1. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Stuck on Motive - Want to brainstorm with me? ;)

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Mallory, Feb 11, 2011.

    Preface: This is not supposed to be a writing-by-committee, "please come up with my plot for me" post. I'd just like some help sorting out a few plot holes and aspects that I'm struggling to develop (i.e. motive). Brainstorming is warmly requested and appreciated, but I'm not asking anyone to spoon-feed me. Thanks! :)

    ----------------------------------------------

    Hi,

    I've recently discovered that I have a knack for the kids' horror/mystery stories, and I finished (minus revisions) a story in the same general category as Stine's "Goosebumps" series.

    Now I've got an idea for a similar-genre story that I plan to outline and develop while I do revisions for the first story. The problem is, I'm stuck on the motives.

    The general premise is that a 12-year-old girl is living with her great-aunt for the summer while her parents are in a different state for her mom's internship trial period for a potential new career. The girl chose to stay with Great-Aunt Fiona because she is "the cool relative" - she likes telling scary stories, staying up late baking interesting recipies, and has a rickety old house in the middle of nowhere with lots of secret passages. She is very fun and quirky and Adalyn (my MC) loves her.

    The thing is, when Adalyn arrives, she finds that Aunt Fiona is "different." Usually quirky and fun, she is now cold, stiffly conventional and oddly lacking in emotion. As the story goes on, Adalyn finds clues (masks, etc) that someone is an imposter who is merely pretending to be Aunt Fiona. This leads to the question "Where is the real one?"

    After this, I have a general idea where I want the story to go, but I'm a little hazy. Basically, there is a villain in disguise (probably from an alternate universe, although I don't have the details worked out yet) who also plans to eventually make a disguise-version of Adalyn. In order to stop the villains, she goes into an alternate universe (like a darker version of "Alice and Wonderland") through a portal in Aunt Fiona's basement.

    Basically, I'm just stuck on the motive for why the imposters want these people and what's at stake for the protags. I'm *really* stuck on this and would appreciate any brainstorming help anyone is willing to give me. Rep points will be given. Again, I'm not trying to mooch anyone for "do it for me" plot stuff -- once I have a motive in place the rest will come easily.

    Thanks!!
     
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  2. Anonym
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    Anonym Contributing Member

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    The protag is descendant from the 1st extradimensional to visit earth - a sacred bloodline, that kinda thing?

    The house is built on hollowed ground, the only of such sites to be suitable for their invasion?

    Aunt Fiona is the widow of Dr.So&So, who was a genius scientist in the "So&So" project - the integral component of which he left to his wife on the event of his (suspicious) death - sabotaging the monster he created. Now they're trying to get it back, at all costs?

    Just mentally masturbating here. Hope it helps. Good luck.
     
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  3. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Can you please elaborate on this one a little bit? I like it. :)

    Thanks for posting - any more ideas, anyone?
     
  4. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have to say this sounds like it is a really good premise for a child's book. :)

    Just to add onto what Anonym has already said:

    The aliens are studying the MC's family to see how they could adapt themselves to survive in our dimension.

    The aliens are collecting humans for their zoo. :D
     
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  5. RabidChipmunk
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    RabidChipmunk Member

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    It could just be some sort of experiment. Like the other-dimension goers want to understand human culture and are trying to directly insert themselves into society to study it. Don't know if that would work for your story, but can't hurt to throw ideas at you.

    EDIT: Seems I've been ninja'd.
     
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  6. SashaMerideth
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    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

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    The imposters have no life of their own, empty shells, so they want to take the place of these two interesting people, so they then can become interesting.

    Right away, I thought of the movie Coraline and the other world there
     
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  7. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    Mallory, by now we know you well enough to know your motive behind posting this :) So, don't worry, I am very happy to help (if what I am posting is of any help)

    I am thinking of so many things but most seems corny. The only original idea I can think of is this:

    There is some kind of a disease spreading or a war going on or a giant killer(s) is/are on the loose (since this is for children) in the alternate universe. The only choices those people have is to fight whatever they are facing which most likely means dying, or come to this universe to save themselves. Obviously, they have to become impostors as they have no identity in this universe. May be they hope to go back once peace returns in their universe. Anyway, Adalyn finds herself in the alternate universe, in the middle of whatever that is happening. May be she will find her aunt too and the others whose identities have been stolen by the impostors. They now inherit the burden. How they make it back alive is for you to think.

    Btw, what you have so far is very good.
     
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  8. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Have you seen/read Coraline?

    It's got similar ideas. This girl finds a portal in her new house and she enters an alternate universe, where everything is the same, except that it's cheerful. (eg. in her real world, it's rainy, grey and even the pictures on the wall are sad. In this alternative world, it's sunny and the same picture is now a happy picture)

    There she finds her "mother" and "father" and even the same "neighbour". They look exactly like her family, except, again, they're cheerful. They bake her her favourite foods, the piano is suddenly alive and etc. The only difference - they have buttons for their eyes.

    In the end, she's given a choice - she can stay in this alternate world, but she must give up her eyes and sew on buttons instead.

    It's a very creepy story. If you intend to watch it or read it (originally a book), then DON'T read the next bit because I'm gonna tell you the ending (which gives you the motive for this "mother" figure). Definitely worth watching/reading especially when you're writing the same genre.

    SPOILER
    So basically, Coraline, the little girl, tries to escape from this world, because she doesn't want buttons for her eyes. She starts discovering that not everything is "happy" in this world and things start to go wrong. The mother tries to stop her from escaping.

    Coraline, whilst trying to hide from Mother, goes into this cupboard/basement thing. There, she finds 3 children's souls trapped there. They explain that, in their dissatisfaction with their own, real world, they chose to give up their eyes and replace them with buttons in order to stay in this "happy" world. And now, since they have lost their eyes, they are trapped. Coraline can only free them if she finds their eyes for them, since Mother has hidden them.

    So there's your motive - Mother wants children's eyes in order to trap their souls in her world.
     
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  9. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    They want Aunt Fiona's secret extra special cookie recipe - the portal in the basement had been allowing whiffs to appear in their world when she baked them. However it was her great-grandmother's and even under torture would not share it. They have taken her back to their world and are hoping (Red-Riding Hood style) that by threatening her niece she will give them the recipe.
     
  10. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    Mallory!!!!

    You have provided your own answer within your post!

    The kid's mom is doing something very boring, an internship, and she's given up mothering her child, which is much more important (take it from an old guy) and put work first. The aunt is an awesome person but she has been replaced by a cold boring one who is rejecting like mom. So, the alternate universe is one where drudgery rule!

    In ancient times when people had a mentally retarded child some would say that a fairy kidnapped the real child and replaced it with a "Changeling" which is like a hollow robot. So, these alternate dimension beings are trying to do something like that to fun and warm people, and they're after the MC's family.

    The moral of the story is don't become a capitalist drone money and position gubbing over spending time and giving love to the most important people.

    ...or something like that!

    Important:

    When I was a kid I read this book called The Search for Delicious:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natalie_Babbitt

    It was about this guy searching everywhere for the best thing in the world and after trying everything he determined the most delicious thing to be, "A cool drink of water on a hot summer's day," and man, I never forgot that lesson.
     
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  11. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Hi guys, thank you all for posting. Everyone's comments have been useful so far. Yes, I've read Coraline - that's part of my concern, avoiding making my own story seeming like a ripoff. :)

    I've decided to go with the idea of a boring alternate world marked by lack of individuality. The world recently underwent a takeover headed by a leader named Queen Lilly -- the jury's still out on the name, but that's what I'm going with for right now. Queen Lilly wants to make everybody exactly the same without any capability of independent thought. If you lose yourself and fall over to her side, you lose your face, literally. Like your face becomes a blank sleet with beady, creepily cartoonish figures. The bad guys thus wear long, hooded gray cloaks to hide themselves and their creepy facelessness (plus, it makes them look even more exactly the same). Your real self gets stuck in a sealed underground place called "The Protection Vault" or something like that -- I'll probably make it more cryptic-in-a-euphamistic-way sounding. Anyways, Queen Lilly uses the personalities and intelligence of the people in the Vault to gain more power for herself while draining everyone else.

    Adalyn, of course, has to defeat Queen Lilly and rescue her aunt Fiona [and all the other souls] from the Vault, so she joins up with a group of people in the alternate world who are secretly rebelling against the queen's evil forces. There's lots of battles and monsters to defeat and stuff, but with unique characters to balance characters with action.

    It sort of has elements of Coraline, Spirited Away, Neverending Story and LOTR, although I don't want to rip off either.

    Anyways, so I need a reason why the queen was able to suck in Fiona (of all people) and no one else, yet, from the outside world.

    I do have her gaining more and more power as a result of the increasing number of people she's "stolen," which allows her to increasingly tap into the outside world. But why are Fiona and Adalyn linked to it especially? I don't want to go for the "chosen one" stuff.

    Thank you so much to everyone who posted -- all of your comments helped me out.
     
  12. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    Firstly, as I said, you already had this idea in your OP, so we only helped a little. Secondly, all of those stories are derivative of existing stories and the twist is the only thing that matters.

    Kidnapped:

    How about the yuppy mom (possible impostor) put down the aunt on the phone, or whatever. In psychology, one of the most frequent and depression inducing things a person can do is compare themselves to others. For, instance, a young person will see a famous athlete and say, "I'm not like that," and then never even try to improve themselves. They're forgetting they aren't that person, have never trained to be, and so on. But, the comparison itself brings them down and discourages them. So, mom is talking to aunt on the phone about her big career plans and auntie gets depressed, and that's the invite the bad guys need!

    When you put yourself down and question what makes you fun and unique, you're in trouble. That of course is true in real life.
     
  13. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Hmm, I like this.

    The big danger in the alt world is doubting yourself. Letting your integrity get warped. This opens the door for doormat behavior, lack of thought and ultimately "facelessness." There will have to be a few key scenes throughout the story where Adalyn is put under this type of pressure. Sometimes she cracks, but as the story goes along she learns not to.

    Sort of the equivalent of what happens when you wear the ring in LOTR, I suppose.

    Incentives -- why it would be easy to slip up --would be the promise of popularity and protection. Because after all, how many people are bullies for the sake of popularity, and how many people are willing to give up their freedom in order to be "safe"? Think about it, it's perfect. :)

    Keep these posts coming. If you have new ideas, please share them! I'll give you rep points!
     
  14. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    I'm glad you like it!
     
  15. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Thanks!

    Would you maybe be interested in giving feedback on my synopsis? I could email it to you if you PM me with the address (only 'cause your help has rocked, but no pressure!)
     
  16. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    Sure!
     

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