plot Focusing on a single project for this year...opinion on premise wanted.

I'm typically scatter-brained, and that's a fault. But this time around, I'm focusing on a project I've previously started, and researched, but now I'm actively "trying" to write it. This is a dark thriller, with sensitive subject matter. Think of 8mm or Seven. I'll be brief, but will provide detailed info if desired.

Retired detective lost his 15 year old daughter via kidnapping a few years prior to the beginning of the story. The investigation into her disappearance turned up nothing, so he takes drastic measures to find out what happened. With his experience as a detective, he figures his best chance to get information is to dive into the dark web and pose as someone looking for women of a specific age range. In doing this, he's led to a small town in Kansas, where he meets some rather unsavory characters. This town serves as a "hub" for transporting people. Within this town there is a small air-strip/hangar, where routinely, a plane lands and delivers a person to an awaiting car. Money is left to the responsible party over the air-strip - the local Sheriff. He knows what's happening, but takes payment in exchange for silence.

As a way to deliver the story, I'm thinking of making the reader assume one thing, but deliver something unexpected. What I mean by that is I will show an 18-19 year old female going through the trafficking process. There will be Plot A with the detective doing his thing, intertwined with Plot B involving this girl, living through her situation. The reader will suspect that this is the detective's daughter, in the present, and they will be reunited...but that won't be the case. This girl will be delivered to him by the people who use the air-strip. The detective will try to use her to get information, which eventually leads him to the local people that town Sheriff reports to (the people running this particular trafficking hub).

In the end, he is able to save the girl and takes her in, realizing that he will probably never find his daughter as this is just one hub, and there's many just like it within the country.
 

mlesemann

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Good luck!

I've found that when there's something that I really need to write - I do a lot of "writer for hire" projects - it helps me to outline the project thoroughly first. It's easier to move around bits of an outline than entire sections of a screenplay. Then when I do sit down to write the first draft, it goes (fairly) smoothly.
 
Good luck!

I've found that when there's something that I really need to write - I do a lot of "writer for hire" projects - it helps me to outline the project thoroughly first. It's easier to move around bits of an outline than entire sections of a screenplay. Then when I do sit down to write the first draft, it goes (fairly) smoothly.
Thanks. I'm not a professional and I've never been paid to write, but I have had a short produced in exchange for a writing credit. Either way, this is something I've had bouncing around my head for about a year, and I've gone through different plots and POV's. This idea stemmed from my travelling across the country for my job, and stopping in a couple of these small Kansas towns. I thought to myself that there HAS to be some strange things occurring in at least one of them. So I went from there, and I came up with what I provided in the OP.

I want to make sure I keep focused on the central idea, and not branch out to wide, as I typically do, which makes any potential project fall apart.

The detective is inserting himself into the trafficking world by requesting to purchase a girl, he enters the town where the trade will take place, gets the girl, finds out who is allowing this to happen/who is in charge of this specific operation (two different parties), and finally saving her while accepting his daughter may not be found.
 

indietalk

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Sounds familiar!!!!! :)
 
Sounds familiar!!!!! :)
Yup! After a few different ideas and even some pages written, I've finally nailed down a plot. I need to flesh out some characters now.
 

indietalk

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Your ending is going to need some work. It's too Lifetime movie. And yes Lifetime has dark thrillers lol. The whole, his daughter is probably gone, but he takes in a girl he saved (the replacement, not-replacement) is sappy and unfullfilling at the same time. I can see the zoom out from her (daughter's) picture to them enjoying a game of Scrabble as the credits roll. Just no. You need a better ending. :)
 
Your ending is going to need some work. It's too Lifetime movie. And yes Lifetime has dark thrillers lol. The whole, his daughter is probably gone, but he takes in a girl he saved (the replacement, not-replacement) is sappy and unfullfilling at the same time. I can see the zoom out from her picture to them enjoying a game of Scrabble as the credits roll. Just no. You need a better ending. :)
Well it would only end a couple of ways - he finds his daughter alive (somewhat unbelievable considering the world of trafficking), or he finds out for sure that she's dead (somewhat unbelievable considering the world of trafficking).

I figured my proposed ending would be a good middle-ground.
 

indietalk

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Right. You are trying to avoid the happy ending, music soaring, 360 camera move as they hug.

Give him closure so the audience feels closure. This can be in a dark scene. The next scene can be the hope, continuing on best he can.
 
Right. You are trying to avoid the happy ending, music soaring, 360 camera move as they hug.

Give him closure so the audience feels closure. This can be in a dark scene. The next scene can be the hope, continuing on best he can.
I'm sure you remember 8mm? Cage finds out the girl died at the end of the second act. The final act I all avenging.

Wouldn't it be convenient that he Does find out she's dead? He isn't in Kansas because a specific lead on his daughter, just rather to pick up the girl he purchased. He would then try to get information from her, and protect her, while he continues investigating around town.
 

indietalk

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I still get a TV movie vibe. What makes me want to put my ass in seat for two hours to see this? I think it needs a good twist. That twist is up to you.
 

indietalk

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A Sixth Sense like vibe is what I feel.

Like, he hasn't actually been searching for her months after her disappearance. It's been like 20 years. Something about mixing the past and present. Perhaps she has been dead all this time and he is still searching as if she is alive. And he keeps asking the same store patrons, etc. But they humor him because they have tried telling him she is dead. This keeps him "happier." It's what he is living for.

I'm just brainstorming as I type. But something is needed.
 
A Sixth Sense like vibe is what I feel.

Like, he hasn't actually been searching for her months after her disappearance. It's been like 20 years. Something about mixing the past and present. Perhaps she has been dead all this time and he is still searching as if she is alive. And he keeps asking the same store patrons, etc. But they humor him because they have tried telling him she is dead. This keeps him "happier." It's what he is living for.

I'm just brainstorming as I type. But something is needed.
I get you and I like the idea of making things not exactly what they seem. I'm still working this out, and I also realize that this is similar to Taken.
 

indietalk

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Never seen that so maybe what I posted is like it. But yeah, it's just need something to elevate it for the made-for-TV vibe.
 

indietalk

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What if the trafficking/daughter was only the backstory, and the film was about him struggling with... alcoholism (for example).
 
What if the trafficking/daughter was only the backstory, and the film was about him struggling with... alcoholism (for example).
The original idea involved the detective's brother, the governor of Kansas, being the one responsible for the disappearance of his daughter. He basically took her and sold her off to (some entity) in order to obtain his state position.
 

indietalk

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Yes but the discovery can send him into a downward spiral. That can be the actual story. It's more interesting to me than what sounds like it could be a CSI Miami episode. (No offense meant)
 
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