1. skuld
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    skuld Member

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    A camping trip..... with a twist

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by skuld, Sep 26, 2015.

    So I've been toying with the idea for a story or novel that can be tailored for a young audience.

    The premise goes like this: a group of friends (4 boys and 2 girls) go camping in the woods. At the same time there is this band of fugitives (3) who are fleeing from the police and hiding out in the same area. When the two groups encounter each other, the kids need to use all their wits and knowledge of the area to stay alive and evade capture.

    My initial questions would be:

    How old would kids have to be before they could go camping unsupervised?

    Is it ever appropriate to include murderers in children's or young adults' books? (I could always make the criminals be something less lethal, like bank robbers.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2015
  2. Baby Phoenix
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    Baby Phoenix Member

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    Age is only relevant to your situation. They could have neglectful parents, or be in a small town that has a forest nearby. Having gone their on numerous occasions, they were allowed to go on their own. Of course, age brings limitations. You should rephrase the question to 'How old would the kids have to be before they would be competent enough to go camping unsupervised'. I'd personally say 10 or above before they would, but if I'm really pushing it I might even say as young as 8.

    Young adult books, murders are fine. I wouldn't go into detail, but simply having them in there is definitely okay. As for children books, it would of course depend on the age you're marketing for. If its a book for 3 year olds, killing is obviously off-limits.
     
  3. skuld
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    skuld Member

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    I'd say about half of the group are local to the area, with the other half being repeat summer visitors. So they do know the area quite well. The characters would be roughly about the same age as the prospective readers, so I want to make the situation as age appropriate to them as possible. 8 might be too young, but I don't know about 11 or 12.

    I would be interested to know if there are any parents here and what their opinions might be.
     
  4. Baby Phoenix
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    Baby Phoenix Member

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    Honestly, this once again comes down to how you write it. The parents, and their opinions, are all relevant to what you decide. The only thing you have to keep in mind is the realism of the parents, and that doesn't necessarily associate to worrying about their kids. Unlike City's, Towns gave a lot of freedom to children. I believe in a lot of cases, it was the older kids duty to ensure the safety of the younger kids. Going along this route, the camping trip would have at least one older kid. Unless they were the older kids, say 14-16.

    If you want to make them age appropriate, that depends on what you consider camping. I went camping with my family all the time, from 10 up to 17. But then, that was just going to site visited by many people to have a great time. While we were doing real camping, it was more like a family gathering then any sort of actual camping.

    But by the sounds of it, your camping trip is an annual one focused on a specific destination. Perhaps you could take a different angle for this. Say all the kids were Boy Scouts, and they all went on this trip with an adult. That adult:

    a) got knocked out by the fugitives

    b)got killed by the fugitives

    Then the kids realised he had been gone for a long time, and went to find him. Discovering the dead, or unconscious, body; they immediately noticed the figures creeping up on their sides. This is just an example, but they don't necessarily have to be alone to start off with. You simply need to make an event where they then become alone.
     
  5. _AB
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    _AB Member

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    Premise sounds very promising !!
    The age has to be really accurate. High-school age would mean sex, parties, and blonde cheerleaders. Middle-school would mean friendships, exploration, and innocence.

    The fugitives don't have to be murderers. Why did they escape ?? They can be three good-guys (maybe even friends) that had to do a bad thing, just like that Nicholas Cage movie that I forgot the name of.

    Or you can make them capture and hold one of the kids as a hostage. Maybe get a little bloody or sadistic on the way. You don't have to explain the gory details of the action itself, just the aftermath.

    Love to hear how it goes.
     
  6. skuld
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    skuld Member

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    I want to make the kids old enough that they can go camping unchaperoned, but I not so old that they're thinking about drugs and sex etc.

    The boys are: Alex (a longtime summer visitor); Kei (Alex's best friend); Jason (another visitor, from a different city), and Johnny (who lives locally). The girls are Christine (another local) and Priscilla (Johnny's sister).

    Johnny and Chris know the woods really well because they have explored practically every inch. Alex and Jason are repeat visitors and Kei is accompanying Alex for the first time. Priscilla ("Cill") doesn't really want to be there but she has to because her mother is called away (for some reason, maybe a sick relative or something).

    The criminals are adults and at least two of them are armed, but they don't know the woods at all. Maybe they are on the run from the police and their car breaks down and they flee into the woods to evade capture.
     
  7. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Hey, want to know what happened to the last 10 year old I worked with for SAR? No one knows, we never found him! 10 years is absolutely not competent to go camping on their own. We loose more minors than any other group, and for the most part they're 14 and under. A bunch of 10 year-olds alone in the woods for a night? That's a recovery operation.
     
  8. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    What if they're not allowed to go camping, but scheme a way to go anyway? I forget the term that was used on Buffy, but the idea was that Buffy told her mother that she'd be over at Willow's, and Willow told her mother she'd be over at Buffy's, so that they could both be somewhere else.

    Admittedly, there's a plausibility gap even here, though if you set the time thirty or forty years ago, a time of much less intensive parental supervision, I think that it would be perfectly plausible.
     
  9. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wouldn't expect a gang to commit a murder, unless it was to do with organised crime, in which case, I'd expect it to be better planned than to end up in woodland that they don't know. Go with the robbery.
     
  10. theoriginalmonsterman
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    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Look at Harry Potter... tell me what you think? :rofl:
     
  11. skuld
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    Wouldn't know. That was an entirely different setting.
     
  12. skuld
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    skuld Member

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    Yes, I was thinking the same thing.

    Would 13-14 y/o be unreasonable?
     
  13. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    If I was their parent, I wouldn't let them. But I think they have a much better chance of surviving. Where abouts are they camping? I have to remember that your characters aren't in the rocky mountains, where it regularly freezes at night above 8,000 feet, even in the middle of August.
     
  14. bumble bee
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    As a 13 year old I 'camped' with my friend in a wood that was literally just behind my house- within 200 feet (actually we got scared and came in but that's by the by!)
    If you wanted to have the children a bit younger than would normally be allowed you could have them very close to home but they choose not to go in for help, or are prevented in some way.

    Or perhaps they are nearby to a non parent (older sibling/cousin, youngish aunt or uncle) who then doesn't monitor them as much as a parent would.
     
  15. theoriginalmonsterman
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    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    True, I guess it depends on what age the victim of the murder is. I would say 16 is the lowest you should go.
     
  16. skuld
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    Well I guess now I'm leaning towards the non murderer direction. I think the idea of the bank robbers is probably the better way to go.

    In my scenario the kids are camping in the woods, not too close to home, but they know the area really well and have been going into the same woods for years.
     

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