POSSIBLE STORY: The Kilborn Family used to be perfectly happy travelling the world with their family band. But ten years ago, Mama Kilborn died *in a horrible way*. Papa Kilborn and his children kill people *for reasons related to Mama’s death*.
EXERCISE SEVEN: TEN WAYS TO JUSTIFY SERIAL KILLING
Today I’ll be thinking of ten ways to justify a Kilborn family murderous rampage, linked to Mama’s death and music in some way.
I imagine the family travel around in a house-bus. Could have a drunk driver hit the bus and have Mama killed that way. This would give them a reason to hate “impure” people who drink/do drugs at their gigs. But this isn’t inherently linked to their music, which I think is really important.
What if instead of killing impure people... they kill *pure* people. The most innocent person at each of their gigs, “because Mama needs good people with her in heaven". Of course, this makes no sense, because a. There’s theoretically already good people in heaven, and b. They might as well just join her there themselves if that’s what they want. But I do think it would be good to avoid having them kill impure people for kicks, since that’s pretty cliche.
Mama’s favourite song is sung as a tribute at every gig, but it’s a horrible song. Anyone who dare boo the song gon’ get murdered.
Mama was raped and murdered :( All of the Kilborn kids are boys except the youngest, Delilah. Now whenever a boy wants to date Delilah (or even look at her), they murder him to keep her safe like they couldn’t with Mama.
Problem with this: Why travel the world and expose Delilah to danger if they’re so desperate to keep her safe? Perhaps Mama wasn’t murdered, but died of injuries sustained from abuse. This would let her have the dying wish that they “Keep on singing”.
Thus far I’ve had them serial killing people.
What if they serial kill something else?
What if Mama was mauled to death by a dog, or a wild cat? And now they’re quietly killing all of the cats/dogs they find, because they think they’re not safe to have around humans. They’re far less likely to get caught this way, but it’s still horrible.
But then, I actually don’t think I could bring myself to write about animal abuse (...and yet I’m okay with killing people in stories? Ha!). Also: Less at stake if it’s not people dying.
I’ve done some Googling, and Thomas was one of the 12 Disciples of Jesus. He was also known as Doubting Thomas (you’ve heard the saying). I like the idea that the Kilborn family were originally followers of Jesus, and that after Mama died, they lost faith in Jesus and switched to following Thomas. Thomas didn’t believe that Jesus had died and risen again, but was courageous and loyal. So basically he was the only sensible one ;)
Papa Kilborn could teach his kids to question everything and never to have blind faith. But why would this motivate them to kill? I suppose I could fudge some flawed logic about why it makes sense to kill bad people, Dexter stylez. However, this would limit the amount of people they could find to kill.
The thing about religion (especially Christian/faux Christian) stories is that as soon as you have a character who supposedly has those beliefs, killing people reads as a contradiction. Which is kind of ironic, considering that it’s something that happens oh, every day. I need to find a way of using this to my advantage, and make this contradictory behaviour one of my themes. The way to do this would be to have characters with strong beliefs, but batshit insane logic for doing bad things that justifies it to *them*. The point being: Show the audience that there is always a path from A to B - people aren’t just insane for no reason.
Anyway, in this context, it means finding a reason for the Kilborn family to go from having no-killing values to pro-killing values. Which means I have to look at it from their perspective. And I’ve just realised I’ve been thinking about this the wrong way.
This family are not killing people because they like it. THEY HATE IT. But they feel like they have to do it. They are genuinely concerned for the people that baddies might hurt. Killing them helps them sleep better at night. They feel like they’re making the world a safe place, like it wasn’t for their Mama.
Building on the idea about killing people who try to get close to their little sister, what if I push it further than so that it covers all disrespect. Papa Kilborn hates disrespect with a fiery passion. Maybe Mama was killed because someone didn’t like the way she looked, or even just hated her beliefs. Now Papa Kilborn is ultra sensitive about respecting others, to the point that he’s taught his children to kill anyone who laughs at their songs or makes fun of their weird hippie lifestyle. OR - they murder anyone they see disrespecting their parents (maybe an estranged Kilborn sibling disrespected her Mama and somehow caused her death).
Mama Kilborn committed suicide. Papa Kilborn believes it was because of hate mail from fans. The Kilborn Family believe they're extremely talented and will murder anyone who says a bad word about their music. Dunning-Kruger effect gone wild: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect
What if they had a family friend or distant relative who travelled with them back when Mama was alive, and that person turned out to be a compulsive liar and fraud who causes Mama’s death in some way. This would give the family an excuse to hate on liars and lying ‘n kill those who do it freely (again, to keep other people safe, not because they enjoy it).
Great for theme. My main character would have to tell lies to avoid killing, and risk being killed herself. Would be about the way good values can be twisted.
Right, so that was the toughest ten to dredge out of my brain yet, probably because the question was pretty vague. New ideas are always really messy at this stage and it gets difficult when there are infinite directions you can take a story. But wading my way through this mess is better than taking the first idea that comes.
From this lot, I should be able to pick something to use as motivation for my characters to do what they do. From there, I can get on with figuring out what the story actually is. Writing the actual script is pretty distant, but is more attainable than my poor cat’s quest to catch the laser pointer dot. One day, kitty. One day.