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  1. Stammis

    Stammis Banned

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    Spooky Creepy

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Stammis, Apr 11, 2020.

    I just wanted to make a stupid spooky story but I screwed it all up by choosing a setting that doesn't make sense. The story is about a young soldier who is sent to an island off the coast. The area has heavy mist and according to the locals, it is haunted by monster/witch of some kind who lures sailors to their doom. The young soldier doesn't take note of the stories and does his job which is where the problem starts: why are they on the island to begin with? It doesn't make sense to have them there because it has no strategic value which is also the point. It is supposed to be neglected and abandoned to make the soldiers suspicious of their purpose.

    The idea is that they are a sacrifice to this monster. The monster will choose one of them and the rest will grow mad and kill each other. But why the military is involved in this, I don't know.

    I'm trying to think of reason that maybe military use the monster somehow or that the monster is the one manipulating the military, or maybe the military wants to get rid of these people specifically. But it all seems too convoluted and I'm having a hard time continuing the story after they set foot on the island. What are they even suppose to do there?

    I have come up with other ideas to work around this but in turn this shifts focus from the 'spooky creepy' and from the main character. I was stupid and thought I could make things up as I went along, but I think the original idea was too vague to do that. I chose poorly. Now I've worked on this for so long that I don't want to make anymore major changes and I also don't want to abandon it because of all the work I've done, although I'm leaning towards the latter to be honest...

    I'm not expecting anything by posting this, just figuring things out and hopefully avoiding making the same mistake again.
     
  2. dbesim

    dbesim Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Maybe they’re searching for some long lost ancient artefact that got buried on the island in the distant past - according to the little information written about the island in the history books. Maybe that artefact is invaluably useful to them and they have to go there and find it. Your story reminds me of Lovecraft. Have you read any of his short stories? A lot is about characters who enter very strange areas and cannot win their lives back after they do and then awful things start happening everywhere and that sort of thing. Gets somewhat mysterious in places but I reckon you have the beginning of something interesting here!
     
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  3. TheOtherPromise

    TheOtherPromise Senior Member

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    I guess it kind of depends on the nature of the monster. If it's a kind of supernatural demonic-type entity then the military could have a deal with it, where as long as they provide it with sacrifices, the army will remain undefeated.

    As for a reason they could give the soldiers. Islands are often very useful locations for bases. True it is abandoned at the moment but they could have sent the soldiers there under the guise of setting up a permanent base. Or at least determine if the island would make a good location for a base.

    Maybe as opposed to the oddity of their mission as the trigger for their doubts of the mission's true purpose it could be them stumbling upon the remains of prior sacrifices.
     
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  4. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Make it up. The island has an unmanned submarine tracking station and some soldiers are sent there because the equipment stopped working properly.

    Or they are on a routine maintenance mission.

    Or they are setting the equipment up for the first time.

    See, easy peasy when you can just make stuff up. :D
     
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  5. Stammis

    Stammis Banned

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    Thanks! Those are good suggestions. I really wish I could just forget everything that I've written because that's what's holding me back, trying to somehow incorporate what I've already established. The main character, named Banks, backstory is that he look up to his father who's a war veteran and he wants to do his part, but after a deadly accident during basic training, he realised he could never kill and seeks a way out while not disgracing himself and his father's legacy.

    Somehow the plot comes in opposition with the characters as it shift focus to them instead of the Monster and the spooky environment, I somehow cannot make them work together.
     
  6. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    The first thing that entered my head when I was reading your OP, @Stammis, is that the military would be VERY interested in investigating an island where its sailors keep going missing.

    Do you mean 'sailors,' as in 'navy?' If so, that could be an island with potential strategic importance ...a tracking station, or something like that. But all the expeditions previously sent there, to set the thing up, have vanished/failed? Maybe Banks volunteers for this mission, thinking it would help him to prove himself ...to his father, and to anybody else who might doubt his courage.
     
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  7. Rzero

    Rzero Reluctant voice of his generation Contributor

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    I would imagine this is a problem the military inherited. If there's no sacrifice, all hell breaks loose, maybe literally, as in hell could come to Earth. A thousand years ago, the villagers were on their own with the sacrifice, but at some point the government stepped in, because it was too important. Over the centuries, it's fallen into local legend, but the military still sends grunts to their doom. The soldiers could even comment on how they don't see any strategic value to the island, but the reader knows at some point, either from the beginning or after a reveal, why the soldiers are really there.

    You could either leave the whole history vague or do a little background on the king that conquered the area and took over the sacrifice and how that evolved into involvement from the modern military, depending on how much history you want in there.
     
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  8. Cdn Writer

    Cdn Writer Contributor Contributor

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    Currently Reading::
    TRYING (!!!) to read Eric Flint's "Ring of Fire" series.......it's soooo many books!!!!!
    One thing that can play into what's happening is the time concept. What I mean is that maybe the monster needs to be fed every "X" number of years, and that number is so large that after each sacrifice, the reason starts to fade....say every 25, 35 years? I mean it's a military - some soldiers die every year. It's not like 100,000 soldiers go missing every month, right? If it's one soldier every 15 years.....maybe it was misadventure?

    If I remember correctly, there was an incident maybe 10, 15 years ago where a soldier in the Japanese military was discovered hiding on an island and killing random people - he didn't know that world war 2 was over and continued to fight. Something like that could happen where an older soldier remains on the island and helps out Burns?
     
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  9. Some Guy

    Some Guy Manguage Langler Supporter Contributor

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    This sounds a lot like the sub-plots in Lost and Arrow. You have the opportunity to make such things the focus of a story instead of confusing attention grabbers. I'd love to read that.
     
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