1. pabs
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    pabs New Member

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    Trying to choose a plot hook...

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by pabs, Feb 1, 2008.

    Okay, I need some help putting something together in a plot for a story i'm writing for school. First let me tell you my limitations:
    2,000 words
    It is going for a school publication that will be read by Kindergarten through high school, but the teacher is allowing us to have death. So, you understand I suppose.
    That's kind it...

    Okay, so it is a dystopian setting (think 1984, We, Fahrenheit 451, the Giver) in a futuristic Theocracy (Government ruled by god or, in this case, a real person who they consider a god). I have my main character, a 16 year old boy, in school. He, as all children are, was taken from his parents at birth and put in a 'Center or Enlightenment'. So I have to choose one of two plot hooks, and this is the problem:

    Hook 1: The 'Inquisition' (Think medieval Spain) of the Theocracy holds a public execution of a heretic, and the MC finds a piece of paper the heretic dropped that has 'free thinking' ideas that make MC doubt the ruling party. I like this idea, but I don't think there is any way I can water down an execution and still get into this publication.

    Hook 2: I don't really know how I could get the MC to this position but...The Inquisition comes to said heretic's home and kidnaps him, but MC sees them an gets interested. Comes back next night and finds the same slip of paper. I don't like this as much and I'm not sure what reasoning I could find for the MC to come back, or even be near the heretic's house in the first place.

    Any suggestions? Thanks a million...
     
  2. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    So let me get this straight: You're worried about writing a death scene for kids? If not, then ignore what I am about to say. But if so:

    Death happens, and luckily for you, millions of kindergarteners have already been desensitized by Harry and Company (Now with 70% more senseless death!)*. Go ahead and do the execution scene.

    Besides, there is little chance that the audience you're worried about traumatizing would want to read something as dark, serious, and thoughtful as this (Unless they are the type of bizarros that multiple members of this forum, definitely including myself, probably were as small children). So no worries, really. If they're reading the story in the first place, they ought to be ready for it.



    *This is not meant to be an insult to Harry Potter- I love all the books.
     
  3. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    My suggestion: the MC is walking home (or wherever) in the evening, either because school just ended or because his work shift is over. He sees the Inquisitors drag someone out of his house, and hides/ducks because *everyone knows* that heretics use forbidden weapons and sometimes they injure nearby citizens. So the Inquisitors drag the heretic away to jail and the MC finds (steps on? hmm....) a piece of paper (perhaps even a napkin or similar *trash*) that has writing on it. A bit of a poem, perhaps. (A Litany For Dictatorships would really disturb him, for example.) From there he might start to look for the rest of the notebook, for any one of several reasons (curiosity, wanting to find evidence that the heretic is insane, wanting to find more evidence to turn in).

    Basically, any "MC sees the heretic arrested" can be used to avoid the death scene. It's a bit scary to include anything like a public maiming if a six year old might read it.
     
  4. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    Audience is certainly a hard thing to take into consideration. I find your ideas a little upscale for anyone below grade six, though I suppose it depends on just how deep you plan to go. The story is indeed interesting but I doubt anyone who isn't familiare with concepts of totalitarianism, facism, or religious zealotry will get it. I didn't ponder such things a free thinking, or freedom itself till I was probably fourteen.

    Its certainly interesting but since this is for K-12 the people choosing the works that will be published will most likely be looking for works (I'm assuming this is some kind of contest or project where not every entry gets published) all people in that group can enjoy. As such if your serious about getting to be one of those who gets published you may want to try for some less mature theme, something everyone can get.
     
  5. (Mark)
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    (Mark) Contributing Member

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    You don't have to actually write about an execution in order to have one. If you're careful with how you word things, you can simply make it implied that the character got killed. Then, the rest of the story could be the main character reflecting on the world he lives in and why things happened the way they did. I don't know how much of an audience you would find with the younger crowd, but the high school end should be somewhat appreciative of it.
     

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