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  1. Jonalexher
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    Jonalexher Contributing Member

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    What should I do?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Jonalexher, Dec 12, 2010.

    I've been working on a mystery crime short story these past days. I told one of my friends what he thought of it, and he pointed out that something similar happened, in real life. It's about a mass public murder in a high school library. I was ignorant of the Columbine Shooting tragedy, mind you. I really don't know how such a tragic event could avoid my sight all these years, but it did. I've been reading about it, and I feel really bad for all those teenagers that died. What should I do? Should I keep writing the story? I just don't feel it anymore, really.

    It goes something like this: (my story)

    18 year old Max is an assistant at the library. He finds a note hidden in one of the books while browsing the fiction section. It reads:

    Hello Justin. Whatever you do, don't stop reading this until you're finished. In about 24 hours I will kill everybody in this library, I believe it is not necessary to enlighten you with my reasons. I have a task for you. Make sure nobody gets near the alarm device under your desk. If you do this, I will not kill you. If you do not do this, I will kill you first. Put this note between pages 56 and 57 of The Opaque Events. I'm pretty sure you know how to find the book. The killings will take place tomorrow at 12:00PM. If I were you, I would show up, were you thinking of not? You should, for your own sake. I know where your family lives; I am willing to cancel this, for that. And make sure nobody checks out that book, that would be unfortunate for you. I didn't choose you at random. You are special, Justin. I chose you... because I know you will accept my offer.

    It was 10:00AM, 120 minutes was all he had. Justin was the assistant from 11:30AM to 12:20PM, Max had exchanged a couple of words one day, but he didn't really know him. Was the note a joke? When was it written? Max had to find Justin, but he didn't know what class he had that period. What if it was true? What if that note was really given to Justin yesterday? Would it be just to act like he didn't see anything and not show up? Two hours. Tic-Toc.


    I wrote that just about now, it may have some mistakes, but it's just so you can get an idea of what the story is going to be like. What do you think of the story? Should I keep writing it? After reading the descriptions of the actual killings, it's going to be kind of hard for me to write out the murder scene.

    Thanks for your time ;)
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I don't think the fact that something similar has happened in real life should dissaude you necessarily. There are many stories inspired by or similar to (to greater or lesser degrees) by the Columbine massacre, and as long as you feel comfortable with it you should give it a go.


    That's what I think, at least.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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

    There's no benefit in 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 What is Plot Creation and Development?

    Just write it. Or don't. Only you can make that decision.
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Look up the song I don't Like Mondays by the Boomtown Rats - it was about an earlier similar tragedy. Gauge how you feel about the song and that will give you an idea how you feel about representing the situations.
     
  5. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    Just write the story. Besides Columbine, there have been other, similar events in real life. There have also been fictional stories along the same lines through the years. Just write it.

    I doubt the story came to you completely out of the blue. It's likely that you did, indeed, experience the events in the periphery and they just sat there in your brain waiting to be used.

    -Frank
     
  6. Jonalexher
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    Jonalexher Contributing Member

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    -Elgaisma
    Her response to why she started shooting randomly:
    "I don't like mondays, this livens up the day" what a freak haha
    -Frank
    You're right, it wasn't out of the blue. I was at a library with a friend (his name is Justin) and this third guy (his friend) comes out of nowhere and gives him a small piece of paper. That's how I got the idea.
    -Cogito
    Thanks man, I'll probably write it :]
    -Banzai
    You're right, thanks ;]
     
  7. Edward G
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    Edward G Banned

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    Sometimes fiction, good fiction that is, helps us understand events that happen in the real world. It interprets them and helps us process them. Look how many fictional stories have been written about WWII and Vietnam.
     
  8. sereda008
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    sereda008 Senior Member

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    I you can write it, then do it. It is a good idea, and you probably can mention it that it has nothing to do with the real even maybe in some interview. But if you really cry every minute because of the sadness (I am not saying that you do) then you might want to start another story.
     
  9. BonnieDouglas
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    BonnieDouglas New Member

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    Having read your post, I think it is a totally different story to the Columbine tragedy. You are giving someone hope that they can stop a tragedy like this. The fact that the writer of the note is telling someone what they are doing, holds out hope that he won't commit the murders.

    I felt that it would be more upsetting/disturbing to, instead of saying "if you don't, I will kill you first", why not have something even darker, like "I will make you watch me kill the others" - I would find that far more of a threat than being killed - having to watch others. Morbid, I know!!!

    Other than that, I think it is a good basis for a story. Good luck. I'd like to read it once it's done.
     
  10. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    If I were in that situation, my first action would be to call security/the police. Then, of course, your MC can still get dragged into the story that unfolds.

    -Frank
     
  11. yuriicide
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    yuriicide Member

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    What he said ;)
     
  12. Jonalexher
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    Jonalexher Contributing Member

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    Thanks guys! I read all of your advice and I'm working on the story as we speak, I'll upload it on the website for review someday soon so you guys can read it. It changed dramatically, there's a twist now haha, you'll find out when you read it :D
     
  13. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you are feeling uncomfortable writing such a story, then the choice seems fairly obvious. Set it aside and maybe consider it later. Its not exactly a comforting feeling knowing that the messed up stuff in your head not only can happen but... well has actually happened.

    But if its a story you genuinly want to tell then I suggest you write it.
     
  14. erik martin
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    erik martin Contributing Member

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    Write it and see how it goes. As was said, there have been dozens of school shootings, Columbine, while arguably the most famous, was neither the earliest nor the deadliest. (Though hard not to hear about--I am assuming you were fairly young when it happened?)

    In your scenario, if it was set in the present, the alarm would be fairly meaningless as there would probably be several cell phones in the library that would be dialing 911 as soon as trouble started.

    Also, I agree that the vague, anonymous threat to the family would be unlikely to keep most people from notifying the police. I could also see someone thinking that it was a prank and ignoring it. But in our current climate of fear, most would probably call the police.
     
  15. Jonalexher
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    Jonalexher Contributing Member

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    Nah it wasn't the age, it was probably the fact that I was living in Argentina in 2000, that's probably why. Well, I decided to write it, that's over with :p
    and the scenario changed a bit, the reasons, the threats, etc. I'll upload it when it's done.
     

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