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Kroozer101
2011-05-09, 01:53 PM
I'm a prolific writer, who just lacks the courage to submit anything. I try for a story once a month (about as much as my schedule can stand), and I think it's time I sent something in. I have a setting in mind, a few character ideas, and... no plot. None. That's what I'm here for. I'd like some ideas. I think I have enough for a longish story/ a good sized novel. It's a setting that has places to go.
The setting is a futuristic America, not too far away. 2% of the population controls 99.5% of the wealth, leaving the rest to fight for the scraps. The city I have in mind is either San Francisco or LA, depending. It's big, complex, and it has room for lots of characters. Go to work, Idea Elves!

leakingpen
2011-05-09, 02:33 PM
I would want to at least have a sketch of your characters and where they are in the world to know proper plot.


also, have you considered serializing your work online?

jerriecan
2011-05-09, 02:39 PM
There's a simple formula for stories: Story = Character + Conflict.

Sounds like you've got at least some of the characters in mind, and the setting sounds like there's lots of potential conflict. It sounds like you just need a way to bring the two together.

And don't try for the huge opus from the start - just tell a story, then another, then another. Maybe with the same characters, maybe just in the same world. Soon your characters will be getting into all sorts of trouble on their own that you never saw coming, and boom - you're off on an adventure.

Best of luck!

Jerriecan

Kroozer101
2011-05-09, 02:46 PM
I would want to at least have a sketch of your characters and where they are in the world to know proper plot.


also, have you considered serializing your work online?
No, I haven't. That... might work. I'll post my character sketches when I get a chance, but they're very rough, and any character ideas would be much appreciated, as well.


There's a simple formula for stories: Story = Character + Conflict.

Sounds like you've got at least some of the characters in mind, and the setting sounds like there's lots of potential conflict. It sounds like you just need a way to bring the two together.

And don't try for the huge opus from the start - just tell a story, then another, then another. Maybe with the same characters, maybe just in the same world. Soon your characters will be getting into all sorts of trouble on their own that you never saw coming, and boom - you're off on an adventure.

Best of luck!

Jerriecan
Thank you, sir. The advice looks great.

leakingpen
2011-05-09, 05:11 PM
Thats very sound advice from jerrie. (hence why i was asking about the characters, so we can come up with ways to screw with them)

Should you be interested in the online serialization, check the link in my sig.

Kroozer101
2011-05-09, 05:53 PM
Just to familiarize yourselves, here's a better idea of the setting, now that I've started to write.
Imagine LA. The city proper is deserted (I haven't figured out why yet, so, again, ideas very welcome) leaving a massive shanty town on the outskirts. The Fats (those with the money) live miles away, leaving only a Mafia-esque organization that controls basic resources, like food, water, and electricity. You can steal these things, but your life is worth nothing from that moment on. A barter system is in place, and the residents generally do their trading at the Midnight Bazaar, a marketplace held from dusk to morning. Money, cash money, is a treasure for some, toilet paper and fire starter for others. It is the only thing the Fats accept, so, if you wish to purchase a drink of water, you'd better have the check in hand. Citizens of Morte (the working title of the town) sleep through the afternoon, avoiding the heat. Death by starvation is a daily occurrence. Few but the Vultures enter the Lonely City (local name for the actual) for the dangers are many and returns slim. There are the Lost, men who attempted to live in the L.C. and were driven insane. The Faded exist in that area as well - men who have simply given up and walked into the L.C. to die. And then, there are the Packs. Feral animals, looking for a meal, are often a Vulture's worst fear.
The Vultures are people who willingly enter the Lonely City, looking for food, money, gear, valuables: You name it, somebody is looking for it. They usually sell most of what they find, keeping little for themselves. Many have caches tucked away, so that, if they hit a dry spell, they can sell some of the better-quality things they have stored. If you can survive it, it's one of the best jobs you can have, apart from working for the Fats.

Kroozer101
2011-05-09, 05:59 PM
Finally, the moment we've all been waiting for: The long-awaited character sketches!

Introducing:
Carlos Jared Miller Ramirez, a seventeen-year-old Vulture with quick wits and an innate friendliness that has made him somewhat successful. His battered satchel is filled with things like duct tape, Clif bars, and sticks: anything he could use during his work. He carries a military knife he found some years ago, his most prized possession. He's the only character who is definitely "in".

Darien Armas, a forty-something Goon (A worker for the Fats, one who charged money for water) who was found to be stealing water and is now on the run and hiding in the Lonely City. I'm not sure about this guy. His inclusion would be... predictable, to say the least.

Eric Lorio, Carlos' best friend. He waits tables at a Fat restaurant, and occasionally supplies merchants with Fat goods and food, all stolen.

That's who I've got for now.

Mindfreak
2011-05-09, 08:07 PM
I like the characters already, but about Carlos. Does him being a vulture mean he makes constant trips into the Lonely City? Also about the Lonely City, is it like a ruined town? I am hooked already on your idea and I wish to know more.

jerriecan
2011-05-09, 08:33 PM
Sounds very promising! Why is Carlos a Vulture? Is he a scavenger, salvaging bits of stuff from the ruins to sell in the Midnight Bazaar? What if he finds something the Fats (or others) would be willing to kill for?

How much trouble would Eric be in if he got caught? What if Darien, looking to get back in the Fats' good graces, runs across Eric's theft and decides to turn him in?

Lots of potential here!

Jerriecan

leakingpen
2011-05-10, 10:42 AM
Hmm. Reasons for it being abandoned, biological or chemical warfare, meaning some areas would still be laced with something that will kill you, drive you insane, or mutate you into a beast.

possible plot, Carlos is in a small jam, and Eric makes a run into the city for him to grab a cache carlos hid. He runs across Darien, who kidnaps him, and sends a message back to Carlos through a guy who was with Darien to bring some cash and supplies. Of course, while waiting, Darien and eric end up BOTH getting kidnapped by some nutjobs who live in the LC.



A simple vulture run is interrupted by a woman screaming for help. Carlos discovers some nutjob cult is chaining women to (make it some statue that actually exists) and leaving them there as a "sacrifice" to the spirits of the LC. all thats known is that when they come a month later to leave another sacrifice, nothing but the chain remains.


theres a couple. (and the sacrificial woman could be a recurring character later. )

Kroozer101
2011-05-10, 11:39 AM
I like the characters already, but about Carlos. Does him being a vulture mean he makes constant trips into the Lonely City? Also about the Lonely City, is it like a ruined town? I am hooked already on your idea and I wish to know more.

Yes, Carlos enters the City several times a week. The Lonely City is less ruined, and more simply abandoned. Yes, there are ruined buildings, but many structures are still standing. The Lost are mostly found there.

Kroozer101
2011-05-10, 12:03 PM
Sounds very promising! Why is Carlos a Vulture? Is he a scavenger, salvaging bits of stuff from the ruins to sell in the Midnight Bazaar? What if he finds something the Fats (or others) would be willing to kill for?

How much trouble would Eric be in if he got caught? What if Darien, looking to get back in the Fats' good graces, runs across Eric's theft and decides to turn him in?

Lots of potential here!

Jerriecan

Carlos is a Vulture because it's a way to make a living. He approaches it like a bounty hunter: it's a challenge to be met, and it keeps him from starving. A lot of teens are Vultures, if they don't have jobs with the Fats. In fact, many merchants at the Bazaar started as Vultures, so they're often sympathetic to a Vulture in need.
Now, as to the first plot point. If the Fats wanted something badly, the first thing they would do would be to circulate information to the effect that they wanted it. Many people would be willing to talk if they knew who had it. Hunger is a powerful motivator.
If they found Carlos, they would first try to get him to sell the MacGuffin legitimately. The Fats may be rich bastards, but they avoid getting their hands dirty, and approve of good deals. Carlos would drive a hard bargain, as he dislikes the Fats, but he would most likely sell, if he didn't see a practical purpose to keeping it. He's not stupid. If he didn't... Well, what's another corpse?
However, the far more likely scenario is that he would recognize its value, and store it in a cache. I see... A plot point!

As to the second, I've decided that Eric works for the Fats as a waiter. The Fats are okay with him taking leftovers (and tips) but, if he were ever caught taking supplies, two men in black suits would be paying a visit to him.
If Darien caught him, turning him in would be risky. Darien might regain his cred, or, the Fat involved would have them both killed. He could, instead, choose to blackmail Eric, but, if Eric calls the bluff, things would get tangled.

That's all I have time for at the moment. I'll come back to clean up, elaborate, and address other questions.

Mindfreak
2011-05-10, 02:37 PM
Alright, now, The Feral Animals might come into play. Perhaps maybe Carlos gives them some scraps one day if he has more then enough food to eat that would spoil soon? Then they help him get away from the Fats if he refused to give them something they wanted.

Kroozer101
2011-05-10, 03:40 PM
Alright, now, The Feral Animals might come into play. Perhaps maybe Carlos gives them some scraps one day if he has more then enough food to eat that would spoil soon? Then they help him get away from the Fats if he refused to give them something they wanted.

I don't think the Packs are smart enough, or thoughtful enough. They just want a meal. One of the Faded, yes. A Feral - no.

Kroozer101
2011-05-10, 03:49 PM
A picture of what I imagine the Midnight Bazaar to look like:

http://afflictor.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Dharavi_Slum_in_Mumbai.jpg-Kounosu.jpeg

Kislath
2011-05-12, 02:51 PM
You wanna know the funny part? This could all really happen, and probably will.

Kroozer101
2011-05-12, 04:27 PM
You wanna know the funny part? This could all really happen, and probably will.

Oddly enough, I came up with the idea after a discussion in English class.

Omeganaut
2011-05-26, 07:37 PM
I just want to add a few ideas.
First, one idea is the San Andreas Fault. It is predicted to shift sometime soon, and it is also potentially volcanic. Perhaps that had something to do with why the city is deserted, or it could be part of the conflict that motivates the characters to survive.
Another thing to consider is how the wealth became so skewed. Did some CEOs end up running wild and taking power away from world governments (who appeared less responsible than corporations). Did someone defeat the U.S. and take over? (China is the only current power that could and would do it, but if world politics change, there are many other options). Or did the U.S. government itself become corrupt, and the U.S. is now a mockery of a democracy.
Finally, nothing motivates like love. Either familial love or romantic love, either way it changes the way a person acts and causes them to pursue causes that they would otherwise consider suicidal.
I wish you luck on writing, and it always helps to have a friend and fellow writer read your drafts.