Sunday, April 15, 2012

Idea Garage Sale: Tour de Supernatural Forces

I dreamed several plots last night, but now key parts of all of them have melted (shame, too; one of them was to a bestselling cult juvenile novel that was already on the shelves and had generated support literature, a movie deal, and fanfic - just what my career needs!), so I dig back into the notes folder again and find a notion dating from way back; back when I thought I'd be writing for adults. It's not exactly original, but all the more reason to sell it at a discount.

A producer discovers an unproduced script by his favorite dramatist, which includes the dramatist as a minor character. He hires as many people as he can who worked with her in her lifetime, and finds an actress who, though inexperienced and not very promising in delivery, looks enough like the dramatist to be worth working with. He refuses to change a word of the script because he admires the dramatist so much.

The actress gets better as rehearsals go forward, and the people who've worked with her before find that the resemblance soon becomes uncanny. In addition to carrying the part well, the actress's behavior begins to shift and she gets more like the dramatist in daily life - her tastes change, she gets both more observant and more autocratic, doesn't drop the adopted accent, etc. Somebody - in the notes it's a costumer - recognizes that the script is a spell, and the dramatist is possessing the actress. The key scene would be the confrontation between the protagonist who realizes this and the possessing dramatist, who has a complex and impenetrable rationalization for why this isn't a wrong thing to do.

The protagonist manages to break the spell by destroying all copies of the script. (How? Fire + hard drive crash?) The cast is far enough along that they can reconstruct it pretty well, just not well enough for it to function as a spell. The actress playing the dramatist suddenly tanks, is replaced, and goes on to moulder in Hollywood talking about losing her Big Break. Presumably the protagonist is fired if her part in the destruction of the spell is discovered.

I conceived this as a short story, but short story markets even in genre have dried up so much I don't know now where it would be peddled. It'd take a lot of padding to make a decent novel. It's natural habitat is probably movies or TV; it's a Twilight Zone sort of plot, and a knowledgeable writer could use it as a decent framework for a satire.

I of course am not knowledgeable and never had a hope in heck of pulling this one off.

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