Game Boy

Pitch:

Nineteen-year-old runaway, Kenneth Dekker, lives isolated inside hospital walls undergoing robotic treatment for COPD. He spends his free time inside the VR world of the game Atlas Quest, which bases gameplay around randomized quests. One day, Kenneth logs on and finds a new quest that requires two people. Intrigued he teams up with another player, a girl by the name of Byrd.

After playing through the quest and becoming acquainted, Byrd extends the invitation to let Kenneth quest with her. Despite enjoying himself, Kenneth turns her down out of mistrust. He leaves on his own, only to be suddenly pulled from the game. He wakes up to find himself taken into another medical procedure. Coming out of it the medical robots inform him his COPD will kill him in less than a year if he does not receive a lung transplant. They give him one month to make a decision.

Kenneth is aware he cannot afford the transplant, as all of his medical welfare is currently spent on hospital bills alone. He returns to the game looking for another break from reality and decides to track down Byrd, desperate to talk to another real human being again. He finds her and joins her in several quests.

The two of them grow to be close friends and Kenneth’s health continues to deteriorate over the course of time. Having made a new friend and beginning to find joy in life again, Kenneth tries to think of ways to pay for a transplant. Finding no options, he decides to call his mother, who he ran away from 5 years ago due to abuse and asks for her help, which she agrees to.

With his mother there, Kenneth struggles as she tries to micromanage his medical health. He throws himself into the game and ends up liking Byrd as their friendship grows.

Shortly before his operation, Kenneth throws a tray at his mother during one of their fights, afraid she will harm him. His mother angrily has his VR privileges seized for violence. Kenneth decides he’s had enough.

He runs away from the hospital and finds a remote place. There, he contemplates taking his own life. He thinks of Byrd and decides to log in to say goodbye to her. Upon finding her in the game, they talk. Byrd talks him down from suicide. She advises him and then the two pray before sharing their first kiss.

Refreshed and prepared, Kenneth returns. He undergoes the operation and afterward confronts his mother. There, he tells her he forgives her, but that she is no longer welcome in his life. He drops her and takes his health back into his own hands until he’s released. He regains contact with Byrd and the two agree to meet up in real life with the hope of continuing their relationship.

Genre: Sci-Fi/Romance
Intended Audience: NA 18-25
Length: 40K+

Major Plotlines:

  • Kenneth struggling against his mom over his health

  • Kenneth fighting financial and medical battles

  • Romance between Kenneth and Byrd

Major ARCS:

  • Kenneth learns to stand up for himself in the face of his mom

  • Byrd learns how to be emotionally vulnerable again

  • Kenneth heals emotionally and physically

  • Romantic growth for both Kenneth and Byrd

Unique Highlights:

  • Diverse MC’s and cast
  • Positive Body Image
  • Accurate Mental Illness portrayal
  • “clean” (no sex) romance
  • Future worldbuilding
  • VR usage and world
4 Likes

Yay you posted it!

1 Like

I did…here’s hoping it’s good :grin:

1 Like

Hey, I already think it’s great. And if you need to expand on anything, you have wiggle room.

1 Like

Definitely!

1 Like

Yass!

1 Like

:grin:

1 Like

Congratulations Sara for posting your story pitch :slight_smile: Love the summary =]

Thank you!

1 Like

Updated.

2 Likes

Okay so, there’s two opposing plot lines going on here that conflict with each other and hold each other back, which is a shame because either of them are more than interesting enough on their own. It also explains why the opening doesn’t really make clear what the character’s main motivation is but then it comes up later in the middle, depending on which plotline you’re in.

To split them in two:

The VR game arc is interesting. In my opinion, it is the weaker of the two, but it’s still intriguing. In this one, you would need to remove the abusive mother (it adds a layer of complexity that pulls away from the moral issues of the game). You have a character who is physically ill and unable to help others in a traditional sense because of it (I assume, this isn’t really explicitly clear). They pass time in the hospital via game, find a glitch that exposes all (or some of) the NPCs are actually people who are supposedly being treated for Depression/ADHD/mental illness but are really just vessels for generating realistic NPCs. Neat. The main character arc is going to revolve around needing to use his non-physical ability in the game in order to save someone and, I guess, find value in what he can do for others even by just being someone to talk to when he normally has felt so limited (again, I assume or am inventing a motivation for him based on situation). This helps him match up really well with Byrd, who is an otherwise physically capable person who is limited instead by her mind, and whose body is trapped by external force as opposed to Kenneth’s, which is trapped by internal force. And something something he breaks her out and she comes to visit him in the hospital and they kiss.

The abuse-connection-love angle is different and also interesting. Personally, I find it more compelling (I suspect the VR plotline would be more commercially viable, this one more interpersonal and literary). In which you have a character whose body is physically collapsing, and who comes from a broken household. This can help explore just how isolating and lonely it can be to have a condition that forces you into the hospital for long stretches (as someone who has been there, it’s certainly something). Having no family to turn to and not much of a social life in a hospital, you can have them log on to this game where they play with NPCs, which is certainly something very true of video games. One of the components that fosters addiction to video games is the feeling of social connection and accomplishment it provides to you, and the more isolated you are from getting either of those things in your day to day life, the more likely you are to turn to video games (and become dependent on them) to feel those things. In this situation, having him mindlessly interact with NPCs to pass time, until he discovers one of them is another person who was accidentally connected to his private server or whatever. And through this, he finds someone to make him feel less lonely in the hospital, goes through the struggles of his mother, and possibly after losing his right to be an adult, he fights to get the right back and separates himself from his mother as a conclusion, via the strength he gets from his connection with Byrd.

You could, in theory, go a step further and have Byrd be an actual NPC he talks with who is never a real person, and who he projects as real and has imaginary conversations with as a way to explore his own feelings. I’m possibly the most partial to this option, but keeping in mind my biases to this are so intense that I myself wrote a similar plotline in one of the episodes of Chasing Stars so that exposes my colours. It’s also extremely difficult to do for any length of time (mine is a short story), but if you feel you’re up for the challenge, you could go that route.

But I would not suggest putting these two plotlines together. They each have different lessons and morality in them, and when they’re together it weakens each of them by confusing what the lesson is, what the struggle is against, and so on. For example, the abusive mother just kind of comes out of nowhere. There’s already enough conflict (trapped in a video game) that adding an extra wrinkle feels like overkill. But if there wasn’t that original conflict, then sure, abusive family/isolation could be the central conflict.

Also, do not like the ending. It’s very anti-climatic to just “do legal things.” If it could be resolved by just going to the law, why wouldn’t he have just done that, immediately, like two seconds into discovering she’s trapped in a game? It sort of unravels the entire plot before it (or requires you throw in a bunch of random roadblocks to just slow them down from doing the very obvious thing which is not a good plotting approach). Also, it is never that fast or easy to just take a legal stance on something. It says something when I’m willing to suspend my disbelief around trapping people’s minds in a VR game but find the legal ending too unbelievable.

2 Likes

Shoot.

Lemme just go casually scrap this and try again. I give up on plotting

Thank you for the input.

1 Like

Your issue is that you have two plots. If anything it’s an over plotting, not an under plotting sort of thing.

2 Likes

It’s my issue with everything, sadly. Over complicated.

1 Like

Updated

I appreciate all the comments! I think I’ve got it fixed up and I hope it’s a clearer stronger plot now.

1 Like

Hi!

Sounds really good.

Enjoy the writing.

2 Likes

Thank you! Appreciate all the thought provoking feedback.

1 Like