1. Bright Shadow
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    Bright Shadow Member

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    can't decide if this is my best idea,or my WORST idea for a YA novel

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Bright Shadow, May 10, 2011.

    As is usually the case, I have an idea for a GREAT story while I'm in the middle of writing a completely unrelated story (BUT, this time, I'll actually finish my first novel and just keep an "idea and outline" thingy for the other one)

    Anyway, I finished reading "The Hunger Games" about kids fighting gladiatorial games on the command of a totalitarian government. Well, everyone says it's a rip off of "Battle Royal," a Japanese book and film on the same premise or "The Running Man," by Stephen King, which was based on similar ideas. Well, my problem wasn't the "fighting to the death thing," as much as it was one very, VERY, over used premise: an evil totalitarian regime. (ok, in the Hunger Games it was more authoritarian than totalitarian, but what ever)

    So, after I thought about it, I had an idea for a concept that I have only read in ONE other novel: basically, the hero fights FOR the fascist regime which is, for the most part, a good system, at least as it's done in the story.

    Basically, my premise is that after an economic depression, America is taken over by xenophobic warmongers who were voted in by the public. That, plus the creating of national ballot initiatives resulted in democratically created police state that terrorized minorities and started World War III.

    One man, a son of poor Latino immigrants who worked his was to be the richest man in America, said what no one since the founding fathers was willing to say: democracy has failed. He lead a group of pro-diversity, anti-democracy elites and young people who began a revolution. His party, the National Technocracy Party, or "the Cooper Shirts" based on their uniforms, took over America and changed everything.

    They set up a new system of government in which people were tested for intelligence, leadership ability, cunning, morality etc. and the results of the tests would determine in what of the five castes of society they would be placed in, with the not so smart, morally questionable Omegas at the bottom and the intelligent, seemingly born to lead Alphas on the top.

    The caste system takes away all of the delusions that the populace believed in: no more rich or poor, black or white, male or female, immigrant or natural born. Society is based on one division: The weak and the strong. Anyone can be found to be strong enough to be in the Alpha caste. In fact, it is usually lower income kids who end up scoring high enough to be higher caste, and the children of the wealthy, who are weak as a result of never having to struggle for anything in their lives, are pushed into the lower castes.

    The story is about a fifteen year old girl who escapes Turkey, one of the lasts of the democracies. It sits behind "the chaos curtain", separating the prosperous, fascist type states from the chaotic and poor democracies. Her family comes to America and she is tested for a caste. She ends up ranking amongst the strongest of the strong alphas. She is allowed to wear the party uniform (the cooper shirt) and taken to an elite academy where she is taught how to use all the high tech weapons and technology, as well as the quasi-Confucian/quasi-fascist ideals of the state...think "Hogwarts" meets space marines from "Aliens" or "robotech."

    Well, everything goes great until her roommate, the president's little brother, is kidnapped, and she is the prime suspect. She escapes and has to track down the terrorist who did it: pro-democracy racists who want to return America to the rule of the majority and strip the minorities of their rights.


    So, that's the idea. I've only read something similar in one other novel which you may have already guessed: Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein.

    Keep in mind this is not about being pro-racist or pro-war, quite the opposite: racism is shown to be a result of the unwashed mob blaming minorities for their problems, and only the elites with the brains know better. The totalitarian state is depicted as the only thing that can keep the country united and keep the people fed and keep order on the streets, and democracy is the enemy of everything that's good. As Benjamin Franklin once said: "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner. Liberty is a well arm lamb contesting the results."


    My main gripe with fiction, ALL FICTION, but especially science fiction and fantasy, is that the stories are so recycled. I mean, how many times have I read "Lord of the Rings" rip offs?

    "A young hero rises to save the fascist state from the evils of democracy," now THAT'S a new idea!

    But, it would probably NEVER get published. Democracy is the last thing you can't attack in America: you can attack religion and everything else, but you cannot say anything bad about democracy. Plus, everyone will assume it's racist, even after I make it clear that these fascist are actually ANTI-RACIST and the democratic forces are VERY RACIST.

    What 'ev...but is this a good idea, or just me playing devil's (or dictator's) advocate?
     
  2. Finhorn
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    Finhorn Senior Member

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    I love Starship Troopers. I should reread it. I've got another story with a similar plot to your own. There's this teen named Lancelot, he moves out of the magical Lady of the Lake's realm and into the real world. He's tested and because he's among the strongest, both physically and mentally, he gets into this special training that teaches him to use the local high-tech along with the rules of the just authoritarian King Arther's Court.

    Everything goes great for him until the king's wife is accused of having an affair and he's the prime suspect. Though he doesn't escape, he does have to battle the ideas of the chaotic choice (a democracy) and the idea that the established rules are for the good of all.

    When you set out to write something new, you shouldn't be trying to write a new plot, as much as you should be working on new situations. I wrote a story about an OCD man who collected pennies for luck. One day he met a woman named Penny and something broke inside him. He needed her.

    A crazy guy becomes a stalker without realizing it, isn't new. What makes the story fun is that the obsession with pennies affects people.
     
  3. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    There is no great idea nor worst idea.

    It will develop into something great or become a novel that you improve yourself on.

    The plot or story ideas can be great or can be garbage at the same time.

    Sounds like it could be interesting, so run with it. You might score big, or you might make some advances. When writing I have yet to lose or have a set back in my writing.

    Turkey is the last bastion of Democracy......:eek: I see it is in the high fantasy genre...jk.

    Do you know Turkey? In your book do the Greeks and Turks still have a feud?
     
  4. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Interesting....one thing to keep in mind, though, is that the U.S. is actually a republic and not a democracy (the reason being the exact reasons you stated, 3 wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner). So for this to work and be credible, there would have to be something that caused the republic system to collapse and be replaced with a system where, say, the majority of a race/religion/income level group/etc could go after and persecute the minorities on a whim.
     
  5. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    Sounds full Fascist to me.

    There is nothing wrong with books that attack democracy. Google "harpers-attack-on-democracy-itemized-by-lawrence-martin".

    Just remember America is not a true Democracy. We are a Republic which had democratic tendencies.

    P.S. Yes I found the Turkey thing kind of ironic too. Google "Turkey government stability." to see why.
     
  6. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    Write what YOU want. Don't be afraid about it being good or bad. First of all, an idea is only as good as you make it. In other words, if you write it well, it is a good idea. If not, it is an experience. Every writer writes losers. Every writer writes successful pieces. Both are useful.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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

    There's no benefit in 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 What is Plot Creation and Development?
     
  8. Bright Shadow
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    Bright Shadow Member

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    That's exactly what happened: there was a depression and much the same way the Nazis came into power when the populace were in despair, the people elected openly racists politicians who blamed all or America's woes on immigrants and foreign nations. The quasi-fascists took over by violent uprising and set up a Technocracy, i.e., rule of the best, and it worked out pretty well.
     
  9. Bright Shadow
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    Bright Shadow Member

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    Turkey is one of the one third of the world that is democratic/a republic. Still, it, like the rest of the democracies in the world, doesn't work and is full of poverty and corruption.
     
  10. Bright Shadow
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    Bright Shadow Member

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    Thing is, a YA book that attacks democracy is new. I'm not sure how that would fly...basically, there is no racism (in fact, it's very anti-racist) no homophobia or anything like that, but STILL...the best way to describe it would be to imagine Harry Potter at Hogwarts. Now, replace the witches hats and black robes with combat boots and military dress uniforms, replace the brooms with "Iron Man" style armed exo-skeletons, and "potions" class with "Party administration".

    A good speculative fiction novel should provoke thought, and the thought I want to provoke is "what if a democracy turns out to be bad and a quasi-fascist system actually works better?" I might get tarred and feathered for provoking that thought or worse, never get published...
     
  11. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    Clearly you have not seen or read any Micheal Moore stuff. He has gotten away with out right lies and attacks our democracy all of the time. If he can do it you have nothing to worry about. This is why we have the first amendment. You should be free to write or say any thing you feel as long as it does not endanger any one else.
     

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