a rare one at that. That you find it 'fun to put down all the put downs being thrown at my story.' shows how stupid this situation is. e need to get out of it.

My ultimatum: take my opportunity, or I'll leave this conversation, work on my version of the story, and probably get closer to publishing it. Why? Because I listen to advice - and the advice you're giving me is to get the hell out of here while I still have some of my free time left.
 

empresstheresa

Senior Member
Just to demonstrate how completely wrong all these "suggestions" intended to help me "improve" my story are, I'll respond to a few comments. It's fun. :eagerness:

I read your chapter outline, Norm. The first couple problems she has to solve is because of her own bungling. Actually, initially it's because of that atom bomb thing because HAL stops all the wind. I don't know how that would help, but it does and then she has to do things to solve that problem which later become problems of their own that she has to solve, and then those solutions become even more problems. []/QUOTE]

Neither Theresa nor Steve, or anybody for that matter, anticipated the the thermal expansion of water. When everybody's life is on the line, who worries about a few feet of water! Anybody, the problem is easily fixed.

The next problem is completely unexpected and unpredictable. Whatever it was that HAL did to the atmosphere to stop the wind is dissipating. Unfortunately, the timing couldn't be worse. Winter is coming, a year's food crop has been lost, and Theresa can't return everything back to original conditions without killing at least half a billion people. This is the problem which makes her complain, "What am I supposed to do, change the laws of physics? This is the most impossible problem yet."
So there's global catastrophes all because Theresa isn't very god at this unlimited power thing. Or there should have been. You tended to ignore the effect her actions would take, like when she watered crops with salt water and filled the air with xenon gas so we all suffocate. But that's fixable.
She never watered crops with salt water. The North Pole "continuous explosion" strips atoms of electrons. Protons are propelled in all directions at thousands of miles an hour and recombine with oxygen over half the world. The heavier elements are thrown out at a much lower speeds and fall into the Arctic ocean.

It's only the partial pressure of oxygen that matters. Whatever else is in the air doesn't matter. The normal PPO2 is 120 mm Hg. ( Commercial jet planes maintain a cabin pressure PPO2 of 80 which is good enough. ) Theresa's xenon adds 5 ounces to the normal atmospheric pressure of 14.7 pounds per square inch. If she'd added twenty times as much xenon it wouldn't change PPO2.

I have three college degrees in the sciences, antithesis. No use trying to attack my story through science.
 

empresstheresa

Senior Member
My ultimatum: take my opportunity, or I'll leave this conversation, work on my version of the story, and probably get closer to publishing it.

1. By. :champagne:

2. Don't forget copyright laws, Cadence. I've left a paper trail all over the internet going back years, and I told some people elements of the story when you were in diapers.
Publishers don't spend millions of dollars to print a book without checking histories and backgrounds. And if somebody is found playing hanky panky their name is mud forever. My suggestion: don't try it.
 

Nemesis

The Black Goat
WF Veterans
Since you seem you disregard the advice of every person that offers to help, I'd be suprised to ever see it on the shelf.

The plot is muddled and fairly uninteresting, I feel as though your intent is to tell us how your writing makes us feel when we read it instead of actualy improving it, and I have yet to find any emotional depth in your story, despite what you continue to describe to us outside of the actual prose.
 

empresstheresa

Senior Member
I have yet to find any emotional depth in your story
Any emotional depth in The Andromeda Strain? It was a big hit.

How about 2001: A Space Odyssey?

In my story, Theresa faces "certain death" in chapter four, President Martin commits suicide, mothers hold their doomed children "wondering why this horror was happening", Theresa whines and complains, Theresa nearly panics when the nuclear missile is launched, Theresa cries, Theresa steps out in front of four million North Koreans, Theresa is paralyzed. Enough emotion for you?
 
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Nemesis

The Black Goat
WF Veterans
Eighteen years ago, I had the kernel of an idea for a story that would mean something. It wasn't until three years ago that I had the problems worked out in my mind and actually started writing it.

The point is you are claiming that your story is deep and comparable to "To Kill a Mocking Bird." It isn't. Anyone can throw a moral or a meaning into their story, it isn't difficult. That alone doesn't mean it is intelligent or well written, or that it will be bought for millions of dollars.
 
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