1. Some_Bloke

    Some_Bloke Active Member

    Oct 14, 2014
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    Northern Ireland

    Afraid a part in my story will be seen as "trying to be edgy"

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Some_Bloke, Oct 17, 2014.


    Number eight is "edgy stories."

    First things first, I don't intend any of my work to be edgy or try to cash in on any popular subjects. I do however intend my work to have serious and dark moments (as well as light-hearted ones of course) and there's only one part in the story that I'm afraid will be interpreted as me trying to be edgy when I'm really not.

    The situation is as follows: In one of the stories, the Exen (the antagonist species) have designed a prototype missile that can effectively cripple an entire planet's defences by covering the entire surface in a massive and extremely powerful EMP blast.

    A team consisting of some of the main characters and a few supporting characters is sent in on a suicide mission to destroy one of the space stations containing the missiles and are able to disable or destroy all of the missiles but one, which gets launched before they can stop it. The missile cannot be self-destructed but they can change the targeting between a selected two targets in the current solar system.

    A Union colony (the Union are the equivalent of an effective space United Nations) that's used as a harbour and is pretty important to the war effort an a peaceful planet full of androids and AI who have created their own society away from Union life.

    In short they have to choose between wiping out of all life on peaceful planet or risk billions of lives by destroying the colony (billions will die if they decide to change the targeting to the peaceful planet too).

    So any advice on how to write this particular story (especially it's third act) without being interpreted as trying to be edgy? Should I just get rid of this part of the story altogether?

    I already have the following:

    Build-up as the characters fight their way through the station to try and stop the missile launch (entire battle isn't build-up though)
    Characters with connections to the peaceful planet (including one of the main ones) and characters on both sides of the argument (as well as ones that are unsure, including a main character)
    Explanation for why the Exen have designed their weapon in such a way (not given there and then, but earlier so it's not really just out of the blue)
    It's an important plot point that has major short and long term consequences (one of the last stories in the novel is set around those consequences)
  2. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Mar 9, 2010
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    I'm not seeing this as edgy, but I am still having a problem with the plot. It's such a tidy plot--exactly one missile escapes, and there's no way to keep it from hitting a highly populated target, and there's time to agonize over what to do. It feels to me as if someone in your fictional world surely set up this situation deliberately.
  3. jonahmann

    jonahmann Active Member

    Oct 2, 2014
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  4. plothog

    plothog Contributor Contributor

    Jul 24, 2013
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    I agree with @ChickenFreak I don't see this as edgy. Or at least not the sort of edgy described in the article you've linked to.
    But it does feel contrived. You've got your work cut out to convince readers that if your characters have the ability to alter the targeting, they can't just send the missile off into deep space.
    Maybe it would be easier if there are two missiles, one to each target and your characters only have the time/resources to stop one.
    jannert likes this.
  5. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

    Aug 27, 2014
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    I'm with plothog on how contrived it feels...and if the missile must have a target (like "Go to these co-ordinates") rather than a vague "first star to the left and then on until sunset", you make the co-ordinates some other celestial body, such as the sun itself.
  6. Empty Bird

    Empty Bird New Member

    Aug 3, 2014
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    Remember that publsihers don't mind being proved wrong. Just because one plot has been done before, it doesn't mean that each and every publisher wants to swipe it off of the mat and see someone with something incredibly new.

    I think it's paticularily dangerous to get caught up in the: "how will this be interpreted by my readers"- especially when you haven't finished the book. If you have finished the book, and have simply found something like that in your book; don't worry! If the thing you're trying to write doesn't fit with what you've already written, then scrap it! But if you're getting rid of it just because you think someone's going to read it as a been-there-read-that sort of thing, then leave it.

    I didn't see it as edgy- neither do I get the idea of "being edgy." I think the problem is is when some people write, they're writing to be like or writing to fit.

    If someone writes to be this or to be that, it's painfully obvious.

    And people don't want to read it.

    But you're writing your own thing, it's fine, it's good, it's cool. Focus on making it yours rather than worrying that other people will think you're trying to be something. If and when you get published, there are going to be loads of people out there who sneer and say that you're trying to be something that you really weren't. :)

    I'm sorry if none of this answered what you wanted, I just read the article and I ended up babbling over it a little more than I thought.

    It's just that publishers want to be able to publish! It seems strange that someone out there believed that they could spek for every publisher and say what they were tired of. The amount of plots that I've read and they've followed the same sort of lines...

    I don't know. Anyway, I personally don't think it sounds "edgy" or anything! If you think it's wrong though, do what you think is best.! :)
  7. Void

    Void Senior Member

    Dec 28, 2014
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    Likewise, put me down for contrived. I'm sure you have good justifications for why everything is setup this way, but it seems you will have to be careful how you present this, otherwise people will surely feel that everything is just conveniently set up specifically to pull off this moral dilemma.

    I also do not see this as edgy.
    In one of my planned stories a group of people eat some couple's child in front of them before turning the parents into human-jerky to sustain them on their quest... and this was the protagonists. Now that's the kind of edgy I feel requires a second thought regarding it's inclusion, which I'm still a little uncertain about.
  8. Chinspinner

    Chinspinner Contributor Contributor

    Oct 15, 2011
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    London, now Auckland
    It doesn't seem edgy to me. It is an age old dilemma used in psychological studies though, the usual iteration being: -

    There is an out of control train which is imminently due to hit 6 people on the tracks. By pulling a lever and changing the points you can move it onto another line thus only killing one person on these alternative tracks.

    Do you passively observe the death of 6 people or actively cause the death of one?

    It is a bit of a trope.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2014
  9. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Mar 3, 2013
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    Ralph's side of the island.
    The OP story is edgy given the description in the link to edgy stories editors are tired of:
    I agree, it's the dilemma that feels forced.

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