So for the first time ever, despite having done NaNoWriMo 4 times before, I attended a NaNoWriMo local meeting. It was quite fun, in as much as 20 awkward, introverts meeting in a pub with a group of people they have never met can be fun.
One of the exercises that we did was called Pimp My Plot, the idea is you write a short synopsis of your plot on a bit of paper and then you hand it round the room each person adds a little to your plot. While some people will have gotten more use out of this than others it was none the less an interesting exercise.
I was caught off guard and had to scribble down my plot, here is what I wrote:
Due to a clerical error James finds himself unable to die. Meanwhile a demon working for a charity that raises money to fund plots to end the world is accidentally summoned by a group of teenage girls trying to perform a ritual to make boys like them.
I’m not even sure if that summarises my ideas well, like I said I was caught off guard. Knowing that 20 other people were going to comment on it I was pressed for space.
Here are the responses I got.
Babo is the Devil
James finds himself caught in a conspiracy to end the world through his mere existence, to use him as a source of infinite power to power a device that will rip a hole in reality.
I’m not sure that the first word is “Babo”, I can’t read the handwriting. I hope the word I’m missing isn’t intrinsic to the idea. While I reckon that the there will probably be some conspiracy, and James will be at the center of it I’m unsure how this will pan out. I think the way that imagine the clerical error happening means that it’s unlikely that he has been given any kind of power. I think it’s just that they can’t harvest his soul/move him on to the next plane of reality until his paperwork is in order, and since they have lost the paper work that is going to take some time.
James is the key to either life or the end of the world, but the girls decide he is the ultimate man…
I hadn’t actually figured how James and the girls were linked, I didn’t think that the girls would actually fall for him, the teenage girls were actually a McGuffin to get the demon into the world in a comical fashion. I was debating killing them off, although I might have just one survive and she will be his bane. Or something along those lines, whether she will “Fall for” James is another matter entirely.
…and must fight the demons, their alternate selves and a fallen god to have him.
The girls start to make boys into girls and the balance of the world is upset as girls start to find it difficult to find boy friends.
I don’t think this is going to feature much, I have a concept of how the theology is going to work in the universe of my story, and that is that every religion is right. I have a quite complex justification for this that probably doesn’t make sense and is probably going to sound better being explained by one of my characters through the narrative rather than here.
I’m going to drop the Y: The Last Man Vol. 1 – Unmanned esque plot idea as i don’t think it fits with my setting, but there will probably be many fallen gods. Just maybe not in the way that the commenter intended.
James suddenly finds himself in possession of powers – much like cupid – that will help the girls. This will be key (and hilarious) to defeating the demons
Thinking my way round the table I think that this might have been written by the person who has 4 erotic fiction novels published. While the concept isn’t in it’s self erotic, I’m not entirely sure I could pull this plot off.
The only power I’d intended to give James was that he couldn’t die, I think anything else doesn’t gel with the setting. Not having Cupidian powers kind of makes this plot point moot sadly.
James falls in love with one of the girls but decides to just have them all, with disastrous consequences.
I envision James as being a bit of a lost soul, quite literally, he’s not the Casanova type, sure he might develop feelings for one of the teenagers (I’ve not decided how old he or they are but 18 is still a teenager and they may well not be teenagers, they might be University students, naïvety was what I was going for not age) assuming any of them survive. I don’t think that he’s likely to have the social skills or the balls to try to seduce all of them though.
James develops a killer allergy and must find a cure because he can’t die but his life is boring because of ….
I don’t think that word toward the end is boring and I can’t read the last word. If the point of the story was to torture my character this might be a good way to go, you can’t die but you are going to spend the rest of your life in anaphalaxic shock, is pretty horrible. The allergy could be his Kryptonite I guess, “I would have gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for those pesky cats!”
I’m unsure, initially I dismissed this outright, but I think that having such an Achilles heel might make the character more rounded. I’d have to ensure that it doesn’t crop up too often though.
It was all a dream…
Really, I’m not even sure this warrants and answer. James is going to have to get killed at some point to kick start the whole process,and the whole story could be his dream as he is lying on a hospital bed in a coma. I’ve always thought the it was all a dream plot was a little tired though, unless you are writing a story where dreams have some tangible effect on the real world like Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series then it’s a bit of a cop out.
As neither the protagonist nor the demon can die their battle plays out over and over again with the whole of human history as a backdrop. Until… James finds another immortal.
This is a great idea for another story, James is not a fighter, he’s a guy with rubbish social skills and a crap job who gets killed and finds out he can’t move on to the next life because they’ve lost his paperwork.
The demon is also not a fighter, he’s an accountant (I know I never said this in the synopsis) at a charity that tries to raise money to fund schemes to destroy the world.
Also James’ death takes place in modern times, my current plan has him “Killed” by someone holding up a convenience store. He’s not been about for years, he is just getting used to being an immortal.
Also this story is a little too epic for me, I tried epic for last year’s NaNoWriMo and it didn’t gel with my writing style.
Does he want to die? Or was he happy with the situation? Does he let people around him know? Use it for the good of others? Can he still be hurt? IE bleed, break bones… That kind of thing
That is a list of useful questions:
Does he want to die?
No, at least not to begin with. He’s not made his peace with the world and he dies trying to save someone. I guess a darker version of this would start with him slitting his wrists and then finding out, much to his chagrin, that he can’t die.
Is he happy with the situation?
I think happy is a strong word, confused with what to do with himself is more likely. I see him as having lead a fairly mundane aimless life previous to his “incident”, when he gets sent back, he tries to find some sort of purpose for his life. After all if he can’t die then he probably should do some good. Unfortunately I see him as being a man with little or no practical talents, and he probably doesn’t have the strength of will to stick at anything for any period of time. It’s not like he could go off to the Himalayas and spend 20 years training to be BatMan or anything like that, that would be too much hassle.
Does he let people around him know?
I’ve been humming and hawing about this for a while, I don’t know the answer yet. I think the people who send him back have a process for successful reintegration of people who for whatever reason have to be sent back due to processing misshapes.
This process will have been set in place due to previous cases where a person who could not be processed was inappropriately reintegrated into society.
“We really screwed up with this one guy about two thousand years ago, guy died on a cross but we couldn’t find his paper work so we sent him back. Everyone thought he was some kind of messiah. Luckily Bob over there found his paperwork three days later, it had been filed under Y when it should have been filed under J”
Something like that.
Use it for the good of others?
I think he will try to, but he won’t know how to. I mean if your only super power was that you couldn’t die what would you do?
Can he still be hurt?
Yes, I think he will be imbued with a healing factor by the administrative body that sends him back, but it’s not like Wolverine’s healing factor, he heals over days, and gods does it hurt.
If he wants to die he must give the demon ten koala souls.
There was someone who was trying to work Koalas in everyone’s story… I’m not going to humour this. Although I might mention Koalas in passing during a trip to the zoo.
Is he able to choose life or death? Was he meant to die in the first place?
He isn’t able to choose, he can’t be processed until his papers are processed and since they can’t find his papers he can’t die.
I don’t think the concept of fate is going to play into my story, nothing is meant to be until it happens, if it happens then it has happened.
All boys like them – from toddlers to octogenarians
Again I’ve not put much thought into the girls, if I were scripting an episodic story then this might be possible, it sounds like the plot of an episode of Buffy that vampire slayer though, and I’m not sure I’d be able to write that. I might though, the whole point of it is that the ritual failed though.
He sells his soul to fix things
Souls and the selling thereof are governed by contract law. As James’ paperwork cannot be found it cannot be determined whether or not he has a soul to sell in the first place.
What happens if he loses a limb?
Like I’ve said earlier, he is given a healing factor, but it would take days to grow one back, and it would be excruciatingly painful to lose a limb. He’s not a comic book character who shrugs off pain like that.
James has been trying to commit suicide and continues to try again and again, but the demons start to chase him and he realises he does want to live.
This would work in a different book, with a different James, but not with the character that I envision.
I love this idea and I really want to read it. Anyway the demon’s older brother is much higher up in the hierarchy of hell, and their relationship is typical, overachiever vs unlucky slacker
It’s nice to get a compliment, I might add in other demons, I’m not sure at this point. Part of me wants to add in depressed version of the devil himself, he’s given up on running hell because he’s depressed. Lilith has left him for someone else because he doesn’t have the fire he used to.
Part of me likes the idea of the overachieving sibling for the demon character, I want him to appear to be just as down on his luck as James does.
James is doomed to eternal celestial filing.
I don’t think I want James to spend is time filing souls, he may well have been filed away, but he gets sent back to earth to continue/resume living. Perhaps as someone else.
Dead Pool references
I really wish I’d read more Dead Pool comics, I’ve seen the odd snippet here and there on the net and I like what I see, but I don’t know enough about the character to be able to make references. Also I don’t think James has Dead Pool’s sense of humour, or his multiple personality disorder for that matter.
So uh yeah, that’s that. NaNoWriMo starts in 2 days and I have some food for thought.