So, what I just said right then is all I’ve got. I like it because the juxtaposition of a Partridge Family/Kelly Family (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlli9ci2DqU if unfamiliar) type family with serial killing makes me laugh. I mean, they’re so goddamn creepy as it is, pushing it a little further to something like serial killing really isn’t that big of a leap.
Anyway, to go any further I need to make some choices in the direction I want the story to head. It could be that I get a little deeper in and find that this idea has no legs, but I want to find out.
So for choice number one: Why the fuck are they serial killing?
EXERCISE SIX: Ten Reasons A Travelling Family Band Might Serial Kill
(Note: Since I’ve got nothing in stone yet, including characters, I’m going to try and explore as many possibilities as I can, including swapping around who the protagonist might be. I’m looking for ideas with high concept, clear conflict, and if possible, a bit of inherent irony)
(Note 2: For ease of writing, I’ll refer to them as The Kilborn Family. Haha. All names subject to change.)
Might as well knock some of the more obvious ones out first. The Kilborn Family are members of a Satanic Cult and have minor fame around the world for the their pop folk music. They never tour the same place twice and have been making their way around every country they can get into. Now they’ve come to New Zealand to tour for the first time.
Only, it turns out the reason they don’t repeat visit is because the elder members of the family are serial killers. They kill someone off in every area they tour, but have never been popular enough to actually be noticed/caught/linked to the crimes.
The youngest of the Kilborn's, Delilah, turns sixteen, something she’s nervous and excited about. She's finally old enough to help with the sacrificial killings to Satan her family have been doing it all her life. Papa Kilborn spoke to Satan in a dream and is convinced his family will only remain happy, healthy and lucky if they keep up the sacrifices.
Delilah (protagonist) attempts her first kill, but finds herself unable to go through with it, even though she really wants to keep her family and Satan happy.
Where does this story go? Not sure. The above is only first act stuff.
Note: Does not need to be Satan. Could be a Wiccan/witchcrafty/gypsy curse.
Mama Kilborn was brutally murdered while The Kilborn Family were on tour years ago. Now every time they go on tour, they revenge murder a person per gig.
The Kilborn Family are doing a tour of New Zealand before the Gold Guitar Awards in Gore, which they need to win as their money situation is getting dire (or something).
So they take out all of the competition in the country.
Problem: It’s going to become very obvious very quickly, having a string of murders in New Zealand, if there’s a connection like a country music festival. We’re just too small. This is probably an issue I will have with every idea.
In the vein of DOGTOOTH, the Kilborn Family could be lead by parents with strange ideas about the world. They could believe that earth is overpopulated, and that certain types of people (maybe people not contributing to society in some way) ought to be wiped out.
And have taught their kids the same thing.
The Kilborn Family children all suffer from schizophrenia/some other mental disorder that gives them an urge to kill that they can’t control. When they were young, their parents discovered that the only way to keep their brood under control was music.
So the family band was formed, and they travel around in order to keep themselves in check. But sometimes they slip, and it’s getting worse.
Note: This is good because it links the music and the killing.
Problem: I’m concerned that if I go with this one, I’ll be saying things about mental health I don’t want to say (ie. that all people with mental health problems are dangerous).
The Kilborn Family kids are hypnotised into killing by their psychotic Father (no mother or other adults in this scenario. Protagonist would be eldest kid, about 19 or 20). Kids would think there was something wrong with them and would be too scared to leave their Father, which is exactly what he wants - the family band to stay together forever.
FUCKED UP COMPETITION
The Kilborn Family kids are competing with each other to rack up the highest kill-count for their time in New Zealand. Winner gets *something desirable* and losers get *something extremely undesirable*.
Note: Would need to find a reason for them killing, still.
Note note: This is cray cray.
The family believe that the inspiration for their glorious music comes from the rush of killing.
Problem: Pretty easy problem to solve once they realise that’s bullshit. Would also need to establish *why* they think this.
They’re all on mind altering substances for their gigs that make them play extremely well and fix their crippling stage fright, but also make them killllllllllll.
Protagonist would be a kiwi cop on their trail.
Killing people to eat them, taking on the view that if we eat animals, we might as well eat people.
Problem: FRESH MEAT is about to hit NZ screens.
In a Dexter type scenario, the Kilborn Family are killing off people who they think are evil, and have their own moral code by which they judge this.
Could tie in religious beliefs.
Papa Kilborn and his sons kill off every boy who looks at the daughters (or maybe the only daughter?).
Protagonist would be a daughter who finds a boy she likes and doesn’t want him to die.
The Kilborn Family are collecting *something valuable but small - spinal fluid? stem cells?* from the corpses of people they kill and selling it to a supplier overseas to fund their tours (or some other reason?).
SECOND ACT IDEA:
Nearly any of the reasons above could be taken and expanded on with this:
A teenage girl/;boy escapes her/his travelling family band and reports to a local Kiwi cop that their family are in fact serial killers. Together they hunt down the family before they kill again.
Okay, so went a bit further than my usual ten ideas today, but that’s because it’s work for an actual potential project as opposed to just fun. Some of these ideas pique my interest, but obviously none are fully formed. The next thing I’ll do is take the ones I like and try and figure out ways to make them work. It’s also completely likely I’ll wake up tomorrow morning and read over these and think they all suck, in which case I’ll probably try for another batch of ideas, or bang my head against the keyboard. Whichever feels good. ;)
Slightly apprehensive about posting this lot, since they’re really just the seeds of a new idea, but someone out there might find it interesting to see how another writer figures shit out. Always interesting to look at an idea and realise just how endless the directions it could go are.
Anyway, if any of this lot sticks out as particularly interesting to you, please let me know. I’ll call this “audience testing”. Haha.