Short Story Poll



  • I'm writing a short story for an anthology and I could use some help narrowing down my idea.
    Theme is 'dark' but not gratuitously violent. So I'm thinking creepy.

    #1. Croatoan -- I know there's a logical explanation for this, but the lore is still creepy. I'd like to explore what the new settlers went through finding the abandoned town. Maybe take it a stretch farther and have it be a bit more supernatural.

    #2. BioWeapons -- Taking the 'dark' concept literally, a town is accidentally hit with a bioweapon that wipes out everyone's sight.

    #3. Kimberly -- My kids have always been scared of this one particular doll. I'd like to really creep them out with a super 'things that go bump in the night' kind of roided up RL Stine idea.

    #4. TBD -- other thoughts?



  • I'm a sucker for anything Roanoke tbh >.>

    Anyway, my question is where you're planning on taking these ideas, if you have any ideas that far ahead? For example, what type of supernatural explanations are you going to be using? How is this town going to respond to being blind? Why is this doll purposely scaring everyone? Given the theme, I'm sure these all have terrible reasons behind them, but what are they?

    Also, working out in a little more detail (if you can) what these plots will be might help you identify which one is the most interesting to you. :)

    (This can be completely disregarded but RE: Croatoan - I'm also a sucker for dark things appearing to have supernatural explanations but then it's all human work in the end. >.>)



  • That's kind of where I'm taking all of them.
    If I do Croatoan, I won't explain it in the end, but leave it open that there 'could' be a rational explanation.
    The doll, I thought about it being human intervention but then I'm afraid it would take a comical turn, like the mom was doing it the whole time.
    For bio weapons, it's definitely the government.

    Themes:
    Croatoan -- haven't thought about what supernatural force they can blame it on, and I may not explain anything in depth. Keep it open-ended to have maximum creep effect.
    Doll -- This one will focus more on the child's imagination of what the doll is doing, not really that the doll is doing much of anything. The kid's creeping him/herself out.
    Bio -- This will devolve into mass hysteria and suspicion. If you can't see where you're going or who's around you, then you don't know if they're out to get you. And if you never find out who dropped the weapon, you don't know when the next one's coming.

    The Bio Weapon was my first idea for this. But Croatoan and the Doll have always been in my back pocket, waiting to be written. (And I'm a sucker for Roanake as well)



  • It seems like for all of these the shorter the better. You present the facts of the story, and then leave it, but don't go into so much depth the reader can't formulate their own ideas about what the end may have been, if you get me.

    Tbh I think the ones that are the more interesting to me are Croatoan and the bioweapon.

    With the bioweapon, I still say that considering a blind person's perspective would be the most interesting route, because, well, there's no reason for them to think that someone's out to get them just because they can't physically see. Not to mention, there's no reason for them to use that as a reason to never find out who dropped the weapon... (who knows, maybe this person themself is out to get someone else and the fact that suddenly everyone is blind makes it that much easier to get to them because, well, they already have the skill to navigate the world.)

    With the Croatoan, there's so many ideas and folklore to pull from in creating an open-ended answer to what happened, so that could be a really fun mystery, even if it pulls on darker elements :)


  • Plotist Team: Community Storyteller

    I like all the ideas presented, but I toss a new one into the mix. Mirrors. Is it really you that you're looking at?



  • I love Croatoan and have always been intrigued by it, but I wonder if it's too 'period piece' for this anthology. Shucks.

    Bio is probably on top and I would definitely add an already blind character! That would be amazing.

    And darn you @josey!

    Mirrors are sometimes thought to see the 'shadow soul'. What if the things you don't like about yourself when you look in the mirror aren't really there? What if they're manifestational blemishes from your inner darkness? And that's why you never really look like you in a picture.
    Not sure what story I'd come up with for that, but now it's gonna be stuck in my brain for a while.



  • Croatoan doesn't have to be period piece if, say, this is all being discovered in the present.

    The mirror thing sorta feels like a spin off of Dorian Gray only in mirror form? XD



  • @typical_demigod said in Short Story Poll:

    Croatoan doesn't have to be period piece if, say, this is all being discovered in the present.

    The mirror thing sorta feels like a spin off of Dorian Gray only in mirror form? XD

    OMG @typical_demigod what if I set it in present time and run through the whole thing as a modern town that just vanished and the whole world is watching on a live CNN feed when someone finally uncovers 'Croatoan' written on something... like an ipad?



  • That sounds like it could def be an interesting way of reinterpreting the legends! ^_^


  • Plotist Team: Community Storyteller

    Wow, you all are awesome :D



  • I know I'm a bit late to this thread, but I absolutely love the idea of a modern Roanoake and how different the response would be in present day. Second favourite is definitely the bioweapon story :D



  • @shy_not_fly17 said in Short Story Poll:

    I know I'm a bit late to this thread, but I absolutely love the idea of a modern Roanoake and how different the response would be in present day. Second favourite is definitely the bioweapon story :D

    You're not too late. I put the vote to my family and those two are still tied.
    I think I may have to write both and make my husband submit one under his name :)



  • Maybe something about creatures felt but not heard or seen. The thing that lurks in the corner of your eye but when you turn to get a better look its gone. The feeling when someone or something is watching you in a dark room, especially with mirrors. All of those special feelings anthropomorphized into a dark looming creature. Or perhaps a twisted copy of yourself.



  • @toasha Or you can keep it and submit it later to a different anthology, if you get the chance! (Either way, if/when you write them, I'd love to read them.)

    @Sunny That idea reminds me of There is a gap by @jaycano :D Not exactly how you're describing but tackles the general idea.



  • @typical_demigod Really that's interesting! I might give it a look.


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