1. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    What scares a ghost hunter?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Iain Aschendale, Apr 28, 2016.

    I'm about 6000 words into what could be a novel, we'll see.

    Genre: Supernatural comedy (like Ghostbusters, but not)

    Basic setup: MC is a Marine vet (it's going to be told in a noire voice) who can see dead people, and earns his living doing so, along with some other unsavory scam-ish things (selling "gluten-free, positively psychically-charged homeopathic superfoods"). The reason he can see dead people is he was dead for a few minutes, and when he came back he found he had The Gift.

    He can see the dead, but he knows that they can't affect him physically, but then one day he sees ______, which scares him so badly he tries to draw a protective pentacle around himself, messes up, and accidentally gets summoned and bound (as in, in supernatural slavery) to a teenage goth girl who was fooling around with some magick stuff she found on the internet.

    The problem is, I don't want to turn this into Buffy. Nothing against her, but I want the scene where he gets scared into the pentacle to be strictly the means of getting him summoned by the girl, not an overarching evil that is going to need to intrude into the plot for the rest of the story.

    Any suggestions on what could freak him out? I've rewritten the scene several times, and I'm a bit stuck.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Pauline
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    Pauline Member

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    Maybe his dead future self, only it might not be that far in the future
     
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  3. HistoricalScience
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    HistoricalScience Active Member

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    Women?
     
  4. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe he sees things happening, but not what's causing them?
     
  5. Rob40
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    Rob40 Active Member

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    Perhaps the ghost hunter isn't aware his world is ghosts and hes been hunting humans......somewhat take of "the others"
     
  6. HelloImRex
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    HelloImRex Contributing Member

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    A ghost hunter hunter.
     
  7. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh, I dunno. It might be cool if you could carry in what he sees into the rest of the story. Since this is to be comedy, it doesn't have to end up as overarching evil, he just has to think it could be. Like have the Terrible Thing he sees actually be something innocuous having to do with the Goth girl. Keep him worried about it. Maybe have fear of whatever it is be partly what keeps him in her power, and not till the end does he find out it's harmless and we can laugh at him for it.

    If what he sees doesn't carry over, maybe you don't need actually to depict it? Why not just show his fear and panic? Though even then, I think your readers will be wondering all through the story what it was, and be mad at you if you don't reveal it by the end.

    Your scenario has me curious: when the MC and the Goth girl get together, does he know she's not a powerful witch? And does she know he's just a guy who dabbles in the supernatural, and not some kind of spirit? The confusion could be really funny.
     
  8. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    I am pretty sure nothing is scarier than my profile avatar. :superlaugh:
     
  9. JamieW
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    JamieW New Member

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    Werewolf
     
  10. halisme
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    halisme Contributing Member Contributor

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    Me.
     
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  11. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    @halisme has a good point. A ghost gentleman bear would be pretty terrifying.
     
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  12. KokoN
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    KokoN Active Member

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    Maybe he could see someone that he knows? Maybe he could see someone that he knows is alive, but he sees them dead? Maybe he sees something that's not a ghost but that is some other crazy supernatural creature that he hasn't seen before. It could end up being trivial, but if he didn't realize it wasn't a big deal, it could scare him, and then later he could find out it wasn't really dangerous.
     
  13. Megalith
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    Megalith Contributing Member Contributor

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    How about a Buruburu? Or some other special type of ghost?

    Buruburu are ghosts born of a person's fear after dying in a terrifying manner. They can then infect others with their fear, and this infection is known as the Ghost Sickness. The people they infect are usually people who have made a habit of terrorizing others. Because it is a type of Ghost, it has all the same abilities and weaknesses as a ghost, but it differs in one notable way: it can be "scared to rest." It is a spirit form first categorized and documented by the Japanese in the Edo period. (this is from the show Supernatural, so I got a second source below.)

    Buruburu is the ghost of fear. It lives in the forests and graveyards. It takes the form of a shaking old man or woman and sometime only has one eye. It will attach itself to the back of its victim sending a chill up and down the spine. The selected victim then dies of fright.
     
  14. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    Some really good ideas in this thread, thanks to all, I've got to take some time to chew them over, but I'll try and keep things updated, maybe in the workshop when I get to that point.

    Actually, this is the point that it all hinges on. I got inspired by thinking of what a demon's end of the traditional transaction looks like. How do they get the gold, attractive mates, etc that their witches and sorcerers demand? Well, goth girl is convinced he's a demon, since she managed to call him up and Bind him, and he finds that he must obey her commands, if they're properly phrased and all, which ends up with him chasing all over town for things like expensive cell phones, Marilyn Manson's autograph, etc while still trying to keep a roof over his head.

    Man I hope it comes out sounding better than that synopsis.

    Anyway, thanks again.
     
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  15. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    But... Wait... How can a living being be summoned and bound into supernatural slavery? I know it's supposed to be a comedy, but... He's alive, right? That doesn't make much sense to me.
     
  16. hilal
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    hilal Active Member

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    Jim Carry
     
  17. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ghostly Ghost-hunter hunters?
     
  18. NiallRoach
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    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    Have you read Eric, by Pratchett, perchance?
     
  19. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    Spooky! I thought exactly this too, but you beat me to it.
     
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  20. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    A ghost shortage, doh.
     
  21. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    Nothing i can think of that's scarier than commitment. Maybe some Ghost X-girlfriend that died and she thinks the only reason they didn't get married was because she died and really he was glad to escape, only now she won't stop stalking him?
     
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  22. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    Didn't really make it clear, but the reason he can see ghosts in the first place is that he has been dead for a short time, so yes, he's alive, but he's also trapped between tick and tock, as they said on Babylon 5. When the scary thing comes after him, he pulls out his phone and googles protective pentacles (h/t to Charles Stross' Laundry Files) but whatever he tries to copy he either messes up, or it was bad info, so he's sitting in a summoning pentacle right when GG is opening another one. The combination of his "in-between" status and placement in the right sort of pentacle is what opens him up to being summoned and Bound.

    GG isn't entirely normal either, but that's plot development, not character, so I'll save it for another posting later.
     
  23. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    Their own ghost...

    Or maybe, the gradual discovering of an ancient evil that is the total manifestation of all those who have passed on, but not died. All who age wither, and are buried or burned, but their flesh lives on. A twisted, festering manifestation of mortality, throbbing and pulsing endlessly within us all.
     
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  24. Feo Takahari
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    Feo Takahari Active Member

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    What killed him the first time? Maybe he sees something that brings back the memory of what it was like when he died, something more personal to him than the cases he normally deals with.
     
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  25. NiallRoach
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    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    Not what I would call comic, that.
     

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