Author Topic: Generating a story  (Read 3317 times)

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Online Buster's Uncle

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Generating a story
« on: March 30, 2016, 08:34:57 PM »
I've an idea here for a group exercise in generating story premises and plots.  I saw Orson Scott Card do this with a class once - it's a little like when improv comedian troupes poll the audience for key aspects of a sketch, but far more interactive.

In short, it's talking story, the most fun part of writing, if not the most productive...

So here's the deal; I fancy I have the skills to write stories, but not so much with the ideas.  Post and throw out an idea - it can be incredibly vague, like "Ice-mining Europa", and we'll kick it around until I think we've got enough, and try to write it up.  Contributors get a 'with' credit on the by-line in approximate order of how much and how crucial the contributions are...

(This could even be a contest, Valka, if more than one person wanted to write the same conversation up...  A badge for a prize - and the satisfaction and ego-boo.  Might be worth thinking over and working out details of how that would go, like who the judge is, and so on...)

If we wanted to take a shortcut first time out, well, I have two short chapters of They Also Serve Who Stand to Sweep that I find excellent, but in need of ... everything else.  Some characters and relationships/situations are set up, but I need to think of an ending and a plot in-between before I can write more - which I'd really like to.

-Or, we can kick around Ice-mining (or Space Pirates of) Europa - or anything anyone comes up with.  Again, talking story is fun, fun FUN!  I really learned most of what I know about coming up with a story talking about my sister's early Star Trek fanfic with her.  Anybody game?
« Last Edit: March 30, 2016, 08:59:03 PM by BUncle »

Offline Unorthodox

Re: Generating a story
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2016, 10:23:44 PM »
The world needs a mind worm horror story.  Just saying. 

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Re: Generating a story
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2016, 10:29:19 PM »
Okay; read the first chapter of this War Crimes: Operation Slapdash and talk to me.  I've used something like the idea, but I hardly think it's used up in such a short passage...



Incidentally, I might be able to do something with They Also Serve Who Stand to Sweep linked in the OP if I only had an idea of where it ends - plot in between might very well take care of itself if I knew where it was going.

Offline Unorthodox

Re: Generating a story
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2016, 10:38:32 PM »
Yeah.  Ok. We need a more classic tale.  The slow burn. 

Look.  Unless I missed something, Mind Worm biology is MORE OR LESS COMPLETELY OPEN.  Yes, we have decent description and experience of how fully grown mindworms and boils work. 

They don't start out at 10 cm long though.  We have description of worms living off the fungus or grown up in the test tube to form weapons. 

What about the lab accident where insert some worms escape, or some researcher is unwittingly infected?   

THEY ARE PARASITES.  Parasites are insidious.

HOW do they infect?  HOW do they reproduce? 

SYMPTOMS:  What?  How long before showing signs?  How long before obvious?

And, according to lore, it can effect different people differently.  One person can go violent zombie, the next unfathomable pain, the next brilliantly wild fantasies. 

Ending point of the story: realization the entire base is infected.  (it made it to the tanks?)

Offline Mart

Re: Generating a story
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2016, 11:01:38 PM »
They Also Serve Who Stand to Sweep, was it started when we were playing demogame on WPC? And we intended to begin something larger. Our two plots were on Unity Spaceship before planetfall.

Spaceship stories have something interesting in them and attractive for sci-fi fans, generational speceships in particular. But it would be difficult to place mindworms on a spaceship before reaching Chiron.

Mindworm horror.
- how many years after planetfall.
- which factions included? Maybe even there would some new one, a splinter faction? They have some additional doctrine in ideology, that made them to separate from their original leader.
- would be the story part of original in-game plot? At what stage then? how much of that original story is already known to people.
- Anything to borrow from "Dune", be inspired more. From "Alien" or "Aliens"

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Re: Generating a story
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2016, 11:50:25 PM »
They Also Serve Who Stand to Sweep - yes; the demogame story.  Ooh, I do not like the notion of turning that one into a horror...  Mart, you're the person I most wanted help with in doing SOMEthing with it...

Hold on; I've got a mindworm horror story idea I've pitched before.  Lemme find that.

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Re: Generating a story
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2016, 11:58:11 PM »
Uno, I remember pitching this to you before, but not exactly when/where - and your parasite taking over notion reminded me...

It just struck me...



The background concept I had in making my first faction was always "lab experiment run amok". 

You know what?  There's a really creepy horror story in that.  Anyone think they'd like to write some horror?  I'll be glad to help, but I'm not a horror guy, so someone else needs to take point.

I've also done a Planet Cult version of same, with the worm taking Cha's place entirely, and there are two worm factions in the NN stuff. Definitely GotM possibilities there.  Deirdreworm could even be a controlled clone, so the Gaians and Cult could still be in there - or not...

Offline Unorthodox

Re: Generating a story
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2016, 12:14:09 AM »

Mindworm horror.
- how many years after planetfall.


What about some kind of small advanced team sent ahead of Unity?  A failed seed colony, perhaps it's demise is the last straw breaking up the factions?


Quote
- which factions included? Maybe even there would some new one, a splinter faction? They have some additional doctrine in ideology, that made them to separate from their original leader.


Horror works best with small groups.  We want 8-12 individuals.

Quote
- would be the story part of original in-game plot? At what stage then? how much of that original story is already known to people.


I don't even know the whole plot. 

Quote
- Anything to borrow from "Dune", be inspired more. From "Alien" or "Aliens"


Scifi Creature horror is best when based on something grounded in reality.  Alien was based on a Pepsis Wasp.  Aliens on ant colonies. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxocariasis

Real parasites.  Eggs can lay dormant and infective for years, waiting for the right host, yet the more aggressive adults are also infective and will invade hosts.  Once in a body, they can encyst as larvae, and lay dormant for years as well, becoming active later.   Perhaps these eggs were accidentally brought in on suits or something, get into the food supply...

other nightmare fuel to base a creature off:  http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/01/090130-immortal-jellyfish-swarm.html

Killing one causing it to release/create a bunch of babies/eggs? 

Something else that I thought of I don't remember from Canon:  The relation between the mind worms and the fungus?  It seems there is one? 
« Last Edit: March 31, 2016, 12:30:50 AM by Unorthodox »

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Re: Generating a story
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2016, 12:32:49 AM »
There is one - the fungus is a (sleeping) planet-wide vegetable intelligence, the mindworms serving as something like antibodies...

Uno do bother to look at my last post; "lab experiment run amok".


It's standard formula for that kind of Alien/The Thing pick-'em off one-by-one story to limit the space by setting it mostly in a remote outpost like a base in a hostile environment or aboard a ship - enough space for the victims cast to separate (and get picked off), but bounded.  -Similar could apply to the parasite/replacement thing, which Alien and The Thing, respectively, are.

-Likewise for parasite mind control...  If we did something with the Gaians custom faction (and it WOULD make for a great GotM Mart, especially with a story), we'd have some little spot illustrations to go with.  Imagine four chapters, starting with a stage one unaltered Gaian base for chapter one, growing with each chapter and transitioning the stage four Mindworms with Minds base topping chapter four...

Offline Unorthodox

Re: Generating a story
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2016, 12:50:01 AM »
(crossposted)  will look back later.

Way I initially would spitball it:

  • Don't get stuck with the *MIND*worm.  I see a systemic infection with mental changes being the symptoms.  The mental changes could come from a chemical/other reaction (going off canon there)
  • Fungus connection could explore Cordyceps type infections.
  • Taking minimum 8 person team
  • One person acting funny/drunk/out of character/not SCARY-suspect psychoactive reaction to something - Fungus?
  • Dies unexpectedly.
  • autopsy - worms escape - kill person/people
  • worms killed mechanically (shot/stabbed/etc) near food/farm.
  • days/weeks later second person infected goes violent zombie
  • burn body to prevent worm release - see them pop/release eggs when they die.
  • testing food shows eggs contaminate everything...

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Re: Generating a story
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2016, 12:58:10 AM »
This could all work - the game says virtually nothing about the mindworm lifecycle - and there's and old joke in SMACX fandom about fungal gin; that could explain "•One person acting funny/drunk/out of character/not SCARY-suspect psychoactive reaction to something".

...One part of the Mindworms with Minds idea I realize I never mentioned out loud is that the experiment that made it happen caused a separation from the PlanetMind - it need not necessarily come into the story, but what the worm boogerman is after is --- it feels something missing and doesn't know what.  It's crudely trying to instinctively (re)create the PlanetMind by making a group mind with its victims/symbiotes...

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Re: Generating a story
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2016, 01:42:18 AM »
They Also Serve Who Stand to Sweep, was it started when we were playing demogame on WPC? And we intended to begin something larger. Our two plots were on Unity Spaceship before planetfall.
Yes.  The discussion thread is here. http://alphacentauri2.info/index.php?topic=1387.0  Let's talk about it...

Offline Valka

Re: Generating a story
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2016, 02:46:12 AM »
Story prompts are the most basic part of Iron Pen (the competition I run at CFC). They're the "secret ingredient" that the writers don't get to find out until it's time to start.

It's always interesting for me to see how the writers interpret the secret ingredient.

Offline Unorthodox

Re: Generating a story
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2016, 03:55:46 AM »
Feel free to take any of those and link me to the results. 

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Re: Generating a story
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2016, 04:23:24 AM »
We've got an idea - we need characters.  Got any thoughts? - they could easily be pretty archetypal...

 

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