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Stuck with my plot - need ideas

Discussion in 'General Writing Discussion' started by Jackie Bee, Jan 9, 2017.

  1.  
    Jackie Bee

    Jackie Bee Well-Known Member

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    Outlining a new plot, I got a bit stuck. Can't find a convincing way to advance the story in the direction I need.
    What I have, simplified: an alien ship with many bad aliens an one good alien. The air outside the ship is poisonous for aliens but OK for humans. The good alien wants to move the ship from place A to place B, which bad aliens wouldn't allow. To do it, he needs help from a human that he secretly brought abroad.
    The question is: why exactly would he require the human's help? What could the human do that the alien alone could not? Apart from breathing outside the ship, the human seems to have no advantages (and the alien could use some protective gear to go outside). Any ideas, anyone?
     
  2.  
    TheDustyZebra

    TheDustyZebra Breathe Staff Member

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    If the air outside is poisonous for the aliens but ok for the human, how is the air inside the ship ok for the human?

    Perhaps the human simply needs to go outside for some decent air? :)
     
  3.  
    Jackie Bee

    Jackie Bee Well-Known Member

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    The inside and outside air is the same except that there's some anti-alien stuff sprayed outside by humans :) So the aliens keep the windows shut...
     
  4.  
    ralphkern

    ralphkern Well-Known Member

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    1. Could the human exit the ship, and then reenter the ship at another location, near an 'auxillery control room'? There he fires the engines to move the ship.

    2. The human can create a scenario which makes the bad aliens want to move the ship. (Fake an attack or something?)
     
  5.  
    Jackie Bee

    Jackie Bee Well-Known Member

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    The first one was my original thought, but the alien could wear protective gear and do the same without any help.
    She second one is nice...I'll try to think of such scenario... Thanks!
     
  6.  
    tinkerdan

    tinkerdan candycane shrimp

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    Either I'm dense or this interface doesn't like me
    It could be something simple.
    Engineering has an inside entrance and an outside entrance exit hatch.
    The alien is shut out of the inside entrance, because they know what he wants to do.
    They also won't allow this one to go outside even with protection, so he can't get to the outside hatch.
    But the alien knows of a way to bypass the outer hatch to engineering and needs the human to do this for him and once in engineering he can bypass other things to allow the alien to move the ship; maybe even unlock engineering.(Though there will be aliens in engineering unless all of the aliens have been locked out.)
     
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  7.  
    the_evil_ted

    the_evil_ted work is the curse of the drinking class

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    The question is: why exactly would he require the human's help? What could the human do that the alien alone could not?

    I don't like giving too many suggestions, but like to ask questions in the hope that it will inspire you instead - so please don't feel like I'm snooping into your works - I don't expect any answers.

    Keeping it simple, you've stated that the bad aliens don't want to move the ship. The good alien does, so to move the ship covertly he would need the humans help if nothing else than to remain on board and not rouse suspicion.

    As long as the human and the good alien have a shared interest in moving the ship, how it happens should fall into place.

    Does the human have any special knowledge on the alien's ship?
    Does the human need to go outside if they're looking to move the ship?
    Are the exposure suits under some security lock or set of an alarm should one be signed out?
    What happens when the ship starts moving? Will the bad aliens attempt to put stop to it? Will they know who is moving it?
    Is the human more important in preventing that instead?
    Is the human connected to the anti-alien toxins? If so, is there a way to inoculate the good alien against it?
     
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  8.  
    The Storyteller

    The Storyteller Well-Known Member

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    Depending on where they are moving it to, it could be that the human has knowledge or expertise needed for navigation. Also, if their anatomy is different, their might be some tasks easier for the human to perform (doubtful, since it is an alien ship, it is unlikely they would design the ship in a way that was better suited for humans than themselves...). So far, I think having the need to go outside, and a reason that the good alien can't get protective gear!
     
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  9.  
    Jackie Bee

    Jackie Bee Well-Known Member

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    Some nice food for thought here, thanks! I'll try to see what I can use!
     
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  10.  
    Theophania Elliott

    Theophania Elliott Well-Known Member

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    Maybe you just need more than one set of hands (or tentacles, or whatever) to fly/sail the ship? Your good alien doesn't necessarily need a human - he just needs someone (anyone!) to help.

    After all, if there's a whole crew aboard this ship, they must all be there for a reason. There's always going to be more people than you actually need to make the ship go (short term) because some will be doing non-flight things (like cooking), and for long-term you need watches. So you might be able to manage even quite a large ship with just two... beings... for a short period.

    That's how prize crews work.
     
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  11.  
    hopewrites

    hopewrites Believe in your youness

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    Does the human go to place B to test it for the anti-alien spray?

    I bet a human can infiltrate human society to travel to point B with more ease than an alien in a suit...
     
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  12.  
    Brian G Turner

    Brian G Turner Writing and reading Staff Member

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    While outlining can provide a helpful guide, the act of writing itself will likely throw up not only surprises - but also solutions to initial problems.
     
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  13.  
    Jackie Bee

    Jackie Bee Well-Known Member

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    No, I need them to get the whole ship to B :)
     
  14.  
    Jackie Bee

    Jackie Bee Well-Known Member

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    Right, but the fear is that I could write 2/3 of the novel and get stuck :) Still worth trying, I guess...
     
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    the_evil_ted

    the_evil_ted work is the curse of the drinking class

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    Absolutely! Characters do what they want regardless of the outline...
     
  16.  
    Coast

    Coast Well-Known Member

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    If the human has been smuggled on board, could the good alien just set them (human) loose in the ship as a distraction. When the bad aliens jump up on chairs and try to shoo the human with a broom, good alien can sneak into cockpit and take control.
     
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  17.  
    SilentRoamer

    SilentRoamer Well-Known Member

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    Physical differences could play a part - can the Human fit through ventilation hatches which are too small for the aliens?

    Psychological differences could play a part - are the aliens complete Agtophobes and the idea of outside is terrifying to them?

    Climatology differences - Are humans able to withstand the cold better? Does the cold make the aliens begin automated hibernation processes which despite greatest efforts have been unable to genetically engineer away?

    There are potentially housands of ways to solve this problem but almost all of them hinge on motives, without a clear understanding of your motives it could be difficult to say.

    It seems you are writing a scenario and then writing characters into said backdrop - it may be an idea to use the character motivations to drive the plot.

    Just me little input.
     
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  18.  
    Gawian

    Gawian Starforger

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    Engineering. Damage to an engine that can be fixed internally AND externally. Except because the Alien can't do it internally, the human has to do it externally.
     
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  19.  
    hopewrites

    hopewrites Believe in your youness

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    Yes, but why point B? how does the good alien know where point B is? Or if it's safe?

    If point B is free of the anti-alien spray, then all he'd have to do is convince the others that moving the ship should be a good idea.

    I got thinking more about this after I posted though. is the human captive? what's the human's motivation for helping the aliens? clearly some of not most of humanity is opposed to them if there is some kind of anti-alien spray in the air... why is one alien opposed to those it traveled to earth with?

    I think exploring these questions (I don't need the answers, take the post as rhetorical) will unblock your path forward with your plotting.
     
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