1. SnappyUK
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    SnappyUK Member

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    I can't move on from my initial ideas. Arrrggghh!!!

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by SnappyUK, Nov 1, 2011.

    I have 3 ideas that I want to try to turn into longer stories, with the hope that they can reach novel length, but I can't get beyond the initial premise, with a lead character and the major event that kicks the story off.

    The three ideas are as follows, all suggestions gratefully received.

    1. A retired actress, famous for playing a cop in a cheesy TV series from 20 years ago, tries to unravel the mystery of why several people around her have all died in a relatively short period of time.

    2. A TV producer attends the funeral of an old school friend who had been living rough and was found drowned in a local canal. Was it an accident? Was it suicide? Was it something else?

    3. A wildlife photographer (and former Royal Marine), out in the wilds, sort-of witnesses a murder. He doesn't think he's seen enough to identify the culprit, but the culprit doesn't know it.

    Any thoughts as to where to go from here? Any sound too much like books/movies you're familiar with? Which one(s), if any, do you think might hold the most promise.

    Thanks in advance for your help.
     
  2. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    The first idea reminds me of those tacky plots where police are investigating murders and some writer is all like, "These mirror the murders in my novels!" And then he works with the cops, but there's nowhere to go next, and they find that the next murder will be the exact same as the one the writer hasn't written yet.

    The second idea just makes me shudder. I mean, what's the significance of the TV producer being a TV producer? Does he produce a series about it? I mean, that's not really a plot. That's something that actually just happens in real life.

    The third idea doesn't have much of a story either. What's he going to do? Go to the cops and say, "Oh, I witnessed a murder, and it happened at this location, but I'm sorry to say that despite being a Marine, I was too scared to go and try and apprehend the murderer." You know what's going to happen after that? The cops will take over and the former-Marine (if there is such a thing) will have nothing to do with the plot after that.


    Frankly, if you've got no idea of where to go, I suggest you wait until you have an idea you CAN move on with. Ideas will come and go. You don't have to absolutely write every single one of them.
     
  3. Manic Writer
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    Manic Writer Member

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    Just start writing, let random thoughts flow out to your pen (or keyboard), don't edit or censor what you write, even if it dows not yet seem to be connected with your story. Eventually you will find some material that will move your story forward.

    Often the prospect of writing terrifies me but once I get over that fear and actually pick up a pen the ideas seem to float out of nowhere.

    Good luck!
     
  4. rainshine
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    rainshine Senior Member

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    I cant get in to any of these plots at all, no offence or anything honest, just not a miss marple type of girl. What I would try here is to try to amalgamate a few of the plots. Never underestimate the sub concsious to outline your plot, forget about it for a while keep mulching it over in the back of your head and eventually your brain will peice together the puzzle. I remember one writer on the beeb saying it took a year to write what was his most successful book because he wasn't ready to write it. His brain was busy gathering information and mulching it over, he wrote everything else but in the meanwhile.

    update- Im always 10 times behind my posts. I like the last idea, I pictured Johnny Kingdom here or jerome from the pet detective series.
     
  5. MSU111
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    MSU111 New Member

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    Dunno about the other ones, but don't do 2.
     
  6. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    Don't try and force anything. With plot stuff, I try to wait and be inspired. Maybe I'll see a TV show or read a book and be like "I could do something like that in my story." Or sometimes I'll just literally be out for a walk and think of some scenario that would be a cool idea for a plot.
     
  7. Ixloriana
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    Ixloriana Member

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    1 and 2 could easily be the same story -- is there any reason why you don't want to write them together? The actress finds that people close to her are being killed off, one of whom is an old boyfriend that she dated back when she played a cop on that show, who happens to be the school friend of a TV producer....

    3 does beg the question of why the former marine didn't do anything to help, but I guess the "he doesn't think he's seen enough to identify the culprit, but the culprit doesn't know it," part means that the culprit saw him and is coming after him?

    For all of these, I would just ask, "What happens next?" What do they do? This is the problem, I think, with ideas 2 and 3 -- the characters are not doing anything. Things are happening to them -- what do they do about it?

    "A TV producer doesn't believe the cops' story about his old school friend's death being an accident, and starts investigating on his own only to uncover a sinister plot blah blah blah," might be more compelling than, "he goes to the funeral and nobody knows how the guy died."
     
  8. SnappyUK
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    SnappyUK Member

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    Thanks everyone for the feedback so far. I'd not thought about combining the first 2, as I'd set 1. in the US and 2. in England (as it's based on a true event involving a former school friend's death), but I might be able to do something with that.
    I didn't give more information originally as to the basic premises of the stories as I didn't want to restrict ideas, but given the questions asked, here's the little bit more I've already been thinking about.
    With the first one, I was thinking the deaths would appear unconnected and some were accidental, it being their compressed timeframe alone that was suspicious, so the actress approaches an old friend for help: an ex-cop who was technical advisor to her show and is now a PI. He ends up doing the detective work, with her insisting on tagging along despite the potential danger.

    With 2 & 3 I was thinking of there being a political element to the deaths that needed to be exposed, hence the use of the TV producer in No.2 - who also happens to be based on a school friend.
    With 3, I'd originally considered my hero wouldn't intervene due to overwhelming numbers of baddies and being unarmed himself, but your comments have made me consider an internal conflict such as PTSD or something else that caused him to freeze, that he then has to overcome to survive. The other twist was that having checked on the body, he hiked out to where he could get a mobile signal to call the authorities, only to return with them to find no evidence of a murder having taken place on the site. The phone call alerting the authorities, however, alerted the bad guys too, giving them time to clean up and making them aware that they may have been witnessed.

    Do the expanded ideas still sound like s#!t to most of you?
     
  9. lostinwebspace
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    lostinwebspace Active Member

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    I might not be able to offer much advice right now, but maybe an opinion (I'm in a rush, but hopefully I can return later).

    Honestly, the first and third sound fine. The second sounds like it's been done...excuse the pun...to death. The first...close to it.

    But the third sounds like it could be an offbeat comedy, which, if done right, could be really inspired. Watch The Wrong Man, because the premise is similar. In that movie, the MC (David Foley) witnesses a murder and thinks the cops think he did it, so he runs. Meanwhile, the murderer is chasing the MC. The cops find out who the murderer really is, so they're chasing the murderer. So you have cops chasing the murderer chasing the MC. And the MC thinks the cops are chasing him. This could come off similarly with a couple of tweaks even though your premise has eliminated the cops.
     
  10. Manic Writer
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    Manic Writer Member

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    I think they are all great ideas and while none of them will make "The Great xxxxxxxxx Novel" (insert country of your choice) or win any awards they have the potential to produce light, great stories if well written.

    Plenty of additional ideas will come up if you just start writing.

    Here's another tip. Start copying another novel of your choice word-for-word, then after a few pages start slipping into your own story.

    It's not the basic idea that is important, it's getting to the end of the SFD (Sh***y First Draft) that matters!

    (I do realize that this response puts me at odds with most of the posters here).
     
  11. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    i think all three of them could be combined into one single story... you just need to find the connection between these people.
     

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