1. keithburnette
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    keithburnette New Member

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    My Idea For Writing, I'd Like Some Feedback

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by keithburnette, Jul 17, 2010.

    All right, I've thought about this idea for a piece I wish to write. It's of course a work in progress, but give me some feedback about what you think.

    A historical fiction set in the late 1930's in Nazi Germany. This piece will explore the euthanasia programs in place in Hitler's Third Reich, which were known as "Life unworthy of life." Children with developmental disabilities such as Down Syndrome, autism, etc. who were deemed racially unwanted were some of the first experiments in gassing humans to kill etc. This lasted for some years until public outcry concerning the questionable nature of these deaths and the supposed unfortunate deaths caused the Nazis to abandon it in 1940-1941. My idea is as follows:

    The main character, a young married soldier and wife (SA or SS maybe) have a young son who is autistic, or course the word isn't used then, but character development alludes to this. His attitudes to serving the State change as he becomes more aware of the atrocities being committed in hospitals where he hopes to have his son treated, or the soldier is somehow involved with (I'm working on how to get that into the plot) The eventual outcome is that the soldier fights to get the knowledge public, save his son, and expose to many families, the fates of their children and to stop the murders.

    Yes, I'm new obviously at writing. I know about Nazi history better than most and I'm researching into everything historical I can find out about this topic. I am also the parent of an autistic son, so I have plenty of experience in that. I was also a soldier too, so I can add that insight to the character.

    So, someone let me know. Does this sound like something to be pursued? Let me know.
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    If I was looking through the books on a shelf, and read the idea in a blurb, I would want to read the book. It sounds fascinating, and has the opportunity to be one of those books that is a real emotional rollercoaster.
     
  3. ojduffelworth
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    ojduffelworth Contributing Member

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    Any story line can be pursued successfully so long as it is well written, likewise any good plot can be massacred by poor writing.

    So what are you asking? Should you write the story or not? That’s up to you.
     
  4. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    A historical fiction set in the late 1930's in Nazi Germany. This piece will explore the euthanasia programs in place in Hitler's Third Reich, which were known as "Life unworthy of life." Children with developmental disabilities such as Down Syndrome, autism, etc. who were deemed racially unwanted were some of the first experiments in gassing humans to kill etc.

    The late 1930s? I lived in Munsterlager as a child, and the small gas chambers the Nazis constructed for their experiments were still intact in the woods there—but they used animals to experiment on before the start of the war. I don’t think the euthanasia programme started before 1939. The USA had earlier gassing experiments which they conducted on prisoners on death row in the 1920s.

    This lasted for some years until public outcry concerning the questionable nature of these deaths and the supposed unfortunate deaths caused the Nazis to abandon it in 1940-1941.

    What public outcry was that? And it wasn't abandoned until the end of the war.

    My idea is as follows:
    The main character, a young married soldier and wife (SA or SS maybe) have a young son who is autistic, or course the word isn't used then, but character development alludes to this. His attitudes to serving the State change as he becomes more aware of the atrocities being committed in hospitals where he hopes to have his son treated,


    Did they ‘treat’ autism then? How? I thought it wasn’t until the 1960s that autism was finally recognised as being separate from schizophrenia.

    or the soldier is somehow involved with (I'm working on how to get that into the plot) The eventual outcome is that the soldier fights to get the knowledge public,

    He’s a soldier or an officer? What rank? He would have lost his commission in the twinkling of an eye, surely?

    save his son, and expose to many families, the fates of their children and to stop the murders.

    Why have him a soldier, instead of a doctor or something? How educated do you think the average 'soldier' was in those times? He must have been an officer, and why would an officer behave like this?

    You need to be clearer on the history of all this, do more research. As far as the plot goes, you also need a really good trigger to start the action of the story. What makes him aware? Why is he risking drawing attention to his son? Surely he would keep as quiet as possible and try and get his son away from the country?

    A 'slow change in attitude' is a bit vague, and not very gripping to read about. There have to be 2-3 huge events or revelations to propel the action forward if you want the reader to stay with you.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A story concept means nothing. I can tell you now, it has all been done before. What matters is how you write it, the characterization, the flow, the imagery, all of it.

    There's 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 this thread about What is Plot Creation and Development?
     
  6. MissBelle
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    MissBelle Member

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    I think your plot in general sounds interesting. It sounds like a book I would start reading, then it would depress me so I would probably not finish it. But that is just me.

    I think it would be interesting to know what draws you to this subject? Do you personally have an autistic child or know someone who does? Or is it that your very interested in historical fiction of this time period?

    It sounds good. I would want to read it.
     
  7. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    Madhoca is the resident history buff. Think on what she said. And Cog, already beat me to it. lol Just write what speaks to your heart and don't ask people's opinions or permission. Just go for it. :)
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    all i can do is ditto that!
     
  9. Ron Aberdeen
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    Ron Aberdeen Banned

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    An idea is not a plot. Nor a premise or a concept, it just an idea and any writer worth their salt should have a dozen ideas a week.

    Until you have a beginning and an ending and have pencilled in a protagonist and an antagonist, it is just an idea.

    Now the really silly thing is, discussing ideas when they are at the embryo stage because you cannot register or protect an idea.

    Asking opinions of an idea is like giving your baby away without knowing its name and then watching it grow up in somebody else’s care.
     
  10. keithburnette
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    keithburnette New Member

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    Yes I have a child with autism, and I just thought about combining some things I know a little about into a story that hopefully will guide the reader through a period of history with a look other than reading a history book.

    Well, I'll admit I appreciate the honest feedback, as I probably should've stated, this idea of mine is only a couple of days old, but so far my research confirms my aforementioned time line, but will change as I go along.

    As I am learning more about the writing craft, perhaps I will need to get up to more seasoned writer's lingo before I post. You spoke much more in-depth as far as triggers, and plot development, all of which I appreciate. Give me a few months and perhaps I can convey my thoughts better.

    As far as a diagnosis, you are correct. Perhaps I should have stated that readers familiar with autism would see it, but of course it would be spoken in the book by different terms.

    As far as a doctor? Actually was considering it as well. I am wondering if doctors held rank in the German army similar to that in the US Army? Guess I'll find out during research.

    The outcry was from the mothers of the children killed. From what I am able to gather, a group of women stormed the Gestapo headquarters, and demanded the truth be revealed about the circumstances of their children's deaths. At least this was the information given as far as the lecturer gave in his lecture. The German government then stopped it at least for a while. So, you are right probably, but I am as well.

    You did give me a lot to work through, so I do sincerely thank you.
     
  11. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd be concerned about the fact that the reader will know that the resolution can be only so big. Unless you're going with an alternate reality, there's no way that the Nazis won't kill millions of people in other categories. At best, you'll have a single bright spot inside a nightmare.

    Now, there could still be plenty to say about that bright spot, about an incredibly brave individual. But that worries me a little, too, because from what you say, there were _real_ incredibly brave individuals involved - those mothers. So if your story glosses over those heroes in its focus on your fictional hero, there's a problem there as well. One of those mothers seems like a better protagonist.

    Another complication: If your hero is a soldier, and he gets this done but stays in his job... he's not a very likable hero. If he saved _his_ child and children just like him, but supported his government in killing millions of people that weren't just like his child, that's a messy moral situation. Now, messy can make for good stories, but it's something to keep in mind.

    ChickenFreak
     
  12. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    These are all excellent points to bear in mind.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i have to ditto that... they're major issues you need to give serious thought to...
     

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