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  1. guiltyvictim
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    guiltyvictim Member

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    A plot about balance

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by guiltyvictim, Aug 27, 2008.

    First of all, hello everyone. First day here, just want to start getting move involved with the creative writing community, so I'll look forward to interesting discussions and sharing ideas in the future with you lot.

    I'm a story "builder". I build stories in my head, I develop them, I structure them, but I've never written any of my serious stories down. I put that down to my underachievement mindset, fear of disappointment, and probably laziness. Still, over the years I've accumulated over 30 odd story ideas, more than half of which I still feel interested in seriously developing, although I've been looking at the comic and film media only, a very "visual" person that I happen to be.

    Anyway, back to the Thread Title. I happened upon another idea the other day, and have thought about it a little and want to share it. I'm not even sure I'm gonna develop it into a story depending on whether I feel it's solid enough of not.

    The concept plays on the idea of the balance of "good" vs "evil" / "order" vs "chaos" / "justice" vs "corruption".
    The "hero" of the story, after undergoing your typical "realisation" at the start of the story confronts a powerful force (could be God, the Devil, a Supernatural Force) to seek power to bring "good" / "order" / "justice" to the world. A deal is made, the hero is granted infinite power, but for every action the hero takes that enforces the good / order / justice, an opposing force of equal weight will be created, encaptulated by a person chosen by the hero.

    Essentially, the more power the hero uses to "do good", the chosen person would exert the same amount of power for the opposite purpose.

    So this story essentially plays on the futile struggle this hero has to get into - whatever good he does will bring chaos somewhere else - where he can't control.

    However, the real concept I wanted, is to play on the chosen one being the hero him/herself - I've actually reverse engineered everything above.

    So here's the overall concept - the hero has been granted infinite power, every action he takes will be accumulated and "stored" until he stops, where an opposing force will begin its work by "the chosen one".
    The journey of the story will essentially be the hero's attempt to use this power to bring order into the world, only to find chaos building immediately after - in repairing the chaos, using a greater power, he creates greater chaos and it esculates constantly until the hero can no longer manage it.

    At this point, the hero chooses a new person to be the chosen one, himself. This is kinda where I left off because while I like the concept, I haven't got anything solid in terms of developing the story further from it.


    I guess I just wanted to get this idea off my chest. I'm not really asking anything from anyone. I'd be lying though to say I'm not interested in anyone's thoughts. What I'm curious about is, whether anyone would be interested in taking up this idea themselves, or just the theme, and perhaps we can do some stories in contrast to each other and see what everyone comes up with.

    I don't usually deal with the concept of "good" and "evil". I only see "different perspectives" in people that lead them onto different paths - I've certainly not typed the word "hero" so many times in a minute.

    This idea just intrigues me a little because it has to play on this very concept of good and evil, and juggling the balance between the two to develop a story out of it.

    Anyway I best end post.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    <Clearing throat>. Ok, to begin with:

    A story concept means nothing. I can tell you now, it has been done before. What matters is how you write it, the characterization, the flow, the imagery, all of it.

    There's no point to asking what other people think of the concept! They'll either say,"Sounds great," or, "it sounds like a ripoff of..."

    If the idea stirs you, write it. Then ask people what they think of the final story. After they tell you what they don't like about it, revise it, usually several times, until you're happy with it or until you throw up your hands and say the hell with it.

    Please read this thread about What is Plot Creation and Development?

    (and yes, this was a template post, which should give you an idea of how often this comes up.)
    Now. Good and evil in balance is a theme. It's helpful to have a theme in mind when you are creating a story, but it's not essential.

    I'm very serious about not soliciting or listeningto opinions about a story concept. It's a very rough sketch of a framework you wiill build your story upon, like an idea for a house plan written in ketchup on a napkin. Any opinion you manage to get on such a thing is really a comment on how neat you managed to be with the ketchup.

    It has little to nothing to do with the eventual written story. The only thing that matters at this point is how passionate you feel about your story concept.

    That will drive the effort it will take to build from concept to submission draft.
     
  3. CobaltLion
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    CobaltLion Member

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    I'm playing into Cog's post right ow, and I acknowledge it, that said however I will say that the concept interests me, and I would be something i would chose to read.

    If anything, it would be interesting to see how everything turns out, and how the hero balances everything in the end.

    Yeah, sure. It's probably been done someplace else and Cog's thing says, but the fun (for me at least) is in the details of the story.

    Best of luck to you should you decide to pursue this story. :)
     
  4. Ommonite
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    Ommonite Senior Member

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    Balance can really mean anything. some people question Darth Vader bringing the force into balance after killing the emperor and himself, but is the force being 1 good guy really on balace? I say it happened when he killed all the jedi 'cept Obi and Yoda, then there was he and the emperor. Boom. 2 good, too bad. Sure there are tones of other characters, but in the films, they're all dead.
     
  5. Kratos
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    Kratos Contributing Member

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    I agree with Cog, but I do think that the idea is pretty cool. Try writing it.
     
  6. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    It was looking good... up until here.

    This looks like the classic concept of 'beating the devil at his own game' type story.

    I want to impress upon you that EVERYTHING has been done before. No idea, plot or concept is truly unique, it just might be hard to find, but everything has been done before and will be done again.

    You have a lot to work with in this story concept.
     
  7. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    Maybe instead of telling people "everything has been done before", maybe we should give examples. This can only help the writer, stating the obvious does not.
     
  8. guiltyvictim
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    guiltyvictim Member

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    Thanks for the replies so far guys :)

    Fear not, I haven't been scared off, and I had read the sticky before posting, so I'm not downed by the valid points about "no original ideas".

    I know that the success of a story often isn't in the ideas, but the telling. But ideas help, be they rehashed or not. I guess I feel that this area of the forum is the right place to discuss the more "conceptual" or "theoratical" aspect of stories, and perhaps the structuring etc, than the telling of story itself, which is


    This isn't exactly a plot too close to my heart in a way - it's probably one of the few concepts I've had that I have an "interest" in from a distance, because I feel that there're potentials in it if told well. It's kinda why I'm telling it to other writers to start with, because I wouldn't feel too upset if someone else wants to play with the concept.

    Anyway, I had a chat with my flatmate last night about this concept, as he has had more experience in the "superheroes" genre than I do. I drew upon the essence of the protagonist first, and I quickly started comparing it to Nolan's Batman films: A man essentially wants to take the responsibility of saving a city into his own hands, someone who ultimately ends up doing it at whatever the cost.

    I feel that the more interesting path to explore this balance story is to follow the journey of a man who's unable to let go - who has the compulsion to take everything into his own hands, who's unable to accept "defeat" so to speak.

    Typical "good" vs "evil" story generally follows the same path - the good guy faces an enemy much greater than himself, and has to find the courage to face it anyway as a self sacrafice, and not giving up (typically throwing in the "nearly giving up" turning point somewhere first) which is exactly what paints the picture of a hero.

    Contrary to the traditional path though, I feel that the concept of the opposing force that "balances" the hero's actions allows for an alternative journey entirely - we're looking at someone who really should just let go and give up, because the harder he tries to bring order to the world, the opposing force only brings forth further chaos afterwards. Yet it's his compulsion to be "in control" that essentially drives the "real" villian of the story into realisation - not being the "chosen one" who carries out the opposing force but the hero's own obsession of control.

    So essentially, breaking it down into the 3 acts, we have:

    Act 1 - Exposition of the world and the protagonist being propelled into making "the deal" seeking infinite power. Our hero begins to use his power to bring order to the world around him, knowing chaos was due elsewhere. He brings himself to restore the order in the "elsewhere" - turn point 1 leading onto act 2

    Act 2 - Hero tries to bring order to the chaos he indirectly created, using greater amount of power in doing so, which in turn brings a greater "balancing force", creating more chaos elsewhere. We see observe the escalation and he is brought to the halt when he's overwhelmed by the increasing amount of destruction around him. Turning point 2 - onto act 3

    Act 3 - Hero coming to grips with the destruction he's caused, and that only in "no action" could he stop further damage. But we ultimately sees him being driven by his compulsion, having to face the aftermath of what he's created, to ask for a new chosen one - nominating himself here.

    Hero descents further in attempt to counter the counter balancing force, by actually going on the path of destruction to seek the balancing force bring restoration.


    I'm not sure if I like the resolution yet, but it's keeping to the essence of the journey of the hero I feel.
     
  9. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    guiltyvictim

    Again. I want to say that this idea has a lot to work with.

    But it seems you need an Act 4: What he does as the "The Chosen" and even maybe an Act 5: A Final or Closing to the whole Trial and Tribulation.

    The idea is sound and solid, I would just suggest that you finish off the concept and plot outline so that it contains a conclusion and then give it a final wrap up.
     
  10. guiltyvictim
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    guiltyvictim Member

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    Ungood:

    I guess I was leading mself up to an open ending on this one, as I have more or less reverse engineered the plot from the character concept at the end.

    I was mostly thinking in terms of the typical "3 acts structure" of storytelling, resolution in Act 3. But you've pretty much reassured me that it's doesn't wrap the story up.


    Typically end of Act 2 is when the "hero" of a story is at his lowest, before making a dramatic change to overcome the final obstacle, leading up to the climax - either achieving or failing the mission.

    I definitely see the lowest point of the "hero"'s journey in this particular plot being when he stops in despair of his inability to contain / control the chaos he has created. I guess the problem here is that the resolution I see is in his choosing himself as the chosen one to counter balance his actions, which in itself opens new doors.


    I'll probably keep this on the back burner and think about where it can go. Like I said - I'm not particularly bothered if someone else wants to play with this idea. It's nothing at all like my usual stories.

    I've just started working on a romantic tragedy at the moment with a high concept / twist, which is much closer to my heart and thus I have no intention of leaking the plot here for discussion :)

    Many thanks for the feedbacks though ^^
     
  11. Raven
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    Raven Banned

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    Having taken the time to read through I have to agree with Ungoods posts. I would also suggest the act 4 and act 5 myself.
    This reminds me of the film the Butterfly Effect in pretty much every sense and forces me to echo exactly what Ungood has said in a previous post.
    I want to impress upon you that EVERYTHING has been done before. No idea, plot or concept is truly unique, it just might be hard to find, but everything has been done before and will be done again.
     
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  12. guiltyvictim
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    guiltyvictim Member

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    I guess the difference with this and the Butterfly Effect is - Butteryfly Effect observes the ripple effect of a single action's impact on the future.

    This concept plays more with the idea that an opposing force is physically generated, and embodied by a person to act out the force. It does however ripple outwards when a greater force is required to combat the results of chaos caused, thus bringing an even greater force of chaos.

    From an "action" > "chaos" prospective I'd say the two are very different.


    However both stories definitely play on the same essence of of the protagonist: "how far you'd go to try and control everything".
     
  13. Raven
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    Raven Banned

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    Which ever way you look at it you are creating a version of the Butterfly Effect.
     
  14. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Well maybe you can create it in such a way that it seems more original. Try writing it, and see how it comes out. The problem is that no ideas as such are original. What is original is the way you approach writing it. So put pen to paper, and then have a look at it when it's a real piece of writing, rather than just a potential idea.
     

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