How to come up with a plot for a novel using inversion
Inversion is when everything is the other way around; it’s turning it inside out. In simple terms, it is the rearranging of parts of a whole so that the latter becomes the former. With this technique, you can come up with unusual stories and plot exciting works. Write.pro tells you how to write a book, come up with a plot for a novel, and just train your brain with the help of inversion.
A meaningful inversion is when not the parts of a whole are swapped, but the meaning of the message itself, that is, the idea. It is good as a means of creating a complete idea for a novel and simply as a literary exercise. Inversion allows you to look at familiar circumstances from the other side and find the unexpected and surprising in the familiar and ordinary. First of all, such a technique will suit the authors working in the genre of fantasy, fantasy, thriller, mysticism. However, as you will see from our examples below, the inversion is also suitable for love novels – the question is which idea is inverted.
So, how do you use inversion? Very simple. We suggest applying a semantic inversion to any statement whose meaning is not in doubt.
The statement: the snow is white.
We invert the meaning of the message using the inversion: snow is black.
After using the inversion, the author needs to come up with a justification for it, that is, to answer the question, under what conditions it is achievable, why it happened or how to go on living with it: why the snow became black, and how the blackness of the snow affects the world order.
More examples: the sun rises every day in the east, there are lions in Africa, life after death is unproven, women have babies, etc. Turn the meaning of these messages around. Here’s what we get: the sun rises in the west (the sun no longer shines), there are no lions (or other animals) in Africa, life after death is studied or proven, women do not bear children (cannot or will not).
Now we decide:
1) how the inverted idea can be realized: we refine the details as much as possible, possibly unfolding the idea in two or three directions, if the idea allows it: after that we choose the most successful variant;
2. Under what conditions could such circumstances arise;
3) what are the causes and consequences of such changes;
4) whether the new circumstances affect the world order;
5) what kind of conflicts the formulated idea can generate;
6) what characters might be involved in these conflicts;
7) whether the interest of these characters consists in putting the new world order back on the old rails.
That is, the semantic inversion sets an ideological message that the author can develop in any direction that interests him or her. For example, to use the inverted idea as a reason to start a conflict. You can describe the background to the situation. Or simply depict the created world in detail, introducing the most commonplace plot, such as the struggle for freedom.
Inversion acts as an impetus for the author’s thought: it can lead to completely unexpected results, the main thing here is to find an original idea that can form the basis of the story. It is curious that as a result of understanding an inverted statement (“the snow is black”) the author may come up with a completely different, new idea: the snow is not actually black, but still white, but as a result (for example) of an ecological disaster the nature of human visual perception has changed, he sees the world only in black and white shades, and this has resulted in the simplification of the entire world order. Inversion in this case will act as an exciter of thought, allowing us to find new plot variations.
Examples of the use of semantic inversion in fiction
Assertion: the sun rises in the east every day
Inversion: The sun does not rise in the east or does not shine at all.
Ways of realizing the idea:
1) As a result of the actions of thinking machines, the sky is covered in clouds and no sunlight reaches the earth: this idea is used in the script for the movie trilogy “The Matrix” by the Wachowski brothers – now the Wachowski sisters.
2) Earth becomes uninhabitable, so mankind moves to Venus where it rains heavily all year long and the sun shines just one day a year: this is the plot of the story “All Summer in One Day” by Ray Bradber Ray Bradberry,
3) After the meteorite impact, the Earth’s axis shifted: this is exactly the case when thinking about an inverted idea can lead to a new plot. Thus, the theme of the shift in the Earth’s orbit, though in a different context, is raised in the novel Upside Down by Jules Verne.
Assertion: life after death is not proven.
Inversion: life after death has been studied or proven.
Method for implementing the idea:
1) A group of young scientists (doctors) conduct clinical death research, discovering that after cardiac arrest, a person takes a journey back in time: this idea is the basis of the script for the movie The Comatosexuals.
2) A group of adventurous explorers use clinical death for long journeys into the otherworld: this is the semantic beginning of Bernard Werber’s novel The Thanatonauts.
Assertion: women give birth to children.
Inversion: women don’t have children (can’t or won’t).
The way the idea is realized:
Humanity is plagued by mass infertility, which inevitably leads to chaos throughout the world: the plot of the novel “The Human Child,” by British author Phyllis Dorothy James, from which the movie of the same name was made in 2006.
Claim: Humans are hungry and eat 3-4 times a day. This defines the very structure of the world and the balance of power in our world.
Inversion: People don’t experience hunger. People don’t eat, alternatively, they eat very infrequently.
The way the idea is realized:
1) People feed on pure energy, which they take a) from an accessible source: e.g., solar energy); b) from an inaccessible source: e.g., human blood (as a consequence we get the vampire variant-canonical text “Count Dracula”).
2) People eat special food, a small amount of which can provide long-term satiety: this idea is the basis of the story of Alexander Belyaev “Eternal Bread”.
Assertion: people live, grow old and die.
Inversion: people live, but they do not grow old and die.
The way the idea is realized:
1) People draw life energy from outside: again we get a variant with vampires, only in this case the theme of life and death is also played out, since vampires in the traditional sense are not living people.
2) People transfer their own life energy into an object, it ages, but humans do not: we get the plot of “The Portrait of Dorian Gray” from the pen of Oscar Wilde.
3) Scientists develop a cure for old age, the elixir of immortality. A common plot, underlying, for example, the Czech writer Karel Čapek’s fantasy play The Makropoulos Affair.
4) People with drinking water receive a hormone that prevents the body from aging, Europeans stop aging and live forever, but in exchange for immortality are forced to limit fertility. This is the basis of the plot of the novel “Immortality” by Dmitry Glukhovsky.
The claim: Beautiful young French women of the seventeenth century seek money, fame and glory, and thus connections in high society, for the sake of which they easily sell their honor and enter into alliances with the powerful (or simply rich) of this world. It is this idea that lies at the heart of most of Honore de Balzac’s novels.
Let’s use the inversion: beautiful French women of the 17th century are unselfish and faithful to their ideals and lovers; they resolutely reject offers of extramarital affairs and crave only one thing: to join their spouse (far from the ideal of beauty).
The mode of realization: this is the ideological message of Ann Gollon’s (Simone Changheux) series of novels Angelique.
As you can see, the use of semantic inversion, first, allows you to find new, unexpected ideas, on the basis of which you can create a full-fledged novel, while not always fantastic; and second, inversion helps to look at the familiar picture of the world from a different angle, to find the amazing in the ordinary and still, if you are lucky, “play nocturne on the flute of drainpipes”.
As a homework assignment we propose to try and apply inversion to the following statements: a child is born unconscious, every house has electricity, a tired person falls asleep quickly, people use money to facilitate the exchange of goods, people get money for their work, there are lions in Africa, summer replaces autumn.
Based on the resulting inverted idea, try to develop story plots (novels). Feel free to fantasize, look for new meanings and ways of implementing the inversion. Good luck!