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Help The Damned Raccoon

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I want to write a new novel. That's what writers do. Me, I'm a writer. Or so I've been told :)

Only I'm not sure about what.

There will be at least one teenager in it, because, well, that's what I want to write about. But that's a bit too general. I'm not sure what I want to write about.

It doesn't have to be gay or have any sex. That's just a detail. I'm not sure if I want dark or happy. I just don't know. Please, feel free to throw ideas down and see if they stick.

I'm sure someone will throw down an idea and I'll go "Yeah. That's it!"

I think whatever it is will be an epic. My current record is 94,000 words (Alone with Myself). I think I want to top that monstrosity and go for triple digits.

I've always said I wanted to do a murder mystery but when I get right down to it, no I really don't. Epic Fantasy maybe? Help out an old raccoon. Post here, send me an e-mail, a PM, or find me on MSN/YIM/AIM.

This is also posted at CW: http://www.codeysworld.com/forum/viewtopic...?f=5&t=1627

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I'd say something about a teenager kinda down on his luck that eventually finds someone who understands him, but something happens along the way that changes things be it near death, attempted suicide, but he finds something worth living for waiting for him once things level off.

Not necessarily dark, light or anything. Could be happy or not so happy. Where do you want it to go? Where do you want it to start?

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How about a modern theme? Mom and Dad are recently unemployed due the recession. Money is tight. Kid wants to quit school to find a job to help them make ends meet.

Maybe the kid gets the money, but it turns out to have more repercussions than he anticipated. Not necessarily drugs or prostitution.

A lot would depend on your approach: realism vs. fantasy vs. sci-fi vs. melodrama.

Maybe start with the characters first, and then start spinning some "what if's": what if the kid had a terrible accident and had to find a way to live despite being disabled? What if a vampire moved next door? What if he fell through a dimensional gap and wound up somewhere else? What if a rich relative died and left them all their money, but they had to live in a haunted house?

Granted, some of these have been done before, but you get the drift. The ideas are out there.

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The Alternative

Plot Synopsis:

Nice kid Teen-ager gets sent to Alternative school because he takes a Bayer Aspirin for a headache and the idiot school officials have zero-tolerance rules and no common sense. The rules require that he be expelled and got to alternative school for six months.

There he gets exposed to the real animals and gets an education on the general shittyness of the human condition. Everyone is a number, everyone is considered a loser and a write-off. All the employees of the school either don't give a shit or have some kind of angle (jesus freak and/or pedophile).

Our hero discovers that some boys get away with a lot of stuff while others are on a very short leash. There's an air of mystery and a lot of stuff he doesn't know and people aren't talking about.

While he's at pre-prison (or alternative school) a bully that makes his life miserable is stabbed and left in a janitor's closet.

Our hero is accused of murder by the cops (but they don't really have a case- they're bluffing). Our hero has to figure out what is really going on and why the guy was killed before his life gets flushed completely down the toilet by an idiot system running on high-octane bureauracracy and no common sense.


Ronald Wilson Reagen Alternative School

Dramatis Persona:

Shane Turnage- a rather innocent 16 year old who is trapped in the belly of the beast and unless he's smart and couragious it will swallow him.

Carolyn Turnage- Shane's mother: a single Mom who supports her son but doesn't have the resources to fight the system. Tells her son to gut it out for six months and keep his nose clean.

Scott Phillips- a friend that Shane meets at RWR. Nice, good natured pot head. Funny- small guy who is nervous and afraid.

Ryan Heath- basically nice poor kid teetering on the brink of thughood and decency.

Carlos Cruz- Mean kid from the projects- bully. He'll cut you man... Unless you are sleeping with him. He's nice if he thinks you are cute and are nice to him. Complex guy- everybody knows he's gay and a hustler but no one is going to mess with him about it.

Dulaney- Big mean nasty thug. Messes with everyone, fights a lot. Rumored to force kids to blow him. They say his old man used to toughen him up by holding him down and putting out ciggerettes on his arms. He's in for assault. It is his murder that Shane gets accused of.

TJ- RWR's version of "Huggy Bear". He knows what is going on but is afraid of catching a bad case of death if he says anything.

Col. Joe Wilson- former marine officer/religious nut who is RWR's school counselor. With him every answer has Jesus in it.

Detective Mike Conner- a good, smart detective that can be an tricky asshole when he's dealing with punks. [Appeared in Collision.]

Principal Mark Sterling- RWR's mysterious principal who seems to have a lot of money and is stand-offish from most students. Relies on Vice-Principal Cutter and Joe Wilson to run things. Makes $27K per year and drives a year old BMW and has a big house on Hannover Street.

Vice-Principal Vince Cutter responsible for dicipline, there are rumors about what goes on in his office when the doors are closed. :spank:

Mary Harmon- the school nurse and the only one that really cares/takes care of the boys. She's nervous and more that a little suspicious about what is going on behind the scenes. :icon_twisted:

This is the outline to a story that I worked on but never could make it work. I know you can do it justice.

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As a writer of some years at the practice, I cannot imagine you don't have what I have, a file of plot ideas that have cropped up and that you've noted for future exploitation. I think every writer does this. Writing is a creative activity, and simply being involved in creative activities begets more ideas. If you're already in the midst of something else, you don't stop to work on the new ideas when they occur, but you do write them down and save them.

What you need to do is go through the file and find something interesting that appealed to you when you thought of it. Surely something there has merit and tickles your creative juice pump.


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The oft-repeated advice is 'write what you know'. On that basis your story is about a writer who posts on a forum asking for ideas for a story....

On the other hand I'm a sucker for a mystery/detective story, and it seems to me James Savik has done you a big favour by supplying a fleshed-out synopsis for a great murder mystery. I'd love to see that story written - and there's potential for it to be long enough to satisfy your amibition to break 100k.

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This is probably not helpful, but my eight-year-old son had a story idea during dinner.

A man leaves Australia, goes to Europe, comes back and dies.

That's almost verbatim what he said....

Now, if you picture that across a few decades, it can be a classic epic of a life searching for what he wants, and finally returns home as an old man and dies. Alternatively, set it against WWI or WWII, when he comes back as a veteran.

Feel free to change the countries involved :icon_twisted:

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You wrote a story sometime back Alone with Myself to do with the London Underground or Tube as its known here. You knew a lot about the Tube and I suppose you did a bit of research as well before writing the story. As the world is in a kind of depression how about a story dealing with the depression of the 1920-30?s. Father has passed away, boy of 14-15 has to go out to work to feed his mother and siblings, and all that befalls him in his progression through to manhood.

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Man, there's some good ideas up there! I particularly like James' idea about the reform school. Lotta potentials for conflict there. But I'd make the kids a little younger -- 14-15. (Ahem.)

Possiblly. I think it would work either way.

There are jr high/middle school aged alternative schools. The current trend is to keep middle school aged and high school aged kids seperate. It makes sense for this demographic. Another trend in alternative schools- single sex schools or classes.

I was going to put our hero right in the middle of the mix as a 16 year old junior.

My thoughts were to make RWR a sophmore to senior level school 10th to 12th grade or ~14-15 on the low end, 17-18 on the upper end.

In chatting with a friend he said it sounds like Oz meets Saved by the Bell with no chicks and extra testosterone.

It's all up to Wibby and I trust him with it. The Raccoon is a sly one.

A man leaves Australia, goes to Europe, comes back and dies.

I like it but why would anyone ever want to leave Australia? Most of us want to GO to Australia. :icon_twisted:

Seriously- might work for a rock star or a son sent to Oxford before the outbreak of WWII and is stuck there.

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Some thoughts on the Alternative School:

Alternative schools are almost always older school buildings that have been renovated. Sometimes that are only partially renovated to house a smaller student population and the rest of the school is shut off. Of course- the extra spaces are places that mischief can happen. Kids will find ways into shut off parts of the school that builders and architects would never think of.

The type of building varies by urban or rural. In urban settings, space is at a premium and the building will have multiple stories. An urban alternative school might be 6 floors high but only the first two or three floors are used.

Schools in rural settings tend to sprawl and are typically only one or two floors high.

Their names are typically changed when their role is changed. RWR high school probably was named something else, was retired by the city or country school system, renovated and renamed. It may be called by some "the old Murray building" or "the old county high school".

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I like it but why would anyone ever want to leave Australia? Most of us want to GO to Australia. :omg:

Seriously- might work for a rock star or a son sent to Oxford before the outbreak of WWII and is stuck there.

Ten Reasons to leave Australia:

1. The grass is greener everywhere else. No one in Oz knows just how good they have got it.

2. All our ancestors are convicts or disenfranchised aristocratic snobs. (It's difficult to find anyone who will admit there ancestors were convicts.)

3. Our parents had children because they wanted slaves. (Employers value this approach to staff training.)

4. To escape the Aussie obsession with swearing, sport and alcohol. (These three are all but compulsorily linked for life, public vomiting is optional.)

5. Everyone in Oz thinks everyone else is homosexual, we call it wishful thinking. Perhaps it would help if Aussie guys didn't call out their best friend's name during sex with their wife/girlfriend.

6. Everyone in Oz is in the closet, and it is getting difficult to do the BBQ without being touched by an old person (like me.) :icon_twisted:

7, 8, 9, 10. Hypocrisy, apathy, ignorance and greed -in fact any of the reasons, that someone leaves anywhere.

Reason to stay in Australia:

Why bother going anywhere else when you can have the same f'n s**t here, with sunshine and a beer while watching Aussie rules football with your mates. :shock:

"Hey kids, stop comparing your wienies, and tell your mum to get the BBQ going for dinner, and keep away from your uncle Des." :spank:

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In chatting with a friend he said it sounds like Oz meets Saved by the Bell with no chicks and extra testosterone.

I'll pay to see that film! Be sure to throw in some extended locker room sequences. (Preferably in slow motion.)

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Damn! Late to the party, again.

I think whatever it is will be an epic. My current record is 94,000 words (Alone with Myself). I think I want to top that monstrosity and go for triple digits.

My first comment is that a lot of words do not necessarily mean good storytelling. So, good storytelling first, word count later.

My second comment/idea/thing will be along shortly. :icon_twisted:

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OK, first thanks for all the ideas. I've got some stuff now to spur me into action. As I asked I was just looking for something..

Remember, my stories are about the characters. I want my readers to become emotionally invested in them. Throwing a story around that is easy. Atmosphere is very important which is why I write what I know well.

I'm sure you'll all see at least something you mentioned appear in some form or another. I will blatantly plagiarize you without credit. Raccoons don't need permission :)

Word count? That's easy. This is going to be an EPIC. I like to write. My typical work loses about 10% of the words I write....

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I love the racoon and his work! :raccoon:

I'll leave some extra Friskies and corn chips out for you to snack on while you're working pal.

BTW- do raccoons like crawfish? They are in season down here, we've got a bumper crop and they seem QUITE LARGE this year.

The cats and I have had 10 pound of them + trimmings this week and we're all purring.


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