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This damn idea just won't work! (1 Viewer)

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JJBuchholz

Senior Member
A while back, I had an idea pop into my head. I went for a few long walks at night, and kept coming up with the image of a raven. I didn't know what it meant or what to do about it until the last six months. I started to write a novella, but hated the original idea after a few pages and stopped. Just the other day, I started up again with a different idea (only retaining one character from the first draft) but again stopped after a few pages.

I'm not happy with either of them whatsoever. This one really bothers me, because I feel as if the raven is there for me to use and do something with. The two ideas I have come up with (and used) so far are the following:

1) A brilliant scientist and his assistant are running a telepathic/telekinetic experiment when a lone raven flies in to the lab via an open window. The raven interrupts the experiment and causes an accident that leaves the scientist (Dr. Fyers) with the heightened abilities of a raven, and is also able to speak with the birds telepathically. The raven ends up with the awareness and intelligence of a human, and can also connect telepathically with Dr. Fyers.

2) A lone man that lives in a decaying metropolis was wronged by a group of thugs years ago in his past, and swore to become a dark engine of revenge that lurks in the shadows and darkness of the city at night time. He calls himself 'The Raven', and is aided by a scientist (Dr. Fyers) that develops things for him to aid in the fight against crime and lawbreakers.

I'm finding this whole thing perplexing, and nothing I come up with for it seems to work for me.

I rarely have this issue, and am wondering if I'm barking up the wrong tree and should just leave this raven idea alone.

Thoughts?

-JJB

 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
The fact that you wrote this out in a serifed font tells me that something of a more dramatic, gothic flavour is in order. All the signs are there - ravens, classic typefaces, a dissatisfaction with the modern contrivances of scientists (unless a mad alchemist) and laboratories (unless arcing with eldritch light). God's wounds, man, the collective nouns for this particular species of corvus (an unkindness, a conspiracy, a treachery) practically do the work for you. So that's my advice: don't try to put your own human spin on this. Rather, do as the raven commands. I mean, don't you ever wonder why this animal, this emissary, is supposed to be "like a writing desk"?

Yes - meditate on the birds awhile.

;)
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
Further research has yielded some curious information:


  • The Kwakwakaʼwakw people employ raven masks in some capacity. They live on the Vancouver and Discovery Islands which makes them countrymen of yours, if I am not mistaken.
  • Investigation into trends within the Kwakwakaʼwakw language was carried out by anthropologist whose name is - Guy Buchholtzer. This name bears more than a marked similarity to your own.

Personally, I find these points far too coincidental not to be followed up on.




;)
 

JJBuchholz

Senior Member
The fact that you wrote this out in a serifed font tells me that something of a more dramatic, gothic flavour is in order.

I'm honestly not sure why my post ended up in that font. Possibly due to the damn touchpad on my laptop, as it's always being weird.

Anyhow, I've been working on said novella since I got home today, and I've already re-worked one of the scenes and a removed a piece of dialogue so that I can include snippets of backstory where they are most appropriate. I'm keeping the character of Dr. Fyers, but I've switched a couple things around to give the MC a bit more leeway as far as his interactions go with Fyers.

I still don't see the big picture, but little pieces are revealing themselves. I think I'm having issues because I've thought about (and seen) the image of a raven for some time, and didn't know what to do with it, and got a little disappointed at writing several pages of crap right off the bat. I usually do a lot better, but this one started out as a bit of a mess.

The writing process doesn't always go to plan, and sometimes it downright flops.

-JJB
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
I am reminded of the behavioural scientist who captured a crow in his city neighbourhood to do some experiments with, It was good at them, doing things like using hooked sticks to retrieve bits of meat from deep tubes. When he released it again he found it attacked him whenever it saw him, not only that it communicated its dislike to the other crows around and they all attacked him whenever he walked out.
 

EternalGreen

Senior Member
If I get stuck working on what's supposed to be a bigger project, I often end up producing a shorter version of that very story.

For me, I think the strongest spark of your idea is in the actual "becoming the Raven" character arc. It feels like you could combine the two characters into one protagonist for extra depth. Maybe this person becomes anti-social as a result of the attack and chooses to spend time with ravens instead.

If you finish an excerpt and post in in the workshop I'll take a look.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
Don't force it. Let your mind relax - keep a note pad by the television and your bed. Just focus on the characters, and let the story grow within you. It often takes months for stories to flesh out in my mind; just relax and let it happen.

It either has legs or it doesn't. Sometimes stories have to be let go before they grow and come back.
 

JJBuchholz

Senior Member
For me, I think the strongest spark of your idea is in the actual "becoming the Raven" character arc. It feels like you could combine the two characters into one protagonist for extra depth. Maybe this person becomes anti-social as a result of the attack and chooses to spend time with ravens instead.

An interesting idea, but it's too close to Batman hanging out in the Batcave with all his upside-down friends. Still, it's something to ponder, and it kind of relates to something I'm working into the MC's backstory at the moment.

-JJB
 

EternalGreen

Senior Member
An interesting idea, but it's too close to Batman hanging out in the Batcave with all his upside-down friends. Still, it's something to ponder, and it kind of relates to something I'm working into the MC's backstory at the moment.

-JJB

Oh, I'm not familiar with batman.
 

Xander416

Senior Member
Oh, I'm not familiar with batman.
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Theglasshouse

WF Veterans
If this isn't working in its current state of plot. Why not give characters things they both want from each other but can't get? You could always make it a contest ( hopes and fears of attaining their goals is thwarted or can be hindered by what the other character in the story wants: example What the other person wants is what the character takes, and they then have to negotiate for it by threats, tactics, etc). I will say it's perplexing as it currently is the situation of the story. How about focusing it on rather than advancing science he suffers from sensing telepathy with knowing when the raven is in pain. Which disturbs his mind. His stakes are is he gained the ability to be connected to multiple ravens and that he can read their minds. I don't know how believable this is. But if you became telepathic you can sense anguish in the language or cries of animals ( my interpretation the person can understand ravens, so he gained the ability an accident -the experiment gone wrong-that he can understand their feelings and language). Let's suppose this were true. What if his mission is to create a philanthropic society for ravens since they torment him. He's become so close like animals like dogs to humans and has domesticated them. I mean if you could train ravens since they are intelligent animals supposedly then this could be a fantasy genre story.

Ravens can act as spies for humans. While ravens can also be friends. Which character would make a good antagonist for this character? I see opposing ideals in this case. That makes for conflict.( There is disagreement about an issue)

Can be just like in Lord of the rings. The animals act as spies for sauron.

Since no experiment has been done on animals this would-be fantasy and not a science fiction story since it isn't a science yet to detect emotional suffering in animals telepathically. In humans Octavia wrote about a human character that feels other people's sufferings as an example of the trope that is science fiction and not fantasy. I think personally it sounds good for a short story but maybe not a novel.

This is just an extension of the original story idea.

You can research if scientists can use animals to spy. I think the wire magazine has an article on animals, bugs, and spying. But if that were the case and were true. I don't think animals and humans can be telepathic. It would take years of research to understand them. They are trying to understand a dog's language however or intelligence in places such as duke university to better train them to help humans in society ( because they have a superb sense of smell humans wish machines could do).
 
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JJBuchholz

Senior Member
I've made several changes to the story in regards to characters, as well as some of the backstory. They include:

1) My yet unnamed MC's backstory has been made a bit more tragic to show how he was shaped into the hardened anti-hero he has become. His immediate family
was killed during a botched break-in by a gang, and he was the only one not home (stuck in a commuter's nightmare) the night of the calamity.

2) I kept Dr. Fyers, and switched it around so that aside from his job as a lab master at a college, he has set up (with the MC's permission) a lab in the basement
of the MC's house to aid the man in his quest for justice.

3) The raven that flew in through the window and had his abilities and consciousness imprinted on the MC pops up every so often to speak with the MC telepathically,
and he has taken the name 'Siren' and uses his newfound self-awareness to aid the MC during emotional or moral distress, or to give out some wisdom if needed.

That being said, I am stuck at the moment and have hit a bit of a wall in trying to progress the story. I still need to come up with a name for my MC, as well as write a
scene that will introduce the raven and explain his situation a little.

-JJB
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
Story ideas come and go, and I prefer to live with them inside my head for a while before committing to them. I advise not forcing anything down onto paper before it has grown and matured enough to start on - mind you, it doesn't have to be completely fleshed out, but the bones at least have to be there.
 

JJBuchholz

Senior Member
What does your hardened anti-hero want to do? What situation is he trying to resolve?

He's quite fixated on ridding the city of all criminals and the like, the massacre of his immediate family always being in his thoughts and reminds him of how he wasn't there to protect them at their darkest hour. Unlike my other superhero/vigilante stories, this MC is not interesting in finding a girlfriend/soul mate to temper him, and finds solace at being alone and lurking in the shadows at night to do his 'work'.

-JJB
 

JJBuchholz

Senior Member
Story ideas come and go, and I prefer to live with them inside my head for a while before committing to them.

Normally, that's what I do. However, this story idea has been in and out of my head for most of this year, and has changed several times. I'm not always willing to let an idea stay in my head for this long before doing something about it..

I advise not forcing anything down onto paper before it has grown and matured enough to start on - mind you, it doesn't have to be completely fleshed out, but the bones at least have to be there.

This is why I do story/plot outlines and point form in my notebooks first and foremost. I try to shape the raw ideas flashing in my mind and give them boundaries of sorts, putting parameters to the random thoughts down on the paper. When I have at least three quarters of an outline going, then I am ready to start a blank page on my laptop and start the actual writing

-JJB
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
Normally, that's what I do. However, this story idea has been in and out of my head for most of this year, and has changed several times. I'm not always willing to let an idea stay in my head for this long before doing something about it..

This is why I do story/plot outlines and point form in my notebooks first and foremost. I try to shape the raw ideas flashing in my mind and give them boundaries of sorts, putting parameters to the random thoughts down on the paper. When I have at least three quarters of an outline going, then I am ready to start a blank page on my laptop and start the actual writing

-JJB

Your process sounds similar to mine.

My next novel came to me as one scene - and I thought, that could be cool, how can I make that happen in a story. The rest of it fell into place after that.
 

thethreetearedeye

Senior Member
Have you heard of the movie Rubber? Telepathic "blank" always makes me think of that. Maybe the crow gets skull bursting telepathy (in the movie Rubber, a discarded car tire can roll around on its own and kills a small town of people with its psychic power) and goes on a rampage after the experiment accident and the doctor has to stop it from causing too much destruction?
 

JJBuchholz

Senior Member
The raven will play a part, but not anything like that. I want him to pop in occasionally and help guide the MC.


-JJB
 
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