1. Where Lunatics Prosper
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    Where Lunatics Prosper New Member

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    Rough idea for a plot

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Where Lunatics Prosper, Jul 26, 2008.

    Recently I've had these ideas floating around my head about a group of people who are gifted with various superpowers. All of them do not subscribe to an organised religion and, as such, they form what is essentially an umbrella group known only as "the Unholy Alliance".

    With a lack of anything else to do, I wrote down a brief backstory/concept idea to kind of get a better picture of what I wanted to do. It's rough and perhaps not fully explained enough and so I'm looking for some feedback. Here it goes:

    I've sent the idea to a few of my online friends and their reaction has been okay. One suggested expanding my backstory with some alternate history - so major religious persecutions, wars and genocides and other historically significant events could have involved mutants; the witch burnings, exorcisms, the Salem Witch trials, the creation of Stonehenge and other unexplainable monuments, the French Revolution, the British Empire, the World Wars, etc.

    Taking the role of the mutants in historical events, the general idea could be molded to make the Alliance a kind of 'secret society' that's the focal point of various conspiracy theories amongst the general public, not unlike the Illuminati or others. Likewise, the mutants could have their own conspiracy theories about how the 'normal' populace has always tried to persecute and eradicate them throughout history under various guises (slavery, witches, Nazi eugenics, etc).

    My only problem is the need to sculpt it further - you'll notice I have used the word 'mutant' to refer to those with superpowers, so it draws instant comparisons to X-Men. The anti-religious element may recall the His Dark Materials trilogy and other works. I'm treading on thin ice in my need to differenciate my concept from what has come before so that I don't end up facing any unwanted legal action - we all know what happened with Mutant X.

    I do like the fringe elements being terrorist extremists, but there's the issue of how I could make it believeable and give them valid reasons (in their eyes - jealousy or outrage at the power of religion, corruption among figureheads and worship groups, cults of personality, extremism in the Bible Belts of the world). Like I said, there are still theists within the group, they just disapprove of how the message of their chosen diety/ies are being warped for monetary or personal gain.

    And then there's the reasons needed by the 'good guys' and various superhero factions to let them fight against such fascism. I suppose there could be the irony of one form of fascism versus another, and whether the villainous members of the Alliance notice it or are willfully ignorant.

    And...well, I'm kind of working it all out by myself, aren't I? :p

    So, any feedback would be greatly appreciated. I eagerly await your responses.

    A good evening to you all.

    Regards,
    WLP
     
  2. Ore-Sama
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    Ore-Sama Senior Member

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    A plot means nothing until it's written down in story format. A plot can be great, awful, in summary, but until we see it in story form, there's not much to judge.
     
  3. Scribe Rewan
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    Scribe Rewan Contributing Member

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    That's very detailed.

    To be honest, I'm only sayign this because I'm the first, but no matter how detailed your plot outline may be, your going to get this response:

    Some members on here actually have a post along those lines saved into a word document so that they can copy and paste it!

    I'm nt being nasty, and it probably hurts quite a bit, but there is some truth in the matter. (P.S Ore- Sama posted this as I was writing so I didn;t see it.)

    However, because this is so detailed there are elements which can be commented on.

    You dont need to worry about the anti religious theme beign like His Dark Materials. That's an atheiest novel, and Phillip Pullman certainly didn't create atheism.

    One thing interests me- why do these people need to form a group to be agaisnt religion? What makes them want to band together as non believers? Also, being free of the shackels of religion seems a bit far fetched in this day and age (for example, only 1% of the UK population goes to church anymore). Is this meant to be set in our world? If it was then may i suggest making it a alternate near future, even a mere 5 or so years ahead, where something happened to make people turn back to religion, and religion is now heavily in control?


    Who exactly are the protagonists in this story, because this 'Unholy Alliance' (which btw i think has been used before) sound more terrible than the religious organizations in your story. Now there's nothing wrong with having both organizations being as bad as the other, but there needs to be some reason wy the reader would want to connect to whoever your MC is.

    You say the memebership of this undergroudn society is huge, but thousands in each country isnt really huge. Considering there are 60 million people in the UK, for example, thousands, isn't really a threat, in my opinion.

    At the moment I'd say the main problem is that there seems to be a lack of motivation. As a reader I would be wondering why all this is going on. Lots of peopel have been turned away by faith, lots of people hate religion but if find the course of action in this very extreme. It really needs a catalyst, and a big one at that.

    That may even be what your trying to get help for here, but I believe that suggestions would probably be useless to you on the whole, because you've got a complex history and background here, so I believe only you will be able to find the solution that fits.

    Congrats on doign such a detailed plan for your story, and the world and situation seems very interesting to me, but it;s missing a few important peices as to why it is the way it is. Good luck with it!
     
  4. Ore-Sama
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    Ore-Sama Senior Member

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    Golden Compass is not an atheist book, it's about what happens when a religion becomes stained and consumed by corruption. The Church is not shown as an entity that is inherently evil, but one that became so because those in power wanted to keep power. In esence, it's the old saying "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely"

    The book is not an attack on religion, only an attack on those who corrupt the religion and use it for evil purposes.

    A little off topic but just wnted to clear that up.
     
  5. Scribe Rewan
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    Scribe Rewan Contributing Member

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    Fair enough... but it was written by an Atheist. And lots of people see it as an entirely anit religious novel, so I can see why WLP would be concerned.
     
  6. Where Lunatics Prosper
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    Where Lunatics Prosper New Member

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    Righto, thanks for the feedback guys. There are some pressing questions and I'm kind of sweating and nervous and unsure now (okay, so it's humid tonight), but I may as well try and keep this ball rolling.

    I suppose a part of it is always the basic desire to feel like you belong to something, to have a place in the world and in larger society. It's there for people who want to join. I understand that normally those of no particular religious persuasion aren't prone to set up underground societies, so I suppose having the powers play a key role in it. Not only are they shunned and oppressed for disowning formal religion, but they have these abilties that some may see as demonic or otherwise unholy in origin - hence "unholy" alliance.

    They're not all necessarily non-believers - there are some theists in there who do believe in a higher power, it's just they're distrusting of how formal religions seem to be exploiting and twisting them for their own gain.



    Well it was meant to be in our universe, but interestingly I was dabbling in alternate universes for those with the ability to hop between dimensions. This is precisely why it's rough, because of pressing issues such as this. I know what the general premise is, I just don't quite know how to flesh it all out into something more - yet.

    I suppose I had the idea that it was centred around modern religious extremism - word-for-word Evangelical Christianity, radicalised Islam, things of that nature (they're hardly the same thing, I'm just trying to put it into some form of context). The members of the Alliance are horrified and appalled at such flagrant abuse and misuse of religion - a great deal of them ultimately percieve it to be capable of good things and so they're just turned off by seeing everything happening in the world. The other half of the group find it perfectly reasonable to fight fire with fire, so to speak, hence the terrorism.

    You're right, the term 'Unholy Alliance' has been used before and part of me knew this - it's been used several times for different purposes; television episodes, musical tours, books, etc.

    The protagonists would tend to be Lucien and Artemis, both of them being the founders. Your pressing issues have backed me into a corner, but this is a good thing; currently I have the organisation down as being fairly recent; it's only been around ten or so years old. But with the whole alternative history aspect, I think it could stand major reworking as having been around for centuries.

    The main protagonist would be Lucien - it's kind of a running name I have and I quite like it. As his surname suggests, he is sly, cunning, underhand and a trickster; an anti-hero in his most basic form but his heart's in the right place. His motivation for forming the Alliance currently stems from his selfless desire to help others in similar circumstances or from similar backgrounds.

    As for the other characters, I don't quite have the clearest of pictures just yet.

    Okay, the Alliance does sound quite terrible. But those performing these actions are fringe elements, total radicals. With the alternate history I could go into, they see their actions as just revenge and divine retribution for centuries of abuse to their kind. But they're not representative of the whole - the other members abhor their actions and motives. I suppose this stems from there being no set rules - perhaps I could fit in some basic guidelines that would make their deviance more apparent. The radicalists aren't the norm and I want to get across that there's a certain ironic element to their actions; they claim that they have the moral high ground yet they're no better than those who are supposedly much worse.


    True. I was considering numbering them in the millions initially and I still could, I'm just hestitant about the believeability of it all. Mutations, whether inborn or engineered, are quite a rarity in the universe. I suppose having millions of them would be a bit far-fetched. Not only would I run the well of available superpowers dry by repeating and/or overusing them, but could I invent so many unique, memorable characters without going mad? Could there be a secret underground society with millions of members? That and I only want to focus on two main groups - the basic good and evil with a few neutrals chucked in for good measure. I don't want more characters than are necessary.

    I currently have their motivation as being bonded by their abilities, kind of a fellowship. They exist to look out for each other. The encouragement for both sides of the Alliance would be their shared history and their desire to fight against their percieved oppressors - whether that be through negotiation or using their powers to force change.


    I feel that your questions have drilled very deep; deeper than I thought. You haven't discouraged me, just shaken me. I can see now that the ice beneath my feet is thin and that I need to put more time into fleshing it out far more than I have. Then again, this was indeed the point. Your inquiries spur me on, allow to strenghen my ideas, and for that I thank you.

    I imagine it'll be a while before I write anything properly, but there should be a few scenes I want to get out of my system. I am in dire need of a solid plot and good characters, so although it's not quite back to square one, it is time for serious reconsideration and deeper planning.

    Thanks again.
     
  7. Scribe Rewan
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    Scribe Rewan Contributing Member

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    Your welcome, and I certainly meant in no way to discourage you. I think it's a brilliant premise, I just thought I ought to ask the questions. At some point someone was boudn to ask the questions, and better at the start before you've written it, than half way through!

    This is stylistic preference, but maybe you should try just writing it? You can plan and plan and plan, but I find the best way to develope plot and characters is to write it and watch it elvolve, but then again i'm one of those people who never plans. Planning in depth might just be your style, but it might be an idea to try and see where it gets you.
     

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