1. AuroraJenkins
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    AuroraJenkins Member

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    Is this a good premise for a story?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by AuroraJenkins, Apr 22, 2013.

    I just keep getting random ideas for stories. Some are good and some are awful, and I can't really tell which is which :p

    This one isn't a plot idea, but just a basic premise for a story. I doubt this will get written or published, but if you guys like it then that might encourage me to do something with it.
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    The main character is a minor demon (one who was actually created as a demon, instead of a more powerful fallen angel). She has been sent to Earth to work as a "Scapegoat." Scapegoats are demons who incite humans to be violent or cruel to them, without revealing that they're demons. The humans think they are being violent/cruel to another person, and that evil intent is what seals their fate and makes them more likely to go to Hell after they die.

    The main character's job description is basically to go to a human high school and act weird and loner-like and unappealing on purpose. If the students begin to make fun of her or bully her or do other nasty things, that stains their own souls and counts against them later. The main character is the laughingstock of demons and humans alike. If someone takes pity on her or is kind to her, it only makes her angry at them.

    Eventually something happens to change her attitude... But this would be her situation at the beginning.
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I kinda like it. If I were to read it, I would have no interest whatsoever in whether she's a demon, a fallen angel, anything about the world she comes from and how it works. I also wouldn't be much interested in Hell. I just like the core idea of some sort of cosmic punishment for adolescent cruelty.

    I suddenly see her as a colleague of Anya from Buffy - a worker from a different branch of the Vengeance Demon office. Carrie (Stephen King's Carrie) might be another colleague.
     
  3. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    It really is more about the way you write the story than what it is suppose to be "about"

    All you have to do is keep the reader reading.
     
  4. Kaga
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    Kaga Member

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    I like the idea, but I agree with Nee here. The silliest ideas will fly, as long as you can make the reader turn the pages.
     
  5. LittleOod
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    LittleOod New Member

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    You might want to think a bit about the term scape goat and its link with the word azazel in the Bible (Leviticus 16:10). It is commonly translated as scapegoat because a goat is sent into the wilderness carrying the sin of the Israelite people but biblical scholars believe it actually refers to a demon that was believed to live in the wilderness.

    Anyway, the word scapegoat seems to me more of a word that you pass blame on to rather than one who incites bad behavior and so I don't know if this name for your demon is appropriate.
     
  6. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I was thinking about the same thing. Plus characters who are constantly victimized are not only one-dimensional butboring as well. It's like a cheap way to win the reader's empathy (not saying you are doing that, just warning).

    Other than that, if the premise feeds your imagination and you are inspired by the idea yourself, why not, it can turn into an awesome story!
     
  7. ProsonicLive
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    ProsonicLive Senior Member

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    I think you are putting to much emphasis on what the demon is. personally, I think you should cut it down a bit, leave out the somewhat long-winded explanation of "scapegoat" just have them there...a reader can figure out what it is AND there is less sympathy for the "attacker" a quote comes to mind from king "the best stories are the ones that leave the reader wondering 'why' there can be no cause, that is what makes them fun" we find safety in reason. when you deny them that end...it leaves them wondering "why?" and that is the horror. ...assuming you are writing horror of course. in any other case you have a "buffy the vampire slayer" type story in which things get complicated and often B-rated. Simplicity is the art of horror.
     
  8. AuroraJenkins
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    AuroraJenkins Member

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    *double post, ignore this and scroll down*
     
  9. AuroraJenkins
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    Thanks for all your opinions, guys :) The general sense that I'm getting so far is that this idea is flawed, but possibly doable.

    @LittleOod:
    Hmm... I might need to change that. But what I was kinda thinking with "scapegoat" is that idea of who is to blame for things. If someone shows up in Hell after doing something horrible to a scapegoat demon, they might say, "Blame the demon, not me. It was just asking for whatever I did to it, and it was tempting me into sin. So all of this is the demon's fault." So people are, like, transferring their own sins onto the demon and blaming the demon for their own cruelty. Does that kind of make sense or am I still barking up the wrong tree?

    @KaTrian:
    Yeah, that's a trap that I'll have to avoid falling into. In fact, I'm actually hoping that the readers won't have very much sympathy for the narrator at the beginning of the story. I think I'll try to do that by portraying her as kind of "gross". Like she very purposefully wears the same thing to school every day and doesn't comb her hair very often so that she will look like the type of girl who doesn't care about her appearance. And she acts really weird around the other students to make herself into a loner so she is more likely to be bullied. She could do that for a chapter or so before I even reveal that she's a demon.

    What effect do you think that kind of character would have on readers? Is there something politically incorrect about having a character who is literally just "asking for it"? I don't want to insult anyone who was actually the victim of bullying or imply that they were just asking for it. I mean, I myself wasn't treated well in middle/high school, and I don't see anything that awful about it, but... idk.

    @ProSonic: This isn't really horror, and it's not a short story either. I was thinking of something longer, probably approaching novel length if I can ever finish it.
     
  10. ProsonicLive
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    ProsonicLive Senior Member

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    so,in essence you are making the demon a bit of a protagonist in that the are the catalyst of someones own horrid nature getting the better of them?
     
  11. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Well, that kinda makes my answer moot :eek:. j/k. To answer your question (even if for the sake of whatever)
    I suck at deeming what's politically correct, but... Sure someone might throw a hissy and accuse you of claiming that bullied kids ask for it. I mean, go like it's saying women in scant clothing ask to be raped. But if the character does this intentionally, then, to me, it's not like you're spreading some weird message. In fact, one can examine reasons for bullying through this character. I guess in the end you'd be writing a story of some master manipulator who tricks people to act like crap towards her? It's kind of funny, actually, and one of the challenges would be in writing how other people respond to her manipulation attempts.
     
  12. AuroraJenkins
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    AuroraJenkins Member

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    @ProSonic: Yep, pretty much. I'm thinking of actually making the demon the narrator of the story.

    @KaTrian: I do want to write this story, or else I wouldn't be posting anywhere about the idea. When I say that this won't get written, I should probably clarify that I mean that it won't get finished. I'm great at starting stories, awful at actually following through :p
     
  13. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Okay, plus, I was just joking, it's always good to bounce around ideas even if they never turn into novels :)
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A story concept means nothing. What matters is how you write it: the characterization, the flow, the imagery, all of it.

    There's absolutely no benefit in asking what other people think of the concept! They'll either say,"Sounds great," or, "it sounds like a ripoff of..."

    If the idea stirs you, write it. Then ask people what they think of the final story. After they tell you what they don't like about it, revise it, usually several times, until you're happy with it or until you throw up your hands and say the hell with it.

    Please read What is Plot Creation and Development?
     
  15. LittleOod
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    LittleOod New Member

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    A scapegoat is usually an innocent who gets blamed though they did nothing wrong. The Ancient Greeks practiced a scapegoating rite in which a cripple or beggar or criminal (the pharmakos) was cast out of the community, either in response to a natural disaster (such as a plague, famine or an invasion).

    The scapegoat was a goat that was designated (Hebrew לַעֲזָאזֵֽל ) la-aza'zeyl; either "for absolute removal" (Brown-Driver-Briggs Lexicon) or possibly "for Azazel" (some modern versions taking the term as a name) and outcast in the desert as part of the ceremonies of the Day of Atonement, that began during the Exodus with the original Tabernacle and continued through the times of the temples in Jerusalem.

    Throughout the year, the sins of the ancient Israelites were daily transferred to the regular sin offerings as outlined in the Torah in Leviticus Ch 16. Once a year, on the tenth day of the seventh month in the Jewish calendar, the Day of Atonement, the High Priest of Israel sacrificed a bull for a sin offering for his own sins. Subsequently he took two goats and presented them at the door of the tabernacle with a view to dealing with the corporate sins of God's people — the nation of Israel. Two goats were chosen by lot: one to be "The Lord's Goat", which was offered as a blood sacrifice, and the other to be the "Azazel" scapegoat to be sent away into the wilderness. The blood of the slain goat was taken into the Holy of Holies behind the sacred veil and sprinkled on the mercy seat, the lid of the ark of the covenant. Later in the ceremonies of the day, the High Priest confessed the sins of the Israelites to Yahweh placing them figuratively on the head of the other goat, the Azazel scapegoat, who "took them away" never to be seen again. The sin of the nation was thus "atoned for" (paid for) by the "The Lord's Goat" and "The Azazel Goat".

    In Christian thought this process prefigures the sacrifice of Christ on the cross through which God has been propitiated and sins can be expiated. Jesus Christ is seen to have fulfilled both of the Biblical "types" - the Lord's goat that deals with the pollution of sin and the scapegoat that removes the "burden of sin". Christians believe that sinners who own their guilt and confess their sins, exercising faith and trust in the person and sacrifice of Jesus, are forgiven of their sins.

    Since the second goat was sent away to perish,[14] the word "scapegoat" has developed to indicate a person who is blamed and punished for the sins of others.

    The above is just from Wikipedia but I am a biblical scholar (i.e. I know Hebrew and study the bible academically) and this is a good sum up of the history of the term. Basically the scapegoat in no way initiates the sin, it just takes the blame away.
     

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