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Writing Help Needed: A Story Within A Story


Lady Asphyxia
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[size=1]I'm currently writing a fanfiction for the Harry Potter fandom, and I've run into some difficulty.

In my story, there's a 'past lives' type deal. Now, I was going to have my main character read a book which actually gives the main event's in the past lives. However, I'm having trouble.

My problem is, I'm not sure how I should have the book's genre. Should I write it as a type of journal? It would be easiest, but I despise doing it. Should I have it as a story? That would work quite well, but it would make it sound less real and more like a fairy tale. Perhaps as a biography? But I can't write biographies, and it wouldn't touch the reader in the emotional level I'm aiming for.

You can see my dilemma. Does anyone have any advice, or idea as to which I should choose?[/size]
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Well, I'm not quite sure I understand what you mean. This book will tell of the past life of the main character?

Anywho, here's my idea: How about this book is a collection of letters to someone. It's still a lot like writing a journal, but the mere fact that they are letters and not journal entries makes it more original (I assume that's why your against the journal entries thing, because it'll feel cheap and re-used).

I know there are many people who prefer not to unveil their work until it's finished, but if you could post what you have so far it would easier help us help you. :)
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[size=1]Heh, I would have posted it if I could, but it's too long to post -- currently 8 chapters. Regardless, it's actually quite unimportant to the part of the story I'm trying to do.

Basically, the main character comes across this book and starts to read it. Unbeknownst to her, it's actually talking about her past life. Now, the story of this woman's life is told in one chapter, under the guise of a book.

The problem I have with journals [and letters, too] is that it's too 'I' involved. You only get the limited perspective of one person, and often it isn't enough to tell the story.

I was thinking perhaps to just tell the story in flashback/book sort of thing, where the main character is reading about her past life -- in biography form -- and as she reads each paragraph or sentence there's a flashback which shows what actually happened.

However, I'm thinking that might be messy, especially since I need to tell the whole life of this woman.

What do you think? [/size]
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[QUOTE][i]Originally posted by Lady Asphyxia [/i]
[B][size=1]

I was thinking perhaps to just tell the story in flashback/book sort of thing, where the main character is reading about her past life -- in biography form -- and as she reads each paragraph or sentence there's a flashback which shows what actually happened.

However, I'm thinking that might be messy, especially since I need to tell the whole life of this woman.

What do you think? [/size] [/B][/QUOTE]
[color=deeppink]
Yes, that does sound rather messy.

The best thing I can think of at the moment is simply to write it how it happened from 3rd person, like a fictional story from a narrator's point of view. All of what you want to say is written there so there's not the mess and confusion with the flashbacks AND the book, and although it's not the most interesting solution, considering the fact that you said it's really not all that important, it shouldn't matter too much.

I'd focus on the other elements of the story. Don't bother getting caught up in the smaller details, which can always be gone back over and improved. Just worry about getting the main idea written down first. =)

-Karma
[/color]
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[COLOR=firebrick]Maybe it could be the diary of someone who knew the woman ?

I have no other idea as to how one could go about this. The only ways I have come across are the ones already mentioned in here.
If the story is good enough (which I'm assuming it is) it should work out ok... maybe not to you, but to those who read it ; )

- Mimmi
[/COLOR]

EDIT: yes... what Charma just said ; )
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[size=1]Hmmm. Let's ponder this.

I have to agree with Karma - the flashback thing is a neat idea (and I personally love flashbacks ^_^), but combined with the biography it might get too cluttered and confusing.

I don't think I'm a big fan of the biography thing either, though - I guess my main question there is: [i]Does she - the lady in question - warrant a biography?[/i] Is she a special person or something, did she do something fantastic? You don't have to answer, I just want to try and get this in perspective.

Maybe you could do it in the form of articles? A collection of newspaper stories, or maybe a sort of scrapbook that consists of all sort of little bits of information.. Just trying to throw out some ideas. Either way, I've read some of your works before (from your site) and I think you're an excellent writer, so I'm sure that whatever you decide to do will be great. ^_^[/size]
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[size=1] I don't think writing the book as a journal-type writing would be a good idea, because I've seen a lot of fanfics centering around that theme and they don't seem to be very popular. Well...I don't really enjoy reading those types as well.

I agree with KarmaofChaos, you should write it as a 3rd-person narrative story. *shrugs* It's your choice.

What's the name of the story?[/size]
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[size=1][u]The Myth of Innocence[/u]. It's in the Draco Ginny fandom. As yet, there isn't much to do with the past life, but it's...complicated, to say the least.

I've decided to write it as a third person narrative. I'm not sure how to explain that. I was thinking perhaps I'd write the story as a third person narrative, but in the next chapter have Ginny consider what the book said -- and it's in the form of articles, or something.

But that seems messy to me, too.

I think maybe I'll write it as a sort of true-story narrative. And perhaps Ginny doesn't realise that it's non-fiction [or is actually a true story -- would it be considered non-fiction?] until she's actually sent to investigate the history of this person, about 4 chapters later.

Would that work?[/size]
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