Horror Story lost....

Discussion in 'Writing' started by Jay232, Jan 28, 2005.

  1. Jay232

    Jay232 New Member

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    Horror Story crisis....

    Ok, I know I'm posting alot and probably becoming a pain, but this board has so many creative minds that I just have a nak for picking over little issues :D
    I started a horror story two months ago & I quit on it because I couldn't come up with an actual idea. I have tons of ideas of things that could happen in the story, things that I've dreamt or experienced (I live with a 'playful' ghost in my room)but that's it. Has anyone seen the Grudge? Even it has the whole "when someone dies in a fit of rage they leave behind a curse" thing. Well... so far all I have is that my main Character who I've yet to name officially, so we'll call her 'Ally', has had a rough life. She deals with everybody's crap and has to work around them to do what she needs to get done. She finds out that her father, who lives in the country while she in the city, had been in the hospital for a month and has passed away. She then has to drive two states away to get to the lawyers office for the reading of the will only to find out that it was changed and she gets nothing. When she's on her way home, stretched for money and time, her mother-in-law calls and says that she needs to borrow a grand for (you name it) well, to get the story off, She decided to put all of her personal savings into buying a lighthouse and leaves for a week on vacation to get away from everything. Thats when stuff starts happening. That's all I have... and as you can see not much. The prologue is short (681wrd) but I think pretty ok. It gives a small but mysterious backround to the evil in the lighthouse. If anyones interested, let me know and I can email it. But if anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear!!!!!!
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2005
  2. SubZero61992

    SubZero61992 Registered User

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    Here is the the advice I get when I ask questions like I dont really know where the story is going, just write all you want down, then you can go back and change the parts you want or just save the story as a future reference.

    If you ever see a member called Expendable, he will most likely help you out more then I can.

    And dont worry about posting too much, there is no too much, I get happy when I see a new post now-a-days in this forum.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2005
  3. Expendable

    Expendable infomaniac

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    Thanx Sub-Z. ;)

    Ok, you've got Ally pretty figured out. But what about your ghost?

    Who was your ghost before they died?
    What sort of life did they have?
    What brought your ghost to the lighthouse?
    How did your ghost die?
    Why does the ghost haunt the lighthouse?
    What does your ghost want?
    How long ago did the ghost die?

    Does your ghost have a flaw? A weakness?
    What are Ally's flaws?
    Does she believe in ghosts?

    Do people know the lighthouse is haunted?
    Has anyone lived there before?
    What happened to them?
    Does anyone try to warn her?
    Is there anything else going on there?

    Do you know where you want to go with this?
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2005
  4. Jay232

    Jay232 New Member

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    I thought about maybe having the ghost be some legendary mass murderer or something from like the 1930's. (The lighthouse was built in 1878) I was also thinking that maybe the community took him to the lighthouse to hang him because he'd killed so many children & teens. I'm guessing that the ghost haunts because he was a murderer and that's what he still is in after life. Plus I bet he's pretty P'O'd that they hung him :p Ally believes in ghosts and one flaw is that her imagination runs away from her, only making her fear worse. People do not know that the lighthouse is haunted, there has only been two keepers, one that passed after the killer was hung, from 'natural causes' and one keeper since the killer was hung. In the prologue the second keeper was murdered by the spirit. It's documented as a suicide. That happened in 1998. 'Presently', in 2004, she buys the lighthouse. Since the keeper died in '98 they've been trying to sell it, so nothing is really going on.
    How's that for anything?? :eek:
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2005
  5. TheEarCollector

    TheEarCollector Cavalryman Extraordinaire

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    Ummm... is she just taking a vacation, or is she becomming a lighthouse keeper permanently?

    I ask this because, to be incredibly detailed, most lighthouses are now owned/operated by the Coast Guard and use computers to turn them on and what not (Assuming your story takes place in the US).
    Solution to this minor detail: She moves to a Scandinavian country. It's mysterious and new, steeped in folklore about trolls and goblins, and she is scared of a ghost which might not even exist. The townspeople know nothing about a ghost because the last keeper was a bit of a hermit...
    Of course this is just one way to take it.

    As for your ghost - If he WAS hung in the lighthouse, then why would they choose a lighthouse for a hanging? It's not exactly the center of town... Maybe they chased him and he got shacked up in this stone lighthouse, then they tried to burn him out but he died in the fire... Scorch marks still remain as a testament to this. However, he still haunts the lighthouse because he didn't really kill anyone, he was wrongfully accused (because he was a foreigner) and fled out of fear. When they were trying to bring him to justice the mob threw in a torch hoping he would run out and be captured, but he died. He has a reason to be angry.

    Those are just some ideas that I am going to throw around for you.

    Keep in mind that most lighthouses aren't on the coast of the mainlaind, but on islands just off the coast and can only be reached by boat or helicopter, so townsfolk might not know much about them, but (assuming this is the US again) the Coast Guard, who maintains the lighthouses, might have heard stories or had occurrences which is why they are scared to go in there. But since the lighthouse has been recently decommissioned (which she hears from her friend in the Coast Guard) she can buy it and live there. It is a cheap price and a good deal, but the Coast Guardsmen refuse to buy it because they are scared. Ally is scared too, but she assures herself that she is scared of nothing and makes the purchase.

    Ok I am really done throwing out ideas now.
     
  6. Jay232

    Jay232 New Member

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    lol, no don't be done throwing ideas out :p
    Um, well I have a real life lighthouse that I'm basing the lighthouse in the story from. It is on an island off of the coast Fisher Island, in the US. She bought the lighthouse to go on a vacation, but thought maybe she could fix it up as a cool little vacation summer house place. I figured that if the townspeople did take him to the lighthouse it would be because they didn't want him to die anywhere near the town, but in turn after hanging him when they tried to boat back to the town the rocky waters crashed the boat into the rocks killing half and the other half tried to swim to shore but some didn't make it.
    The lighthouse is operated by the coast guard since 1990 (yes 8 years before the lightkeeper was killed, but he was a hermit and wanted to keep living there) He'd told the coast guard stories, but nothing compared to what REALLY happened there.
    Hows that??
     
  7. choppy

    choppy The Great Flying Bear

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    Since you asked.

    Alright, I'm definately not a details guy, but here's some thoughts.

    First of all, what does a lighthouse represent to you? Or what do you want it to represent? To me, I think beacon. It's there as a warning - danger is here, stay away. Metaphorically I think that would work really well as part of a ghost story. Maybe the ghost is searching for something, or trying to draw people in? Maybe he's trying to warn them to stay away from a much greater danger?

    Your problem, if I may summarise, is the following. Ally put everything she has into a lighthouse. It's haunted. As is stands, the solution seems pretty easy - move away.

    Let's work with the problem a little more. Consider ways that it could become a "must solve" rather than just a problem. You mentioned her mother needed money. Maybe Ally spent her mother's money to by the lighthouse and needs this investment to work to assert her independence from a overbearing mother? Maybe her mother needs an operation? Needs to go to rehab? Needs home heathcare? To solve this problem, Alley turns the lighthouse into a Bed and Breakfast.

    Naturally now you have a romantic little getaway B&B, with a murderous ghost. Just when things are looking good and Ally can finally pay back her mother, one of the hotel guests disappears. Over the rest of the summer - five people disappear. To turn up the heat a little bit more, the local authorities suspect Ally as a murderer!

    Then she loses the lighthouse and some other unsuspecting sap buys it. The next summer she returns to the lighthouse, incognito perhaps, to prevent further murders, capture the ghost, and clear her name. In the process, she learns that one of her murdered guests was a previous owner who was trying to warn her...

    I should really get back to work. But I hope this helps.


    Ally's mother asked her for money. Mayb problem becomes more of a "must solve" if you
     
  8. Jay232

    Jay232 New Member

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    I love the ideas. I'm thinking more that the ghost is trying to draw ppl in. But it was her mother-in-law that needs the money. Her character is more of the 'i'm always borrowing but never giving' type character. Too many habits to support if you catch my drift. And I love the metaphore of the warning for the lighthouse. That could be very important as I write. I don't want her to spend someone else's money. As I've wrote, her husband didn't even know of her stash so I'd like to keep that. But the idea that they suspect Ally is good. Maybe after that they put a 24 surveliance on her? Maybe she pleads to investigate her own case as to why she would go back to the lighthouse?? The murdered guest being a previous owner to warn her I'm not sure of.. I was looking for the 'no one escapes' cliche :p but... the prologue suggests that this ghost can slowly start to take over your mind. Hence why the second keeper stayed and 'commited suicide' :eek: :D And to go Stephen King for a minute, when she tries to escape from the lighthouse I was going to make it like it was dark and stormy and the lighthouse begins to sway like fiction-y style to make it difficult to get out of the house and just really freaky looking to the people waiting in the boat outside. :p (dream I had, it inspired the story)Keep coming with ideas I'm starting to work a good story!
    Also: It might be turned into a screenplay... so I'm also working with things that are good for a Screen Movie ?? Would anyone want me to post the Prologue? It's under 700 words, but it's kinda graphic. Is there somewhere I could post it to set a link? :confused:
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2005
  9. Expendable

    Expendable infomaniac

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    You need to figure out why the ghost is haunting a lighthouse and what he wants. I'm not sure his being a mass-murder is going to work, but its your story. After all, if all he wants is to kill people, how can anyone stop him?

    you could sign up for the Community here.
     
  10. TheEarCollector

    TheEarCollector Cavalryman Extraordinaire

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    I am entirely with Expendable on this one.
    Know your ghost before you write your story, it is the only way it will work.

    Ghosts (whether you believe in them or not) always have a reason for sticking around, usually an unjust death or a great sadness. Most ghosts aren't "mass murderers" UNLESS their murder spree was caused by something that caused great distress to them.
    Most ghosts don't kill for the sake of killing - most ghosts are only ghosts because they are trying to communicate to the living what needs to be fixed for their souls to be at peace.

    Halcyon House in Washington, for example, became haunted when the owner started screwing up the house by adding staircases that went nowhere and dead end doors. When he restored the house to it's original state, the ghost vanished.
    The bloody handprint on the jail wall in West Virginia left by an irishman accused of starting a terrorist group (something mollys) and left the bloodstain as a testament to his innocence. Whenever the spot is painted or washed, the spot always reappears.
    The ghost of Ann Bolyn wanders the Tower of London, and turns around to reveal no head when someone approaches it.

    Like I said, most ghosts aren't malicious, and it wouldn't hurt to do some research into REAL hauntings before writing a story. What I will say is that most deaths associated with ghosts are because the ghost is a prankster, someone trying to trip you or give you a nudge, and then an accident happens and you fall down the stairs... Most ghosts aren't evil though.
     
  11. Expendable

    Expendable infomaniac

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    I could so easily write a story on this. This is my fourth attempt at writing this post and this time I'm going to try not writing the novel right here and now.

    The ghost is a former keeper whose death was ruled suicide - and he's still upset about that. Maybe it was an accident or more likely he was murdered.

    Why would someone murder the lighthouse keeper? How about family of smugglers? They need an out of the way place and the beach below the lighthouse seems ideal. Only while he's tending the light one night, the keeper sees a boat come ashore on the beach and investigates....

    Years later, Ally's decision to make the keeper's house into a b&b affects the plans of the current generation of smugglers. Buying the lighthouse themselves would have only alerted the authorities. And a B&B means people who might interrupt another midnight rendervous.

    Killing would draw too much attention - but opening a B&B is a risky business - especially if someone's out to ruin it. Someone she wouldn't suspect.

    Only the smugglers haven't counted on the ghost...

    ooooh, could so write this now....
     
  12. Jay232

    Jay232 New Member

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    I didn't think that I would bring something to cause so much inspiration. :p
    I've been interested in hauntings since I was a little girl and I have done a lot of research, trust me :p I have two ghostly girls in the house as well as the main evil spirit. One of the girls is there to try and warn her away, but is unsuccessful because Ally's imagination doesn't stretch as far to communicate. She just freaks. The other girl is more in her teen years and is out to trap her and help the evil in the house. My main ghost, I'm thinking could be caused because the man, as mentioned before, was wrongly accused of rape and murder. He was hung and came back for revenge? I know that ghosts don't normally harm people, but I'm going a little out of the box while staying somewhat realistic with this one. The lighthouse, although I love the b&b idea, is on a small island just larger than the house itself and is in very rough waters. So getting there is difficult enough and she probably wouldn't have very many customers. Though that could be good, because one customer at a time that goes missing makes things even more suspicious.
    http://www.longislandlighthouses.com/racerock.htm
    That is a site for the lighthouse I have in my story. I know that the actual lightouse was automated in 1978.. but I'm altering that fact. It looks too freaky to not have a horror story written about it. :D My original idea involved Ally bringing in a paranormal specialist, since she doesn't know really anything about real hauntings. If I make the story longer, I could put that in after she is accused of the murders... maybe she turns it into a B&B and people start to disappear and turn up dead. She could start seeing small things but after it is shut down and she is out to clear her name she could call in this specialist and that's when the big things could start happening. How's that? But I still need some good backround for why my ghost would be so evil. I'll do some more research now but please don't give up on me yet ;)
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2005
  13. Expendable

    Expendable infomaniac

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    It could only be a b&b for the boating set. Isolated like that won't work, she'd need another reason to be there. *sigh*

    Oh well, can do something else with it....
     
  14. Jay232

    Jay232 New Member

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    Well, she bought the place just to be secluded from the world for a week. I know that's why she is there, but to find good plot or problem is harsh in the situation. Now you see why I was stuck? :eek: Hummm.... back to the drawing board I go............ :(
     
  15. Expendable

    Expendable infomaniac

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    With all the ship wrecks, there's tons of reasons why ghosts would be there.

    Does Ally have a job? Photographer maybe?
     
  16. Jay232

    Jay232 New Member

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    Hmm... I've been waiting to use that profession in a story. The actual lighthouse is said to be haunted as well, but by an old lightkeeper. I've thought of this idea but I'm not too excited about it only because that's the expected ghost to be there. You think lighthouse you think dead lightkeeper ghost lol. But the shipwrecks could explain the ghosts of the two little girls. I haven't figured out why the one is evil yet, I just know that I want her to be on the bad side too. Make Ally's situation that much more horrifying I guess. As far as the main ghost, if he was also involved in a shipwreck, why would he be so angry? Does he take it out on the island for his boat being wrecked and his death? Maybe the town wanted him to make a late night trip that wasn't so neccessary and he wrecked. Captains are usually fond of their boats in a weird way. :confused: But then again, that doesn't give the ghost that much of a 'scary' background. Course, I'm not sure he even needs to have a scary background. ~shrugs~ My drawing board is slowly working it's way back up again :p
     
  17. Jay232

    Jay232 New Member

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    Back again :p ... Let's say that this man is of some importance to the town, maybe he transports medications or something. One night he gets a call and there is a deathly ill child in town and they've run out of antibiotics or something. He's called over in the middle of the night and takes his daughters along with him. The waters were getting rough and his boat was thrown around until finally crashing against the rocks of the island. The next morning when a search party was sent because of his failure to arrive, they found few scattered pieces of the boat and the body of his youngest daughter. His body and his first born daughter's body are yet to be found along with the rest of the remains of his boat. This would explain why they're spirits are not at rest at least...
    That's my start on a background for this evil spirit character. :cool:
     
  18. Expendable

    Expendable infomaniac

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    How does this sound?

    The ghosts of the two girls are the malicious spirits. They're bored and want someone to play with. They might not even know they're dead, just very clever at hiding. One of them has even tried tampering with the light, so a ship will run aground and they'd get someone to play with them. The spirit of the keeper catches them at it and chases them off. He might spend the whole night up there, keeping watch for the girls.

    Of course, not knowing that and seeing/hearing the keeper chasing the two girls might make someone think he's the evil one.

    It might be because of them he resents any intrusion around the lense now - but it might be that Ally reminds him of someone from his former life. He might grudgingly allow her up there... something the girls hope to exploit.
     
  19. Jay232

    Jay232 New Member

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    That could work. I like that the girls don't know that they are dead. And even though the lightkeeper is just a calm spirit keeping watch he could recognize her. That could help with my idea of her feeling she is in a prison. Maybe the ghost only wants her to be there and anyone coming to take her away or coming to intrude on him makes him angry? Hmm... how to explain my prologue then lol. Maybe the ghost killed the lightkeeper in my prologue because that guy murdered the ghost(when he was alive) to take his home and place as lightkeeper? Did I just confuse anyone lol? OOO and ideas are flowing with the two little girls lol! :D
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2005
  20. Expendable

    Expendable infomaniac

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    The two girls came with a lifeboat but died of the cold on the island before the keeper could summon help. Then the spirit of the girls playing one of their pranks killed the keeper. Now his spirit tries to make sure they don't kill anyone else.

    I imagine the light's been retired if the're selling the tower - but it may be the girls are hoping to fool someone by turning on the light again, then turning it off when they've come to the wrong course.

    I think they're all lonely - the keeper and the girls would first welcome her but then the girls get bored again. The Keeper might be torn, wanting to protect her and at the same time guard the light.

    Of course, he might be reluctant to show himself to Ally so what happens is doors fly open suddenly. She might even pick up on his anger but not realize its being directed at the girls, not herself.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2005