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  1. thedeepbluec

    thedeepbluec New Member

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    [Help with plot] In a brothel

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by thedeepbluec, Jul 20, 2019.

    Hello everyone,

    I'm beginning to write a play for the stage next year, however, after literal months of writer's block and struggling to find the right plot, I decided to get some help here.

    The setting is a brothel run by an old, ruthless yet glamorous madam pimp in her 60s, who's engaged in sex trafficking. She is the owner of many prostitutes, including three of the main characters. The brothel seems inescapable for the prostitutes, since violence and threats keeps them contained. The madam pimp cares for nothing but her own wealth and beauty, but also has a past of prostitution.

    My main concern for the play was the emphasis of female cooperation of the prostitutes trying to endure their imprisonment, but also the idea of power relations, between the women in the brothel among themselves, as well as the between the men (and women) as customers and the women that are paid for (also a jungle-predator-prey allusion).

    Possible twists ideas and outcomes I thought could be
    • prostitute climbs hierarchy and eventually replaces madam pimp, becoming her own enemy
    • the prostitutes revolt against manhood and kill their customers -> leads to ?
    • main character gets sold to a different (maybe crueler) pimp in the end
    • bond of prostitutes trying to protect a child prostitute
    • jealousy of madam pimp of the youth/beauty of prostitute
    • ...
    I don't ask for a whole story line, but maybe some of you have a good idea or prompt that I could use to inspire me. Really anything! I'd really appreciate it!

    Greetings
    thedeepbluec
     
  2. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Loved by a Sweet lady. :) Supporter Contributor

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    Well it would be the place(or a setting). A place cannot be a plot,
    the plot is what happens at/in said setting.

    Try out writing the various events that lead up to one of the
    outcomes you have listed, preferably one that you find to be
    satisfying. That is all you really can do since you have a fairly
    good idea of where it can possibly end up, it just needs to be
    lead up and to that point(s) that will resolve the story in the end. :)
     
  3. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You're thinking of this in a very abstract way. What you haven't mentioned is: what do your 3 main characters want?

    You said you have 3 main characters, after all. Well, who are they? Have they lost faith in ever escaping? Are they waiting for rescue or will they attempt to break out of the brothel themselves? Where do these attempts lead them, both internally and externally?

    Focus less on the brothel, and start thinking about your characters. Where's the conflict?
     
  4. RobinLC

    RobinLC Member

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    I think a good question to ask yourself is how each of these characters will evolve during your story? That might help you focus a bit.
     
  5. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Nefarious Flamingo

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    If you really spend time together to know your main characters, you'll understand they're mindsets and how they would go about matters. They're all different, and there will be a natural leader, even if in contention. Build them up, and I bet you can find a worthwhile plot path out of your characters and setting build pretty easy.

    If you feel like it, put it up here when you're all done with the event. I like those sorts of darker tales, as I write them myself. I would enjoy reviewing it.
     
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  6. Dr. Jerry

    Dr. Jerry New Member

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    You say the madam pimp cares for nothing but herself so maybe the prostitutes, seeking better treatment, will plot together to find a way to get her to care more for them.

    You could make the prostitutes discover something about the madam pimp's past when she herself was a prostitute. It could be a bad experience with a client or maybe what led her into the profession to begin with (assuming that its something negative). The prostitutes could then try to use this information to play on the madam pimp's emotions and get her to sympathize with them since they are now in a similar situation.

    If this fails and the madam pimp is just purely evil then the prostitutes might turn their focus to escape or revenge.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
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  7. badgerjelly

    badgerjelly Contributor Contributor

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    For starters you have to appreciate that some of them will not feel like prisoners at all. Some will view the madam as ‘mother’ and degree of respect will be in place. If the madam is ‘successful’ then she’ll have some degree of compassion as well as the ability to be brutal when business requires it. I can see this as being a very interesting dynamic as the madam is both protector and exploiter.

    Happy employees means good business and all that. I could imagine a plot where some other older woman tries to oust her girls back her up only to find the replacement to be more brutal then some political machination of reinstating the old madam and the girls enhanced respect for her - blood and tears spilt along the way. I wouldn’t find the role of men in this very interesting tbh, but you’d have to have someone do the ‘muscle work’ and keeping the madam in a position of ‘pimp madam’ with authority above other male pimps would be a puzzle to solve and explain in the narrative.

    I’m sure they’ll be some literature out there for this era? If you find anything useful I’d be interested to read it so let me know if you do please.

    GL :)
     
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  8. thedeepbluec

    thedeepbluec New Member

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    Thank you all for the helpful and creative advice, I really appreciate it and it actually helped me a lot, especially the hint to start with the characters. I get so caught up in the search for a fitting plot, but as soon as characters emerge, the story basically writes itself.
    Right now, I am conflicted as to how to start the play. One way it could start is that the characters involved have already been in the brothel for a period of time, having experienced stuff and hence know how to estimate their situation. The other way could be to have the characters introduced by confronting them with the brothel for the first time, allowing to get to know the brothel and the madam pimp the same way the characters get to know them. The outcome, regardless of the beginning, will result in (attempted) rebellion of the women.
    I feel like with the first way, the immediate horror and hopelessness of the situation that the characters are faced with is even stronger, as it is new to them, and the audience can more easily relate with the characters. Definitely not to say, that the sex trafficking gets any better when you've been in it for a longer time, but the characters would maybe know how to behave to avoid punishment and be more careful etc etc. A compromise would be to have just one "new" character enter the brothel as a prostitute, where she learns everything about it through the other character's experiences as well as through first-hand encounters.

    What would you find more interesting and why? (I know that it's my play and I should write what I find most interesting, but I love to read through other people's opinion and get inspired)
     
  9. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    My wife wrote Ruby, a similar story of a depression-era girl sex-trafficked by men who kidnap women, break them, then sell them on to brothels. Ruby does not get sold on but continues with the two men, one horribly cruel, the other cruel but a bit more subtle about it. Ruby tries to support the newcomers who just arrived in the nightmare, finding subtle ways to resist. Some of the customers are local police and politicians, making escape extremely difficult, but eventually she does. Then what? How does a twenty something girl recover from that and rebuild her life? After escape she runs into her high school sweetheart Jake, who had just learned all about her past life, except her name and face: he is an intern, she is being treated by a doctor for a crippling injury during "break-in" that kept her from being sold on.

    I think trying to put yourself, and your reader, in the shoes of one of the girls, how they deal with what has to be the most horrible thing that could happen to them, is a good way to do it. What would you do in that situation?

    Sets the stage for the sequel, still in work. Jake, now a VA doctor, goes to new 1939 movie, Wizard of Oz. The newsreel is of the German invasion of Poland, the outbreak of war. He joins the Royal Army Medical Corps, commissioned as captain, assigned to the 51st Highland Division, deployed with BEF to France. 51st did not get out at Dunkirk, surrendered at St Valery. Jake escapes, gets back to the UK, 51st re-established, homeland defense against imminent invasion then training for Middle Eastern deployment in 42. One sees the war through Ruby, hearing about the war on the crackling BBC shortwave, fading in and out, and through him experiencing it first hand, unable to say much about it. Both exchange letters...
     
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  10. Cdn Writer

    Cdn Writer New Member

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    Take a look at the television series "Black Sails" - a brothel is one of the main settings in the first two seasons (haven't seen the others yet) and there was also a movie starring Gillian Anderson (X-Files) where she was a photojournalist trying to help an enslaved girl from India (?) sold to a brothel in Nepal by her alcoholic stepfather.

    There are also some excellent non fiction true crime books which discuss this aspect of crime out there. One of the Canadian ones is "Children in the Game" by a former vice cop from Alberta. I think the authors name is Ross or Russ McInnes (?) . Try google if you really want to track it down. It's a bit old...2010 I think but still good for an overview.
     
  11. Katibel

    Katibel Member

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    I like the idea of a new girl coming in and "learning the ropes," so to speak, only to discover her disgust for the scenario is greater than her eagerness to survive, so she rallies her fellow victims (those who are willing) and, while avoiding the tattlers and fearmongers, attempts to plot a true solution to the unwholesome situation.

    How that would all pan out I'd be most interested in seeing your vision, though.
     
  12. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

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    If you are writing a play, I would give lots of thought to the development of your story. Plan your three acts and if scenery is involved add that to your planing. Maybe even use a storyboard to help.

    If something happens over a long period of time it is difficult to transcend. So I would kill this idea.
    This may make a good ending, but it would need a lot of anticipation and tension leading up to it.
    I don’t see this in a play as there would be a change of scene and characters causing you to start over to get the audience invested.
    I like this angle and I think the audience would be sympathetic to their cause. This would also become a life and death situation. Putting tension in saving the girl or having to kill a John to protect her.
    This is as last year as a reality show with a whinny voice, and I don’t think you could get anything fresh out of it.
     
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  13. Kallisto

    Kallisto Ruler of the world... somewhere...

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    Well, if you have an entire cast, why would they all have the same outcome? Why couldn't you use your cast to explore most, if not all these outcomes? One prostitute does revolt and kills one customer. One gets jealous of the madam pimp. They can all try to protect a child prostitute. That's fine.
     
  14. LoaDyron

    LoaDyron Senior Member

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    Hello friend. :superhello:

    All your ideas serve just fine. Just think which prostitute has her/his goals in life, especially the main characters, and the setting of your story. Are you writing medieval fantasy? Cyberpunk? Steampunk? This will help you to understand the consequences and the outcomes of your character's choices. And since that pimp had a prostitution past, I will expect him to be very smart. Think for a second. From all his prostitutes, he had a lot of experience in life, which implies he will know when someone has a plan on her sleeves, when someone will poison him, etc. For this, I will suggest making your three MCs with different types of intelligence; maybe one of them is the brain, the other the seductress and finally the last one a crafter or even a poison expert?

    I hope this helps. Keep on good work and have fun! :superagree:
     
  15. thedeepbluec

    thedeepbluec New Member

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    Thank you for your input, I have read and considered all of your posts, they're quite helpful!
    I stuck with the idea of the prostitutes trying to protect a younger child from being abused by customers. After the smart one of the prostitutes attacks a customer to protect the child, the situation escalated. The madame pimp, in fear that this behavior becomes contagious, she makes the smart one her right hand, which forces her to care and punish for the prostitutes (changing the relations between the prostitutes), organize all the customer-prostitute meetings etc., eventually having her set up the child for a meeting with a customer. Since the madame threatened to harm the child even further than "just" having her abused by the customers if the protagonist doesn't obey, she yields. Of course she can not endure it and rushes into the "act" and throws the man to the ground.

    This is where I am stuck right now. What I had in mind:
    prostitutes feel desperate -> child arrives -> they form a strong bond around child -> something happens to child (fire of revolt ignies) -> prostitutes revolt

    I wanted the child to get fatally hurt while trying to escape right after the moment stated above, or maybe she gets sold away to another pimp, since she is more trouble than her money is worth, whatever it is, it will be so intense, that it makes the prostitutes rethink their actual goal, so maybe from just escaping to get revenge or attain power etc. HOWEVER, I feel like that the moment where this fire sparks, e.g. the moment that triggers a drastic change of goal of the prostitutes, becomes so climatic, that the rest of the scenes can not live up to that moment. The death of a child seems so final.

    Also the form of the revolt is still something I struggle with. After they are fed up with everything they endured, how will they overthrow the madame pimp? Is it unrealistic to have the prostitutes physically harm her or even kill her? Maybe tying her up and practicing revenge? I know that all of this depends on how the story unfolds in the end, but I'm curious to hear what you think or find interesting. Thanks again for your kind help!
     
  16. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

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    Each one of us would envision a version of an outcome that you may not have in mind.
    The author controls the narrative, and that’s where you come in. Write each of the scenarios and see where it leads. You may be surprised yourself.
     

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