I have basic a premise but I need some insight...

"A young protagonist has a curse: anyone she touches with her bare flesh gets erased from existence."

The plot and mechanics that I have so far are as follows:

  1. No one remembers the erased victims except for the girl.
  2. History resets itself so that the erased victim was never born.
  3. When the timeline resets to the new reality without the victim, the girl is always in the exact spot she was at the moment when she touched said victim.
  4. She's always in the present after an eraser resets history.
  5. She remembers the previous timeline from when the victim existed, but not the new one.
  6. She is about 17 years old.
  7. She's had this curse since she was 13.
  8. She accidentally erased her parents at age 13 and so she is now homeless and there is no record of her being born.
  9. Her hair, teeth and nails can be safely touched and you will not be erased.
  10. She doesn't want to delete people from reality, it happens by accident.
  11. She would kill herself to protect others from her curse, if it wasn't for the fact that her memory is the only proof that her victims ever existed, and she wants to keep their memories alive in her mind as a memorial to those she has erased.
  12. She doesn't know how she got this curse.
  13. By accidentally erasing her parents from existence, it also prevented her much loved little brother from ever being born.
  14. She had a boyfriend too, whom she erased.


What are the biggest kinks in this plot, and any solutions?

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    $\begingroup$ I'm going to guess that by "biggest kinks" you don't mean kinks as in "Fifty Shades of Gray". I as because, if I'm wrong, well, a protagonist fetishizing an increasing number of paradoxes could be fascinating... in a really twisted sort of way. $\endgroup$ – SRM Jun 9 '18 at 5:18
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    $\begingroup$ This isn't the correct way to ask this question. As is I'm forced to VTC as too story-based because you're asking us to help you write your story, which isn't what we do. In fact, asking about the "actions of individual characters, rather than elements of the world they inhabit" is specifically off-topic. We'll help you iron out the rules of your world, but not the plot of your story. $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 9 '18 at 6:01
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    $\begingroup$ The word "gloves" leaps to mind. $\endgroup$ – StephenG Jun 9 '18 at 9:08
  • $\begingroup$ The biggest kink I see is all the now non-existant interactions the girl has with empty space that everyone will remember. Or the girl somehow surviving for years alone without nourishment while her parents most definitely have CARRIED her into the Village... So the girl has been killed at some point for witchcraft as a naked baby flying through the air and through doors the parents now arent there to open it is kibd of disconcerting... $\endgroup$ – Demigan Jun 9 '18 at 10:05
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    $\begingroup$ Plot twist: her biological mother had the reverse curse and made people appear out of thin air. The girl only erase people that never existed in the first place. $\endgroup$ – kikirex Jun 9 '18 at 10:59

Has she really erased them?

From the protagonist's point of view, she is suddenly in a parallel world with lots of similarities to "her" world. If she can stay in that world for long enough without touching anyone then she may be able to figure out that the person she touched in the other world no longer exists in this world, but this is unlikely. The Butterfly Effect will result in lots of changes after only one erasure. If the first erasure was of someone who was not a parent then she will probably run home to her parents and end up touching one of them - at which point she's suddenly in a home probably owned by someone else. If the first erasure was of a parent then she is already in that situation, and is likely to end up touching either one of the current occupants or the police that are called to deal with the problem. After the second erasure, the compounded Butterfly Effects will make the details of the world unrecognisable.

Which means that the protagonist has no idea that she is erasing people - she only knows that she is jumping into a parallel world every time she touches someone. As a homeless 13 year old girl to start with, she is unlikely to have the resources to work out that the person she touches is erased, she just knows that she jumps to another world. Given that interactions with police and social services are practically inevitable (with resultant physical contact and therefore erasure), she will keep "jumping" either voluntarily or involuntarily.

Psychologically, my totally uneducated guess is that after four years of this the protagonist will be a sociopath. She is unable to have sustained physical contact with anyone. (This is bad for anyone, but made worse by puberty.) She can get out of any trouble she is in and get a "reset" in which no one can remember any bad things she did simply by touching someone.

Which raises one significant question for the story - given that the protagonist has no "past" in the timelines she is in (due to never being born), how does she exist in the timeline she suddenly finds herself in? For example, say that she is in an empty parking space in a car park when the police catch up with her, one of them touches her and suddenly is erased from existence. In the revised timeline sans policeman, history has determined that there is a car parked in that spot. Where is the protagonist? This is even more important is she is in an aircraft at 30,000 feet when she is touched. The curse will need to dictate where she "appears" - presumably somewhere that is unobserved but survivable, physically close to where she was previously. (If it is a long way away then she has absolutely no chance of figuring out that she is erasing people.)

For that matter, where does the matter for her being come from? - in this timeline the atoms of her physical body were never part of her body because it never existed. This one can be handwaved - as part of the curse, all of her atoms in the current reality are reserved for her moments of existence.

It sounds like a fascinating concept - best wishes with writing the story.


Some plot holes

You need to be able to atleast handwave an explanation for why she didnt also become erased when her parents vanished from history. Or atleast make it a question she is aware of, because readers are going to jump all over that. Furthermore, if she erases a guy who is a grandpa then do his kids and grandkids also get erased? If he never existed then that means they never did either right? And again, if so then why did her brother vanish but not her as well when she erased her own parents?

This does seem like a tragic/confused sort of charecter, instead of directly stating her parents got erased I would avoid that can of worms and handwaving by simply having it be so she's and orphan with memories of parents and a brother but has no idea where they are at or what happened to them. Never directly reveal what happened to the three of them. You dont have to provide such exposition for her to feel guilty because the fact is she COULD HAVE erased them, or maybe shes a regular orphan, and her brother is still out there. Who knows for sure? Shes juggling multiple timelines in her head and they get all mixed up. Leave some ambiguity, show dont tell and all that. The air of mystery intrigues the reader enough to suspend disbelief instead of simply blurting out the question "then why didnt she go poof too?"

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    $\begingroup$ Or, embrace that question, and make it central. She doesn't understand it herself until someone whom she confides in points out what it means. She was adopted. Now she needs to find her birth parents to discover who she really is. $\endgroup$ – IchabodE Jun 9 '18 at 5:50
  • $\begingroup$ Thats a good point I hadnt thought of. $\endgroup$ – TCAT117 Jun 9 '18 at 5:53
  1. Her hair, teeth and nails can be safely touched and you will not be erased.

To me this implies you can't touch her skin without being erased.

She would quickly develop a phobia of being touched and would probably insist on wearing gloves and long body covering clothes. Imaging loose fitting grimey clothes of a homeless angsty teenager.

But this could also be a saving grace. If others wear gloves when touching her, they might not be erased.

This allows medical professionals to help treat her in emergency situations. And for her to interact with more people in a cold snowy winter environment. Everyone is bundled up and wearing gloves. It gives her a way of having somesort of relationships without constant fear that some new friend would touch her skin.

If you are going more comic book style, she may develop her clothing style into a skin-tight body costume.

She may also become more introverted (nothing wrong with that), and possibly rely on technology for communication. She might develop an isolationist lifestyle and live purely through internet profiles and chat rooms. I imagining hacker cliche. Looking for solutions to her problem online. "Hello" #wave

  1. By accidentally erasing her parents from existence, it also prevented her much loved little brother from ever being born.

I'd say that this means she finds out she is adopted. It will add a dynamic of not only grieving for her parents but hating them at the same time for keeping the truth from her. It gives her a direction to start searching out the root of the curse. Her biological parents might not be the cause of curse but something that happened to her during her short lifetime. Hopefully something in the new timelines records will show what happened.

Oh, and if they are not her biological parents and they are erased, that doesn't mean her history would have been erased. Ie what happened to baby her in this alternate timeline without those parents.

  • There could be a double of her that is living happily with other adopted parents.
  • she could actually find herself switched into a timeline where she has different adopted parents.

It gives her a way to still investigate her adoption, biological parents and whatever may have happened to her, without actually loosing all records of who she is.

I like the double option better than switching parents option, especially if the curse was laid on her after her birth. This way she can find out if the other her has the same curse. If the curse was laid after birth, she could end up in a timeline where the curse didn't happen (and if she is living a switched life, she would be stuck there).

In the double option, as far as I can tell there would only ever be 2 of her in a particular timeline. No multiple on multiple copies. If the other her also has this curse, they would be changing their own history and she and they wouldn't be transported into each other's new timelines.

Both options provide some amazing team-up storylines.

Good luck with this story.


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