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Is my plotline idea too gruesome?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by ClearDragon, Oct 12, 2020.

  1. ClearDragon

    ClearDragon Minstrel

    It's intended to be a science fiction and fantasy with some dark themes, but not all the way to horror.
    First some backstory.
    My main character is a seemingly normal boy who started developing godlike power. But he found that his human body can't handle the power and he can't reach even a fraction of one percent of his potential. His solution was to create a dragon body that can handle the power, and engineer a fatal accident to free his soul from his human body so he can inhabit his new body.
    Years later a group of magic users are trying to kill him. There is a spell that can completely destroy him and his power can't stop it. He has no idea who these people are or just where they are, only that someone is gathering the resources needed to preform the spell. Now in my universe powerful magic has recoil and this particular spell will leave the users totally exhausted if done correctly and petrified into stone if done even slightly wrong.
    Anyway my dragon god character decides to dig up his own dead body, zombify it and use it as a decoy to absorb the spell, leaving the casters helpless for him to then kill.
    So what do you think, is that maybe too much and should I go a different direction?
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  2. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

    Meh...I've seen worse. Kind of Dune'ish with the god emperor worm kid, and the guard they kept cloning. Go for it.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  3. joshua mcdermott

    joshua mcdermott Troubadour

    seems reasonable. Zombie stuff is done so much these days i think it will fly without a problem. i did have one experience where i may have taken the zombie thing too far if you want a cautionary tale (this was years ago so maybe people are more inured now)

    But the plot was driven by a zombie (in Champions.. so they were a super hero.. sort of.. but for all intents and purposes.. a zombie) but she was functionally immortal, and if "killed" through dismemberment etc... she didn't stop functioning she just got very ineffectual (If you are a champions person you know it.. she lost all Presence: represents mental forcefulness, charisma, bravery and leadership) and very much focused on getting her parts back together.

    anyway.. there was a group of fanatics trying to use her parts to obtain immortality, having sliced off their arms and taken parts etc.. ... yadda yadda yadda... but a lot of blood and guts and parts and a half mad girl running around armless with stolen organs etc that the heroes needed to help get her parts together..

    maybe a little too over the top for that particular game group.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  4. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Inkling

    There is no way to tell how dark something is just from an outline. It all comes down to how you write it. The outline you describe can be used to write a comedy, a high epic fantasy tale or a gothic horror story, as well as everything in between.

    So write it as a dark fantasy story and then that is what it will be.
  5. The Dark One

    The Dark One Archmage

    Perfectly acceptable plot, but like everything, it always comes down to the execution.

    The darkness is in the detail.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  6. italian in japan

    italian in japan Dreamer

    I agree. Besides, i don't think there is any such thing as "too gruesome" in an absolute sense. it's subjective and the reader will choose (if you do believe your story to not be for everyone, just put a warning on it or something). from what i read, though, not too gruesome.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  7. roguewitch

    roguewitch Acolyte

    I think that sounds fine! Some of my favorite authors write stories that might not be conventionally dark (like, using the undead) but are written in such a way that the main characters commit atrocities either by accident or as a flash decision in a tough situation. For instance, in Jemisin's the Fifth Season, the main character, who uses a kind of earth/rock magic, accidentally kills her entire village because her powers are intimately tied to her emotions. The story is full of tender moments, but as an apocalypse sets in, people do awful things. So, I agree with Prince of Spires and The Dark One.

    Is the godlike character the main protagonist? Will we see inside his head? Does he do so out of malice? Or out of the necessity to survive? Does he feel like he's taken things to far?
  8. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    Uhm, it depends on how much you lean into the suicide aspect of it. Unlike other issues, the harm that can happen is direct and well documented. The more magic the death the less the issue. Your setup should make it easy to avoid the problem, just be a little aware.
    S.T. Ockenner and ClearDragon like this.
  9. ClearDragon

    ClearDragon Minstrel

    Thanks for all your advice people!
    Yes the godlike character is the main character. You see what he's thinking sometimes. He has godlike power but not godlike intelligence or that much life experience, he's only 26 in the story. He tries to be a hero, but doesn't always do it the right way, his solution to a major crime was to kill all the suspects.
    The magic users who where trying to destroy him where jealous and afraid of him. He sometimes regrets his actions and tries to do better in the future.
    S.T. Ockenner and roguewitch like this.

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