I need help. Desperately.

So, I have never written a book before. I have written some short stories, maybe 1 to 15 paragraphs long, but I have never written a book. My short stories are historically accurate tales of real life trains, but all the stories are told from the train's perspective. I know I can't turn one of those stories into a book, but I still wanted to do something train related. So the idea I came up with is an apocalyptic sci-fi story, in which there are large dome communities all over the world after a nuclear war has caused a nuclear winter. To protect these domes from raiders, bandits, mutants, and natural disasters, the leaders decided to take the best train and weapon designs from history and created a fleet of massive armored trains to protect the domes. I love the sound of the idea, as it gives way to some very epic imagery of colossal trains battling monsters and other enemy trains, but I'm scared that it might seem too stupid for anyone to care. I want completely truthful answers. Do you think my book idea is too over the top? Do you think anyone will care enough?
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  • Skoob_ym said:

    It's a workable idea, but I do see some issues. For example, what would it look like when trains "battle?" A train wreck destroys both trains -- consider the Russian movie "The Edge" for example, for a train on train "battle."

    Trains are necessarily on tracks, and to permit access to your tracks requires deliberately connecting to the enemy's tracks.

    Your trains might be metaphorical trains, such as large trucks with many connected trailers.

    Or your story could be the tale of a group of post-apocalyptic survivors who use a train to escape a wasteland, rebuilding bridges and laying new track when the have to, so that they have hope of starting over in greener lands.


    The way I would have the trains participate in battles would involve patrol lines surrounding the different domes. These lines would be large round tracks circling the domes, with sidings, rip tracks, runarounds, and Y tracks. These would sort of create a bit of a ring for the trains to battle in, being able to chase each other down, pass one another, and have chances to fire at the sides of enemy trains. Enemies of the dome would have to gain control of the switches to be able to take control of navigating their train through the tracks. This would involve hacking the signaling systems. I will work out the finer details of how the world works and how it came to be that way. I won't just leave it without explanation.
  • You have a really interesting concept...what you need to sit down and work on now is developing a story. You need to invent characters, situations and conflicts that evolve from the foundation you have laid.
    I have come up with 8 characters already. I have a main character, 7 supporting characters, and one side character at this point in time. I have a very basic plot at this point in time that I will be fleshing out later in the process, and I also have the first chapter nearly complete. Speaking of which, at what point should I start asking for beta readers? Should I finish the first chapter and get some people to be beta readers for that chapter right now, or should I finish the book first and then ask for beta readers?
  • Getting someone to read what you have written already might be the best idea: it might save you a lot of work later on if you can discover any problems at the outset.
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