Unusual Plots

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setzer777
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Unusual Plots

Postby setzer777 » Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:37 pm UTC

Are there any general plot structures that you would like to see (in any medium), that are very rare?

Personally, I want to see a story where an unambiguously evil character unambiguously wins in the end. Told from the point of view of good characters trying to stop the bad guy but failing in every sense of the word (i.e. the bad guy will live a long, successful, happy life with no hint of any sort of justice or karma in the world). I don't know why I want to see this story, I'm not a bleak person in general.
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Re: Unusual Plots

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:48 pm UTC

So a giant Shoot the Shaggy Dog story then?
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Re: Unusual Plots

Postby setzer777 » Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:08 pm UTC

That, but mainly: The Bad Guy Wins

A lot of downer endings have things suck for everyone, or have very impersonal forces "win" (like inhuman serial killers, nature, giant corporations/empires, etc.), or have a villain protagonist. The critical thing to me is that the bad guy has a recognizable (human) personality, gets away with massive evil, and has a wonderful life while the good guys (and they need to be really good, not all anti-heroes or lesser-evils) suffer.
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Re: Unusual Plots

Postby pseudoidiot » Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:11 pm UTC

Not quite the same, but the beginning premise of the Mistborn trilogy is that the bad guy won a thousand years ago and things have been pretty terrible since; at least for the common folk.
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Re: Unusual Plots

Postby Darkscull » Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:28 pm UTC

setzer777 wrote:I don't know why I want to see this story, I'm not a bleak person in general.


Realism.
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Re: Unusual Plots

Postby Blinke » Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:35 pm UTC

There was a TV show here in Sweden that was sort of like that.

Bad cop ends up killing a teenager who was bullying his daughter. Good cop starts investigating. When he in the last episode finds out what happen he gets killed by the bad guy, who gets away with it. Final scene shows the bad cop playing basketball with his daughter. Oh and both the kid that got killed and the good cop were from the Middle East, everyone else were Swedish. Nice message there. :?

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Re: Unusual Plots

Postby Squid Tamer » Thu Jul 30, 2009 1:53 am UTC

1984 has an ending that sucks quite a bit.

I would like to see more stories where the events happening in the story affect the real world more. Most stories sort of have two "zones". The "Normal" world and the "Plot" world. Usually these two zones only interact when it helps the plot along (i.e. public outrage, evil villain destroys city, etc.). I always enjoy it when the two zones interact in a realistic way, like new technologies become common or are commercialized for domestic use, or when superheroes become a common fact of life.
I've read good stories where the relatively insignificant changes that happen change the whole world. Not for the better or the worse, but the world is forced to acknowledge that the changes exist.

There seems to be some sort of taboo against everything in the story not being a secret. Think about it. Twilight, Harry Potter, etc. How much cooler would Twilight have been if in the 2nd - 3rd book the Vampires were exposed, much of the world freaks out, and all hell breaks loose. :)

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Re: Unusual Plots

Postby mrbaggins » Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:49 pm UTC

Mate in highschool wanted to (and I think still does) want to write a fantasy novel set where the stereotypical hero and best friend who are both farmhands have a revelation and can tap into unbelievable amounts of power, yada yada...

And it will be a trilogy, these books!

And the first book will have the farm hand hero being found by a sage-type person, taking them away so that he can explore and learn how to use his skills, whilst his best friend carts about a stock of pans and pots and says things like "But you'll be ok Mr. Hero" and "Blimey!" And the first book will end with trials and tribulations against one of the evil overlords leiutenants, thus proving he is capable of saving us all from the horrors of the evil overlord.

And the second book will begin where the first leaves off, in some dark citadel with a corpse smelling slightly of sulphur and a brave farmhand beginning to realise his destiny while his helpful sidekick friend (who cooks awesome poe-tay-toes with his famous recipe of boiling them then mashing them and finally sticking them in a stew) gives him moral support. All while the random sage type person watches on, nodding to himself about this soon-to-be hero. And the second chapter will be the travelling of these 3 back to the nearest good guy outpost via horse and saddle.

During this trip, the hero will suddenly be stricken with the medical condition known as 'an arrow to the face' from some local bandits. He dies.

At this point, the sidekick steps up to be the hero of the series.

I still want to see the end result of this. Bonus points to those that recognise the two main book sets I'm stealing points from.

Edit for squidtamer: Have you seen "True blood" or read the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris? That's vamps coming 'out of the coffin' because people invent synthetic blood and it can support vamps. The books are great, a little over-sexed, and the TV series is good, but personally not ground-breaking.
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Re: Unusual Plots

Postby Jessica » Thu Jul 30, 2009 1:38 pm UTC

Well, everyone knows about scatterplots, they're kind of basic. I think that star plots are pretty unusual, don't see those very often. Then there are violin plots which are really cool. Finally, I haven't seen a box plot in a while.

There is this really weird plot in Toronto, between the 401 and the 427 where. Literally in the middle of a giant cloverleaf highway intersection, there's this tiny graveyard with like at most 20 plots in it. I find it strange every time I pass by it, because it's so out of the way, and hard to get too. I mean, how do you actually reach it? It's not like stopping on cloverleafs on a 400 series highway is a good idea...

Google maps to the rescue!
http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=q&source=s ... 19&iwloc=A
It looks like there's a road around it. Still, very weird plot.
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Re: Unusual Plots

Postby grythyttan » Thu Jul 30, 2009 1:41 pm UTC

Isn't chinatown basically what you want? It's been a while since I saw it, so I'm not completely sure.
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Re: Unusual Plots

Postby annals » Thu Jul 30, 2009 1:52 pm UTC

Squid Tamer wrote:I would like to see more stories where the events happening in the story affect the real world more. Most stories sort of have two "zones". The "Normal" world and the "Plot" world. Usually these two zones only interact when it helps the plot along (i.e. public outrage, evil villain destroys city, etc.). I always enjoy it when the two zones interact in a realistic way, like new technologies become common or are commercialized for domestic use, or when superheroes become a common fact of life.

Doctor Who seems to be doing this a lot lately.
Spoiler:
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"That's when the aliens traditionally show up and try to KILL US ALL"

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is also a good book for this, as are the Discworld series and Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next books.

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Re: Unusual Plots

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Jul 30, 2009 1:57 pm UTC

Jessica wrote:Well, everyone knows about scatterplots, they're kind of basic. I think that star plots are pretty unusual, don't see those very often. Then there are violin plots which are really cool. Finally, I haven't seen a box plot in a while.

There is this really weird plot in Toronto, between the 401 and the 427 where. Literally in the middle of a giant cloverleaf highway intersection, there's this tiny graveyard with like at most 20 plots in it. I find it strange every time I pass by it, because it's so out of the way, and hard to get too. I mean, how do you actually reach it? It's not like stopping on cloverleafs on a 400 series highway is a good idea...

Google maps to the rescue!
http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=q&source=s ... 19&iwloc=A
It looks like there's a road around it. Still, very weird plot.
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Re: Unusual Plots

Postby Jessica » Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:31 pm UTC

:D thanks ST.
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Re: Unusual Plots

Postby pseudoidiot » Thu Jul 30, 2009 2:35 pm UTC

Jessica.
Listen.
That post was made of pure awesome.
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Re: Unusual Plots

Postby steewi » Fri Jul 31, 2009 1:19 am UTC

Squid Tamer wrote:1984 has an ending that sucks quite a bit.

I would like to see more stories where the events happening in the story affect the real world more. Most stories sort of have two "zones". The "Normal" world and the "Plot" world. Usually these two zones only interact when it helps the plot along (i.e. public outrage, evil villain destroys city, etc.). I always enjoy it when the two zones interact in a realistic way, like new technologies become common or are commercialized for domestic use, or when superheroes become a common fact of life.
I've read good stories where the relatively insignificant changes that happen change the whole world. Not for the better or the worse, but the world is forced to acknowledge that the changes exist.

There seems to be some sort of taboo against everything in the story not being a secret. Think about it. Twilight, Harry Potter, etc. How much cooler would Twilight have been if in the 2nd - 3rd book the Vampires were exposed, much of the world freaks out, and all hell breaks loose. :)


Since Charlaine Harris has already been mentioned, I'll also mention Daybreakers.

Additionally, for a whole world focus where the whole damned world is affected, try World War Z. Seriously.

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Re: Unusual Plots

Postby Brooklynxman » Fri Jul 31, 2009 1:47 am UTC

I have yet to see the second season of Hex (no money) but I heard
Spoiler:
Bad guys unequivocally win in the end, as the apocalypse starts, and that was their overall goal throughout the series.
We figure out what all this means, then do something large and violent

The thing about changing the world...once you do it the world's all different.

I'm Angel. I beat the bad guys.

Spoiler:
Image

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Re: Unusual Plots

Postby Gelsamel » Fri Jul 31, 2009 2:05 am UTC

I don't particularly like plots with unambiguously evil villains... But I don't mind it if the villain wins, ESPECIALLY if he is very ambiguously "evil" and after he wins the world becomes a better place and the heros realise they were wrong.
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Re: Unusual Plots

Postby Walter.Horvath » Fri Jul 31, 2009 4:12 am UTC

If The Hunt For Red October would have turned out any differently, I think I would have put my fist through the TV. It's one of my favorite movies. :)

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Re: Unusual Plots

Postby grapefruit1 » Fri Jul 31, 2009 4:46 am UTC

Jessica wrote:Well, everyone knows about scatterplots, they're kind of basic. I think that star plots are pretty unusual, don't see those very often. Then there are violin plots which are really cool. Finally, I haven't seen a box plot in a while.

There is this really weird plot in Toronto, between the 401 and the 427 where. Literally in the middle of a giant cloverleaf highway intersection, there's this tiny graveyard with like at most 20 plots in it. I find it strange every time I pass by it, because it's so out of the way, and hard to get too. I mean, how do you actually reach it? It's not like stopping on cloverleafs on a 400 series highway is a good idea...

Google maps to the rescue!
http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=q&source=s ... 19&iwloc=A
It looks like there's a road around it. Still, very weird plot.


I submit Jessica wins the thread. All in favor?
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Re: Unusual Plots

Postby Brooklynxman » Fri Jul 31, 2009 4:49 am UTC

Oh and someone in this thread linked to tvtropes.

BAD BAD BAD BAD PERSON
We figure out what all this means, then do something large and violent

The thing about changing the world...once you do it the world's all different.

I'm Angel. I beat the bad guys.

Spoiler:
Image

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Re: Unusual Plots

Postby Josephine » Sat Aug 01, 2009 9:16 pm UTC

I love the Bad Guy Wins stuff. It's a fresh difference from the usual stuff. I like both types, where the villain wins and causes a massive dystopia, and where the villain wins and ends up making the world better.

Any suggestions for books where someone actually takes over the world successfully?

[EDIT] And Jessica wins.
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Re: Unusual Plots

Postby Cup of Dirt » Sat Aug 01, 2009 9:32 pm UTC

annals wrote:Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is also a good book for this...


How do you figure?

Spoiler:
TGWTTDH dies at the end.
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Re: Unusual Plots

Postby thicknavyrain » Sat Aug 01, 2009 10:04 pm UTC

Gelsamel wrote:I don't particularly like plots with unambiguously evil villains... But I don't mind it if the villain wins, ESPECIALLY if he is very ambiguously "evil" and after he wins the world becomes a better place and the heros realise they were wrong.


Kind of like the end of Watchmen?
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Re: Unusual Plots

Postby annals » Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:31 am UTC

Cup of Dirt wrote:
annals wrote:Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is also a good book for this...


How do you figure?

Spoiler:
TGWTTDH dies at the end.
I was referring to Squid Tamer's "book where plot stuff affects real life stuff."

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Re: Unusual Plots

Postby Ingolifs » Mon Aug 03, 2009 9:48 pm UTC

setzer777 wrote:Are there any general plot structures that you would like to see (in any medium), that are very rare?

Personally, I want to see a story where an unambiguously evil character unambiguously wins in the end. Told from the point of view of good characters trying to stop the bad guy but failing in every sense of the word (i.e. the bad guy will live a long, successful, happy life with no hint of any sort of justice or karma in the world). I don't know why I want to see this story, I'm not a bleak person in general.


Yes! I've been thinking the exact same thing for a while now. If I was a director, i'd produce a movie, which right up towards the end looks like your stereotypical sci-fi/fantasy, where the bad guys follow the cliches described in the evil overlord list and the good guys are similarly cliched. Everything is going predictably up to the last 10 minutes, when the main good guy and main bad guy are swordfighting over a precipice/lava lake/pit of spikes. The good guy gets sliced in the stomach (it's okay, he might still make it, people have recovered from worse) and then the bad guy finishes him off with a decapitation. Cut to montage of all the other principal good guys meeting their end in gruesome and unambiguous ways before the bad guys sweep down and destroy all resistance, along with everything the good guys held dear.

Now, if people leave the cinema not feeling betrayed and disillusioned, then the job hasn't been done right.

The other sort of storyline I want to see is another stereotypical good vs evil one, but over the course of the film, based only on the decisions made by the good guys (and not by the directing or music) the good guys are revealed to be little more than reactionary bigots, while the bad guys, who although dress with spikes and skulls all over their black uniforms, aren't actually that evil and can be justified in what they are doing. Nevertheless the good guys win against the bad guys utterly, and all the bad guys are killed at the end.
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