Author Topic: Reality competes with imagined plots -- truth is stranger...  (Read 686 times)

Al Stevens

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Reality competes with imagined plots -- truth is stranger...
« on: January 17, 2021, 08:42:07 AM »
Going through my archives of unfinished manuscripts, I found one I started about four years ago. It was about when a charismatic businessman with a shady past becomes president. My original notion was that a retired army intelligence general--who would be the main character--had been fired by the previous president. That had been an undercover operation to get the guy in good graces with the enemy so he could gather intelligence, and only the two of them, the general and the former president knew all that. I had Flynn in mind, obviously. He'd headed up the DIA (where I used to work) and had been fired for some reason or other. My fictional character was fired on trumped (no pun intended)  up charges to set up his cover operation, and the new president doesn't know that and appoints him as National Security Adviser. That's as far as I got.

The problem was, every time I got a storyline going, something would happen in the news that trumped (okay, maybe that one was intended) my plot. Things were happening almost daily that I couldn't foresee and sure hadn't outdone. So I'd try to contrive something more outrageous than the current reality, and the next reality would step in to make mine look lame by comparison. So, I relegated the manuscript and my research material to the files of back-burner archives.

This is the first time I've noticed in which the real world makes for a more interesting and unbelievable read than anything I can dream up.

I'd like to hear from others who might have had similar setbacks in their story developments.

     
 

Vijaya

Re: Reality competes with imagined plots -- truth is stranger...
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2021, 08:54:26 AM »
Al, that's surreal. Peg Kehret writes MG fiction and she'd written about tornadoes or hurricanes as backdrops and then it would happen eerily similar in those places. She said, she quit writing some of those disaster stories for a while.


Author of over 100 books and magazine pieces, primarily for children
Vijaya Bodach | Personal Blog | Bodach Books
 

R H Auslander

Re: Reality competes with imagined plots -- truth is stranger...
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2021, 06:16:00 PM »
More than one of my reviewers has averred that I write truth disguised as fiction. I started Incident On Simonka as a draft in late '13, everyone in this berg knew 'nato' was on Ulitsiya Simonok, aka Street Simonka. Come the revolution of early '14 and exactly as I had written in the draft, 'nato' was indeed told by certain locals to get out of town on 22 February 2014, the day before the revolution. 'They' refused to leave and the next morning at dawn they were gone, as was the US FFG standing off our west coast. Again, exactly as I had written in the draft.
 

R. C.

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Re: Reality competes with imagined plots -- truth is stranger...
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2021, 12:12:37 AM »
My imagination conjured two realities.

In 2014/15 I wrote about big pharma curing the cold and flu. The cure was a guise. First: Create a Pandemic. Second: provide the vaccine. Third: The vaccine eliminates 6B people. Population control through chemistry.

Early in 2020, I wrote about a commando, turned software developer, who creates a remote targeting tool. An app on every phone for centimeter accurate geolocation. Remote weapons, machines guns, take out the target. It actually happened in Iran in late 2020.

I think I will keep my other ideas on hold... I would not want to foretell the end of times. :)

Cheers,
R.C.
 

notthatamanda

Re: Reality competes with imagined plots -- truth is stranger...
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2021, 12:50:15 AM »
Might I suggest writing something where everyone gets a happy ending?
 

Eric Thomson

Re: Reality competes with imagined plots -- truth is stranger...
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2021, 12:53:32 AM »
Might I suggest writing something where everyone gets a happy ending?
So... erotica, then?  :hehe
 
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notthatamanda

Re: Reality competes with imagined plots -- truth is stranger...
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2021, 02:29:56 AM »
I was thinking more of happily ever after for everyone but you do you.
 

Hopscotch

Re: Reality competes with imagined plots -- truth is stranger...
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2021, 03:09:11 AM »
Might I suggest writing something where everyone gets a happy ending?
So... erotica, then?

More like that 18th century French vers of Hamlet that ends w/Hammie and Ophie getting married, Claudius forgiven, no spooky ghosts and all dance offstage in a final ballet. :icon_eek:
 

Post-Crisis D

Re: Reality competes with imagined plots -- truth is stranger...
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2021, 03:32:42 AM »
On the flip side, if we talked about our storylines that didn't happen, this would be a much longer thread.
Mulder: "If you're distracted by fear of those around you, it keeps you from seeing the actions of those above."
The X-Files: "Blood"
 

Eric Thomson

Re: Reality competes with imagined plots -- truth is stranger...
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2021, 03:37:21 AM »
On the flip side, if we talked about our storylines that didn't happen, this would be a much longer thread.

I write scifi, so my story lines won't happen for at least a century.
 

R. C.

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Re: Reality competes with imagined plots -- truth is stranger...
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2021, 04:05:07 AM »
I write scifi, so my story lines won't happen for at least a century.

Twas my thinking also, the BAM, headlines about pandemics and satellite controlled assassinations.

The future is now.

Cheers,
R.C.
 

Eric Thomson

Re: Reality competes with imagined plots -- truth is stranger...
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2021, 04:16:33 AM »
I write scifi, so my story lines won't happen for at least a century.

Twas my thinking also, the BAM, headlines about pandemics and satellite controlled assassinations.

The future is now.

Cheers,
R.C.

In that case, bring on faster-than-light space travel, colonizing other star systems, and subspace radio  grint
 

R H Auslander

Re: Reality competes with imagined plots -- truth is stranger...
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2021, 06:11:02 AM »
I was thinking more of happily ever after for everyone but you do you.

I thought mine was a 'happy ending'. No war here, all is peaceful and calm, our daughter is sleeping peacefully with her kitten, Sophia snoring at her bedside. Snowing gently tonight, it's so quiet I can hear the snowflakes hitting the ground. What could be more happy than that?
 
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Vijaya

Re: Reality competes with imagined plots -- truth is stranger...
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2021, 10:50:03 AM »
I was thinking more of happily ever after for everyone but you do you.

I thought mine was a 'happy ending'. No war here, all is peaceful and calm, our daughter is sleeping peacefully with her kitten, Sophia snoring at her bedside. Snowing gently tonight, it's so quiet I can hear the snowflakes hitting the ground. What could be more happy than that?

Truly sweet. This is why I love writing for kids.


Author of over 100 books and magazine pieces, primarily for children
Vijaya Bodach | Personal Blog | Bodach Books
 
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LilyBLily

Re: Reality competes with imagined plots -- truth is stranger...
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2021, 11:24:36 AM »
I had what I thought was a killer inciting incident. After I wrote most of the novel, I did some TV research in the same genre. There was my idea on a popular TV show that I had never watched before or read about or anything. I need a tin hat. Grin
 

Al Stevens

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Re: Reality competes with imagined plots -- truth is stranger...
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2021, 12:32:48 PM »
I had what I thought was a killer inciting incident. After I wrote most of the novel, I did some TV research in the same genre. There was my idea on a popular TV show that I had never watched before or read about or anything. I need a tin hat. Grin
I hate when that happens. I had a book going about people in an airliner that has to put down on a foreign beach after the US undergoes a nuclear attack. The story is about them on the beach trying to survive as possibly the last human community o earth. I was discussing the plot and someone said, "Sounds like 'Lost'." I looked it up and began watching it on Netflix. Another masterpiece into the round file.
     
 

Post-Crisis D

Re: Reality competes with imagined plots -- truth is stranger...
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2021, 12:47:21 PM »
I had what I thought was a killer inciting incident. After I wrote most of the novel, I did some TV research in the same genre. There was my idea on a popular TV show that I had never watched before or read about or anything. I need a tin hat. Grin

I had a series idea that I started a long, long time ago.  Then, a TV show came on that initially seemed very similar.  So, put that one in the drawer for a while.

Years later, after the TV show had run its course, it had turned out nothing like mine and I figured it was long enough that I wouldn't look like a copycat.  Dug it out again, and then there was a movie with a very similar title.  Back in the drawer.

Years later, I figured out a new title.  The title of what was to be the first story in the series would be the series title.  Then, a TV show with that title.  Back in the drawer.

Maybe someday . . .
Mulder: "If you're distracted by fear of those around you, it keeps you from seeing the actions of those above."
The X-Files: "Blood"
 
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notthatamanda

Re: Reality competes with imagined plots -- truth is stranger...
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2021, 11:50:22 AM »
I was thinking more of happily ever after for everyone but you do you.

I thought mine was a 'happy ending'. No war here, all is peaceful and calm, our daughter is sleeping peacefully with her kitten, Sophia snoring at her bedside. Snowing gently tonight, it's so quiet I can hear the snowflakes hitting the ground. What could be more happy than that?
I was suggesting that since what RC writes seems to come true he could do the world a solid and write something with a happy ending.
 
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LilyBLily

Re: Reality competes with imagined plots -- truth is stranger...
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2021, 02:49:35 PM »
Finding out that my brilliant idea was already being used for that TV show--the name of it escapes me--did not make me abandon my story. I finished the book and published it. I would not throw out a great idea just because someone else used it. The way I used it was different enough from the way it worked on that TV show so that no sensible person would accuse me of being a copycat. And anyway, followers of genre like copycatting. They want to see these ideas explored over and over.

A good example is Pride and Prejudice variations. There are dozens upon dozens of versions of Jane Austen's novel, all of them using the same characters and situations, and all of them different. I've read quite a few myself, sometimes more than one variation by the same author. In this one, Lydia doesn't run off with Wickham. In that one, she does, but the family catches her. And on and on and on. These books sell.

Even if your clever idea was meant to be a secret in your story, it doesn't matter. Lots of readers won't even notice. If you liked your idea, finish writing the story. 
 

R. C.

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Re: Reality competes with imagined plots -- truth is stranger...
« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2021, 12:47:54 AM »
I was suggesting that since what RC writes seems to come true he could do the world a solid and write something with a happy ending.

Where's the fun in a happy ending?   grint

Cheers,
R.C.