1. CraniumInsanium
    Offline

    CraniumInsanium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2013
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    6

    having trouble getting away from the main theme

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by CraniumInsanium, Jun 25, 2014.

    I'v e been on a bit of a short story writing kick and they start off great, but when I take a break a come back to them it always seems difficult to pick back up.

    For example, I have a story where two people visit a place which is the centerpiece of the story. At the time they are just passing through but live close by. after they leave their attention has been hooked, and this is in this particular instance where I'm struggling to find out how to fill in their lives the next day and before they come back.

    SPOILER ALERT
    I was being vague above not to give the story away. The story in a nutshell is a guy and a girl stop at a roadhouse late at night on their way back from the beach. The roadhouses main attraction is bloodsport, i.e. gladiators. the extra twist I was going to include is that the loser is served up as cheap bar food to unsuspecting patrons the next night.

    the idea here was to grab their attention, draw them back, and trap one of them in the gladiator arena. like the local sheriff pulls them over one night for drunk driving, and has an agreement with the roadhouses owner. one gets "sold" to be a gladiator and the other friend either wasn't with them or is with them and must save their friend somehow.

    I've just set the first hook, and they have discovered the place, and are on the way home. In relation to my title, I don't know if this is where I should spring the trap, immediately after its caught their attention, or wait for them to come back.
     
  2. Wowzie
    Offline

    Wowzie Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2014
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    I think you're unnecessarily adding filler. Why must they leave and come back?
     
  3. CraniumInsanium
    Offline

    CraniumInsanium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2013
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    6
    I was debating the same thing.

    the first visit was a passing through thing, meant to grab their curiousity and desire to come back. cuz hey, GLADIATORS right? lol

    the next visit back would be when one goes back to the roadhouse by themselves for whatever reason and get caught. Thus resulting in the other friend getting worried and discovering what happened. which...now that I think about might have a slight spin off into the mystery genre. oh well.
     
  4. Chaos Inc.
    Offline

    Chaos Inc. Active Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2014
    Messages:
    180
    Likes Received:
    47
    Location:
    Acolasia
    This type of place doesn't seem like the place where casual visitors can freely come and go. Unless in your world it's legal to do this, I would be put off by them being able to leave without consequence.

    I'll refer you to From Dusk till Dawn, the Tarantino flick, the protagonists get caught up in the "wrong place, wrong time" situation. Everything seems normal until it gets dark, then that's when the bad stuff begins. This type of thing might be more appropriate for your short story.
     
  5. CraniumInsanium
    Offline

    CraniumInsanium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2013
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    6
    I've seen From Dusk Till Dawn. I know what you mean. However, in this scenario its just a roadhouse in the middle of nowhere and you find out about it from word of mouth. the characters meet someone at a gas station who lets them in on the event, thus gaining admission.
     
  6. Wowzie
    Offline

    Wowzie Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2014
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Pittsburgh
    Your story elements are good. You're hung up on your past imaginations.
     
  7. Chaos Inc.
    Offline

    Chaos Inc. Active Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2014
    Messages:
    180
    Likes Received:
    47
    Location:
    Acolasia
    Okay, cool. The word of mouth is a good angle. That does leave open them being able to leave. You could have an initiation process where now that they've seen the "show" they now have to pay the price. Bring in some fresh meat. One betrays the other. Like the next day or days one asks the other out on a date. They go out party, get a little drunk, maybe knock boots. When one of them wakes up, instead of the usual "wake up and do the walk of shame or gnaw your arm off," they're in the road house and have to fight for their lives. It's like the ultimate one night stand.
     
  8. CraniumInsanium
    Offline

    CraniumInsanium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2013
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    6
    wowzie - I'm not sure what you mean about getting hung up on past imaginations.

    Chaos - hhmm interesting. I may give that some consideration

    well here's what I have, just so you're in their (my) shoes.





    Joey and Cassandra drove through the darkness and marveled at the brightness of the nighttime Virginia sky. The long weekend was finally over. It had been exactly what they wanted it to be, relaxing and fun.

    A wrong exit out of Norfolk at first hadn't looked to be too disastrous, and Joey had decided not to turn around, hoping the road would lead to other highway exits. Now, they were on route 460, which at night looked to be little more than blacktop spotted occasionally with highway lights and state road signs. A sudden pulsing tone on the dashboard illuminated the low gas light.

    Joey, sighed. “Damn, I totally forgot to fill the tank before we left town. Better stretch while you can. Grab some snacks and caffeine for the road.”

    “Thank God! I've been dying to use a bathroom!” Cassandra moaned. “Oh, look there's a gas stop ahead, pull over there, please?”

    Joey obliged, and several minutes later they were parked next to a pump. No sooner had the car stopped before Cassandra opened the door and was running out. Joey chuckled to himself. “Told her she shoulda went before we hit the road” Still laughing, Joey climbed out and slid his credit card into the reader and filled up the tank.

    “What a shithole, right?” a voice remarked from the other side of the pump.

    “Huh? Oh, yea I guess this is kinda the boonies out here isn't it?” he remarked back and glanced around the pump to identify the sexy voice speaking to him. A blonde in halter top and cut off jeans met his glance and grinned back at him. She was leaning against the side of her car, a classic camaro painted electric blue.

    “You're on your way to the brawl right?” she asked offhandedly. “its literally the only thing in this small town, and SOO worth seeing!”

    “Brawl? Umm no, we're actually on our way back home from the beach” Joey said a bit sheepishly, feeling a bit left out that something as big could be in a small town and not advertised.

    “Ohh...well in that case you don't know what you're missing out on buster!” she said with a wink, leaning slightly forward from her perch as she did so.

    “Who's missing out on what?!” Cassandra asked sweetly. Joey winced to himself, but the blonde spoke up before he had a chance.

    The blonde looked over at Cassandra and winked. “Just the best thing south of the Mason-Dixon line darlin. Nothin to get your panties bunched up about.” The blondes pump shut off with a clack. She reached over with her right hand without looking and returned the nozzle to the pump and slapped her gas cap shut before turning around and leaned in through the open window of her drivers door. The view was such that her cutoffs rode up her thighs and slid down her ass just enough so that joey could see the top of her thong. He whistled silently to himself admiring the view.

    A moment later the blonde pulled herself back out, still smiling. “Here ya go. Ya'll got gps right?” she handed Joey a flier with an advertisement including showtimes, address and a phone number. “If ya hurry, you can catch tonight's fight, it starts in half an hour.” she said, and climbed into her ride. The engine turned over with a roar, before dropping to a throaty rumble. She glanced over, winked, and peeled out into the darkness.

    “What, she give you her number and a dirty pic?” Cassandra sarcastically asked with a leer on her mouth. Her eyes however were not smiling. She snatched the paper out of Joeys hands and glanced at it. “BRAWL GLADIATORS!!!” The flier screamed in bold letters and showed a picture of two men wielding weapons in the process attacking each other. WITNESS BLOODSPORT LIKE NOTHING ELSE! It said below, then included the address and a phone number of the event, held at some place called The Grease Pit.

    Next to the restaurant was a picture of buffalo wings. Fifty cent wings all night!!!

    “What the hell?” Cassandras surprised voice blurted out. “Bloodsport? Noo way...” Joey grinned at her.

    “Well, if you don't believe her there's only one way to find out!” Cassandra gave him a sideways glance, then nodded.

    “Lets go! I gotta see this for myself.”

    Yea, thatta girl! That's why we hang, you and me. We both love a good show!” both friends climbed in the car, punched in the gps address, then hit the road, arriving a short time later at what looked to be a regular restaurant. It was normal except for its isolation, but had loud music filtering outside to the parking lot, a large gravel affair, which was bursting at the seams it was so filled.

    Joey found a parking spot and they walked up the gravel path towards the main entrance where a short line waited.

    “Wow, this feels almost like waiting to get into a club rather than a restaurant!” Cassandra joked.

    “Well at least the line's short.”

    The line inched forward and more people got in line behind them. When their turn came, the bouncer glanced at them. “ID's please?” he asked impatiently. Joey and Cassandra both obliged and produced them for the bouncers inspection. He gave them both a cursory glance at them and their ID's, then back again and handed their identification back before stamping their hands.

    Once they were through the front door, a waitress greeted them. “evening ya'll! You want ground or balcony seats tonight?”

    Joey glanced at Cassandra and shrugged. “It is our first time here, what do you suggest?” the waitress thought it over for a second.

    “Probably balcony seating. Ground seating is up close and personal if you catch my drift.” she said with a grin. “Balcony seats will give you a good view without the...intensity of ground seating.” she laughed. “Follow me please.”

    They followed the waitress into the restaurant until they came to a table in the center of the joint. The middle of the floor was missing, exposing an area big enough to fit a boxing ring in it and have room to spare. This hole opened up into what was the basement area, a floor down. There were more tables in the same setup in a square around a central stage surrounded by a high fence topped with razor wire.

    On the stage a band played raucous hard rock to entertain the crowd. A new voice interrupted their thoughts. “Hi! I'm Mandy, I'll be your server tonight. Can I start you off with drinks?”





    “Holy crap that was intense!” Cassandra said.

    “I know right? Its hard to believe this kind of event is even allowed nowadays.”

    “That's what I mean, is this even legal? Joey, someone died tonight.”

    “Well, I'm sure there's an agreement the fighters sign. Who'd go in there not ready to with the fact that death is probably waiting? The answer is nobody would go in if they weren't ready to throw down. But does it really matter Cassy?” Joey asked, using her nickname. Nobody stopped the fight and I'm sure the owners have something worked out to keep this gig running.”

    “Look, I'm not saying I didn't have a good time, its just a shock seeing it. It makes you look deep inside. Who...would have imagined modern day gladiator events in america?”

    “It is what it is. Lets hit the road, we've still got a long drive ahead of us.” Joey replied. Cassandra nodded and they walked their way to their car.

    Joey unlocked the doors, then climbed in and started the engine. He revved the engine to warm it up a bit before they started driving. Cassandra turned on the gps, but the screen was white as snow. The gps did that when everything was cold.

    Joey started driving and turned onto the road that had led them here, hoping to retrace his steps back to the gas station and then hit I95. After several minutes of driving Joey passed by the gas station he had driven by earlier. The ramp was a left turn and the light flickered on and off at the late hour.

    Joey briefly came to a stop before pulling onto the ramp and accelerating. Lights came on in his rearview mirror before he was even onto the highway. “Seriously?” he muttered to himself, and slowly pulled the car over and put it in park. Cassandra, who had decided to lay her head down as soon as the car was moving, sat up and blinked her eyes.

    “Hey, what's going on?” she said and yawned.

    “No idea. Probably just some random stop.” Joey replied, and waited as the officer stepped out of his cruiser, and stood there for a moment before coming forward, heels crunching on the gravel shoulder of the ramp.

    “Evening. License and registration if you please.” he said calmly, shining his maglight downwards into the car.

    Resigned that he had to deal with getting pulled over Joey complied, pulling out the required paperwork, sweat beading on his forehead just a bit as he handed them over, hoping this cop wasn't a smalltown hick with nothing better to do in his free time than terrorize motorists because he needed to meet his quota.

    The trooper Joey saw by his mounty hat, was taking his time looking over the papers, and asked offhandedly “Where you folks heading tonight?”

    “We're just on our way back from Virginia Beach sir. We live in Adelphi, and our on our way home.”

    “I see. You know why I pulled you over son?” he asked.

    “No sir.”

    “Are you aware your right brakelight is out?

    “Umm no sir, I wasn't.”

    “Well make sure you get that fixed. I'm gonna let you off with a warning, but that's a safety hazard, especially late at night on a side road.” The trooper said and walked back to his cruiser. He walked back several minutes later and handed Joey his papers. “Ya'll drive safe now. Have a nice night.” he said and tipped the brim of his hat with a finger as he did so.
     
  9. CraniumInsanium
    Offline

    CraniumInsanium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2013
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    6
    Now that I'm thinking about it...I was debating making the girl in the camaro their server, or the sheriffs daughter and making her a more integral part of this.

    -Turn the pull over from friendly to hostile, have cop plant drugs (since he's probably a townie, he probably knows exactly where they're coming from at that time of night).

    -they meet Camaro at the bar and chat. get flat when they leave, call her for help, and the pull over gets swapped with Deputy Dawg showing up before Camaro can arrive does drug plant.

    Don't mind me, this is how I express all my writing thoughts when a story is in progress. Guess I'm realizing that as a short story or a novella, everything really will have to be more condensed and direct.
     
  10. FrankABlissett
    Offline

    FrankABlissett Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Messages:
    422
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Sault, Michigan
    If you want to keep this grounded in the real world, you can make the gladiator thing something like 'fight club'. That's, certainly, not too outrageous. The problem comes from the cannibalism. Maybe they select Travelers/vagrants who have nobody to miss them as the opponents. Think about the sorts of young men a serial killer would select without attracting attention to their disappearances.

    At risk of putting words into somebody's mouth, what I think Wowzie meant by "...You're hung up on your past imaginations...." was that we can come up with an interesting idea, but if we try too hard to write around that idea rather than scrapping it then we risk the larger story suffering. I can say from personal experience 'been there, done that'. It's more succinctly summed up with that old bit of writing advice "kill your darlings".

    -Frank
     
  11. CraniumInsanium
    Offline

    CraniumInsanium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2013
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    6
    hhmm, thanks for the thought Frank. Actually after re-reading some of the comments, I think this might merge with another story I had. In the other story videos were uploaded showing a person in a room. in each video he'd would be fighting an animal, several dogs, a jaguar with baseball bat etc. in the story as more videos were posted more people would start watching this guy in more violent and difficult fights. very simple robots vs him with a quarter staff. having robots would take it into a sci-fi realm and provide variety.

    Getting back to this story, merging the vagrants fighting animals might work. hhhhmm they see a guy fighting a wild boar with a spear, kills it, and everyone has roast pork! I'm wondering if that has a more plausible sound. Of course I was aiming for a horror theme mixed with revulsion at the end (discovery of the cannibalism)
     
  12. FrankABlissett
    Offline

    FrankABlissett Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2008
    Messages:
    422
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Sault, Michigan
    Maybe, typically, the person wins and the pig is roasted. Sometimes, however, the boar wins and the person is carried of, writhing in pain, to the "doctor" to be "patched up". The patrons are then told that the vagrant has "retired due to injuries" and "moved on down the road".

    This actually triggered a memory of Fried Green Tomatoes. ;)

    -Frank
     
  13. CraniumInsanium
    Offline

    CraniumInsanium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2013
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    6
    okay, it got the ax. not the whole thing, but the trap. currently in progress of writing.
     

Share This Page