1. Gears
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    Gears Member

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    Plot Concept

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Gears, Jul 22, 2008.

    I'm not exactly sure where to post this and if it's in the wrong forum, I'm terribly sorry. I was hoping that anybody could critique or give advice on a concept for a sci-fi/action story I've been working on in my head. Any advice or constructive criticism would be nice.

    The concept I've been working on was inspired by several movies and books. A deadly outbreak of the virus called (don't have a name yet; ideas?) spreads throughout Asia and the Middle East. The disease is airborne and has a 90%+ fatality rate. The World Health Organization begins immediate work on finding a way to stop the deadly disease, only to fail time after time at finding any cure.

    Within 9 months, the disease reaches Europe. Fearing the possiblities of an outbreak within the United Kingdom, England seals off it's borders to the world, letting nobody in or out of the region.

    The United States have led the Western World in the fight against the disease, while all along fearing an outbreak in the Americas. All shipping routes and plane flights to the mostly infected Eastern Hemisphere are cut off. Throughout the next months, the disease spreads throughout the disorganised African plains as well as throughout Asia and Oceania.

    The Americas and Britain remain the among the only healthy regions in the world. Trade suffers, food supply is cut short due to workers deaths, and civilization crumbles. When it is beleived it can't be any worse, the disease is brought into South America due to drug trade across the Atlantic. Albeit desperate attempts to stop the mutagen virus, it spreads into the United States within a year, leaving England the only healthy, civilized country left on Earth.

    Throughout the next ten years, England advances itself into the last remaining superpower in the world. The society, led by the untrustworthy yet successful Prime Minister Jack Gordan, makes breakthroughs in technology, medicine, and weapons thanks to a recently discovered fossil fuel (also with no name as of yet). These successes lead to the creation of the long-awaited cure for the deadly disease. The vaccine is mass-produced and spread throughout England to protect the citizens.

    Thanks to the cure, Prime Minister Gordan organises G.C.S. (Global Coalition of Survivors), a new government meant to find and organize survivors of the disease in an attempt the reconstruct the planet. This daring plan begins when Gordan agrees to open the borders after a decade of lockdown.

    The first contact is made via radio with a band of survivors living in a small village within Normandy, France. G.C.S. put together a team to go to the village to find and vaccinate the survivors, then bring them back to England. The team arrives only to find the village burned and the survivors murdered. Before they can even report back, they are attacked by unknown, bipedal creatures. Most of team are killed, but the main character and several others make it back to England.

    The creatures are actually extraterrestrial in origin. They have watched Earth for many, many years; waiting for the right time to strike. They have no name as of yet (surprise). The remainder of the story is about the team trying to find the origin of and fighting the creatures, locating survivors, and learning the truth about the disease (hint, hint).

    So please tell me what you think, as this is my first REAL story.
     
  2. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    So is the Virus and Extraterrestrial linked? or are just just invading because humans are weakened?

    Also the virus, airborne, contact, blood etc?, Does the virus effect animals (I ask this because if it does and its a badarse virus then woudnt birds pick it up and carry it when they migrate making it spread faster?)

    What are the signs ofwhen you have the virus (so people can look for signs at airports, major ports etc)

    Even though the idea has been done (Im guessing you liked 28 days later, 28 weeks late) you could always put a spin on things.

    The Alien concept i didnt realy like - It its anything like war of the worlds, they'd probably die straight away with its contact (if its not there own virus) lol

    Keep adding details and you'll see if its going anywhere. Just have fall-backs for everything (you need to know all the details, and how it spreads, where it came from, how your going to keep it out etc)
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It isn't really a question of the right place to post this. It has more to do with posting plot outlines for comment at all.

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

    There's no point to 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?

    (and yes, this is a template post, which should give you an idea of how often this comes up.)

    I will say that you appear to have given it plenty of planning, so it's probably ready to carry to the execution phase.
     
  4. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I'm going to actually give you some advice! :D

    It sounds like an intriguing plot but when you introduced the aliens "waiting for the right time to strike," that made the "hint hint" connection to the virus way too predictable.

    Aliens waiting for the right time to attack Earth is so trite by now. It seems like that's all the aliens ever do anymore. Wouldn't it be interesting, however, if the aliens showed up in the virus's aftermath, but NOT to destroy us or take over? Imagine how wild animals feel when they're rounded up and captured to be quarantined for their own safety or something. They'd definitely think they're under attack, and would fight back, even though the ones rounding them up (probably to kill them, the animals would think) are only doing it to help them and stop the spread of the disease. Imagine the irony if the animals ended up killing the very ones who were capable of saving them, just because they mistakenly assumed they were under attack. Hmm...

    That's just my thought though. Now that I've typed it, it might be trite too. It's really up to the writer. *shrug*
     
  5. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    Okay, I like this. I've heard things similar before, but this still sounds good. I like Tehuti's suggestion about the aliens not killing or taking over the world and whatnot.

    I have one thing to point out to you. It's typical that I'd be the one to point this out to you, but then again, I'm a very patriotic person so I guess it's, in a way, my trademark.

    You refer to Britain as 'England'. Britain is NOT England. England in A PART of Britain.

    [​IMG]

    ^ That's Great Britain. It consists of three countries: Wales, England, and Scotland. The British Isles consists of these three coutries plus Ireland.

    I can tell you now, if you plan to publish this and it reaches Britain, that's great. But if you use the words 'Britain' and 'England' interchangeably...put it this way, you'll lose half your British audience. The Welsh and the Scottish do not take kindly to the Americans' belief that Britain conists only of England and that it's fine to use these two terms interchangeably.

    Wow, that was a long lecture. Sorry. But I'm just pointing that out. Many Americans fall into that trap, and I, as a Welsh person, feel I should correct it. Full stop.
     
  6. Gears
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    Gears Member

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    Well I want to thank everyone for their advice. This would be the first actual story I'd ever try to write. Well a few of you mentioned the aliens starting the disease, which I wasn't actually thinking of. I was thinking something else entirely. I still have to work out the details and it'll probably be awhile before I begin to write, but thanks.

    To Lucy E., sorry for that little error. I'm from the US and geography isn't really my thing.
     
  7. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    No worries, I just get easily offended when it comes to my country. ;)
     
  8. spiritwriter
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    spiritwriter New Member

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    I think it sounds cool. A few things:

    Where did the virus come from, and how was it released? Was it like the Avian Flu or AIDS (right?) where it spread from animals to humans? Or was it released because of a disaster in a laboratory in Asia? It needs to have a source, not down to "and then god created the virus," but at least why it originated in Asia or whatever.

    I like the idea of them finally making contact with the other survivors. Even just your casual description here made me immediately picture everything. But just a suggestion, I'm not here to tell you what to do, I would consider the group being smaller, maybe down to city, so it feels more isolated, making it even more dramatic when they open the borders, or maybe a wall that surrounds the city, to the empty abyss that has surrounded the city.

    But thats just a thought.

    Also, why England? or, Britain, whichever you mean...

    I assume it is because it is protected by the water, but if the disease spreads through the air that wouldn't really stop it, would it? I don't know anything about diseases... But it seems like it might be easier to have the setting be somewhere you are more familiar... but research can solve that as well.

    Have the other civlizations been burned? by...whoever burned them? What does the abandoned world look like? is it all destroyed and burned, with scattered villages struggling to survive? or is it simple abandoned and empty, with the survivors living within the empty cities?

    just wondering...

    ok, thats about all I have to say. It sounds really promising, hope it turns out well

    hope that helped
     
  9. Gears
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    Gears Member

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    Well I'm still working on the details of the disease. I can't really tell you where it comes from, or it might spoil part of the plot I was thinking about, but the symptoms are similar to Ebola.

    The groups will be small, anywhere from 5-50 people. As far as life without people, it will resemble some of the scenes from 28 Weeks Later. Probably more run down.

    I am no expert on disease either. I chose Britain because it is an island nation and would be more practical to block off than United States. The distance between Dover and Calais on opposite sides of the English Channel is 21 miles, which I think should be enough to protect airborne disease.

    The village in the little story I put up caught fire when the survivors tried to fight against the creature. Others may do the same. I was really hoping to include New York City in the story. I'd like to write about the city after most people are dead. It would be fun.
     
  10. Siegfried
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    Siegfried Member

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    Hmm, virus idea is overdone, try to think of something new that wiped out people, how about harmful spores? Or maybe a new type of drug that supposed to cure every ailment. Ideas like this you should think of originality. The aliens bother me, why must Aliens always be evil?

    Really I'm sick of seeing them as bad guys, work on having the mass extinction original and wouldn't it be better to have somewhere like AU, Japan, Hawaii? All these places are better isolated. Also for stuff like this, plans are set out. Like people would hide underground in places like Russia.

    You need to think about this more.

    Also, never mix up Scotland with England, or you'll have a ton Scots wanting to slice ya ;).
     
  11. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    It's exactly the same with Wales. You'll find the whole of Wales and Scotland outside your house waving torches and brandishing pitchforks!
     
  12. spiritwriter
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    spiritwriter New Member

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    ok, well as long as you have a viable reason as to why the disease came into existence, then thats cool. I would have to agree with Siegfried though, I would try to come up with your own unique, thing, weather it be a spore or some sort of creature or whatever, rather than a disease. Although, if you have a good, well developed reason as to why the disease started and how it was created, then I would keep it as a disease.

    While the disease wouldn't have been able to float across the english channel, I find it hard to believe that NO one would travel across it when they find out about the disease. Actually, when is this? if it is modern than I suppose not. but still, it actually would be interesting if two people secretly travel to Great Britain and inadvertently spread the disease across the entire island. just a thought.

    I also hope you have a good reason as to why the aliens want to attack earth. If their homeland is dying then it wouldn't make sense that they have been waiting for the right moment. and they cant just be power hunger lets conquer the planets for no specific reason aliens as well.

    so the people burned down their own village trying to protect themselves? I hope you have a plausible reason for this as well and you are just leaving these details out for the the sake of length here.
     
  13. Gears
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    Gears Member

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    I do agree with you on the part about the aliens. I think that will be in plot. As for the disease, I could play around with that for a little bit and see what I come up with. The village was burned when the survivors struggled and tried to fight the aliens. In the chaos, the village caught fire.
     
  14. Fluxhavok
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    Fluxhavok Active Member

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    awesome plot, write it.
     
  15. Gears
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    Gears Member

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    Well I'm going to begin writing a rough draft and I hope to get continued opinions.
     
  16. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    Pretty much everything in Literature has been done or possibly overdone to some degree, thats why someone has to just take it by the horns and add a new flavour to it. Something thay makes it slightly different. ;)

    I look foward to reading it.

    Keep us posted
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    This is exactly why--ok, at least one reason--why I keep insisting that you should never, ever ask opinions about ploits under development!

    If you are talked out of pursuing a story idea because someone says, "Aww, that has been done to death!" then you may have thrown away the seeds of what may turn out to be a masterful piece of fiction.

    It all depends on how you develop it.

    It all depends on how you develop it!

    It all depends on how you develop it!
     
  18. Gears
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    Gears Member

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    I understand that, but I want opinions on the basic plot itself. It's been very helpful to me so far and I think that's the idea of the site, to help writers become better. Now looking through a few posts, I see that you really don't like the idea of this kind of topic. I respect that, you've been here a lot longer than I have. If you want to close this topic, go ahead and I'll continue this through private messaging.
     
  19. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wasn’t actually putting a downer on this, I think he should go along with it... (That is if your quote me or the... this has idea has been overdone etc.

    *shrugs*

    When it comes to plot ideas, one should come up with oe themselves i believe ;)

    Research, or the ability to research is mans best friend (and i guess by doing so online, in a forum, isnt a bad thing.., i guess it all depends how far you want to take it..
     
  20. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Speedy, the point you raised was the illustration supporting my point. Siegfried was the one who said it's been done (not to pick on Siegfried, but he happened to be the one who said it this time!), and you correctly pointed out that pretty much EVERYTHING has been done at the plot outline level. So when someone says, "It's been done," the writer should not pay that any attention.
     
  21. Speedy
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    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

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    I see where your coming from and understand.

    Sadly though theres going to be horde after horde of people asking this though... i guess if they are determined and have their mind set in stone, they'll just do what they need to.

    From my point of view, i know what i want to do, and im gonig to do it (i've got a mind like a bank vault). I dont know, maybe some people comie in here, expecting the best and hoping everyone will see what the writer wants them to see, and get complements etc.... But if your asking for kudos and help (not really this case) creating a plot then id ask myself why are you even starting. But maybe thats me, i have no problems what so ever with plat, just SPAG (the easy stuff lol).
     
  22. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    first of all, get 'story' and 'novel' straight... if you're writing a 'story' then it's a 'short story' and not a novel/book... if you're writing a 'novel' then while it certainly has a 'storyline' it isn't called a 'story' but either a 'book' or a 'novel'... get the diff?
     
  23. Gears
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    Gears Member

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    Umm, ok. There's no real difference in my mind, a novel is just longer (I know I'm going to get hated on for that comment). It's no big deal. I don't know what you would consider the borderline on a "short story" because everyone has a different opinion.
     

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