1. kehl
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    kehl Member

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    Help me brain-storm?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by kehl, Dec 12, 2008.

    I'm going to throw my unwritten plot out there and maybe you can help me brainstorm -- POV, length, characters etc...

    A heroin addict loses his family because of his addiction, and he becomes homeless; living in a park. He continues his Heroin addiction and slowly starts to hallucinate a pig named Morgan.

    The swine informs him that he has 30-days to live, and he needs to make ammends before he goes. Unfortunetly, the man falls in love with the pig and begins doing heroin more and more to continue seeing her. Eventually he convinces himself what Morgan really wants is for him to prove his love to her. And when he dies -- and he proves his love -- they will be together.

    How does that sound? If you have an idea, any idea, don't hesitate to write it.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    First off, what tone or tones are you striving for? Screwball comedy, tragedy, tragicomedy, fantasy...? I can think of many ways you could take this, although the premise utself doesn't really move me. But convince me. As I always say, the story idea means nothing with respect to the final work. Everything depends on what you do with it.

    Would you like me to move this to Writing Issues -> Plot Creation? It seems to belong there more than in the Lounge.
     
  3. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    What does he think he needs to do to prove his love? Are there social workers and police officers who come to the park to try to get the people into the shelters and into rehab?
     
  4. kehl
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    kehl Member

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    Oh man, that's where I thought I put it.
     
  5. kehl
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    kehl Member

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    It was my intention that it would be serious.



    What do you think would be a good way for the man to prove his love?
     
  6. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Since you want him to die at the end, I guess it depends on whether or not you want it to be tragic, bitter sweet, or happy that even though he's dead, he gets to be with his love. Because of a moral issue I have with drugs, and I'm sure many others do, I would want to see him try to overcome his addiction and perhaps help others quit as well. It also makes it somewhat inspirational, that much more tragic when he dies, and would help reinforce the "drugs are bad" thing to younger people who read it.
     
  7. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    That's a good idea. For the third act, you could make him lose the habit, help others quit as well, but for the end he realizes he has been absurdly unhappy, takes a shot of heroin, reunites with his love, and as the effects of the drug wear out he purposely takes an overdose, leaving him and his love together forever in non-existence. : )
     
  8. goldhawk
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    goldhawk Senior Member

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    Sigh. Yet another simplistic story about substance abuse. Addicts, regardless of where it's drugs, alcohol, food, or prescriptions, are addicts because they are hiding from their pain. Usually their pain is a result of child abuse but not always. Yes, quiting drugs is as easy as walking away...once the underlying issues have been dealt with; and that may take years.

    I don't know where this idea that addiction is just a lack of willpower and one day an addict will wake up and say, "I've been stupid," and walk away and lead a normal life, but it is wrong. Please do some research before you put addicts (of any kind) in your stories.

    BTW, gambling addiction is different from substance abuse. It is closer to OCPD and it requires a different therapy.
     
  9. kehl
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    kehl Member

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    The pig is symbolic of his love for heroin. And this isn't intended to be inspirational. I'm an addict myself, and i'm not trying to write a book about drug prevention, yeah it's bad to start but that's not what i'm writing about.

    If you really think about it it could be a preventional book. The man is obsessed with nothing but Heroin, and he convinces himself through hallucinations that his love (in whatever form) is in the heroin. And only by taking more can he revisit the thing he loves, and will die for, inspite of his failed life. The point is -- I'm trying to justify an addicts love for drugs in somewhat of a esoteric way because any other answer isn't good enough for non-addicts. So, now that I think of it it's the opposite of drug-prevention; it's a justification of addictions. Or atleast, i'm trying to shed some light on what goes through the mind of an addict. Is that less important?
     
  10. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    Not at all, and a fair bit more interesting than the repeated-to-death 'drugs are bad'.
     
  11. kehl
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    kehl Member

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    I'm thinking this should remain a short-ish story. About 10,000 words. Because the book is going to rely heavily on inner dialogue and not on actions; it would bore the reader to wade through heaps of pretentious introspect.

    My question is: If this were to materialize, how could I make it worth reading? My journalistic writing style is what worries me. I'm majoring in Journalism and right now I'm working at an Independent paper, so i'm fairly trained in a simple to-the-point writing style. I don't feel this style would work for a story that relies on mood.
     
  12. goldhawk
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    goldhawk Senior Member

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    No, it's not less important.

    But when an addict must change in 30 days, I find my ability to suspend my disbelief severely strained. Addicts just don't change that fast; no-one does. All I'm saying is don't treat it in a simplistic manner.
     
  13. goldhawk
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    goldhawk Senior Member

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    By exposing your character in layers. And when you do so, add hints that there are still more hidden secrets. Intriguing characters are those that can't be figured out easily.
     
  14. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    Ten thousand words isn't really full book material. The field starts at about ninety thousand.
     
  15. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Depends on the age of the character. If he's 18, you could managed something as short as 30k because they'd be able to market it as a YA novel.
     
  16. kehl
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    kehl Member

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    I still don't think you read my synopsis well enough yet; I never said he changes. This wouldn't be a story about overcoming addiction, nore would it glorify addiction. It's simply a look into the irrational mind of an addict, and how unidentifiable addiction is to people who have never gone through it. I'm trying to clue people into how complex addiction can be, how addicts don't deal rationally -- that's all.

    100,000 words is what I meant. That would be close to 100 pages (average font, size, and everything), right?
     
  17. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    I think so.
     
  18. perfectionist
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    This is one really difficult subject to write about. I'm sure it would help to have a personal experience of the issues, but producing something tasteful, original and moving are a tall order.

    When you start to read a story based around hallucinatory characters or events it becomes that much harder to retain a connection to the MC, so there is a danger of turning a serious peice into something frivolrous or even dull.

    I'm not telling you not to try - far from it, just suggesting that the bar is set quite high in this genre.

    As for some comments above - for example Rei's reaction - if you decide to put a peice of work like this story into the public domain you will meet questions as to your motives, whether the message is appropriate and responsible, as so on.
    By choosing to go against Rei's suggestion of setting a clear moral direction to the story, you force the reader to make their own mind up. As you said, you could end up producing a tale that is cautionary by virtue of its emotional impact. But again, this is much harder to acheive.

    As research for your story you might want to look at some of the best examples of this theme: Naked Lunch, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and (perhaps less relevant) A Scanner Darkly, each of which are novels that have been made into powerful films.

    Beware, you don't want to watch these films if you disturb easily. Seriously.
     

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