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Plots and Story Starts
For Your Free Use

As continued from Page One
Copyright 2009 by Tale Wins

When you think plot, it usually helps to think CONFLICT. 
Who wants something and
who is going to keep him or her from getting it?

Below I have set up some areas of conflict that
you can develop in any way that suits you.  Some
of them are simply MOODS, meant to spark a
spiraling of your imagination into other spheres.

If you need to take my exact words to start you off,
don't worry about it; I will count it as a compliment.
There is no need to credit me as a source, either.
But if you'll let me know you are working on one of
these I'll remove it from the page for six months or
permanently if your finished book is going the rounds.

Do you remember that opening scene of Big Jake, starring macho man John Wayne?  He comes upon a hanging and decides to interfere.  Single handed he faces down the vicious lynchers and makes a deal to buy the man's sheep for a minute sum.  The sheepherder agrees if Jake will let him deliver the sheep.  Well, that's a good idea and Jake suggests that the lynch mob cut the sheepherder down.  They don't like it, but they cut the man down.

Okay, it would be bad taste to start your story off from this point because every John Wayne fan in the world will recognize your theft.  But, let's back up about ten feet and bring Barney Fife upon this tragic scene.  He isn't much, but he is all you've got.  He checks, and sure enough, he's only got one bullet left in his revolver -- you'll have to explain that circumstance, of course, or the creators of Fife will be after your life..  But there you have your setup, your plot -- The sniveling little coward that shot Mr. Howard only has one bullet left to his name and it is petrifyingly necessary that he get that sheepherder down before he dangles, and preferably with both of them still alive with the lynch mob scurrying for their lives in the opposite direction.

One solution might to be to have your hero shot up from his own hanging party.  Again, he only has two bullets left to his name -- one of them rather painfully embedded in his chest. 

So, why isn't he slinking off like a man with good sense?  That's your job, really, but I'll suggest that maybe those sheep are his'n and he really doesn't want to lose them.   Furthermore -- just to make things interesting -- that's his father up there about to dangle from the old oak tree.

You've got your setup and it now leads you right into your plot.  Johnny Niellson is shot up, fit to die, and his father has lost all enthusiasm for being the herder of a bunch of slow moving sheep.  Your plot is how Johnny gets those sheep from point A to point B before tragedy G happens.

When it comes to creating your own -- UNIQUE -- plots, the important thing for you to know is that YOU are the boss here.  YOU can change any aspect, any terrain, any situation, any odds as long as you make the plot, uh, hmm, what does it need to be?  Oh yes, INTERESTING.

Okay, now you are catching a glimmer of the process; let's go set up a few more situations here to spark your interest.

***

Without a Word

It's a party of 3 crossing the desert and suddenly they are stranded.  They wait on help but no help comes helping.  Their food goes, their water evaporates, and still no help.  They study the horizon and try to pick out a way to go.  One way looks as bleak as another.  Here we need to begin selecting what kind of people we have on our hands.. A butcher, a baker and a candlestick maker comes readily to mind but we could also salt our gold mine with a teacher, a small town mayor -- and of course -- our love interest.  Isn't it strange that no woman ever sets up a scene such as this for Hollywood?  Every woman ever stranded might as well be a transvestite.  Never mind, I digress.  Let's get on with the murderous torture of bubbling heat and simmering mirages.  Here we go, the three victims come to a conclusion as to how to extricate themselves from the flora and the fauna and suddenly they notice this dot on the landscape that is wandering its way towards them.  Is it a deputy sheriff come to save them, or a deer wandering their way that can offer up its life for their salvation?  No, no, it's a snot-nosed kid. 
They begin discussing how this child of the desert can be harnessed to the task of delivering them from their extremities half a mile before he reaches them.  "He wouldn't be out here if he didn't come from somewhere nearby."  "He wouldn't be out here if he didn't know where he was going?"  All we have to do is follow him back, and a dozen other hopes are discussed.  Then the boy approaches them, hesitatingly, wonderingly.  His eyes grow round as if he is astonished by their appearance., but never a word does he speak.  Doesn't he speak English?  Here is the foundation of your plot.  The boy never speaks a word during your whole 2 hour movie.  Your main characters must react to their own impressions and hopes, withering options.  "Do we eat rabbit pellets just because he does?  Why doesn't he say something?  I'll tell you what I want to do, slap those mocking eyes right out of his silly skull."  Mocking eyes, Fred?  His eyes aren't mocking, look into the depths and see... You can reveal a whole world through this intercourse, and this is your plot.

***

The Fall From Perfection.  She is blonde.  She is beautiful.  Her flesh is lightly tanned.  She is unaffected.  She has a voice from Alabama.  She is pure, and I'm sure you can fill in any more blanks that you need for defining perfection.  Our hero knows a good thing when he sees one and grabs her down off the pedestal and runs for the minister.  They are married and he settles down to live happily ever after.  Ten minutes or ten years after they are married -- according to your timetable -- our hero begins to notice that little Sarah Jane isn't perfect.  For one thing she's short; it was hard to see that when she had been on his pedestal, but dang it, she's SHORT.  Then another thing shows up.  That Alabama twang of hers, here, let's see if we can fix that, honey.

Again, this is your show. The title alone should show you where you want to go.

***

The Evening Meal

I knew I'd made a mistake in sticking a gun in his ribs and pulling him back into the shadows when he said, "Buddy, you can take everything I ever used to own, including my ex-wife that made me a penniless bum, but please point that thing in some other direction before I die of a heart attack."

So, I had to make a decision right then:  Did I take a chance on disposing of a dead man after killing him, or did I take a chance on sharing my evening meal with him?.

Upon pain of death, the Esscenic Warrior named below, does certify that for a period of

1 year  2 years  Life  [Full Name] will become a true and loyal member of the Esscenic Confederation.  All rights, powers and authority endowed to members of the Esscenic Confederation are hereby conferred on his, her, or its vital essence. He, She, or It is cleared -- through the registered identity mark on his, her or its forehead -- to purchase goods at all public institutions and all bargain outlets owned by the Esscenic Confederation. 

So sworn by John J. Johnson. Esscenic Warrior 3D17ili84AD on this day of

 And now that you're a member of the Esscenic Confederation Jane, let's run the scanner across your forehead just to make sure you have been correctly dot coded.  If you feel a slight burning sensation that just means you are a good candidate for placebo curing.  Now, if the flesh begins bubbling up into a nasty blister it may mean that you are not taking us seriously enough and ---

The car screeched to a halt only inches away from the spectators ringed around the fiercely burning house.  Both doors slammed open.  The man exploded from the car like a shot from a cannon.  He broke through the spectators and lunged for the hole where the front door used to be.  He was screaming: "Larry!  Shirley!  LARRY --"

The woman sagged on the car door, screaming at the top of her lungs... "Larry, SHIRLEY!"

Two of the firemen sprinted after the man.  Joe tackled him, but the man kept right on struggling to get away.  "They're safe," Joe shouted.  "We got them out!"

The man didn't hear, or hearing, did not understand.  He tore loose and -- eyes wild with terror -- sped again for the open hole filled with boiling flames and oil-laden smoke.

You can take it from there.  Right?

==============

After a vicious and disastrous early morning attack the Captain of Company E goes looking for an officer who is naturally awake early in the morning and appoints him to form The Knight Platoon. 

This platoon is designated to work exclusively in the early morning hours from midnight to 8.
They do all the guard duty in those hours, keep the coffee hot, start breakfast going, catch up the slack wherever it falls.

The next time the enemy attacks in the early morning, not only is disaster averted but many prisoners are taken and not one attacker escapes.  You know what that means:  You have a series on your hands.  Gambo XIV, coming up.

I had zipped up the inner protective portion and begun tugging up the outer covering when Marleen said, Don't you mind wearing that stupid, Buck Rogers outfit?

No, I told her sadly. What I mind is going through the living room and having Little Zeke snap to attention and salute me.

She rolled over to face me. After a moment of intense study she realized I was serious. Why does he do that?

Because the first time he saw me in this suit I told him I was going to the city park to pick up trash. 'Oh,' he said, understanding immediately. 'You're doing your part to keep the world environmentally safe!' I didn't have the moral courage to tell him I was just the mayor doing my civic duty, and he's been saluting me ever since.

Marleen chuckled; she loves to hear me confess my shortcomings. Then she paused to look serious. But why does it matter if he salutes you?

Because that means he is in the top 20% of his class and he has been dot.coded to be politically correct.. For some reason I've been ashamed of every politically correct child I've ever met.

***

If you are part of the GameBoy Generation you may not realize how recently a man or woman, right here in the United States, could be killed for a pair of shoes, or even just their socks.  I keep wanting the time to write a book about this period of our history, but my time is running out.  Do you know the era, and need a start?  Try making the title of this book something like: SEARCHING FOR SHOES

The way I would start it out is: Once upon a time when the urge to maim, butcher and kill was considered normal, a little boy was born who would change the world.  But first, he had to find his shoes.

***

Other channels to consider might be spawned from these titles: No Shadow of Law -- Life Without Protection, --Never Mind Screaming -- With Conscience Worn Thin

**

A breath of humor is a good way to start also:

Time stood still at that moment.  It was like when you reach your hand into the cookie jar for a treat and suddenly realize you have found a whole generation of vipers in there.  You don't want to jerk your hand out of there too fast because you want to savor the expression on your friend's face when it is his turn and HE reaches his hand in there for a cookie.

***

MY BUDDY BOB:  

His first novel was a success; now publishers are begging for a second novel and Dick Taggart decides to return to his old hometown and remember who he really is. 

"Good Old Tom" Myers is the mayor now.  The hometown has trebled in size.  The mayor takes Dick around to all the functions, then suggests a "Dick Taggart Makes Good" Day.  Dick isn't all that interested until he arrives for the big day and finds that his old buddy Bob has also come back to town.

"Bob has written a novel too," declares the mayor.  "It just came out last week."

"You did?"  Dick grabs Bob and hugs him.  With his arm around Bob he turns back to the mayor and beams. "Anything Bob has written will be great.   What do you say we share the spotlight today, make it Dick and Bob Make Good Day?"

Bob begs off, but Dick insists.  "Come on, once upon a time we were a --- uh -- bosom buddies.   Sharing my day with you is the least I can do."

To keep Bob from running away from all the free publicity Dick clings to him in an old, familiar clutch as their pictures are taken.  Then they ride through town in the mayor's car at the head of the parade, waving at people, and grinning at old friends.

After the parade he asks for an autographed copy of Bob's book and begins reading it as they cruise the old landmarks together.  Half way through the second page Dick discovers that Bob was a homosexual, and that HE had been the love of Bob's young life!

He puts the book down and stares out the windshield, suddenly scared to death.   "You want out?" asks Bob.  Dick nods, refusing to look at him.  

As Bob drives off Dick realizes he still has Bob's book.  He hides it under his jacket and hurries back to the motel.  Later in the night he grapples with the meaning of all the things they had done together, he for believing it was the "manly" thing to do, hunting wild horses on motorcycles, riding beer barrels in the lake, going down the crumbling mineshaft, floating down the Verde, sitting in the ditch, hunting Indian artifacts.  Then he reads the book and sees those same events from a very different slant.   Slowly he realizes just how much he had loved being with Bob. 

They get back together and go out to the old windmill so they can souse in the water trough, drinking beer like in the olden times.  There they thresh out the meanings of their joint experiences and feelings.

You could make a very long novel out of this situation.

DriveDown
The High Cost of Car Insurance

The Three Psychiatrists of Pilate

Let's twist the tale of history a bit here by giving Pilate a personal psychiatrist, another one for his wife, and then Sigmund Freud is the official psychiatrist that accredits other psychiatrists for the entire realm.  This trusted servant of the realm is set the task of determining if Jesus is mentally fit to stand trial.  He examines the man first and then is told to ask those he labored with, to hear that which they have to report. 

After these examinations are done our fun begins.  Sigmund reports to Pilate who recognizes certain patterns that describe his own impulses.  Troubled, he goes to his private psychiatrist and asks him to substantiate the findings of psycho #1.  Still troubled, our boy Pilate visits his wife and they sit up all night discussing the findings of Psycho #1 and Psycho #2.  During the night the wife of Pilate wakes up with a frightening dream and she rushes to see HER personal psychiatrist, dragging three white tales and a spotted dream with her.  Next we have four sources of divine divergence delivering snippets of divine diagnosis to Pilate.

From this point on you have to decide, given all the props of modern science (like the Minnesota Multi-Phaesic Inventory Test and a handful of dirty ink blots) for your psychiatrists to play with, what your narrative will prove.  Does Jesus have "a chemical imbalance?"  Which chemical is it that's out of sync?  Do the psychiatrists end up realizing that their trade is more fallible than astrology?  Ah yes, and what tests would you like to see run?  Now, since you have messed with history so much you are obligated to also deal with the aftermath, what will happen to the world if Jesus is declared insane and banished to a lepers colony?

Serious Business:

In a quiet white room filled with computer monitors, a long-haired nerd in camouflage is squinting into a mainframe when the snap of a twig freezes him. Sweat glistens on his brow as he grabs an Uzi and hurries up the stairs where he is joined by ten other men in camouflage. He quickly scans the monitors spaced three feet apart all the way up the wall. Just as he reaches the top he spots the intruder, a black bear scrounging for dewberries. "No, NO!" he shakes his head sensing the impending doom.

The bear takes one more fatal step forward. The earth sinks beneath the foot and an explosion rips the basement apart. Only one Uzi comes down intact.

Wind blows amidst the flames engulfing the house.

A siren wails. A modern fire truck arrives upon the scene and the chief leaps out, smiles at the news cameras, and runs forward with a hatchet in his hand and a lingering smile on his lips.

The house explodes. A smoldering Uzi lands at the feet of the other firemen, now covered with soot and heat-wrinkled plastic.

They wait, sprinkling the house down half-heartedly until it is only a burning coal heaped upon the earth. Then they souse it good, and with wondering gaze at the Uzi, leave the sodden lumps behind in the night.

The sun rises and a crisply dressed German enters the clearing, glancing from left to right, and back again as he hurries towards the scene of the fire. As he pokes among the ashes with a long rod, another explosion blows him to pieces. His hat lands on top of the Uzi barrel at the edge of the clearing.

The sun rises. A James Bond enters the clearing, glancing only left and right. Upon seeing the hat atop the Uzi he pauses as one might to mourn the passing of an old enemy at someone else’s hand. Two other Englishmen stop behind him and look down at the hat. "I say, they are getting serious, aren’t they?"

James nods, turns to the pile of soot left from the conflagration. "Yes. And if they are this serious, then we can assume this is the most important project they have right now. Guard my flank while I take a closer look.
With his eyes studying the scene for clues only a professional spy can see, James moves towards the ashes.
There is one more explosion, bigger than all the others. In the lacing light debris falls back to earth in slow motion. The Uzi lands with its barrel stabbed into the earth, the stock quivering back and forth.

The sun rises in the sky and a very small crowd gathers at the fringes of the fire-broached clearing. People glance nervously at the crater remaining, and shift to get into the rear of the crowd.

Two Generals and a chicken colonel for each get out of a limo. A long convoy of battle-geared troops pull to a halt behind them. NCOs bark their orders and the troops scatter around the perimeter, unsure which direction to face -- in or out. One of the Generals lifts his foot and pushes against the Uzi’s stock so that it swings back and forth. He nods to the others and they go back to the limo, open the door and wait as a slightly built high school senior in a rumpled suit emerges. He stands for a moment, peering uncertainly all around him. Then he polishes his glasses and perches them on his nose, leaping back when he sees how close the men are to him. "It’s okay, Rodney. We’re here to protect you."

Rodney nods, gathering courage, then shrinking back when he glimpses the crater. The colonels are behind him now, a solid wall he bumps into and puts his hands behind him to see what’s there before turning to flee. They grab him, pull him back. "You might get hurt over there," they warn him.

They inch him forward until he is gulping over the hole, mouth open, chest heaving. A general is almost whispering in his ear. "The other side sent their top agent, and lost him. The English sent the best they had, and lost him. "This is serious business Rodney. We’ve brought you. Whatever was going on here, was of extreme importance. We’re depending on you to uncover the secrets of this place. Where do we start?"

Rodney glances down into the hole, regaining his composure as he grapples with the problem. "Let’s start at home," he says. "I can track this back until every item is laid out on the table with a surgical glove."

The top General nods. "Good. We’ve picked up everything in your house except your parents and sisters and moved them to an office in the heart of Fort Leavenworth. You’ll be safe there."

Sweat glistens on Rodney’s brow at the news. "Everything?"

"Everything," the second General confirms.

Rodney gulps and timidly glances at him. "In my closet there is an egress to the attic. In the attic, behind the third stud over, there are sixteen computer disks and two CDs with my personal programs on them. Did you get them too?"

The two Generals glance at the colonel, who frowns and shakes his head worriedly.

"We’ll pick them up on the way in," says the top General.

Rodney leads the way back to the limo. He pauses at the door to watch a work crew heading towards the crater. "I, I don’t think I’d let them do that if I were you."

The military brass shake their heads with wry smiles. Everyone gets into the limo and they take off down the gravel road. Suddenly there is an explosion behind them. They stop the car, leap out and look back, A fireball is still reaching for the sky.

"This is serious," says the top General. "This is damned serious."

He turns around, and the engine quits on the limo. The driver leaps out and lifts the hood. An explosion scatters car parts all over the road. Rodney and the brass are hurled back. Guns open up and the two Generals are hit first, the colonels grab their .45s and fire back, only to be riddled with rapid fire weaponry.

Rodney scuttles into the underbrush with the sound of hot pursuit boiling up behind him.

"This is real serious!" he whispers.

You can write your next book or script in less than one month, 
working just 1 hour a day MAX. And that's 100% guaranteed!

Don't forget that old plots can be reused.  Loren D. Estleman, one of the world's foremost fiction authors has a great book titled "SUDDEN COUNTRY" that every writer should read for a final topping to his or her education.  But, just hours before you open that book, swing back through and read the immortal classic, TREASURE ISLAND.  With the classic trenched firmly in your mind you will be almost psychic in your ability to tell exactly what is going to happen next all the way through the book.  The names are mostly changed, but not really that much.  We have the young lad Davy telling the tale.. we have an old rebel playing the part of the pirate and he even sings a song of six pence.  The locale is different but the treasure is the same and the pirates sneak right in there with the extricators, and our boy Davy is the one that finds the gold.  You'll love both books.  When you finish you might wonder, as I do, if Stevenson is really dead?  Perhaps he just changed his name to Loren and went back to writing only after the fortune in gold melted away.  Anybody that could punch holes in the darkness would know just how to pull off the feat.

The man who rewrote the Gettysburg Address:
Popular History says that when President Lincoln sat back down at Gettysburg the tired crowd was already turning away.  The harried reporters that even asked for a copy of the speech were shown only a few words scratched on paper.
Who then rewrote the Gettysburg Address that we all know and cherish?  Who brought it forth from obscurity to blazing glory?
Pieces of the speech were printed here, and there, along with criticisms.  Someone assembled the pieces, organized them, and counted cadence with the President's thoughts until the shortest and greatest speech ever given in American politics came forth polished and ready for millions of school children to memorize.  "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

"Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

"But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

That is the start.  Use it as a springboard.   Fill it with research, etch it with adventure, sell it with pride.  Then let me know your success.


*

Sinister Island:

Susie and Margaret decide to make their island a better place by killing off the bully causing all the trouble.  "If we just kill off the one causing all the trouble we will have done humanity a service."

They devise a sudden-acting poison that is not triggered by the body for days, even weeks, thus making it impossible to trace the deaths back to them.  The poison lies inert inside the body until it is triggered.  Suddenly it drops into place and within seconds the bully is experiencing excruciating pain in the groin as it first erupts in contractions, then explodes the area in size like a stick of dynamite going off.  Their guts fall out and certain death follows.

After successfully removing the first bully they are dismayed to see another thick chest puff up belligerently and the old women reluctantly hack him down too.  Another bully pops up, then another.  By the time Susie and Margaret have eliminated fifty bullies eagerness has replaced their sense of reluctance and they decide to do five bullies in at a time.

In the course of history there are only nineteen people left on the island when they hold a war council.  Susie looks at Margaret and says, "I think if we we take out the top three bullies we'll finally have this mission wrapped up.."

Margaret nods grimly.  "You're right Susie.  Drink your tea."

***

The Compleat Hostage:  Jill didn't mind a bit when she was taken hostage.  In fact, she enjoyed it immensely.  Now there were seven men in her life and they could not get away from her.  "Now Johnny, I told you NOT to wear that tie with those pants.  You march right back in there and pick out another tie.  BILL, How many times have I told you how to hold a spoon?"

***

Sometimes just a good title will set your mind off on a good story..

The Trends And Ashes of ...

***

Writers, we have once again initiated a place for you to post your own short stories to the web.  When you do post, those stories will be FLUNG INSTANTLY to the far corners of the web for millions of readers to see IF you hook them.  Add your moneymaking sales copy in the resource box at the bottom of the article.  Our readers are invited to read those stories published here. 

Click HERE for even more free plots

Are you a REAL writer? 
Take the Broken Key test!

Take any 400 consecutive words from your writing.  Now pretend you have to rewrite those words for an anxious editor and the letter "U" is broken on your keyboard.

Any word in that passage that has a u in it must be replaced with a word that doesn't have a "U" in it.

Ready, Set, GO!  You have fifteen minutes...

Hmm.  Let's rewrite that last sentence with the "U" gone.

Writer, there are fifteen min--, hmm.

This is harder than it looks.  Maybe I'd better give you an hour... No, that's got a "U" in it too. 

When I get a POV in a mess like this I back up and start over again.  Let's do that.

Are you a REAL writer? 
Take the Broken Key test!

Take any 400 consecutive words from your writing.  Now pretend you have to rewrite those words for an anxious editor and the letter "Z" is broken on your keyboard.

Literary Treasures
Last Forever

The heroes of Homer still romp through the Trojan plains.  The wisdom of Confucius still rings with truth.  The last minutes in the life of Socrates shall never die.  Christ rises triumphant from the tomb.  The immortal works of Shakespeare shall yet claim the thespian boards of deepest space.  Gulliver shall travel on forever.

Maybe none of the writers you see working here at Tale Wins will ever be that good, but we intend to give them every chance to make it into the Literary Hall of Fame.  Remember too, you don't have to be THE best to be proud of doing your best.

It is said you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

On the web that is very definitely NOT TRUE.  Writers on the web can change the ending of each story twice a day, or even change it every time a new visitor comes, according to whether it is a man, woman, or child visiting, or some other criteria entirely.

On the web you can go on improving your story any time and every time you feel like it.  You can have your own web site and rearrange each page in it as often as you like.  You can change the links and the navigation system as often as you like.  If you aren't getting paid enough you can find better advertisers.

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