1. Sarah Everheart
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    Sarah Everheart New Member

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    Plausible?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Sarah Everheart, Feb 9, 2015.

    Alright so this is a story I came up with but I'm trying to focus on one so this one has to go on the back burner for quite a while, but I wanted to know if it was even plausible or worth setting aside for later because I have a lot of other ideas and if I wrote a book for every idea I had then I would beat James Patterson and Stephen King combined by triple.

    So the story idea goes as followed. What's worse than a serial killer? A family of them. No, seriously. The family would consist of four, maybe five members in a close knit group that travel around from location to location. Everyone in the family is skilled and trained, each of them learning from their parents from a young age what would appear to them to be normal things. How to fool people, how to pick pockets, how to lure your target, how to disappear, how to clean up after your kill, all of these things seemingly normal to them, all tricks of the family trade. Murder.

    I think I would focus on a female character. She's the younger of the group but if I go with five members she would have a younger sibling. She's just turning old enough to start killing others by her families standards. Each of the family has a type, that certain way and certain person they love to kill. The mom could love strangling men she seduces or the father could love to gut people. the old brother to remove body parts. IDK. It's open you know? So they set up so that each of them can get their fill.

    the character could be struggling, searching for the acceptance of her family though not a hundred percent sure of herself yet, trying to figure out what type of person she would want to kill and if she would even want to kill. Is she like her family, or perhaps will she use the skills she was taught to try and escape them and make a life of her own.
     
  2. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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  3. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    As Bryan has shown, art mirrors life.

    The problem that I see is, what point are you writing from?

    Moralizing against killing? Coming-of-age story as she struggles to be accepted? Conflict of interests when she's attracted to a target?
     
  4. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I don't really see a story, just the beginning of a premise, one that sounds a little gimmicky and definitely reminds me of anime. It also reminded me of the Mafia, the whole family trade and killing thing. Is this supposed to be horror? Psychological thriller? Coming of age? Truth be told, I don't think whether it's plausible per se is your problem. It sounds to be like a bit of a confused idea. It also sounds a little like torture porn...

    There is, unfortunately, quite an audience for that kinda thing, in books, as you can see in the increasingly graphic violence in crime novels, and obviously in films, such as Saw. Who knows, maybe it's a new niche... torture porn in books. Y'know, like erotica.
     
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  5. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sounds like House of 1000 Corpses to me.
     
  6. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I don't usually like too diss people's ideas but what would be the point? Who is the reader supposed to route for? I live in Canada very close to where the Karla Homolka and Paul Bernado murders happened. I remember when the girls were missing and everyone was hoping they'd come home safe. I also remember the nauseating details. I'm not big on the torture-porn genre or the recent tide of black comedies involving killings so I'm probably not your audience. I would recommend perhaps doing a bit of research into true crime to decide if this subject is for you, though. A lot of people like writing about serial killers without having taken the time to research them or their victims. The subject becomes very exploitive.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2015
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  7. penelopecarax
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    penelopecarax Active Member

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    Um I am going to go against most other people on this thread and say that if I saw something like this on the back of a novel, I would definitely buy it. What's cooler than seeing the world through a serial killer's eyes? This!

    I think the possibilities for the characters would be immense... Like the Addams Family, but even creepier. They have to have a good 'backstory', and the desires of your main character need to be fleshed out. But as speck of dirt to build a pearl around, I'd say this sounds really interesting.
     
  8. lustrousonion
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    lustrousonion Contributing Member

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    I think it has potential, especially the idea of normalcy to one being abnormal to others. It would be most appealing to me if the killing was not depicted, or possibly even mentioned, at first. If you could somehow give the reader the feeling that something sinister was happening in the family without outright naming it until later in the book, it could be very good.

    While it might not be up my alley personally, I also see the potential in her using her skills to outwit/kill her family. Everyone likes routing for the underdog.
     
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  9. bluemagexii
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    bluemagexii New Member

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    It's a great idea!

    However, to have a serial killer seeking acceptance you may have to tread carefully and research around a bit. My understanding is that serial killers tend to naturally assume themselves to be superior creatures anyway and don't often seek emotional security like acceptance. Unless that acceptance is for survival.

    Perhaps she has tried but hasn't completed a kill (bad co-ordination? Not really a psychopath?) and is paranoid her family will consider her no longer useful and kill her. Perhaps she sees them as hindrances that she would be better off without. Perhaps her MO is Dexter-esque and she wants to kill wrongdoers like them. Perhaps she keeps trying to bring a friend home to dinner to appear normal at school: members of her family keep killing them off and it's starting to really annoy her. You wouldn't like her when she's annoyed...

    Your question, as Shadowfax mentioned, is angle. Also, genre. Is it horror? Angst? Comedy? Find her motivation and you can really start to mould things. It sounds like a winner though.
     
  10. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You're asking if this is plausible, so do you want to write it realistically? Or maybe write some sort of parody or just pure exploitation?

    If you want realistic, you'll have to probably pay quite a bit of attention to the indoctrination tactics of the parents to make the kids come off realistic (and truly horrifying) 'cause most people just seem to have this rather ingrained instinct to not physically hurt and kill other humans, unless it's justified somehow (think of military indoctrination and what goes into building e.g. a sniper who's ready and willing to kill).

    I don't know if or to what extent sociopathy can be hereditary, but things like disregard towards human life, a sense of superiority, and detachment from emotions can probably be learned. Not everyone would buy it, of course. Actually, I'd recommend a film (if you don't mind subtitles), it's fictional but quite chilling, called Die Welle. Basically a high school teacher turns his students into fascists as a social experiment.

    When does this take place? It's more difficult to get away with murder nowadays (there're unsolved cases, of course), and an entire family of killers would probably be found out sooner or later. There's a conflict for you to explore.

    Whether or not I'd read this book if you ever end up writing it would depend on the tone. I don't take subjects of violence and torture lightly, so for me to like it, either the themes have to be really over the top to the point of this-is-not-even-realistic or gritty and super realistic, which is more difficult to pull off 'cause the author has to have a fairly good understanding of violence, the human psyche, and why, to put it in layman's terms, good people do bad things.
     
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  11. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that this is, really, the easy part.

    Look at how often child abusers turn out to have had abusive parents.

    Monkey see, monkey do.

    The number of people who justify physical violence (aka discipline) against children on the grounds that "It never did me any harm."
     
  12. Kim Hartley
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    Kim Hartley New Member

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    I don't know why, but something about your idea reminds me of A Brave New World. Maybe I'm reminded of the idea that the main character is living brainwashed in a world (family) that normal society would find very sad, and is trying to figure out what is right. I think you could similarly go the route of satire with this if you wanted to and had a cause or political leaning you felt strongly enough to allude to. :)

    I think it is very plausible... one thing to think of though is "what has this character never known?" In a home full of murderous psychopaths there would be a gaping lack of emotional sensitivity in your main character because she would never have been shown true love or friendship. I imagine if she doesn't have the same inability to feel compassion, love, etc., then there would be serious mental trauma or even psychosis that you would have to weave into her. I believe that her mental state and narrow perspective would be where a lot of the plausibility would come from.
     

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