EXERCISE Plot Practice: Week 26, After a Fall

Discussion in 'REFINING WRITING' started by The Mood is Write, Sep 9, 2016.

  1. Everyone loves plotting! Plotting is a fabulous way to find new ideas, breathe new life into old ones, and otherwise just have a really good time.

    I'm going to throw three basic plots (in various formats) a week, and users are welcome to post their takes and what they'd do with any given plot. Participants can use the inspiration and prompts however they wish!

    This is primarily an exercise in how to make use of inspiration even when you maybe aren't 'feeling it'.

    1. Fallen Hero x Fallen Villain
    2. Alone in a Crowd
    3. "It's very easy to defeat someone. It's very hard to win someone."
  2. The plaza hotel lobby was just in front of her. She hesitated, not really sure she wanted to enter. hearing voice and music skittering from just inside those doors didn't make the decision any easier. she' managed to successfully avoid attention one of these functions, but this time, she was back in town to care for her ailing mother. Her best friend from high school had run into her an the grocery store, and somehow convinced her that she HAD to come to their class reunion.
    How fast had these twenty years flown by? Far, far too quickly, at least for her. She saw a couple approach from the opposite direction and though they glanced her way they did not stop or acknowledge her. She recognized them, but obviously they hadn't remembered her. Would anyone remember her? She was about to turn and go home when her friend came up behind ehr and lopping their arms dragged her inside. Her assurances that everything would be fabulous were met with a very skeptical nod and half-hearted smile.
    She made her way to a table near the back of the room and watched. She had always been good at watching, which is why she'd gone into photography in the first place. Her camera lifted and she snapped a few pictures of the laughing and smiling people. She knew all their names, but she'd been such a wallflower in high school that none of them seemed to even know she was there. She felt loneliness creep upon her with a vengeance as she snapped picture after picture of their happy faces and energetic conversations. A few people were dancing and others were at the bar getting drunk, but she was the only one sitting alone. Even her friend had gone off to catch up with everyone else.
    She supposed it was only fitting. She hadn't ever participated before why would anyone think she would start now? So there she sat, taking beautifully framed pictures of the joy of being alive while she sat completely alone in the midst of it dying inside a bit more with each passing second.
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  3. @Quiet One @Gwazi Magnum @Lonewolf888978 @Crow @Mythy the Dragon-Wolf

    "It's very easy to defeat someone. It's very hard to win someone."

    Sam Ebayan did much in his life. He'd traveled all over the world in his years as a mercenary. He'd seen the rise and fall of powers both great and small. He'd borne witness to the age of superheroes...and the twilight of such gods among men...and their eventual rebirth. It had been a tumultuous few decades.

    As his skin was burned into a deep brown and given a leathery texture from fine wrinkles, and his hair bleached bone white, and his limbs grew weaker and his body slower, he had only to look in the mirror to appreciate the changes in the world and his contributions to them.

    He'd turned in his tactical gear and weapons for a suit and tie years ago. He'd abandoned battlefields for the floor of the United Nations congregational chambers. He'd given over his mission to younger, more vibrant hands, hands that he himself taught, mentored, and trained over countless, painstaking hours. How many of the younger generation of superpowered heroes looked up to him as a father figure? How many times had he been told he was the face of their unusual community?

    Sam adjusted his tie in front of the mirror, hiding the scars across his neck and collarbone. His shirt and coat hid the rest. Hundreds of old wounds from countless prior battles, each with a story and an enemy behind it. He'd left thousands dead in his wake, back in his prime: monsters, evil men, others.

    In his youth, as a mercenary, he only cared about saving the people in front of him. He only cared about defeating the enemy he could see and hear and touch. He trained brutally, pushed his body beyond its limits over and over again, always in the quest to surpass all enemies - especially those who surpassed human capabilities. And he had done it.

    In his prime, he faced the strongest of creatures hiding in the shadows of the world: demon aliens, robotic monstrosities, spellcasting men, martial artists who could crush armies single-handedly. All he had to his name were his wits, resourcefulness, and skill. And he conquered them all, either alone or with the help of his companions.

    "It's very easy to defeat someone."

    He glanced over at a photograph by the mirror. More than a dozen men and women - some older, with graying hair; others that were younger and fresh-faced - were packed into that group picture. All were smiles. All were friends, comrades, brothers and sisters in arms...family. He'd fought and bled beside all of them. He trained a good number of them.

    Some, sadly, found darker paths than the one he'd offered. The life of a superhero had its own, unique challenges. Not all who took up the mantle could shoulder the responsibility. Sam wondered if he had been right to train young Chiaki Uzuki as he had done with other young people who were better suited to the role of hero.

    Chiaki had been seventeen, an ordinary girl caught up in extraordinary circumstances. Sam - the world - needed her help. He helped bring her into the violent and confusing world of heroes and villains. He pushed her onto the battlefield. All she had ever known since then was a life of fighting. She grew to love it. Got off on it, even. She went down a different path. Sam wondered when - not if - he would receive word that his onetime student finally snapped and went on a rampage. He wondered when - not if - he would receive word that he had failed her at last.

    Could he still save her? He didn't know. This wasn't an enemy he could outsmart or outfight. This was family. This was blood, or near enough to it. If he stepped in, would he only make it worse? Would he be the one to finally push her over the edge?

    "It's very hard to win someone."
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  4. An excerpt from a first-draft of a story I'm writing.
    Chapter Four, The Courtyard. Alone in a crowd:

    ...Gracie went back into Bacharat’s. He knew how things would go for her: she’d find someone, someone she probably didn’t even like, grab his hand, drag him out of there, and use him like a living stress ball. Last night Redge was sure she went back for seconds. He couldn’t let on how this made him feel. For one thing, it would set her off on him about how he left the bar with strangers all the time. He knew she’d point out that she should be able to do that, too. He retort that at least when he did it he wasn’t hurting anyone. Every time Gracie left with a random guy he felt a knot in his chest.
    He felt his fists clench. Rebirth con men, his mother still ill, Gracie sleeping around – it was beyond what his easy-going nature could stand. He needed to relieve some stress. He needed to hit something.
    He went back downstairs to where Ruby was waiting for him. He scratched at the back of her ears affectionately then started leading her towards the Sublights. He had no intention of satisfying his urge for a fight in his city. Not that it could go unsatisfied; on the tenth floor of many buildings, including Bacharat’s, were well-known fighting circuits. There people could settle their primal craving for sport, settle disputes in a public setting, and above all vent out their most stressing frustrations. But it was too close to home. Whenever he felt like getting into a stupid fight to blow off steam, there was nowhere better for him than the Courtyard.
    The way to the Sublights wasn’t a route the blind dog knew, so she kept close to Redge as he went to the station. At the turnstiles she had a hard time finding the space between the dividers, but once she did she walked casually beneath the rusted metal just as he eased around it. Redge’s hardest task was getting her to lay down for the trip in the train, but she found an interesting smell, and while she was distracted he gently pushed on her back. That was all it took and she got down, her nose still buried in the strange smell. Because of Ruby, the twelve seats nearest to him were empty.
    The train screeched to a halt at London’s station. Many centuries ago it was called Parliament Station. It overlooked the decrepit Parliament Building and given the state of it there was little wonder why the name fell out of fashion. The intricate molding and antique supports were so badly melted, burned, and broken that the building looked more like a miniature mountain range. The only thing even remotely preserved on it was Big Ben. But in London, at least, they tried to maintain some semblance of beauty. The old streets, gone unused in so many cities, were built into a vast farming network with an arched glass rooftop. This way almost every resident could look out their window and see at least some patch of green.
    Redge continued leading Ruby along, striding across the walkways the Londoners had so brilliantly installed on the edges of their buildings, so on one side there were the tenants, and on the other a view of the greenery. The sight of it calmed him, but not enough to drive him away from the Courtyard.
    The walkways and the long farms came to an end at a patch of lifeless soil called Hyde Park. All around the barren space the farms simply stopped. A set of stairs led the way down. From his place at the walkway’s edge he could see a barely illuminated square building near the center of the field. There were also clear signs of movement in the field, as people rushed their way to the Courtyard.
    The closer he got to the building the more decrepit it became. It was only square in the loosest sense of the word, the walls in fact having imperfect angles and leaning either one direction or another. The Courtyard’s roof was opened on one of London’s few fair weather nights. Light poured out from windows like narrow slits and from the arched doorway. Before doing anything else Redge went to the food stand and bought two sausages for Ruby. He put them down in the dirt and she happily munched on them. Her bare tail thumped at the ground. Just like in New York, everyone here gave her a wide birth.
    Redge moved his way through the crowd to the Courtyard Square. It was a patch of earth tended to so that it stayed dry and firm, boxed in with old road dividers. At one end a podium stood with a bell man to sound the beginning and end of a match. Inside the square men, and sometimes women, fought each other in accordance to a loose set of rules. He went to the Keeper of the Court, a middle aged bloke with a shaved head behind a warped desk. Redge listened to him explain the rules only half-heartedly as he kicked off his shoes and began unbuttoning his shirt. He’d heard them before.
    “Those wishing to fight must deposit five credits for entry. No shirts or shoes allowed in the Square, as well as no belts, blades or blunt instruments. You may keep your socks on if you wish, and for the love of God don’t remove your pants. No striking below the belt, no biting, and make sure your nails are trim. Should you fail to comply with these rules you’ll find yourself quite comfortable in our lockup tank until morning…”
    Redge nodded to each of the rules, finished removing the clothes he had to, and paid his entry fee to the Keeper.
    Properly inside the Courtyard, he wedged further and further into the crowd of spectators until he got to the Square. Everyone was cheering wildly as the two were finishing up. One of the men, big but lean, hit the other’s head repeatedly, then kicked him onto his back. He was left rolling in the dirt as the bell that sounded the end of the fight rang out.
    “Alright! Alright!” the bell man at the podium shouted out as the loser was helped out of the Square. “Can I have another round of applause gentlemen for our resident strongman, Rodney McKellaugh?”
    McKellaugh’s name inspired a renewed cheering of the crowd. He outstretched his arms and seemed to bask in the applause.
    “Now who wants to step in and have a go with my friend next?”
    Shouts of bravado erupted from this request as every man there claimed they could take him. Redge personally didn’t know if he could or not. He wasn’t there for bragging rights. Just to blow off steam. And he knew that, while you could wait to be picked for a fight, the best way to ensure one is to just jump in.
    He hopped over the divider and the mood of the audience immediately changed. He got some boos and aggressive shouts for stealing the fight from everyone else, but he also heard eager calls to see this “skinny kid” take his best shot against the Square’s current victor. Also he heard bets, most not in his favor.
    “What’s your name, little man?” the bell man asked.
    “Redge Garrison.”
    “You’ve heard the part that says we’re not liable for injuries?”
    He nodded.
    The bell man shrugged. “Alright, Redge. When you hear the bell, WE’VE GOT A FIGHT!”
    Everyone roared their approval outside the square. McKellaugh came up to Redge before they got started.
    “Look, kid, just so you know, I don’t hold back,” he said. “What are you doing here, anyway?”
    “Just looking to blow off some steam.”
    “Yeah…There’s this girl…She’s probably sleeping with someone right now…”
    McKellaugh nodded and put up his hand to stop him. “Say no more. Just tell me: are ya good?”
    The bell was rung.
    “Let’s find out.”
    McKellaugh made the first punch. Redge easily dodged it and hit his right cheek. The big man faltered back, stunned. He hit Redge in the gut. He doubled over, but struck his arm up and knocked into McKellaugh’s chin. He dodged the next two swings easily.
    Redge never swung first. He couldn’t. When it came to a fight he just didn’t know what to do, so it was better to react and rely on his reflexes. Despite feeling so out of control, though, it was an addictive rush. McKellaugh swung again. Redge ducked and struck his abdomen. For it he got a backhand and a shot to his right kidney. He winced and turned into the blow. As he fell his body spun so his foot struck McKellaugh in the face. They both fell into the dirt. They scurried to their feet at about the same time and started all over again. As McKellaugh started getting tired Redge got more and more hits in after each dodge. After a right jab the big man fell down and when he got back up he was waving his arms in surrender.
    “I’m done! I’m done! Hit the bell!” he shouted. “I’m tired! End it!”
    The bell clanged loudly several times and there were dismayed groans from the betting men in the audience.
    “Let’s hear it for our new champion, REDGE GARRISON!”
    The announcement came with mixed reactions but the two combatants were ignoring it.
    “Damn, kid,” He took in a deep breath as he attempted to right himself. “You don’t hit very hard, but I’ve never had anyone as fast as you. I can’t keep up, and I’ll tell ya I’m exhausted…How ‘bout this? Rematch, in three days. Both of us come fresh. What do ya say?”
    Redge was trying to get his breath back too. Now that his fight or flight instincts were turned off he realized he ached all over. He could feel a bruise already starting to form around his eye, and he had a lot of sore spots along his chest and torso. The skin around his knuckles was torn and bloody.
    “I’ll think about it,” he said. “I’ll see how I feel.”
    “What do you say, Redge?” the bell man shouted down from his tower. “You want to dance for another round?”
    This time almost everyone in the crowd cheered. Some wanted their chance to go toe to toe with the kid who beat the night’s reigning champ, while others were eager onlookers interested in seeing just how far he could go. He exchanged a glance at McKellaugh, silently asking if it was worth it. He shrugged. Redge did a self check. He didn’t feel angry or frustrated anymore.
    “Thanks, but I’m good,” he said and instantly the spectators started shouting again. He yelled over them. “I’m sorry! I’ve got to get home now! Good fight, though! Thanks!”
    He made sure to shake McKellaugh’s hand before stepping over the dividers.
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