1. Kaldwin
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    Kaldwin Member

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    Developing a new plot

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Kaldwin, May 23, 2014.

    Hello there! I recently had an idea for the basic premise of a book, and I think it's something that I'd like to keep working on, but I'm having quite a bit of trouble developing a story around it.

    The idea is that there are these people who have superpowers acquired through suicide attempts. Each person's power is something they are disgusted by. For example, I have a succubus who was molested as a child , and a 'fire bender' who lost his entire family in a bushfire. I'm not sure whether I should have three or four characters, and I'm not sure what their powers might be. I was thinking of having a person who struggled with drug addiction at one point (or was impacted by the drug addiction of a family member) who has psychic visions (or maybe mind reading? telekinesis? some psychic power) when they are intoxicated.

    So that's the premise, but I don't have a plot. A problem for them to overcome. I've had a few really cliche ideas, but nothing interesting enough for me to write an entire novel about.

    I also don't know if I should set this in the modern day world, the future, or an alternative universe.

    I know that it's not much to go on, and it will take a lot of time for the plot to develop, but I would really appreciate any input/ideas you might have.

    Thanks [​IMG]
     
  2. Nooshi
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    Nooshi Member

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    I actually think this is a really good idea- but as you said, you need a plot. This might be a bit cliché, but they could be trying to lose their powers, because they are so disgusted and frightened by them. They are essentially on a self destructive path, trying to rid themselves of these powers. I think present day would be a good setting too- the alienation that begins to happen when people realise there is something 'off' about them, etc.

    I know this isn't much, but I think you do have a good idea there- keep working on it.
     
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  3. Kaldwin
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    Kaldwin Member

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    Thanks very much for sharing your thoughts :)

    I was also thinking something along that line. Or, even if they don't want to loose them completely, they might want to learn how to 'control' their power to the point of lying dormant. The fire bender might struggle with it, especially.
     
  4. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    I wouldn't excessively worry about 'cliche' plots. When you get right down to it, most every plot in it's base sense has been done before. Your own personal spin on it is what will make it unique and yours. Example: my current project is about a girl neglected as a child who in her 20s became a stripper (cliche), is attracted to 'bad boys' (cliche), has a boyfriend who tries to murder her (cliche) and runs away, hooking up with a 'good guy' who rescues her (cliche). I could go on, but you see what I mean...there's nothing particularly unique at face value about my character. However, the obstacles I throw in her path are varied, and I made her emotionally strong, humorously foul-mouthed and highly intelligent, plus tossed in a few sexual kinks for fun. With these additives sprinkled in, the story sounds a little more interesting, right? And I haven't even told you about the sub-plot with stolen sex videos of a state senator...:p
     
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  5. Pepsik
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    Pepsik Member

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    If I may ask, what were the cliche ideas you had in mind? I can't really help you with this little info because I'd be basically building your plot for you, which you SHOULDN'T do. It's your story, unless you want to give credit to those of us who gave you ideas.

    But hey, it's a premise that can go somewhere. Really anywhere.
     
  6. Kaldwin
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    Kaldwin Member

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    The vague ideas I had running around in my mind involved trying to get rid of their powers (which someone else had mentioned) , being discovered by someone kind of agency that studies the supernatural (yeah, I know how it sounds), trying to discover and understand what entity gave them their powers, and getting into trouble with the law because of an incident with their gifts.
     
  7. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Could they possibly learn about a group of people that might be able to help them get rid of their powers? Then they could try to find said group, only to realize when they get there that the group has no desire to help them get rids of their powers -- they only want to use them for their own sadistic purposes.
     
  8. Kaldwin
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    Kaldwin Member

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    Perhaps, but I don't really see what industry might be interested in such things. And for that to happen, there would have to be an at least secretly established existence of super humans.
     
  9. Kaldwin
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    Kaldwin Member

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    Do you guys think that the origin of power makes sense? I don't think I should go with the 'prophecy' idea I had before, but I need some reason to make my character different from all the other people who commit suicide. I could have the character of death 'snap' one day, and decide to send them back, but that doesn't seem fitting to me.

    Maybe on some level the characters really didn't want to die, and Death saw this? He recognized himself in their situation and decided to give them a 'gift'.
     
  10. Pepsik
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    Pepsik Member

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    Can you explain exactly how they get their powers. I'm not too sure how that works. Do they have to die?
     
  11. Kaldwin
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    Kaldwin Member

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    I'm trying to work out how they get their powers, exactly. My thoughts so far is that they commit suicide, but come back to life via the will of the 'reaper'.
     
  12. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are several YA books about teenagers with supernatural powers that are running from a group trying to use their powers for ill. The Darkest Powers trilogy, the Darkness Rising trilogy, and the Dark Visions trilogy. (I just realized the all start with Dark... :p There are two different authors though!) If you haven't read them, I would. It may give you a few ideas on how to plot your own novel.
     
  13. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    There aren't too many plots in the world, so even if you go with something you consider a cliché, you make it your own, like @ddavidv suggested.

    My suggestion: start with the characters. What do they want to achieve? Get rid of the powers? Use them for evil or good? For revenge? Maybe the goals bring them together and then tear their group a part and you have "a civil war" in your hands.

    Then you might want to take into account who's behind this? Do they have gods in their world? or maybe, indeed, it's Death who's come up with a fresh new thing to mess with us mortals? Maybe the Devil wants to give "rewards" to those who try to kill themselves and leave them on Earth to wreak havoc? What's his/her goal?

    You can also play with plot twists: is there something you could reveal at the end about the nature of the powers or of their origin?

    As for the setting, whatever inspires you. If you do it in the modern world, you can focus on the supernatural aspect without having to acquaint the reader with the world, so all we need to take in is the story and the characters, but if you think another setting would offer you, e.g. a plot device you need, then why not.

    I think this is a fun idea, so don't let it go to waste, write it! :)
     
  14. Morristreet
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    Morristreet Member

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    If you want something a bit more mature, you can look at something along the lines of 'Wildcards' a super power anthology ran by George RR Martin that he started with a bunch of other writers in the 80's. The concept there was a virus dropped on Manhattan just after the end of WW II which changes people by giving them powers ... most are killed, a few mutate, some get gifts. This is not a hidden world though, this is a world where the powers are visible, present, and people still have their motivations and desires. They just get extra toys to play with. An Alternate world history as it were.

    From my POV - why keep it a secret? They may be trying suicide to end their lives, but now they have a second chance, and a gift that may help them to right the wrongs that drove them towards suicide in the first place, perhaps?

    The stress of the suicide attempt could be what manifests the ability as well - or any number of other ideas that can flow from this concept. Goals and focus may be simply trying to survive knowing now they have a power that can wreak havoc in society, so how to use it?

    Also, what id they then use the power on themselves, and properly end their lives? Can they even die now? Or have they become effectively immortal through the development of the power?

    Lots of ideas can come from this type of concept, play with it, explore it, and see what develops. The world is full of cliche - we can't get away from it, so use it to the best of your ability and make the cliche your own. Mayhap that means the next writer uses your ideas as their cliche.:agreed:
     
  15. Mystovation
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    Mystovation New Member

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    I personally believe, since the atmosphere is already dark enough with suicide and all, that it should be a strictly personal story more than anything else, kind of like in the sense of something like the movie 'Chronicle'. They didn't think about using their powers for other people or anything. The story was strictly focused on the characters and their internal personal struggles with their lives. Because they were already suicidal it really wouldn't make much sense if they would just change their mind set and create a regular story line. Being suicidal takes a strong toll on one's mental state, implementing that into the story would create an emotion heavily piece of work that would probably be better then spending the time running away from agents.
     
  16. grimmsistr
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    grimmsistr Member

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    Makes sense what Mystovation says, keep the plot to the main characters internal struggle with why they tried to kill themselves in the first place. Maybe they view their powers more as a curse, like you suggest, they try to get rid of them. Perhaps the resolve is that when they learn to live with them, they also learn to live with their demons. Do their new powers keep them from attempting suicide Again?
     
  17. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    You need to think about the story you want to tell (not to be confused with story vs plot). You have elements that hint at a story(plot): suicide, tragedy, personal demons, moral dilemmas. What do you want to write about?

    A clever idea does not make a story(plot)*. A sequence of events(story)* does not make a plot.

    *Arrgh, I hate that story-plot terminology because to me, plot is the sequence of events and 'story' is the story you are telling.
     
  18. MorieTris
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    MorieTris New Member

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    Well I for one really like your idea. I don't think it's done to death before (pun not intended), and it's definitely interesting.
    And you really shouldn't worry too much about being cliche, my current story has something very much along the lines of "character with an ability targeted by sinister agency". I spent months agonizing about how overdone this is, then I just said "to hell with it" and decided to try and be original with other stuff in the story. As ddavidv said, everything's been done before.
     
  19. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I always simplify it to E.M. Forster's formulation: A story is a sequence of events. A plot is a sequence of events linked by cause and effect. "The King died and then the Queen died" is a story. "The King died and then the Queen died of grief" is a plot.

    ;)

    Pretty much everything beyond that is needless obfuscation. :D
     
  20. Kaldwin
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    Kaldwin Member

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    Thanks everyone for your very thoughtful input so far! I've been on other writing websites but so far this seems to be the best. You people really have some great thoughts.

    I've been thinking about what would happen directly after the suicide attempt. At least one of my characters will be under the age of 18, so I'm thinking that they would be put into some kind of care. Maybe the older ones would be psychologically evaluated, and, if they recount the experience of talking the death and being given powers, they would be ruled mentally unstable. I could have them end up in an asylum? Then the plot could revolve around them attempting to escape and prove their sanity. This could also explain why they don't attempt suicide again, because they are under 24/7 suicide watch.
     
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  21. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    So fit "story to tell" into that framework for me. "Plot to tell" doesn't cut it. :)
     
  22. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I personally never develop plots based solely on a concept, but rather also on a feeling. What are you going for? Something campy? Funny? Melodramatic?
     
  23. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Maybe after one of them survived their suicide attempt, they begin to think they received powers as a second chance to live. As for the catch, they must help other people from making a similar mistake. Perhaps these powers start to change the way mankind lives.
     
  24. Kaldwin
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    Kaldwin Member

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    I don't think that they would be emotionally stable enough to make such positive choices, even if something 'miraculous' happened. Changes are they'd remain somewhat depress and mentally unhealthy after the attempt. Maybe, over time, they could realise what a gift they've been given and use it.
     
  25. Kaldwin
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    Kaldwin Member

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    I think it'll be quite a dark, gritty story, but will become more uplifting towards the end as the characters confront their pasts and evolve.
     

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