1. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Plot concept- Sacrifical anode

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by w176, Sep 14, 2010.

    Yea. I know ideas are cheap. Yea. I know that concepts alone it isn't going to make or brake the story. Yea, I know when it comes to direct feedback this sort of threads isn't that effective.

    But. For my own sake try to explain the story concept from someone else, will make my story concept more clear to me. And in that aspect the forums can be an invaluable as a ball plank with insightful questions and comments.

    So here I go.

    I want to tell a story about someone doing their duty knowing that they will slowly sacrifice themselves in the process. Not in a hero's death kind of way, but a slow erosion of identity, corruption and being twisted into something unrecognisable. The theme of alienation form other and oneself will also present in the story. Combined with a lot of something very every day human and simple human contact.

    The analogue to the central plot concepts is that of a sacrificial anode (a metallic anode used in cathodic protection where it is intended to be dissolved to protect other metallic component=you put it there to protect other components from rust.)
    The core of the story is a small diversion of the military meant to come into contact and be exposed to an enemy that corrupts and infects the ones that come into contact with it. And doing so to a degree and in ways that highly likely to affect them a lot. They are used for intelligence gathering, infiltration, diplomacy and assassination.
    The troupes used as sacrificial anodes will be kept under constant monitoring, kept apart from the rest of humanity for most part. They have memories repressed, is put on drugs, have technological monitoring devices put into them, and have a life length determined by their usefulness compared to how far the corruption process has gone by their supervisors. Partly they are honored by their sacrifice, partly seen as people who that stare far to long into the abyss. Just a hare breath away from becoming the wile things they fight.

    During the story I what to raise questions about identity, duty, loyalty, choosing sides and of course sacrifice.

    Thats my core conceps (Minus characters. I think they didn't fit into this post). What do you think?
     
  2. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that sounds like the life of every soldier put into a war. I don't mean in fiction.
     
  3. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Awesome. Time to read up on wartime psychology then.
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Where and when is it set? - it is sounding good so far, do you mind if i ask questions?

    Personally I think plot concepts are everything it is the start. Also it is your synopsis and introductory letter in a way:)
     
  5. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Vague quite near future. There will be technological advances but they wont be the focus, and neither is there going to be explained. Scandinavia as base, but global operations. Most of the time they will be living on a plane/helicopter.

    Mostly because i love the sort of small intense living quarters, on ships on small montain cabins etc.
     
  6. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you can get it in Sweden, you should see the Danish movie "Armadillo". It's a very up-close and personal documentary about a group of soldiers experiencing Afghanistan for their first time. It's brutal and honest and very hard to shake off. It won the Semaine de la Critique at the film festival in Cannes.
     
  7. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    it sounds good. Are the characters going to male, female or a mix do you know?
     
  8. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I was planning to see it anyway for how it was revived both politically and artistically.
     
  9. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Mix. Probably with a slight female dominance.
     
  10. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    sounds good to me I could ask more questions if you like but if you find it a nuisance just say:)
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    (You knew this was coming, right?)

    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. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    Hmmm... Well, I think there may be a conflict in logic here. From my experience, people aren't willing to sacrifice themselves unless it is for a really, good reason. Additionally, psychology-wise, no self respecting male, with any sense of honor or integrity, is going to allow a female to sacrifice herself to save him (Mind you, your standard variety cads and scoundrels would gladly sacrifice a woman to save their own skin).

    Any act of voluntary self sacrifice, tends to be for the benefit of others, thus making it heroic (As in the marine who throws himself on a grenade to save his squad, or the crewman who volunteers to go into a reactor room on a nuclear submarine and seal up the exposed radioactive core, saving his crew mates and absorbing a lethal dose of radiation at the same time).

    The only voluntary self sacrifice that I'm aware of, that isn't heroic, is when depressed people commit suicide.

    It might take a bit of explaining in the narrative to make it clear why your characters are different, unless you already have that covered.

    This raises a few questions about the soldiers involved. Are these soldiers volunteers, conscripts (drafted) or "special" (Special meaning created by science fiction means, such as cloned, grown in vats by genetic scientists and mentally programmed for suicide missions). Honestly, I can't imagine regular military personnel volunteering to be disposable, throw away troops without a VERY good reason.

    If their sacrifice will save others, I could understand that (but that would constitute a heroic sacrifice).

    I cannot imagine soldiers volunteering to sacrifice themselves for intelligence gathering (at least not in the age of flying robot recon drones and spy satellites). Ordering soldiers to destroy themselves doesn't work unless there is a darn good reason (Professional infantry will fight and die against a vastly superior hostile force in order to buy time for civilians to be evacuated from an onslaught, but again, that is a heroic sacrifice) and usually results in mutiny if there isn't a good reason.

    On the other hand, if the soldiers are science fictional warriors, created by scientists and mentally programmed to be accepting of such a role, that (or some similar origin) would explain why they are willing to overcome such basic instincts as self preservation.

    As I mentioned above, voluntary sacrifices out of duty and loyalty tend to be heroic in nature.

    If properly handled and adequately explained, I think such a story could work.

    However, the points I raised above would have to be addressed in some fashion, in order for me to find the story plausible.

    Just offering my two cents.
     
  13. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    For me, most sacrifices all over the world is very not heroic. Loads of them is done by women. Living in miserable relationship and giving up dreams for the sake off family and becoming the bitter old lady working at the supermarket for exampel is non heoric sacrifice. Going away for months and years and leaving you children away to relatives to work and earn them a better is another very common in the poorer countries in the word. And hey. Men let women commit this sort of hard, non heoic and bitter sacrifices at the time.

    But dramaturgy I wont go that far but rather like to balance the bitter hard edge of personal sacrifice with some of the heroic shine.

    And to the musicological reason behind it add a desperate world and more then a spoonful of fanatic religiosity.

    Sort of like when hindi women burn them self alive on their husbands funeral fires. Its not a really great reason on our eyes but from their perspective its noble and right, and once a majority of the women actually did it in thouse cultures.

    We can argue that all sacrifice have a herosim to them, but dramatically I wont spin the story them with glorification and heorism as the focus, even if iit will have its moments but rather the high price the individual pays.

    Culture and religion creates things like suicide bombers in our world, and its amazing what people can do for their beliefs and indoctrinations.

    Soliders was a simplification, and a bit misleadning. Trowing away soliders is never a good thing. Especially if i can be done with robots, sattalites and tech. And then in big wars we have the thing that womens in solider roles tend to be stupid in the long run bacuse of the nations need of new genretaions etc. So I absolutely agree with you.

    I didn't go into what I was considering in more detail because it wasn't that relevant when I was presenting the core concept. And would distract from my main thematically questions. My idea very small fraction of occults/ritualist with a turn over rate of decades, rather then weeks or months before they are considered to corrupt and dangerous to preform their function even with safety precautions in place.

    Hence with such a small specialised group sex wouldn't be a major factor when it comes to recruiting people, neither is whatever they volenteer, drafted of convicts either. If you got some freaky resilience making you fit the requirement, you could be a monkey for all they care.

    I just like to say thank you for your questions. They were awesome. its just the sort of insightful remarks I need at the moment to sort out what I want to do with the story.
     
  14. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    Your points are valid, but my commentary was from the military perspective, since you stated your story was about soldiers engaged in self destructive operations.

    No self respecting combat marine would allow a woman to sacrifice herself to save him. The masculine ego wouldn't allow such a thing and additionally his fellow marines would look down on him like he was the scum of the earth. Military training (at least in the civilized world) focuses on instilling a sense of honor, duty and discipline, not just teaching soldiers how to fight.

    I am glad that I could be of service :)
     
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