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5/19/2009 22:47:55   

OK, a while ago, I had the oddest dream.. Anyway, it was pretty random, but at one point I was dreaming up something about Guess who or something.. And one of the characters came real life and.. Well, I'll just skip this part. In the end, some girl was in a coma and a bunch of stuff happened err.. I'll just get to the book idea.

Anyway, I'm not sure how long ago I thought of this, at least 2008, may have been an entire year ago.

The idea is, basically this:

On the wedding day of a couple(a heterosexual couple, just to confirm any questions that may be asked), they realize they forgot something in the car, which they happened to have to park a long way back, because many people came to their wedding. It was also on the other side of the street; and on the way back, they are in a hurry because they are late for their own wedding. So, without looking both ways, a truck comes and hits the soon-to-be-wife. Obviously it is a traumatizing experience for her fiance, but, then after some scenes at the hospital, she wakes up.

She was in a coma for only 6 months or so, but the doctors told her fiance that it would be permanent. How delighted he is when he finds out she's awake, after he's been dating and having an affair with another girl for around 4 months, and is planning to marry her(heartless >.<). He tries to hide this from her, but eventually she finds out(but she does not know the extent of it), and after that her life seems to be going down hill. She lost her job in the time, and ends up going on a road of drugs, and being a prostitute, and being raped, robbed, etc.

Eventually she snaps, and is taken to a mental hospital, where she must rehabilitate. After some time, when she is almost done her rehabilitation, she runs out to see her Ex-boyfriend, because she can't take it anymore. She runs in his house to find out he is now living and is married with this other girl, at which point she cries and goes into a state of chronic depression. After some more work at the mental hospital, she snaps even worse, and plans to kill her Ex. She again finds a way out and this time sneaks out a knife, but before she gets to his house; she realizes she can't be doing this, and decides there is a better way to deal with it. Suicide. So, she promptly stands in the middle of the road at midnight, and gets hit by a truck, looking exactly the same as the one what put her in the coma, and has the same driver; which is odd seeing as he lost his license.

And then, after a flash, she wakes up in the hospital again. Confused at what is happening, she finds out that she has been in a coma for five years, and she is scared, and starts screaming. Her Ex-boyfriend comes in, and tries to calm her down. She screams at him asking why he did all of this to her, and he doesn't know what's going on. After some careful explanations, she finds out all of the things that happened after she was hit; even waking up after the 6 months, to the time when she was hit again, have all been delusions caused by the real coma.

At the end, the last lines are "Now, I pronounce you Mr. (Insert name here) and Misses (Insert name here), man and wife.

Anyway, none of this is actually CONFIRMED, it will obviously be edited, but tell me what you think of the overall idea.
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 1
5/19/2009 23:28:49   
Argeus the Paladin


At first I thought you were pulling out a Shoot The Shaggy Dog ending.

Does Deja Vu sound right? Although, well, it has been used at least twice.
DF  Post #: 2
5/19/2009 23:37:49   

I'm sure I'd break some copyright laws, lol. And nah, I like happy endings xD.
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 3
5/20/2009 12:13:42   

Why would you break copyright laws? Unless you copy someone else's story, there shouldn't be any trouble.
AQ DF  Post #: 4
5/20/2009 14:38:14   

Well, I just assumed they'd copyright the entire book, including the name.
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 5
5/20/2009 16:11:56   

Well, this seemed a bit excessive to me... I'm not exactly sure what the main question the reader is supposed to be asking is going to be. What will the reader want to know that will get him/her through the book? Is it whether the woman (whom I assume will be the viewpoint character and main protagonist) will be reunited with her love? Because at many points, like when you mention the drugs/mental breakdown and suicide, it seems like the man plays no more of a role in the story. Is it whether the woman will be able to recover from the trauma of losing her love? In that case, you need to get across the fact that the woman is mentally unstable early, because otherwise the reader won't be looking at that as the major plot of the story.

When you write a book, decide what the biggest question is that the reader will ask. That should be your focus from beginning to end, and everything that happens (or, for the most part) should effect the reader's thinking of the question.

Also, I'm not sure if I'm just taking this all wrong, but it almost seems like you have a "Protagonist goes to sleep, wakes up next day, saves the world, sees _____ happen that nearly kills him, and wakes up from his dream" going on here... where so much of the plot is actually not happening, so it really doesn't effect anything.
AQ  Post #: 6
5/20/2009 16:42:28   

Saves the world? Wow. Where did you get thait?

Also, this is NOT a complete book, if you didn't notice; I haven't even written one page. Nothings set in stone, and it'll take me a very long time to make it book-worthy.

Also, yes, almost all of the plot isn't ACTUALLY happening, but you don't know it's not happening until the end of the book. The book spans across a 5 year time span; exactly as long as she was in a coma.

And, getting hit by the car will happen at the end of the 1st chapter, and she will wake up sometime in the second chapter in the fake wake-up, that is all part of her coma. Right from there a a few things will happen and by the end of the third chapter, she finds out that her husbands been cheating on her and that's when she becomes mentally unstable. At least that's how I predict it will be written. What you are asking is for me to have the plot at the very beginning of the book.. But wouldn't that naturally ruin the book? I need events leading up to the plot. But, overall, the question will be "Will she recover from the state she is in and get better?".
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 7
5/20/2009 23:20:54   
Argeus the Paladin

What -Dep is trying to say is, most of the plot of your story actually doesn't happen. It is true that it may be one heck of a twist ending, but seeing so many things happenning only to find out that it was all just a dream is:

- Pointless
- and vexing for many a reader.
DF  Post #: 8
5/21/2009 17:43:15   

Well, the point of the book is that it doesn't happen. It is to put a depressing story and end it with a happy ending. If it is vexing, that would be odd, because I assumed a plot like this would be read by mostly females, and that they would be crying with joy at the ending(I've seen many females cry at happy endings).
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 9
5/21/2009 18:10:19   

Hmm this reminds me of the finale of House where everything turned out to be a hallucination.

Anyways I think if you can make a lengthy story out of this, it would turn out very well.
Good luck with this.
Post #: 10
5/21/2009 18:28:49   

Alright, I'm really really sorry but I have to be blunt here. I don't doubt that a good author can pull this off. But I hope you understand why "it's all a dream endings" are not innately a good idea. Again, it's possible, but there's a very good reason why it's usually going to be more than a bit messy...

_Dep is right that there's a question the reader should be asking. But there's a question even more vital than that: "Why should I care?" Readers care about characters who solve their own problems. This woman is the very opposite. The entire problem never existed, so there was nothing for her to solve. She is not someone the readers who care about. In fact, it is arguable that she had no story to tell to begin with.

You mentioned that the readers won't know. And that's even worse, imo. Because the readers will feel cheated. They feel that you lied to them. And whenever the reader starts blaming the author and not the characters, it's not a good sign. If you manage to make the woman into a believable, rounded, 3D character, then perhaps they'll reach the last page. They'll finish the book. But an "it's all a dream" ending isn't going to make them like it.

The beginning hooks a reader into reading the ending. The ending makes a reader like or hate the book. Even if everything was wonderful, if you end up telling them it never happened, that's identical to saying "You shouldn't care about this. You just spent the past few hours reading something that's pointless." No matter how good something is, a questionable ending will leave the reader walking away at least a big disappointed. My most prominent experience with this was a TV show where everything, from characters to set design, was awesome. But the ending felt like the producers ran outta money and decided to quit. I walked away with a sour taste in my mouth. It's very hard for someone to forgive an iffy ending, no matter how good everything else was.

The reason this so-called happy ending isn't going to make anyone happy is because the characters did not solve the problem by their own efforts. It's deus ex machina in the highest form. The characters are going to become really unlikable because they did not even affect their own story. In fact, they /had/ no story. And characters with no stories to tell...

And if people don't like your characters, they won't care if they have a happy ending. It's making people love your characters and become engaged in your plot that's much more important. Frankly, people are cruel. They don't /want/ a happy ending for a character they dislike. And I'm one of those cruel readers. No matter how good everything else is, if I'm told at the end that it never happened, I'd feel like it's pointless. (again, 99.99% of the time. I don't want to state absolutes) And the happier the character is in the end, the angrier I'll be. Because a character who lives through deus ex machina is a character I'll hate, and I don't want anything good for a character I hate. Sounds cruel? Yep. But it's the kind of reader I am, and I'm not the only one. I can't speak for everyone, but "it never happened" usually equals pointless.

I can't say I'm very happy with your gender assumptions. I'm female, and I've never cried for a book, movie, anime, TV show, whatever. Never. And it's not because I try not to or something. I just don't. And I'm not a stoic person. I'm fairly extroverted and not even the best at hiding my emotions. As for endings, I think it was Jer who said the worst endings are 1. Happily ever after 2. It was all a dream 3. Everybody died. I'm female, and of the three, I definitely prefer everybody died.

This is my opinion, and I don't doubt that a really good author can pull off that idea. But I think it's more likely that you can think of much better idea. I've written "it was all a dream" stories myself. It was a writing stage. But I don't cling on to those ideas anymore--they were relics of many years ago.

Good luck with your writing. If you're really passionate about it, I'm sure you can do a good job. Maybe you'll be able to pull off "it was all a dream". But it's very, very difficult to not sound pointless if the whole story never happened. I'm sorry if I sounded very blunt, because writing ideas are the lifeblood of a writer and hearing criticism for them is very hard. I really understand. But I think you're capable of better ideas and I hope you'll spend your efforts on those. Again, sorry if I offend, my intention is only to help if I can. I'm not saying this cannot turn into a good story. I just hope you understand /why/ "it's all a dream" is not generally a good idea and why even happy ending lovers might get annoyed. Just understand what you're dealing with before you dive in, 'kay? ;)
AQ  Post #: 11
5/22/2009 19:45:09   

But, what you don't understand, is the fact that they won't ask "why should I care" because it isn't revealed until the end of the book. But, I see your view.. It's just that I can't see any OTHER semi-realistic ending that readers would enjoy in this scenario, unless I actually made her kill herself and then it would just end right there.
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 12
5/22/2009 20:39:11   

Perhaps they won't ask "Why should I care?" But they will ask "Why did I care?" None of it happened. There was no story, at least not in the eyes of the reader. They won't drop the book down in the middle, perhaps, but if they didn't like the ending, I really don't think (at least, being the type of reader I am) that they would enjoy the work as a whole. And... maybe this sounds really cruel, but the better the beginning was, the more disappointing the ending will be, because they've been sucked into this wonderful story only to find out... it never happened. The most similar kind of ending I can think of is "Hero kills villain in epic fight. Peace is restored. Then, in the epilogue, hero suddenly trips, falls down a sewer, and dies." Surprising, yes, but strangely anti-climatic. Might be a valid ending for a short story, but in a long novel, it's just... too disappointing.

There's a very big different between surprising your readers and lying to your readers. I believe that the baseline is that, whatever happens in the story, the readers should feel it's the characters who did it. Bob died? Blame Phil, 'cause he killed Bob. Bob bumped his head and died in the epilogue for no reason? Blame the author, because the /author/ killed him. See the difference? The second scenario has the reader shifting the blame onto the author, and that's when they stop thinking, "I hate Phil" and start thinking, "I don't really like this book."

The problem with the dream is that I really don't think it qualifies as a happy ending to begin with. Just speaking for myself, I want the best for characters I love and the worst for characters I hate. If everything was a dream, then this woman did absolutely nothing to change her own destiny. A character who does not solve their own problems is often a very unlikable one. So the fact that she got a happy ending would be a very sad ending for me. And even if we didn't know for most of the book, the ending is more than enough to transform the reader's perception of this woman. I find it very hard for her to be a likable character by the end.

No offence, but I don't think it was all a dream is realistic at all. In fact (and this is completely my personal opinion), I can't think of another ending that is harder to pull off logically. You can have a pink hippo flying across a purple sky if you write it the right way, but deathless prose really can't save "it's all a dream" because it simply makes a reader feel cheated.

You hear about it getting all the rap because it's a big letdown and whatnot, but the real reason (I believe) that it doesn't work is because it's author intrusion. Not about you or your story personally, but whenever authors can't solve a problem in a story, they often pull surprising gimicks out of the blue. "It was all a dream," having the bad guy suddenly die of disease or an accident, gods descending to the earth to help the hero, ect. It's much tougher to actually think of how the hero will solve the problem themselves, but those are the resolutions that readers appreciate. Gathering clues sprinkled throughout the story and putting them to use in the final second, joining with their enemies for the greater good, an intelligent trick, a final revelation that has been backed up by hints through the story... those things are the techniques that I, personally, appreciate.

How can she overcome suicide? Perhaps she attempts it and fails, and that makes her realize how precious life is. Perhaps she experiences an epiphany. Perhaps she is interrupted. Perhaps... there are endless possibilities. Just because a character wants to commit suicide doesn't mean there is no salvation for them. Whatever you do, the rest of the story should support it. The ending can't just come outta the blue. And btw, what's wrong with a sad ending? I'd appreciate her dying much more than her living through deus ex machina. Many great books have had beautifully sad endings, and I really don't think those endings were unsatisfying.

I really hope I'm not being too harsh here. Final piece of advice: regardless of what I say, I think a writer's greatest duty is to tell the stories that they want to tell. If you're really passionate about writing this story as is, then go ahead. No one sees the world exactly like you do, and you need to worry about what you want before you can worry about what readers want. I just hope you understand /why/ "It's all a dream" isn't usually a good idea. Sorry if I sound argumentative or something, but think of it this way: if I didn't want to help, I wouldn't spend my time typing this post. And I seriously do believe that this ending does not need to be the only possible one. The possibilities are endless. Let your imagination run, but make sure the story backs it up. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that, if you choose to end a certain way because you felt like it was the /only/ way the story could end, then it's probably not your best possible ending. I think there are better ideas out there waiting to be written. But once again, tell the story you want to tell. Ultimately, you'll never be happy unless you do what you want, so write your story as long as you understand the challenges awaiting you.
AQ  Post #: 13
5/23/2009 1:06:29   

Xyphon, I'd like to suggest a book for you to read, one that helped me immensely in writing: How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card. Despite the title, this book is good for any genre of writing, though it focuses on the speculative fiction. It has an entire section on Story Construction, which is extremely enlightening.

If you read that book, and that section in particular, and still see this idea of an "it was all a dream" story working, then by all means go for it. It would be refreshing to read a book that everyone said can't be done, and see it done well. And not only that, but it would just prove to everyone in the writing world that all the limits and boundaries we have set are moot. That all of the fences we've locked ourselves into were never really locked at all, but just waiting for the right mind to notice that the door just opens a different way than everyone before tried.

I don't see much I can add (thanks to Firefly's immense posts... I doubt I could've even written that much if I'd tried)...
AQ  Post #: 14
5/25/2009 12:32:21   

I have to support FF and _Dep here.

I wouldn't use a dream ending like that. I would rather use it after displaying a situation in which utter bliss and perfection resided, (to jerk the reader back into reality.)

My advice is that if you think that the part of the story which is the dream is good enough, you can see how it works not being a dream.

< Message edited by Xirminator -- 5/25/2009 12:33:52 >
AQ DF  Post #: 15
5/25/2009 12:41:03   

I thought it was quite a good story line its not really my type.


Samlotoflol is thirsty.
Samlotoflol licks his lips.
Samlotoflol bites down on human flesh.
Samlotoflol drinks human blood.
Who am I?
DF  Post #: 16
6/6/2009 21:10:47   

WHILE I agree totally with the fact that "it was all a dream" endings are, in general, horrible and awful, and WHILE I find stories with such themes as you mentioned horribly depressing and generally put them down once they get into the "suicide, depression, drugs, mental rehabilitation" stage, I will support you up to an extent.

I like the plotline. It's engaging, dramatic, and if I wasn't so idealistic I might even actually read the book. (Meaning that a less naive person would probably enjoy it.) BUT! I must tell you, I hate those endings. Ever read those Goosebumps books? Where the protaganist gets into all sorts of trouble, is involved in this really scary thing, has to go through innumerable problems to get out of the terrifying situation he's in- very engaging, edge-of-the-seat, generally just well-written books- and in the end, when he's walking out of the haunted amusement park or whatever, finally safe, his little sister decides that it would be fun to go in there. Get what I'm saying? He escapes, but there's someone else coming in, and you know the book's going to have to happen all over again, and you just can't take that anymore!!

What I'm trying to say is this- how do you know, the second time she wakes up, that it's real. How do you know she's not going to have to go through that whole stupid scenario all over again? It's so frustrating!!! That's why I stopped reading the Goosebumps series, because they kept having eternal situations. Annoying.

So I have to say this. Try and find another way. Like I said way up there before by Goosebumps rant, I like the plotline up until the "and then she wakes up" part. It doesn't have to be happy. Craft a beautifully sad ending that involves her realizing her true feelings, deciding that suicide won't work, and then, after realizing she wants to live, her being unable to get out of the way of the truck. Then you could possibly have her wake up from the coma. Still have the "it was all a dream" thing, but at least she's learned something. Then have a couple chapters where it's clear she learned something. That way, we don't feel as cheated.

Now I'm going to quit criticizing it and support you. Like even Firefly eventually ended with, ultimately you'll never be satisfied unless you write what you want. So go for it! Do what you think you can. I'll back you up from here on out; I don't think it's fair to argue any more. ^_^

Now be bold and tell us what you think so far.


AQ DF  Post #: 17
6/20/2009 22:31:54   

The book "Frankenstein" was based on a dream...

This might turn out well.
DF  Post #: 18
6/20/2009 22:49:36   
Sir Dorigo III

In order to make the plot line a bit more interesting... If you change the actual plot a bit, and from chapter to chapeter switch from the fiance outside the hospital ward, to the ladies hallucination. You are telling them that the ladie's part of the story is fake, but now the readers want to know if they will ever be reunited. You show the life the fiancee has been going through, How worried he is and the reports from the doctors that the coma will never end, even though the fiancee does not give up hope. You end with the doctors about to cut life support, amid the fiancee's protests, then the wife wakes up, thwors her fit and they get married. I think it would keep reader's interest, They have the queston they ask that says "Will the wife ever wake up, and will she be reunited?" It provides more suspense. and mulitpe viewpoint.s I realize its up to you, But i think it might help develop the plo.t
DF  Post #: 19
8/4/2009 13:03:02   


- Pointless
- and vexing for many a reader.

NGE could've been inside Shinji's head the whole time. o.0

Anyways, I say go for it, Xyphon. It would make for not a full-length book I'm sure, but like a novella of some sorts. Seems more like an idea behind a movie or a TV series. I've no problem with the ending if the entire story is middle-lengthed or less. Dream endings are annoying, but there are exceptions, like in this one. Would you honestly want to see a bride-to-be go through all of this trauma? Well, that would be one direction you can take. Vaguely, am reminded of this.
AQ DF  Post #: 20
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