1. Lukige_uk
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    Lukige_uk New Member

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    Is my plot idea too far fetched?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Lukige_uk, Apr 13, 2013.

    Hey up! I've just joined this forum and was hoping to sound off some ideas :)

    I've been toying with an idea for a novel for a while now - it makes a nice distraction from my actual job of teaching! Trouble is, I'm a bit scared to talk about it with people because it just sounds... well, a bit ridiculous. Perhaps you could help me sort it out a bit! Here's the premise:

    It's 1933 in Berlin - the peak of the depression and crime is rampant. Our protagonist is a cop, who polices fights between unemployed Nazis and Communists by day and drinks and gambles with members of the petty underworld by night. A bit of a bad boy. The story starts when he is roped into an undercover investigation into a gang, whose members he knows socially.

    One of the gang members has just taken a job on a film set, perhaps to evade police attention. The protagonist is asked to work on the film set too, to trail him. But the trouble is, this is no ordinary film. It's cloaked in secrecy. The director is linked to occult sects. He is rumoured to have once shot a criminal to film a real death scene. And now, in a giant zeppelin hangar, all the extras are asked to live in soldier costumes on set in a full blown reconstruction of WWI trenches. But the director never appears... As tensions mount amongst the men, the cop finds himself struggling to avoid recognition by the men he usually polices and comes face to face with the guilt of his own war memories...


    I can see just by typing this that I'm struggling to summarise the story, which I guess means it's too complicated. Is that a bad thing? I like the idea of exploring the impact of World War One by having the men being literally forced to relive it on a film set. The story would hopefully, by the end, go some way towards explaining why people voted the Nazis into power - to avoid another war like that one!

    Please tell me truthfully if it's all a bit much. And if it is, any ideas of how I can simplify the story?

    Cheers!! - Luke
     
  2. sanco
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    sanco Contributing Member

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    I like it, but if he's already socially acquainted with the gangsters, how would he be a suitable undercover agent? Unless they don't know he is a cop. But I think it's an interesting idea.
     
  3. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think it's too far fetched at all. I like things complicated as long as they make sense.

    When you say he polices fights between nazis and commies, is he the referee or does he stop them?
    If the gang member is seeking to evade police attention, why is he putting himself in front of a camera?
    If the cop drinks and gambles with petty criminals why is hiding on them in the hangar? Obviously they know him.

    iron out the innacuracies and you have a great story!

    Unless your cop is a Nazi who preys on Jewish criminals favouring Nazi gangs and the Jews are the extras?

    Either way carry on!
     
  4. Lukige_uk
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    Lukige_uk New Member

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    Thanks for getting back to us so quick!

    The gangsters wouldn't know he's a cop and they themselves wouldn't be 'baddies' as such, more profiteers of an immoral time :) The idea was, that the cop's job would be on the line if he didn't take the assignment - and then he'd be on the dole queue with the very people whose heads he normally knocks together! So it's a bit of a dilemma for him - compounded by the fact that the commissioner sends out another cop on the assignment - a bit of a doo-gooder to keep an eye on him - so he has to rat on the gangster he knows, otherwise he'll get reported. Conflict!

    What irks me a little is this 'film' business. Is it too far fetched that the director is making the men live in character on set? I had an idea that perhaps this was a little psychological experiment he's set up, but that smacks of naffness to me.
     
  5. sanco
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    sanco Contributing Member

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    Hey, I'm a film student and I've worked on countless sets where the directors were bat-shit crazy and unreasonable. Same goes with actors. One such director insisted that his actor eat a piece of chocolate cake out of a hospital bedpan. I know the director of "Blue Valentine" had Ryan Gosling and Michelle Whatsherface live together in a house for a month in order to build the relationship of a married couple.
     
  6. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Now I think you're confusing the story. If the cop is out drinking and gambling in town, then surely he will be recognised. Unless he is undercover and keeps this cover on-set and blends in with the rest. But then he has to be looking for one criminal in particular to smash the whole gang.

    The film business shouldn't irk you. Re: Christopher Multesante from the Sopranos - Mobster turns director, goes to Hollywood with his script, ends up making a movie using his own experiences as a goodfella!

    I don't think the commissioner sending a rat to spy on a rat works - it needs to be something personal, just taking a job or not isn't really a conflict, not something thats gonna keep him up all night in a sweat anyways.
    What does the police commissioner suspect him of?
    Why is he in the spotlight?
    Whys is it a "my way or the highway" scenario?
     
  7. Lukige_uk
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    Lukige_uk New Member

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    Of course, you're right. This is why I'm struggling to explain my story to people - because it doesn't make sense. But I think I've got the main conflict now!

    The commissioner calls the cop in and tells him that he knows he spends evenings socially in underground clubs with this gang. But he's not going to fire him. Instead, he's going to use him as a mole. The gang are suspected of robbing reparation payments from a bank. If the cop doesn't gather enough evidence to put the ring leader away, the commissioner will charge him with the same crimes as the gang. With the Nazis on the cusp of power, that's not a position he wants to be in. And the head of the Kripo at that time was Arthur Nebe - massive Nazi! That seems to fit quite well.

    So, the main conflict of the novel will be that the cop has to betray someone he likes in order to save his own skin. I like it:D Thanks for your help erebh.

    Sanco: I've read all sorts of mad stories about Fritz Lang too - throwing Peter Lorre down a staircase over and over until he broke down. That's what gave me the idea in the first place! So as long as it's well-written, it should sort of make sense then :)
     
  8. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    What if your cop is in love with the gang leader's wife, to put away the gang leader gives him an open road to her - or does it? Is she the real brains behind the operation?
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A story idea is nothing, regardless of whether it is farfetched. A master storyteller can keep you on the edge of your seat with the most preposterous tale ever.

    The story idea is unimportant. Everything - everything - comes down to how well you write it.
     
  10. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    I know I probably say this a lot but I will always agree with the above statement. You ever hear the expression "they could sell ice to an Eskimo"? Write the story properly and you can sell any plot to just about anyone.
     

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