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Thread: Ideas for mermaid series plot?

  1. #1
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    Ideas for mermaid series plot?

    I need help thinking of a plot for a YouTube mermaid series I am planning. For example, in H2o: Just Add Water, the whole thing begins with Emma, Rikki, and Cleo getting stranded on Mako Island and discovering the Moon Pool that allows the whole series to keep going. I can't think of any unique way for my characters to become mermaids that isn't similar to any other show's idea, and I really don't want to feel like I'm copying it if I'm going to put in the effort to make this series happen. It's getting kind of frustrating XD So far all I could think of was they fell into some under water sand dune or something but I don't even think underwater dunes even exist, and if they do, I don't think you can fall in them.. Any suggestions?
    Last edited by MERMADES; 03-06-2018 at 05:53 PM.

  2. #2
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  3. #3
    Also, in terms of the plot, it's good to think of an original idea that isn't like the H2O series. Between that series and a lot of the YouTube series it inspired, that pot device has been done to death! Therefore having one that's similar won't generate much interest to new viewers.

    I am by no means a writer. But I'll just spin off some things off the top of my head, maybe it will get your inspiration going.
    The main character is a human that secretly has a ancestor that was a mermaid that they didn't know about, and it's triggered by some outside force. Some do a coming of age story, but I have to admit that's been done to death too. Perhaps they are in a situation where they almost drown, or do drown for a minute, but then their mermaid DNA activates under the extreme circumstance. It could be a sudden transformation, or they simply find they "wake up" after passing out and are actually fine. Then slowly more and more of their mermaid traits surface (for dramatic effect). If the characters were related that would work for all of them- either sisters or even distantly related, as long as the mermaid ancestry was far back. Perhaps the first one almost drowns, but then the others find out they can do it just by holding their breath just until they feel they can't anymore and that's enough to activate it. I dunno, I'm not a writer like I said, haha.

    Another option would be to come in contact with a magical object instead of a magical place. Something as straight forward as a beautiful crystal found washed up on the shore, or a long crystal necklace found by the characters when snorkeling- crystal(s) with Atlantean mermaid magic still in it. (You can buy flourite or rainbow flourite beads for cheap for example, or just go with pretty looking glass beads from a craft store.) With the necklace, perhaps they all found the crystals so beautiful that one decides to make the necklace into bracelets for all of them as a sign of their friendship. Then when the first high tide or full moon or whatever outside force hits and activates it, the remaining magic inside the crystals activates and transforms them.

    Just a few random ideas off the top of my head. I know they're not the best ideas, but maybe some of that will get the proverbial ball rolling. Get creative, jot down a bunch of ideas, let your imagination go crazy! Then revisit them later, maybe even piece together a few weaker ideas into one strong one. Good luck!

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  4. #4
    Senior Member Pod of Cali Merman Storm's Avatar
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    Another thing that has been done to death is the entire "secret merfolk" plot.
    What would the world be like if everyone knew about merfolk, and interacted with them on a day to day basis?
    Are you a Frozen fan? Frozen fanfiction:
    https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10952902/1/Rain-of-a-Child-s-Tear

    Let the storm rage on!

  5. #5
    Also, what if the character was already a mermaid, rather than being turned into one? There could be an existing society of mermaids, either hidden from human view or on weird terms with them.

    Also, read this before you start writing.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Ransom's Avatar
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    I detest cliche and how much of a stranglehold the Disney version of The Little Mermaid has on mer fiction. (I actually haven't seen it and associate the name 'Ariel' not with mers, but with the city of Jerusalem.)

    However, as you're doing a resource-intensive video series rather than a book (that costs nothing however action-packed you make it), it's up to you to decide (1) what you can do with what you have, (2) how to make it both unique and interesting and (3) how to plan production for the long term, so you're not tripped up when life gets in the way.

    Keep your audience in mind too -- children, teens and YAs all have varying tolerances of sex, gore and violence. But the common thread is that we want characters we relate to, care about and root for in some capacity. If the heroes are role models too, so much the better.

    For genre work, especially in SF and fantasy, I highly recommend Orson Scott Card's how-to book on the topic.

    Thanks Corvidae, for finding a page that has all the cliches to avoid in one place

    BUT the most important thing for any writer (and I say this as a professional book editor) is this -- know your market and what has sold before. That means two things --

    First, getting a beta reader for your script who'll tell you if anything doesn't work for them (not how to fix it, mind).

    Second, read and watch a LOT, both in your genre and out of it. You'll get a feel for the craft, how to wield words to maximum efficiency, and build characters that stand out on the page and in your viewers' minds. I can often tell when a novice who hasn't read much tries to write their own book, and I've to tell them there's no chance of it competing with the polished stuff out there.

    Standards are high, but there's no reason you or I can't meet them with some hard work. For a full roadmap, check out some of the great stuff from Writer's Digest.

    All the best!
    Last edited by Ransom; 03-05-2018 at 12:22 PM. Reason: Added another tip.
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  7. #7
    This is something I want to do as well. The thing is I want to go more extravagant with mermaid stories and not the stereotypical Little Mermaid/Splash/Mako Mermaids. I'd love to create a web series but I'm considering short fiction stories or kids books. I just want to be creative with storytelling and collaborate with those interested.

  8. #8
    Senior Member North Pacific Pod Arking's Avatar
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    Random thoughts - - -

    Ideas for if your character is a mermaid before hand:
    (Coming of Age)

    Being a Mermaid is a coming of age moment and potentially tied to a journey or occupation. Think Kiki's Delivery Service where the main character is a witch from the outset but is still learning and has to travel someplace and seek an occupation. Like Kiki your mermaid could be a fish out of water having to take to land and occupy a position someplace else and fulfill the role of being that area's mermaid. Mermaid lore is often filled with tales of singular mermaids occupying a given area and providing services such as safe passage etc. Your mermaid could be somewhat magical and have duties to fulfill in her given location such as speaking to wind and sea gods for safe voyages, and doing other favors for friendly locals while trying to maintain a dual role of a friendly newcomer concealing her identity as the local mermaid.

    Or ...Provide guidance to your young mermaid like Sabrina the Teenage witch where the role of being a local mermaid is one passed down through generations. Have your mermaid live with a relative who was once an acting mermaid but has grown out of the role and must teach your mermaid. Providing a wise instructor or family can give you plenty of character centric storylines and less world building ones like the previous concept I provided.

    Ideas where your character becomes a mermaid:
    (Moral Lesson)

    Curses and mishaps. Sometimes the best way to play the fish out of water role is to have it be a punishment for a crime. Maybe your character pollutes the ocean or takes something without offering something in return. Innocent mistakes can be a great lesson to teach your audience how to view the world from a different perspective and allow your character to be relatable and flawed. This way becoming a mermaid isn't just some fun adventure but rather a means to an end and a way for your character to grow more than just a tail.

    Not a mermaid after all: (Budget Comedy)

    A good twist on the topic would be like my "was a mermaid all along but traveling to be a mermaid someplace else" but more of a comedy of errors storyline where your "mermaid" is a human that accidentally knocks off the local mer-person in charge and has to fulfill the role in her stead. But seeing as she's not really a mermaid she finds/makes her own fins and plays the part. She's flawed and funny as she tries to do the duties a mermaid learning the ropes but at the end of the day she can take her tail off as it's just a costume of sorts. This would require less special effects as your "mermaid" wouldn't have the magic to do the things a real mermaid would and thus has to find practical solutions to solve problems. This perspective can show your audience the power belief has in our social and cultural systems, sometimes seeing is believing and believing is enough to make a difference. This also would allow you to delve into your character learning about mer-history from a perspective of newcomer and even opens up the possibility of exploring the mer-community and tail makers.


    The advantages I went for in this are that you would have significantly less underwater photography required than most storylines which can be expensive and overwhelming if you don't have the experience or tech.
    Last edited by Arking; 03-05-2018 at 02:32 PM.

  9. #9
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    That's an interesting idea, but I feel like that would take away a lot of the excitement in the show...

  10. #10
    Administrator Pod of Cali malinghi's Avatar
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    What are your resources? What bodies of water do you have access to? How many people in your cast? What kind of editing software do you have? What you can do might influence the stories you can tell.

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    I already have equipment such as underwater cameras, etc, as for actors I haven't found any yet, editing software is Camtasia, and most of the filming is going to be done at a school and the beach.

  12. #12
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    Tysm for your help! That's a pretty cool idea but magical necklaces have already been used in H2o Just Add Water and I honestly feel like a sea shell would be too original or likely..... also, they have to have a reason for becoming mermaids in the first place, for H2o it was so that they can "Save the world from a comet" but I'm not exactly sure what? I was thinking maybe a tsunami or flood (where they can swim around and save people) XD

  13. #13
    Senior Member Pod of Texas Mermaid Delphinidae's Avatar
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    Well, I don't think the means through which they become mermaids is as important as what they do as mermaids. Unless the means are a really important part of the plot, and it sounds like that's what you want.

    So consider, do you want them to come across the transformation on accident, or do you want it to be something that was given to them? If they receive the power for a specific purpose, then I think having the power given to them would make more sense. So maybe the characters have skills or personality traits that would make them suited for whatever the power-giver wants them to do. So, say they're supposed to save people in a flood. Maybe they're lifeguards. The power-giver sees them saving someone and grants the powers based on this. Maybe the power-giver directly tests them by disguising herself as a human and pretending to drown, and the lifeguard characters save her. Or maybe the power-giver wants to save the ocean and the main characters all work in marine conservation, so they're turned into mermaids to make their work easier.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Mermaid Jaffa's Avatar
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    I would love to watch a series that isn't based on any existing shows.

    For example, a mer or a family of merfolk that live on land. And holiday in deep waters.

    Or a more mature mermaid/merman in their 40s who suddenly discover through family history that she/he is a mermaid/merman. Their ancestry of land living goes way back to the Medieval times or further. Something happened way back that led them to moving their family to the land. Yet no one is willing to speak of it whatever the cause may be.

    When they go on holiday, they rent a house near the sea/lake/river. Their adventures begin when they start swimming in the ocean and discover other merfolk that have lived their lives in the vast oceans without ever setting foot (tails?) on land. And they learn how to hunt for food, survive in cold water, escape fishermen etc.

    There is no specific magic powers like the Mako Mermaids, but they can cause tsunamis, earthquakes, control ocean waters, and create hot vents to cook their food or to keep warm during long winters and deep water diving. As their new merfolk relatives spend most of their time swimming in the depths of the ocean, they have no need for light. They find light hurts their eyes and its too noisy beyond the surface.
    Last edited by Mermaid Jaffa; 03-21-2018 at 02:11 PM.
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    Senior Member Euro Pod Echidna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mermaid Jaffa View Post
    I would love to watch a series that isn't based on any existing shows.

    For example, a mer or a family of merfolk that live on land. And holiday in deep waters.

    Or a more mature mermaid/merman in their 40s who suddenly discover through family history that she/he is a mermaid/merman. Their ancestry of land living goes way back to the Medieval times or further. Something happened way back that led them to moving their family to the land. Yet no one is willing to speak of it whatever the cause may be.

    When they go on holiday, they rent a house near the sea/lake/river. Their adventures begin when they start swimming in the ocean and discover other merfolk that have lived their lives in the vast oceans without ever setting foot (tails?) on land. And they learn how to hunt for food, survive in cold water, escape fishermen etc.

    There is no specific magic powers like the Mako Mermaids, but they can cause tsunamis, earthquakes, control ocean waters, and create hot vents to cook their food or to keep warm during long winters and deep water diving. As their new merfolk relatives spend most of their time swimming in the depths of the ocean, they have no need for light. They find light hurts their eyes and its too noisy beyond the surface.
    I absolutely adore this idea.
    I could instantly come up with hour-long adventures within this premise.
    Like, a first season how the land-mers discover who they are and embrace their heritage;
    a second season detailing how they prepare to return to the ocean and all the difficuties that arise from this;
    and a third, where they discover that a second mertribe has NOT left the ocean, but retreated to the deep sea.
    Encounters with this tribe could be...interesting. I imagine them as highly mutated, more fish like than anthropomorphic.

    What I wouldn't be interested in seeing is yet another "human teens suddenly become mermaids because reasons, and 99% of the action takes place on land dealing with silly human issues.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Mermaid Jaffa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Echidna View Post
    I absolutely adore this idea.
    I could instantly come up with hour-long adventures within this premise.
    Like, a first season how the land-mers discover who they are and embrace their heritage;
    a second season detailing how they prepare to return to the ocean and all the difficuties that arise from this;
    and a third, where they discover that a second mertribe has NOT left the ocean, but retreated to the deep sea.
    Encounters with this tribe could be...interesting. I imagine them as highly mutated, more fish like than anthropomorphic.

    What I wouldn't be interested in seeing is yet another "human teens suddenly become mermaids because reasons, and 99% of the action takes place on land dealing with silly human issues.
    Thanks Echidna!
    Ya, I am so tired of the usual fanfare when it comes to mermaid shows. I'd rather watch if it were a wholly different point of view instead of some actor putting on their constipated face and scrunching up their hands, or the moon ring/necklace magic to happen.

    The new merfolk could have large eyes, biolumines... bioluminesense... they glow in the dark!! They can flash messages at each other like squid can do with their skin. They have multi color tails, meaning not orange for females, blue for males.
    Formerly known as ireneho

  17. #17
    Senior Member Ransom's Avatar
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    Why am I getting vibes of H P Lovecraft all of a sudden? His 'The Shadow Over Innsmouth' deals with monstrous fish-human hybrids in rural Massachusetts -- the protagonist turns out to be one himself, but accepts his fate as he's transformed over the years.

    It turns out the world's navies have also been waging a secret war against the hybrids, known as Deep Ones -- they're ancient enemies of humans, and trying to wake an ancient star-god scheduled to end the world. To prevent this, humans have been torpedoing their underwater cities since submarines were invented, but some kind of magical shield protects them. This was the subject of the 2002 game Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth.

    Of course, it could be that more 'traditional' mers exist. How would they deal with the Lovecraftian Deep Ones? Would all Deep Ones actually participate in that society for themselves, or would some break away and seek peace? I think the answer would be fascinating, though I doubt you could do this on a small budget.
    Last edited by Ransom; 03-22-2018 at 06:17 AM.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Euro Pod Echidna's Avatar
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    for Lovecraft fans, Shadow over Innsmouth has been (sort of) made into a movie.
    It's called "Dagon". Highly recommend it, it's a really cool, lovecraftian thing with a lot of atmosphere BUT warning, it's super gross at times (well, it's a horror movie ).

    In SL, there is some merfolk who are abyssal. They look like a cross of "normal" mermaid and a deepsea fish, they have a long lure like the anglerfish and are bioluminescent. I can't find my pictures of them, but they came in all color combos imaginable:
    Name:  deepSiren.jpg
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  19. #19
    Senior Member Euro Pod Mermaid Livou's Avatar
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    Sorry if the idea was up before but:
    (in advance My hair is under shoulder lenght, growing out my natural colour so from roots to a good 10 cm is black with white lines, the rest of it light-ish red (the dyed part), the tips turning blond > I colored it blusih-greenish with natural indigo powder. So it looks a mess
    SO I was imagining that if a kid or someone were to ask "why like this" I would say 'coz I am a mermaid becoming a human' by time (after a decision) - Like, the blue growing by time and getting the more natural hair is somehow connected to the ability of switching between having legs or tail (or maybe not even specifically this but just the ability to live underwater and to adapt land)
    So like by age the mermaid will lose (or the occasions will be less and less) her ability to return home or sg like that (in exchange of the constant land life, of course. So sg similar to the original little mermaid story but extended in life long changes and some visible appearance (hair color) blahbah I dont know If I could explain my idea well D I imagined as a drama (not in the internet-meaning drama ) serious deep story maaaybe (has anyone seen Rusalka, the russian movie about a teenager girl, shes not actually a mermaid but her personality and life events in modern days re like the little mermaid? sg lie that ) [about time, ageing, choices, opportunities, adaptation to lifes slow but steady changes (only sure thing is change and so), hard decisions tied up with not knowing when exactly the ability to switch will run out, just knowing the occasions will be less and less by time /age and not knowing the final stage / or maybe it cant be decided from the viewers side if all is just fantasy or reality but at the end or from the view of the other characters she is just a "weird, silly but kind women who have this mermaid fantasies" ] lablablab i'm rumbling thnx for reading X)

  20. #20
    Senior Member Pod of Texas Mermaid Delphinidae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Echidna View Post
    What I wouldn't be interested in seeing is yet another "human teens suddenly become mermaids because reasons, and 99% of the action takes place on land dealing with silly human issues.
    I hear that! I'm kind of annoyed that most merfolk fiction takes place primarily on land. I'd love to see more stories about how merfolk live, their societies, all that stuff. Admittedly, that would be difficult to do for a YouTube series that likely doesn't have much of a budget.

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