1. Algoma
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    Algoma New Member

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    A secret worth uncovering

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Algoma, Aug 20, 2016.

    Hello. First post. I'm writing a book about a fictional city being run by an occupational force in the near future. My protagonists wish to expel them from the city not by killing them, but by getting the docile population to stand up to them. I have an idea about a large operation the protagonists wish to execute, by infiltrating an area that's off limits in order to extract evidence of a certain secret that would get the population outraged, in order to destabilize the regime.

    The problem is, I can't come up with a secret good enough that would explain why the heroes are going to such lengths to get it. I guess I eventually will come up with one, but I want to hear ideas that might be better than mine, so I can get there sooner.

    If anyone can think of something, I'd love to hear it. Thanks.
     
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  2. Sniam
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    It must be a secret big enough for the whole city to be shaken, but also implicating the highest ranks of hierarchy so that no one knows about it.

    Here are some random ideas and examples that could help you :
    - The main source of food provided by the government could be from some terrible and disgusting ingredient. I mainly think about Soylent Green or Le Transperceneige (The Snow Piercer).
    - The press could be totally controled and reporting fake news, asserting that the outside world is horrible. I'm thinking about North Korea.
    - Secret control of the government by any form of religion or sect could also lead to riots.
    - The government could be financing war projects or undergoing experiments on orphans, stuff like that.

    Here is one I came up with just this minute : the young men and women are enlisted at age 15 and go to a military camp. Nobody talks about it, because nobody really remembers what it's like : they erase your memory. The truth is, everybody undergoes (brain?) surgery and get a controlling chip inside their head, to prevent any rebellious thought to form. That way, the government is sure to keep control on the population.
    So, what happens to your protagonists? I don't know, some exception surely; in any case, they are conscious of what is happening, but can't convince anyone because of the very nature of the chip. Hence, they are going to break into your off limits area to re-program the chips, so that everyone will know the truth.
    Ethic problem here : do they really want to do that and break the city? In which way are they different if they manipulate everyone's mind to get to their goal?

    Hope that helps :)
     
  3. Algoma
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    Algoma New Member

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    I appreciate your thoughts. It's worth noting that this is a regime that summarily executes people in full view for even suspecting any wrongdoing against them. One of the ways in which they keep the population docile, so asking for a secret that big is a high bar to clear. The brain chip might be a worthy opening, but I'm not entirely certain yet. More ideas would be great.
     
  4. Francis de Aguilar
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    Francis de Aguilar Active Member

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    The secret could be about the regime's weak spot. Maybe outrage could be replaced with a belief that the regime is vulnerable.
     
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  5. Sparky19
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    Sparky19 Member

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    A secret strong enough to destabilize a regime might relate to some of the promises or information that got the regime elected in the first place.
    For instance if the current regime only came to power by claiming that the past one was corrupt and needed to be ousted it could be evidence that the people they ousted were never actually corrupt in the first place and that they are merely just power hungry.
    Not sure if that made sense but basically what I am saying is something that strikes right at the heart of why people put faith in the regime in the first place, for example if you asked a common citizen in your world why he even voted for or supported the regime in the first place what would he say? Then ask yourself what secret would invalidate the belief that the common citizen has about them.
     
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  6. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    @Sparky19 That kind of thing you have spoken, makes me believe that we could write some truly evil and diabolical things together. (That Is based on if you ever need a second in working on something pretty dark and amazing that is. Though I would give you all the credit, because somethings are not worth accolade of secondary parties. Simply playing a part in such a masterpiece is reward enough.) :)

    I am going to go with A: A big enough lie told often enough, will eventually become fact.
    Also @Algoma having the fringe element speak the truth in a particular instance, to show the rest of the populace that the newest incursion on their way of life is actually bad for their way of life. Though it will take a bit of effort on the culpability of the conspiracy theorists part to convince the rest that they are in fact right in their assertion and deductive reasoning. A hard sell of an unwanted truth, is one that they must first come to terms with. After all the average citizen lives largely in a state of denial when it comes to the governing body and the delusion that the government can do no wrong. Though in reality governments do all sort of misdeeds for the sake of their own interests. There are plenty of real world examples to play off of, you just have to wade through the B.S. to get to the facts. Good luck, and I hope you have a good and suspenseful plot as you make your work of fiction.

    Though to be honest the more damning the better. :D
     
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  7. Scot
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    Scot Active Member

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    Rescuing the last survivor of the previous ruling class, who were all thought to be exterminated; a princess perhaps.

    Protagonists seek to cut off the source of something highly addictive being added to the city's water supply. (Withhold rum and tobacco from 19th century sailors and you got mutiny.)

    Protagonists seek to steal the source of their aggressor's power.

    The fact is very few regimes fall without outside assistance. Until the advent of social media, and a VERY, well informed populace, the regime in place could control public perception. The Arab Spring was a new phenomenon where, in Tunisia (I was there) the masses could organise and mobilise quicker, and in greater numbers, than the state security forces.

    I strongly suggest you read 'From Dictatorship to Democracy' by Gene Sharp. It's a blueprint for toppling regimes.
     
  8. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't have any ideas for a secret (and likely wouldn't say so if I did because I refuse to take away the joy you'll experience when you find one yourself) but, I do have a suggestion for research material:

    Gandhi. That guy, and his followers, organized a passive resistance movement that led to independence. Knowing how they went about it might give you some ideas.
     
  9. Algoma
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    Algoma New Member

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    Okay, so let's say I go with the idea of the regime kidnapping random people off the street in order to conduct experiments on them and the protagonists find out. What would the experiments be for? Medical research is out, because that would, in theory, be good for the populace so they wouldn't get that outraged about it to the extent they would revolt, or at least begin to.

    Giving them super abilities? Nah... Not an element I want to introduce to the story.

    To make them more docile? They're already docile enough as it is, since that regime took control dozens of years ago, and it's pretty much the devil they know.

    So what line of experimentation would be outrageous enough?
     
  10. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Except that docility is something that needs reinforcing from time to time. Look at our own society, for instance. In the 1960's, people challenged authority until, in the 1970's, authority got that under control. Then in recent years, there has been a resurgence of authorial challenges: the Wall Street thing, protests all over the world against global banking systems, and especially Iceland's declaration of their freedom against national debt.

    If those in charge don't put down those uprising every few generations, one of them will reverse all their hard work and the people will break free again.
     
  11. Algoma
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    Algoma New Member

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    It does get reinforced on occasion, since in the story, the regime recently executed 5 citizens for a crime they didn't commit, though the people think they were criminals. They were scapegoats, but the point stands.

    Anyway, I'm still trying to think of what the experiments are about, and I can't think of anything.
     
  12. Scot
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    Scot Active Member

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    Is the occupational force the same species / race / ethnicity / religion as the oppressed?

    Consider genetic modification of the oppressed to turn them into either inferior beings, clones, or equal to the oppressors (end justifies the means)
     
  13. Algoma
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    Algoma New Member

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    They're all humans.

    Inferior beings? They're already ruled over with an iron fist. Why would the regime go to such lengths to make them inferior?

    Clones for what purpose?

    And since they're all humans, what experiment would make them more equal?
     
  14. Oswiecenie
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    Oswiecenie Active Member

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    I think what Scot is getting at is making them more efficient servants. For example, the regime could try to doctor certain traits like physical strength, intelligence etc. to better suit their needs.
     
  15. Scot
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    Scot Active Member

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    'And since they're all humans, what experiment would make them more equal?'

    You could try breeding your best warriors with the fairest maidens of the vanquished. Oh, wait a minute. Didn't some regime try that in the 1930's & '40's?

    Anyway, it's your story, go figure. You asked for ideas.
     
  16. Algoma
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    Algoma New Member

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    I did, and it's driving me nuts that I can't find one. Some of ideas were feasible, but I'm looking for something a bit more... punchy, for the lack of a better word. A secret, that if exposed, would enrage an already oppressed populace. Something that would leave them feeling quite shortchanged. There's no magic or mystical beings in this book. Everybody are just regular people.
     
  17. Scot
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    Scot Active Member

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    Perhaps you're looking at the problem from the wrong angle. It's not necessarily the big things, like summary executions and disappearances that make a population rise up. It could be something fairly minor in the grand scheme of things, something that sneaks under the censor's radar and grabs public attention; the straw (small and insignificant) that breaks the camel's back.
    Try thinking small.
     
  18. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    Kidnaping young women and girls off the street to become forced prostitutes for the security services ... that would certainly inflame brothers/fathers/husbands etc to revolt , especially if they've been told some other lie about where the young women have gone
     
  19. Algoma
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    Algoma New Member

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    Already did something very close to that in an earlier part of the story. Good idea, though.

    So I'm thinking... the regime loses public funds at the casino and the protagonists set out to prove it. But I want something more... something that would make that even more enraging. Maybe some sort of an arrangement with the casino itself, or something along those lines. Any thoughts?
     
  20. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    How about they are cutting public funding to essential services for 'the greater good' ( Like Austerity in the 2010 UK Govt - google it if you arent British) then it turns out that they are actually gambling with the money or spending it on vice and corruption
     
  21. Seraph751
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    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole...

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    Anything that makes one curious! I am quite curious myself, so all secrets must be known!!! Rofl. :D I think that what engages your heroes, piques their curiosity is enough. So role play a little bit as your character. What makes them tick? What drives them nuts? What motivates them? What are they dissatisfied with in their society? What seems off to them? These questions are a great place to start and good luck!
     
  22. Algoma
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    Algoma New Member

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    Not bad... Might be something there. I was also thinking about the casinos themselves. Maybe the regime is using them to launder the money in order to hide losses from the people... but I'm not so sure how I'm supposed to describe it...
     
  23. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    Thing about that is i'm not sure the average man in the street will care .. cerainly not enough to risk everything in an uprising. What you need is something so reprehensible that the people rise up enmase . For example one of the things that helped kick off the indian munity against british rule was the rumour that the british were putting cow and pig fat into the rifle cartridge wrappers

    Doesnt sound a big deal until you consider that in those days the indian foot soldier had to bite the catridge open - and hindus venerate cows while for muslims pigs are uinclean

    It wasnt even true - but by the time the british got round to denying it no one believed them and it looked like a cover up

    so off the top of my head

    Using the health service to kidnap babies to sell on the black market (after telling the mothers they miscarried )
    Selling donated organs on the black market
    violating graves in order to rob the dead
    putting substandard food into the food chain (like the BSE scare in the uk , or the horse meat scandal )
    putting human flesh into the food chain mislabled as something else
    selling children to foreign paedophiles
    the rumor that everyone is to be microchipped to keep tabs on them
    euthanising old people and the mentally ill on the quiet via state hospitals
    the rumour that xyz religion is going to be banned or a holy shrine demolished (think of all the hassle the americans got into in falluja )
     
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