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Author Topic: Outline for story.  (Read 6103 times)
Andrew D. Perez
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« on: October 12, 2007, 11:24:35 PM »

Here's an outline I wrote when I woke up after a 4 hour plane flight and was wondering if it seems all right.



Matthew was a hypochondriac and watched the news every morning to catch up on the latest sickness. This morning the broadcast was on the flu, which he has not caught… yet. His wife, Courtney, had caught the flu the week before and was still plagued. He could hear her now retching in their bedroom. “Honey, don’t get any on the bed! You know how I am!” He yelled. He sure as hell didn’t want to catch the flu, especially this one; he even hated the thought of vomiting. On the second day of Courtney’s sickness he slept on the couch, and still does, to avoid any contagions. The news anchor had said something about possible deaths, but he couldn’t hear it over his wife’s loud spewing. Damn that woman!


    Naomi was in her study viewing the latest b-movie monster on TV when a special news bulletin had interrupted the movie.
There have been so far 200 deaths from this new flu epidemic across the states. We go live to Valerie Mann in Utah. Thanks Michael. I’m here speaking with Doctor Reznor about the new disease. “Yes this disease starts out with flu symptoms the first week of contact, but after the second week the body seems to reject everything in their system and even their organs.” Behind the doctor the emergency room is full to the brim and a man retches up something red and long, it’s bright color staining the hospital floor. Its quick flow from his mouth seems to even astound the man himself. Another man yells, “ Keep him away from the others! Quarantine him now!!” Two men wearing the proper safety measures drag the vomiter away into a room where his vomiting continues as he spews over one of the men dragging him. The man’s face is covered with red goo and what appears to be a part of his intestine. The doctor just looks at this with a blank look as he turns back toward the camera and says, “If you have any loved one who have flu like symptoms please take them to your nearest hospital ASAP.”
“Holy shit”, Natalie says in a whisper. She looks up towards her mother’s room directly above the stairs. She’s been sick for 3 weeks. She climbs up the stairs and knocks softly on the door. “Mom are you Ok?” She asks. No sound from behind the door. Natalie opens the door and sees a bucket full of blood and her mom lying on the floor. “Oh my god!” She yells as she picks up her mother. “We’re going to go for a little ride to the ER. It’s gonna be all right mom.” She says trying to reassure her dying mother. She manages to walk her mother down the steps, her weight feeling like a ton of bricks, only to have her throw up again at the bottom and collapse on the floor. She picks up her mother with hot tears running down her face. She opens the garage and puts her in the passenger seat of their car. As she goes around to her side of the car she spots her next-door neighbor walking towards her with his robe open revealing his Looney Tunes boxers and a chest full of chunky blood. “Mr. Keene –,” was all she could say before he collapsed and a pool of blood seeped from his body. She rushed towards him and checked his pulse. Dead. She left him and started the car and was on her way to the hospital.



    Doctor Reznor was still shaken up from the interview. He needed something to take the edge off. He reached into his drawer and pulled out the bottle of Schnapps that helped him through many an epidemic. The horrible taste slid down his throat and he had to grimace.
As he put on some music the door to his office opened with a bang as it hit the wall behind it. Seymour, one of his trainees, stepped in. “Sir,” he said,  “your wife has been tested and I am sorry to say, but she has the virus. I’m sorry sir.” Why does he repeat that? Reznor thought. “Thanks for the information Seymour”. He sat there for a while in silence trying to hold back his tears. Then Seymour broke the silence, “Sir?” He looked up, broken from his sulking trance, “Put her in a safe room. I want to speak to her privately.”  Without saying a word Seymour walked out of the room. As soon as Seymour was gone Reznor started to cry. The warm tears streamed down his face. He thought it ironic that as he got the news the song “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” was playing.


Courtney had been throwing up all day and all Matthew wanted was for her to shut up. She threw up again. “OH WON’T YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP!” he yelled. He suddenly got an idea. He went to his fridge and grabbed the bottle of Pepto-Bismol. Always helps with my stomach problems, he thought. He poured the pink goop into a small cup and put the bottle back into the fridge. He stood in front of the door and admired the cool air and the fact that the house was silent. Then Courtney vomited again. “FUCK!” he yelled.
He grabbed the cup and headed to the bedroom. He knocked on the closed door and said, “ Honey, I got some Pepto for you.”
Silence.
“Honey?” he asked as he tried the knob. It turned and he opened the door slowly. A dim orange light hit his face. As he looked he dropped the cup that held the Pepto.
The room was covered in dark red blood. Chunks of intestine littered the floor and a long piece hung from one of the fan blades above the bed. Courtney lay across the bed and, at the moment, not vomiting. Thank god


 
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Ed
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« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2007, 05:20:13 AM »

Hi Andrew. Welcome to the forum smiley

Difficult to know where to start with this - I'm not sure whether you mean this is the bare bones of a story that you're going to fill in later, or whether this is an outline, as in a concept.

Either way, you need to introduce a goal pretty early on in the story - something that your main character (MC) needs to achieve. Dunno if you've read Steven King's novel 'Cell', but in that story there's a contagion that seems to have come from mobile phones, but the story isn't about that alone. The contagion is just a backdrop to a story about a father searching for his son in the ensuing carnage.

Same sort of thing happens with zombie films. Look at 28 Days later. The illness itself isn't what the story is all about. The interesting part of the story is the main character's quest to survive and find a safe haven.

Same thing here, with the bones of your story - the illness itself isn't enough on its own to actually be a story in its own right, so you need to add a goal for the MC to go after. The pursuit of this goal will help move the story along and keep your reader hooked, so he has to keep reading to find out what happens next.

I hope this is of some help to you. Good luck, and keep writing afro
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« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2007, 07:56:16 AM »

If you have a hero in there, it would be helpful.  yes I can't pick one out in this material--yet. Characterization is key to good story-telling. So far the only sympathetic character above is Naomi, b/c her actions tell us her character is "good."

Following up on Ed's good advice: What goal will drive the hero or heroine to walk on glass to achieve? It can't be she wants to find her cat. It has to be so intrinsic to her identity or spiritual needs that the reader will suspend disbelief in the face of all that she must overcome. The buckets of blood are no deterrent if her child is at risk. Or is she the scientist who will save the world? The goal must be worthy of the MC, or the reader will put the story down.

Good luck! Keep jotting down those story ideas, to echo Ed again, ask yourself for every strory or scene what is the MC's goal?
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« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2007, 10:21:12 AM »

I think Ed and Sharon are bang-on with their assessment here. I'd almost expect to see Naomi become the hero in this story and maybe Matthew as a supporting lead supplying an element of disgust, humour, resistance, or other human reactions that people don't like to admit to during this kind of emergency. Two lead characters can cover the spectrum of emotion and give the reader licence to feel a whole array of emotion. If both are unwitting heroes then it's easier to show disgust, etc., as long as it's in unison with a character who is generally good. It's also easier to manipulate specific events with two MC's as they can be played against each other or used in unison for extra emphasis. There definitely needs to be a hero.
The doctors reaction seemed strange to me-- that he would wait for a co-worker to leave the room before showing his sadness. That immediately separated me from him, and gave me a feeling of suspicion. Perhaps he's partly responsible for this whole thing? A potential antagonist?
It's an interesting plot with tons of gore and potential for suspence. Keep developing that plot and let us know how it's coming along.
Good luck, Andrew, you've definitely come to the right place for this genre.
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Andrew D. Perez
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« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2007, 10:56:50 PM »

Is it possible for a woman to vomit a fetus if she has a disease that makes her vomit her internal organs.
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Ed
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« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2007, 03:15:07 AM »

Is it possible for a woman to vomit a fetus if she has a disease that makes her vomit her internal organs.

I don't think it's possible for anybody to vomit their internal organs, or a foetus - it would require that the organs and foetus somehow ended up in the digestive tract, which is pretty close to impossible. But then this is fiction, so you can do what you want within reason. All you have to do is come up with a way for it to be possible.
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« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2007, 09:30:36 AM »

It's far more likely that she would eject (for lack of a better term) the fetus due to the force of extreme vomiting. In terms of horror writing that's not so bad though, it's still plenty gruesome. Sharon knows far more about the medical aspects than most. I agree with Ed about the internal organs-- you can't really puke them up, in real life. But then again, maybe you've invented a new disease. If it can be reasonably explained and made believable, then the sky's the limit.






edited because I can't spell.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2007, 10:35:25 AM by Walker » Logged

"Lord, here comes the flood, we will say goodbye to flesh and blood. If, again, the seas are silent in any still alive, it'll be those who gave their island to survive. Drink up, dreamers, you're running dry."
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« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2007, 05:41:43 PM »

In the real world, there are only 2 ways a baby can come out: through the vagina or through a C-section.

With respect to vomiting up organs, you might want to invent some disease analogous to Ebola virus. That's pretty awful. You die painfully in a pile of bloody, pustulent blisters that explode and you bleed to death, internally and externally. Nice, hunh?

In your story, you could have an alien parasite (remember ALIEN?) that causes internal organs to turn to mush through enzymatic routes--autodigestion, which is what causes the PAIN of pancreatic cancer.

Lots of options here. Surf round and look for painful deaths by disease, or epidemic. Good luck!  afro
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Ed
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« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2007, 05:45:07 PM »

Yeauch... I think that's one of the most horrible posts I've ever read, Sharon undecided

Well done afro grin
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« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2007, 05:49:46 PM »

Why thank YEWWWWW!!  dance dance
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Andrew D. Perez
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« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2007, 01:34:26 AM »

how about a disease that combines my vomiting sickness, the ebola, and something else i'm not too sure about. 3 diseases attacking the body at once? Possible?
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Ed
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« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2007, 03:29:49 AM »

Anything is possible in fiction smiley
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Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]
Andrew D. Perez
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« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2007, 09:32:00 PM »

would the story be more believable if there was an explanation of the virus or not?
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« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2007, 03:38:26 AM »

would the story be more believable if there was an explanation of the virus or not?

I think it depends upon how believable the premise is to start with, but then don't have to explain anything, and IMO you shouldn't try to explain anything directly - it's usually better to explore the problem through dialogue, or reported dialogue, or through the MC's thoughts, or all three. Having your characters try to understand the disease, how it works and how it spreads can give you another thread to your story - another plot line.
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