Story idea... critique, anyone?

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Story idea... critique, anyone?

Post by Asenath on Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:14 am

I've been thinking about this story idea for a long time; in fact, parts of it come from when I was little and told it to my sister. That said, here 'tis:

A girl (20-22), living in modern-day America somewhere on the West Coast (Washington or Oregon, maybe) blacks out one day upon awakening and comes to to find herself in a huge palace. The palace appears to have no doors; when she arrives, she is in a closed chamber with a few inches of water in its tiled bottom. The entire palace is tiled with blue, green, and white tiles, with the exception of a few skylights. These skylights let in a bluish-green light that the girl can't be sure is the sun or something else.
There are two other people living in the palace, a boy her age and his mother. They have been living there for all their lives, and the boy's grandparents, who were the only ones who knew where they came from, never told how they got there. The palace is filled with strange creatures (for one, a horse-like creature with habitually laid-back ears, a clubbed tail, and lion's feet). The palace is underwater, deep under the ocean.
The girl only has a few days to recuperate from the shock while she's in the palace. During that time, do you think I should spark a 'love interest' between the boy and the girl? It does seem to be a rather well-worn tactic, but the girl has to have some significant reason to have a protective attitude toward the place.
Anyway, after that time, the boy is showing her around the palace, and at the end of the tour, he showed her the dark river that runs past the palace. It could only be seen if you opened a panel in the wall at a specific place. He was showing it to her and explaining how no one really knows much about it when she slips and falls into the river. As she's going down it, a flipper of something big hits her head and she blacks out again.
The girl awakes in a hospital room. She checks herself and finds that she has sustained no injuries at all. But the events in the palace are clearly stuck in her memory. She tries to tell the doctor and is sent to a psychiatric ward. The girl spends nearly a day in the ward while the doctors try to convince her that the 'palace' she saw isn't real. But when she leaves and goes home, she blacks out again before she wakes up the next morning. This time when she goes to the palace, there's some kind of battle going on; so many things are exploding inside it that she can't see a thing. She is running down a corridor, trying to find the people she had met while she was here last, and something steps in front of her and blocks her way. There's another huge explosion, and she blacks out again, waking up in the hospital just like before, except that this time she's badly injured. She can't see, due to the severe burn the extreme light of the explosion made.
A mysterious woman in a white lab coat comes in, scans her retinas with a scanner which is only dubiously safe, then leaves, ordering the doctors to give her back her sight.
She is given new retinas, but after she recovers, she decides to find the scans of her retinas with the images of the palace burned onto them, which would be the only things to prove the existence (and endangered state) of her 'other world.'
That's really how far I've gotten by now. Please tell me what you think-especially tell me if it sounds a lot like a movie you've seen or book you've read. I don't want to write a plotline/concept that already is in use. And, what do you think of this story as a stand-alone novel? What do you think of it as a Fictionpress piece? If it was adapted, would it make a good fanfiction?

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Re: Story idea... critique, anyone?

Post by Steel on Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:13 am

While this doesn't sound like a terribly bad idea, there are a few things I'll point out that don't really work:

    --If the palace is underwater, how is there a river?
    --If the family in the palace has lived there all their lives, how does the boy not know his father, maybe?
    --People usually stay in psychiatric wards for more than a day. There are a lot of reasons for this, like how serious the patient's state is and when the doctors have time to see the patient.
    --The retina thing, in my humble opinion, can't work at all. Images aren't burned into eyes. Not to mention, no real hospital would ever do something to remove a patient's eyes, and I am fairly sure that you wouldn't be able to get them replaced either.

Other than that, I think this can still work. It's not something I've heard of before in fantasy, although it's a broad concept a lot of people have played with. The only thing I can think of that is kind of similar is Narnia, but it's different enough to not be compared to it. As for a romantic interest, I'd say that's too obvious and predictable, and you might want to think about it more before you do something like that.

Just work out some of the finer details, I'd say, and you'll have a nice story on your hands! I suggest you keep it original and perhaps publish it on Fictionpress if you feel like it. Save fanfiction for other things~

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Re: Story idea... critique, anyone?

Post by Asenath on Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:33 pm

Thanks so much, Steel! I really appreciate the constructive criticism. I guess your comments on the psychiatry and the retina scan thing brought it home to me that I'll have to do some research.
And the answers to your other comments:
1. The river is within a closed, tiled space like the rest of the palace.
2. The boy does know his father, who died when he was still a kid. There are no other people in the palace because over the generations (there have been about four or something like that since the first people came/arrived/were in the palace, the families were eventually rendered unable to marry anymore because they were so related to each other.
And an extra thing I forgot to mention in my first post: The girl, after she comes back the first time, has a tough mental battle (almost a full year long) to convince herself that what she saw was real. She eventually concludes that she's losing her sanity just before she blacks out for the second time.

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