I want to write a story about ghosts.
I want to write this scene where the protagonist is betrayed by their best friend.
I want to write a deaf character.
Do I want the ghosts to be frightening or friendly? -> Friendly, or at least neutral.Will my protagonist be able to communicate with them? -> Yes.How? -> I don't want her to be able to directly see them. I like the idea of using traditional gimmicks, like candles and ouija boards.
Is this betrayal a climax or an inciting incident? -> How about an inciting incident.Should the protagonist end up physically injured or handicapped from the betrayal? -> Of course!Is this story going to be about the consequences, or trying to set things straight? Revenge? -> I'd love to see the two characters divided early on, struggle against each other, and reconcile in the end.
What kind of world does this deaf person live in? -> I have an itch to write steampunk. Maybe a city in the clouds, powered by gears.Are there a lot of deaf people here? -> No more than in our world.Does she have any advantage from being deaf? -> Maybe since she won't be distracted by sounds, she'd be a good person to navigate through loud things. A type of airship with really loud engines? An airbeast that incapacitates its prey with a screech?
What makes this person not an ideal psychic? -> She can communicate with the ghosts, but she's a really shy, timid girl, so she hates actually going into haunted houses.Then why does she do it? -> She needs the money. She's searching for something left behind from a dead relative. She's looking for a friend who's passed--oooh I like that one.Who is this friend and why does she need to find them? -> The friend died under mysterious or dubious circumstances. Best friend. Recent death. She misses the friend terribly and needs closure.
Why does one character betray the other? -> I didn't pick a genre for this one yet. I love vigilantes, so how about a story about them--a secret identity is betrayed.Why would the friend give up the protagonist's secret identity? -> The friend is in trouble and uses it to get out of trouble. No, even better--the protagonist is captured or grievously wounded, and the friend reveals or delivers them to the authorities so they can help/save the protag's life.Are they both vigilantes, then? -> If yes, then that puts the friend's secret identity at risk, too. Perfect--more conflit!
Let's say this deaf character fights off screechy airbeasts. How and why? -> The airbeasts threaten the aircity. There's a small navy that protects the city.Does her airship have a big crew or little crew--or just her by herself? -> Little crew. That way we have characters to play with, but don't need to go overboard with explanations and character development.What's her position on the crew? -> Captain would be great. But if she's shouting orders, no one would be able to hear her over the screeching. Maybe pilot would be better--she can keep everything on course without getting disabled by the creature's cry. Also can do lots of fun maneuvering.
Our psychic is looking for her dead best friend. She can either find the friend or not. If not, the story is about her journey. If she does, then the story is about what the friend reveals. That sounds more interesting. So what happens when she finds her friend? -> Friend reveals she's not the only one who died for the same reason--there's something bigger and badder going on. Maybe a bunch of people in one place and one time, or maybe spread around the globe dying off here and there. I like the first one.What is that bigger and badder thing? This is a paranormal world, so should the thread be paranormal? -> I want our hero's skills to come into play, and I also want to push on her weakness of being fearful. However, I don't want to be cliche with something like demons coming through a portal. How about a mortal enemy, who uses paranormal means.What and why? -> Another psychic--who's ALSO lost a dead friend! This psychic is trying to bring that dead friend back to life. Bad things happen. (Similar situation to our protag, but different way of dealing with it.)
One vigilante giving away the secret identiy of another is already full of conflict. How can we give it even more? -> Putting the friend at risk is a good one. Now the friend has to go on the run, while the protag is dying in the hospital. And because they were injured mid-crises, the baddie is free to further their plan without opposition. Then, the protag is going to be wounded and have a lot of trouble trying to stop the baddie! Pretty straightforward so far. What wrench can we throw in the mix? -> Friend works for the baddie? Nah, cliche. Baddie works for the friend? Better. Friend doesn't realize it. Scenes between the baddie and the friend, where only the reader realizes what's going on. Then we can have other scenes where the baddie confronts the protag (maybe even in the hospital!), and the protag doesn't realize that there's a relationship between the baddie and the friend.
So far our deaf character is set up for success. How can we make her life harder? -> She's a pilot, so her career and rank is important to her. Perhaps there's a rival pilot who wants her position, and tries to sabotage her.How would this sabotage work? -> Something to make the captain disappointed in her. A poor performance is a must, but it's going to be more gutting if it's on a personal level too. The sabotage makes it look like she did something in poor character--something selfish or ruthless, maybe.So everyone's hunky dory flying around on their airships, with a bit of interpersonal drama? -> Time to have some airbeasts break through the defenses and wreck part of the city. All sorts of things we can do here--damage airship fuel supplies, destroy homes with relatives of the MCs, cause ripples in the navy leadership by killing the higher-ups, general mayhem leading to factions and protests and riots as everyone disagrees about what to do.
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