Premise: A group of college students go on a road trip, but due to some complications have to deal with eldritch farm folk.
1. Write something that may change your life
I’m hoping to take a genre I love (horror/slasher) and change up some of the repetitive and boring tropes that many films follow. I’m also hoping it will change my life by making me stick to a schedule for drawing/writing.
2. Look for deeper possibilities
Some things I’ve considered for other possibilities are:
- What if the the group had a vulnerable member like a child or an animal? How would that affect how the story plays out?
- What if instead of happening upon the scary farm people the group was actively seeking them out, or at least something similar (like paranormal investigators or maybe like the Blair Witch Project)?
- What if the farm people were more than just strange scary people? What if there were actual monsters involved?
3. Clarify challenges for your idea
I want to be able to subvert some horror/slasher tropes, while also playing with them and having them in the story to really make it feel like an old slasher movie. Finding a good balance between using and destroying the tropes will be very difficult. It will also be difficult to have several protagonists and try to get each of them to change and develop in interesting ways through the story. Evil Scary Farm People is a bit cliche, especially in horror, so it might be difficult getting people interested in this specific Evil Scary Farm People story.
4. Find an original angle or designing principle
A couple ideas I had to make the story more original, or at least interesting, are:
- The danger in the situation is entirely made up by the protagonists, nothing is actually trying to get them but everything seems like it’s coming to get them. (Make the whole story more of a fantastical retelling of a more mundane thing?)
- The big, scary, main antagonist isn’t actually an antagonist. They’re trying to help the protagonists and keep them away from a bigger threat.
5. Identify the protagonist who will struggle & change
This one is a bit difficult because I want there to be several protagonists that are equally interesting. I do have some concepts for characters to expand upon later, but I don’t have specific names yet. Some concepts for protagonists include: Football player that is very strong but also incredibly pacifistic and easily frightened; “Mechanic” that is very good at creating rube goldberg-esque contraptions but not very good at anything conventional; Blind girl who is incredibly fighty and tries to take on everything head-on despite not being able to see it. I have a few more ideas for the main group as well but they need to be developed a bit more first.
6. List some conflicts or challenges for protagonist
- Car breaks down, need to find gas/parts nearby to fix it
- Scary man wandering around the cornfields, must avoid him
- The farm is very big and they need to split up to find things
- The groups they split up into need to learn how to work together
- Stop the blind girl from trying to fight the scary farm man
7. Which causes have which effects?
Car breaks down → have to search nearby farm → farm too big, need to split up → groups discover large scary man stalking around the premises → need to figure out how to hide from him while still finding things → someone doesn’t hide very well, has to run away, leaves partner behind (paths branch off for each protagonist)
8. Figure out how and why the protagonist changes
Each protagonist would have to change in their own ways, but for the ones I listed it may be something like: Football player is forced to give up on his pacifism in order to keep one of his friends from being hurt; “Mechanic” needs to figure out on the fly how to actually fix a car or else their whole group might die; Blind girl finds out the hard way that fighting everything is a Very Bad Idea.
9. Determine key moral choices faced by protagonist
Some tough choices that the protagonists may face are:
- Save your friend immediately and put yourself in danger, or find something to save them later with much less risk involved.
- Help Antagonist 1 against Antagonist 2 or let them figure it out and deal with the stronger antagonist later.
- Leave 1-2 friends behind and get everyone else to safety, or go back into the danger zone to rescue all the friends.
10. Stick to your original vision, but find the audience appeal
I personally know a lot of people that enjoy horror, and also terrifying monsters (that may or may not be included in the story). I’m sure there’s also plenty of people that enjoy stories about people around their age overcoming (ridiculous and dangerous) obstacles and (potentially) coming out on top. As a whole I don’t think there would be a huge audience for it, but I think it would have a big enough audience for it to be worth writing.