1. AxleMAshcraft
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    AxleMAshcraft Member

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    30 Days Left

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by AxleMAshcraft, May 14, 2012.

    Recently I've been working on a new project that a friend of mine suggested and am having issues thinking up enough bulk ideas for it.
    General plot:
    A man finds out that he has 30 days left to live, he decides to do everything he can before he dies.

    It sounds super dull but I like it so, that's all that matters.

    Anyway, I need ideas for things to do before he dies.

    What would you do?

    And please, refrain from "skydiving" or other average last-things-to-do. He's just an average guy on a budget who really can't afford that.

    Suggestions ?
     
  2. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    Well, my wife is three months pregnant with our first child. So, just thinking about what if I knew now that I have only 30 days to live is making me very very sad. I will have to make sure that their future is secure monetary wise. Me and my wife have been trying to decide places to go on vacation, may be we will move up the calendar and visit a place to spend some time together. I live in a troubled State of northeast India where the political leaders are actually looters and goons, so I might decide to kill them all if I can :)

    That's me, but I have a suggestion on how to approach your story plot. Think of THE THING that he thinks he'll never do, like forgiving an abusive father or something that deeply affected his whole life whether he know/admit it or not. So, he went about doing everything that he things he wants to do (skydiving, bashing up the high school bully, dance class, meeting his idols....), but in the end he finds out forgiving his father (in the case of my example) is the only thing he really really wants to do. And if you want a sad ending, he never gets to do it because of some reason.
     
  3. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    If money is an issue... take a road trip and go visit some destination. It could be literally anything as long as it takes a lot of time to get there. It could be something cliche like the Statue of Liberty in New York. You could make up a reason for why it is important for them to want to see this place. Perhaps the character knew someone when they were a kid that in 20 years they promised to meet up at some place and talk about old times or whatever. Or perhaps they had been there once before and some event happened in the past that made them want to go back. It sounds corny... but if you are writing a story like this, the destination isn't really what matters anyway. It's always the journey.

    You mentioned the money thing, it's possible to have a 30 day long road trip cost you somewhere under 3000 dollars depending on how cheap you want to be. I've done the road trip thing before, and usually the most expensive items are gas and entertainment (like if you are seeing a show in a city that costs 50 dollars a ticket for example). But other than gas, you can skimp out on a lot of things that are theoretically essential to a road trip. Food shouldn't be too expensive if you aren't eating out every night. Instead of staying at a hotel, perhaps camp out or stay with friends/relatives. I mentioned the cost of "entertainment" but there are plenty of touristy things to do that are virtually free or cheaper than a night out at a club.

    And obviously because this is a story, there's plenty of flexibility to have things happen along the trip to cause conflict.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Whose story is it? Yours or ours?

    Seems to me that you have a great deal of meat hiding within your dilemma. Does not your character face the same issue? How will he tackle that problem?
     
  5. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Spend as much time as I can with the people I love - mu husband, my parents, my sister and my nephew. Serve, like my Lord called me to and that which I'm still struggling to do with cheerfulness and grace. Pray, that my Lord would grant me grace and opportunity to really make a difference in someone's life before I leave. Go out and sit at a park, admire the mountains and the flowers and the wind, and remember what I would be leaving behind, but also what I would be going to next - some place even better. Perhaps write - write my last words for those whom I love. There would be no time left to get a novel published, but I could still write and leave something precious to my loved ones, because writing was God's gift to me, so I'd like to leave writing as my gift to them.

    Think of your character's life and his beliefs - what he believes of his world will affect what he decides to do now. For example, mine, as you've noticed, is mostly ruled by my belief in Christ. What mattered to him during his life? It should surface now. The typical skydiving options are just for laughs, unless of course it was a dream of the individual's - but most of us would seek out what truly mattered to us in life, and skydiving is not usually gonna be one of them!
     
  6. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    An irrelevant comment - if you're having a real-life illness be the cause of death, be aware that there is no way you could precisely measure how many days the person has to live. And that the last few days will be spent bedridden.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there are many stories/novels/movies out there based on this premise... you should first check out some of them, such as the movie, 'the bucket list' to see how the idea's been dealt with already...

    and ettina's comment is an important, very relevant one you shouldn't overlook...
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Or the 1960s series Run for Your Life, starring Ben Gazzara.
     
  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm in Southern California, but most of the people I love are in Toronto and I don't visit them anywhere near often enough. I'd go to Toronto and spend a lot of time with my niece and nephew (I have no kids of my own). And while I was there, I'd look up an old university roommate I haven't seen in over twenty years. He and I both play guitar, and we used to love jamming together, and I'd want to jam with him again.

    Then I'd go to my family's cottage in Eastern Ontario, sit on the cliff over the lake, and just stare at the water for the last few days of my life, remembering all the beautiful times and forgetting the bad times.

    But it all depends on what kind of person your character is. Is he desperate to pack a lifetime's worth of experience into thirty days? Or, like me, would he want to recapture some of the best times he's already known?
     
  10. AxleMAshcraft
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    AxleMAshcraft Member

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    Not really, no. I hate to be "that person" but it is MY story. I know that. I just need to keep my options open, you know? My character IS making up what's on his "list" as he goes, but there are only so many things for that list that I can think of. Different people would do different things and seeing as how my character is NOTHING like me, I thought getting opinions from other people would help.

    Sorry if that sounded extremely annoyed or anything, I'm really not, I just thought I would ask for some ideas, it IS a forum.
     
  11. PeterC
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    PeterC Active Member

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    It seems to me that it would make a difference why the character has only 30 days to live. Does he have a terminal illness? If so that will impact what he can do and probably what he would want to do (maybe he would want to contact a renowned doctor). In contrast if he's going to be assassinated in 30 days... well that's a very different thing.
     
  12. MissRis
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    MissRis Contributing Member

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    I agree -- if you want a particular Canadian perspective (and about someone young with a terminal illness) watch 1 Week with Joshua Jackson. He finds out he has stage IV cancer and survival is 10%. He decides he doesn't want to be a patient and instead buys a beaten up motorcycle and drives from Toronto, Ontario (East Coast) to Tofino, British Columbia (West Coast).

    Doing something like that may allow for some more wriggle room in terms of being bed ridden etc.
     
  13. indy5live
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    indy5live Active Member

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    First question I have is, what physical restraints might a person have that is 30-days away from death. If the person is 100% functional then I'd want to know what's causing him to die in 30-days. But if you're just looking for ideas of what a person might do if they only have 30-days left to live then here are a few thoughts:
    1) Forget rules, forget the law, forget everything. So steal a car and drive it through a banks wall and steal money and run wild...Ground Hog Day comes to mind slightly.
    2) If I knew I was going to die in 30-days then I would seek the most untraditional methods for healing. He can travel around the world visiting different culture's for healing. Voodoo, Watch doctors, tribal healers, etc. 30-days of pursing a cure.
    3) Similar to the previous suggestion, perhaps he finds information online about someone that overcame the disease that's killing him but it requires going to great lengths to alchemize the cure and it's still not guaranteed to work. So it would be 30-days of trying to cure himself based of a rumor solution.
     
  14. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    I don't think anybody is annoyed, specially Cogito :) I treat the original post as some kind of research before you decide upon what type of person your character is and what would he do. I think it will be more beneficial if you post this in the lounge, don't mention the story, just ask them: How old are you and what would you do if you have just 30 days to live? I am sure you will get a range of perspective to chose from.
     
  15. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    Maybe they are 30 days away from the "illness" becoming physically debilitating to the point where they can't do anything like that.
     
  16. Afion
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    Afion Senior Member

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    Would it be told from his POV or someone else's, such as his best friend?
     
  17. C.B Harrington
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    C.B Harrington Member

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    If I had 30 days to live, I would sleep with as many women as possible.

    If I was an awesome MC with 30 days to live, I would pull a long con that ended with me being captured, the mark thinking he's got satisfaction, my crew getting away with the loot and me dying while waiting to be tortured by said mark. (Thinking of the mark as a mob boss or something)
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It is, but it is a forum to share techniques, and to encourage good writing habits. Polling for story ideas does nothing for your writing skills. Exercise your imagination.
     
  19. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    When my brother (age 7) realized he was going to lose his fight with leukemia these are the things he did in the last couple months before he was completely bedridden ~ roller skate, play hide and seek and kickball (he spent a lot of time cheering from the sidelines), have a picnic, go hiking (my dad carried him most of the time), play in the irrigation water, call his teacher and tell her she could let someone else use his desk, give away his toys
     
  20. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    axel...
    ...as others have noted above, we really need a lot more info about your mc, before we can give you relevant suggestions...

    why does he have only 30 days to live?

    will he be fully physically active up to the end, or have to be hospitalized?

    is a killer stalking him?

    what kind of person is this guy, aside from being 'average'?

    how old is he?

    where does he live?

    what does he do for a living?

    what kinds of things does he do for fun?

    is he married, or in a relationship?

    what family does he have?

    does he have any problems other than the fact that he'll be dead in a month?

    ...all of those things will determine what it is he might do with those last 30 days, so we can't give you valid ideas that'll fit your story paramenters, without the answers...
     

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