1. axell
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    axell Member

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    Need some tips on a murder mystery

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by axell, Sep 15, 2010.

    Hey, I'm new here and i have to say this forum is teeming with talent so i'd though i'd ask for some advice. Atm i am working for a game,action adventure type game set in the 18th century carribbean.And while i have a big chunk of the story ready,there is a little side plot that i really want to do right but i'm all out of ideas atm.After days of research and watching movies,reading books i threw out all my ideas because i did not think they fit.

    Some basic info...you were a wealthy commodore,falsely accused,throw into jail and have escaped and now seek revenge on the person who framed you.A character named, jenny helps you escape from prison and will help you across the story to fullfill your mission.But you know nothing about her past,only that she has a tavern in the city and knows a lot of people.

    The basic idea of the side plot is:someone has been murdered,she is suspected,she does not want you to get involved ,you try to get to the bottom of it and you uncover her dark past in the process and help her clear her name(even though she is actually the killer). This was an idea that just popped up and while i like it,when it comes down to the actual details,i'm kind of lost. So if you know a book/movie/play with a similar plot and have some tips on where to go with this idea i will appreciate and /hug you.
    Thanks!

    Jenny: She is in her late twenties,pretty attractive ,brunette.She is able to take care of herself,confident,able fighter and blunt.She's been through a lot in her lifetime and she has a tough,blunt personality.She runs a local tavern(brothel) and that's about all you know about her.Her reasons for helping you are pretty unknown and her past is a mystery and she does not want anyone to get involved. That's basically it
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I need to know a bit more about Jenny, her character and personal appearence would help
     
  3. axell
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    axell Member

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    Jenny: She is in her late twenties,pretty attractive ,brunette.She is able to take care of herself,confident,able fighter and blunt.She's been through a lot in her lifetime and she has a tough,blunt personality.She runs a local tavern(brothel) and that's about all you know about her.Her reasons for helping you are pretty unknown and her past is a mystery and she does not want anyone to get involved. That's basically it
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes I can read:) However that is just what your readers and your characters know about Jenny. Right now you need to get to know her - did she have a pimp, who got murdered, did she love her girls or where they bread and butter to her? Did she traffick drugs or work for the mob etc?

    I have a Great Skua, Lord of Evil in my book right now my readers and characters don't know who he is, they think they do at end of first book but by middle of second book it is a mystery again. Only I know.
     
  5. axell
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    axell Member

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    Well it's a game and it's not M rated so pimps and prostitute related plots are kind of out...it's ok to mention they exist once in a while but not more.Story should start out like....erm a nobleman is assasinated and jenny is found next to his body with her sword drawn and she escapes just as the guards burst in. The other parts of her character don't really exist so i can make her past and motives whatever i want. That's the problem,i need some inspiration and tips on where to go from here.....should it be some weird conspiracy? What's her relation with the dead nobleman? what is she hiding?
     
  6. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    maybe he could be her father or brother she ran away from home for some reason? She met up with him again at the tavern
     
  7. axell
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    axell Member

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    Yea that had crossed my mind,and it's a nice idea...but the make or break is her past,why is it interesting? Why does she kill him and why does she not want you to get involved? Since it's a game it will have to be something interesting and shocking,even if it's similar to something that has been done already but it needs to be interesting enough and not too convoluted for the average gamer to understand and like. I was also thinking about the old spy movies.Our main character while trying to find and ask jenny what's going on is assaulted by a couple of guys who tel him he's in way over his head,but at the moment i can't seem to find a good reason why they would want you gone.
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    If it is her father/brother and they are mob equivelents getting you involved is scary, dangerous. Or even if they are just vicious overlords. Maybe she had a boyfriend they didn't approve of, and killed him. Look up Arbella Stuart it's not exact but same sort of idea she was fourth in line to the English throne.
     
  9. axell
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    axell Member

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    Hmm you might be on to something there.I think i have enough to make the plot interesting.I'll post here after i finish for some feedback.Thanks for your help and /hug
     
  10. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    no problem:)
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Be aware that writing for games is not like writing fiction. In fiction, the reader progresses through the story in a linear, predictable manner, so the author can systematically develop the story elements and character. In a game, passages can be encountered in a random order, sections may be skipped, and other sections may be traversed many times. Therefore, character and story development have to be greatly simplified - dumbed down, if you will - for game development.

    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 What is Plot Creation and Development?
     
  12. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    As they say, the devil is in the details :)

    I would say, develop your idea a bit more and come back if you have a specific problem during the process. As it is now, I feel like you are asking others to come up with ideas for your entire sub-plot.
     
  13. axell
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    axell Member

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    Sadly you are right about the story being dumbed down for games,you have to make it both interesting and simple enough for the average gamer to understand.
    And i wasn't really asking people to come up with ideas for the subplot,i was more interested if they knew some books/plays/short stories etc that do what i'm trying to do with the story. But thanks to Elgaisms's tip i managed to write something up...it's pretty cheesy and nothing really original.

    The basic plot is you somehow find a dead nobleman and jenny standing above him with her weapon drawn,just before the guards burst in.You manage to hide and she manages to escape.With the guards chasing her you notice a ring lying next to the body with some strange initials on it. You take it and leave the hose before the guards arrive.
    You then start to look after jenny,and first check her tavern to see if anyone knows her whereabouts.After some snooping around you find out from one of her acquaintances that she is in hiding.On the way to her you notice you are being followed.You try to shake off your pursuers but they catch up to you and tell you you are in way over your head and attack you.after defeating them you quicky to to jenny's hideout and try to get some answers from her.She tells you not to get involved and then knocks you out and runs away.After you revoer you try to find out more info about the dead nobleman and the signet ring you found.
    While i haven't got all the details out yet what follows is: you find out the dead nobleman is actually jenny's father,a influential,corrupt and ruthless nobleman from the mainland(?).jenny,after escaping from him when she was younger,to get away from his evil activities(murder,extortion,torture etc,that's how he rose to power),fled to the carribean and changed her name to start a new life.She got married at a point,but the past did not leave her alone.Her father finally found her and as punishement for running away from him he killed her husband(tthe ring you found belonged to him).From that day she swore she'd get back at him.After years she finally tracked him down ,while he was visiting port royale . Now both the autohrities and he father's minion's are after her ,to try and silence her so no one would know about her father's "activities".You can then help her bring down her father's "crime empire"? or just help her escape the law and her father's men.

    It probably won't get any more complex than that,and the next step is to break it up into quests.
     
  14. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    OK having written murder mysteries for various games over the year (just for friends) - they certainly do not have to be dumbed down, different method yes. Agatha Christie's novels are not dumb I use them as my base because of the logic she uses you find people usually take the path she wants you to. Ellis Peters and Ruth Rendall the same. The characters can be fun and interesting . As long as you know your plot and story well it works, and using more adjectives/adverbs, second person and more tell than show you can usually get people to one of a few paths.

    I often introduce humour which is not easy to write. It is just brief and different. If you are going to dumb down then you cheat the people playing the game.
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I know you need to disagree with anything I suggest, but simplifying relative to novel development is a necessity imposed by the medium. The manner of interaction introduces the additional challenges for the player, so "dumbing down" is simply recognizing that the random traversal of a game medium does not support the same kind of plot and character development that works well in a linear medium.

    You have to understand the strengths and limitations of the medium you write for. One size does not fit all.
     
  16. axell
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    axell Member

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    Flame on!
    Well anyway they liked the story,but they won't let me have jenny killing her father so i have to replace him with sth else. Which will totally make the plot less intense and interesting,but w/e they have the whip.
     

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