1. indy5live
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    indy5live Active Member

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    A twist on prophecy

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by indy5live, Jun 8, 2012.

    What if someone was predicting the future but was unaware of it? I was thinking about premonition in terms of stories like Minority Report or Next (Nicolas Cage) where these people have the ability to scene things bad about to happen in the future. There is also prophets that supposedly predict the future. In The Matrix there was the Oracle. My character predicts the future but is unaware he is doing it. Is there a word for this? Sort of like, a broken clock is right twice a day, this guy might randomly blurt out a story that happens to come true...but to him it was just a story, completely made up and it coming true was complete coincidence...but it keeps happening, certain stories keep coming true. Of course, the law sees it differently, he knows something! So it's a question of what to do with a guy that has such an ability. What would law do with a character in such a position who hasn't technically done anything wrong and isn't directly connected to the crimes, but seems to have some uncanny ability to describe an incident before it happens (Note: He also spits out random nonsense that doesn't come true as well). What do you think?
     
  2. r3dfoe
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    r3dfoe Member

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    The gift of knowing or as some might call it Intuition. A form of Empathy. My suggestion is to look up and research psychic abilities and classifications. :)
     
  3. indy5live
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    indy5live Active Member

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    We had a big discussion about Mental Institutions a few weeks ago, where I originally had my character being thrown into by the law...but that didn't seem to work in modern day America. They wouldn't strap a person to a bed and tinker with their mind. So I'm looking for some kind of punishment this character could possibly fear if he doesn't come up with a way to either control his ability or disown it. The conflict is the 'fictional stories' he is telling are coming true and people are dying. Are they dying because he told the story? Is someone overhearing the stories? Is it just a coincidence? Can he really predict the future? He and the law are asking these kind of questions.
     
  4. ithestargazer
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    ithestargazer Active Member

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    What about a public outcry? If people in his town/city were suspicious he was somehow involved in these deaths or incidents, he could be targeted by angry citizens and ostracised from his peers. That's a sort of social punishment that you see all the time.
     
  5. indy5live
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    indy5live Active Member

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    That could work. If he can't figure out how to stop these murders or stop himself from predicting them or learn to control his ability, he will lose everything he's work so hard to accomplish, whatever that might be, lol.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Madame Trelawney from the Harry Potter books. When she actually DOES produce meaningful prophecies, she is in a fugue state and isn't even aware of what she is saying, but anyone present can clearly see and hear the difference from her normal blatherings.

    Obviously, it can be much more subtle in a book targeted for an adult audience.

    Consider the TV series Medium. There has to have been a time when she didn't know her dreams were prophetic. Even during the height of the series, there were times she wasn't sure whether the dreams were a real vision or just dreams.

    The reactions of the police in the series pilot were skepticism, followed by suspicion. See if you can find a copy, you'll probably get some good ideas from it.

    In general, prophecy in fiction is a means of foreshadowing, but as such, it lacks subtlety. As a nore literal plot element, uncertainty is important, whether it is on the part of the clairvoyant or those he or she must convince.
     
  7. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    In most movies and books where a character is doing something problematic for the current government, there is some mechanism/ secret group of people within the government who take matters into their own hands to deal with that character. If you really want to put your character into some sort of mental institution, don't worry about the fact that it would, of course, not be legal for the U.S. government to do such a thing. Have them do it in secret and go to great lengths to make sure they are not discovered.
    I sometimes think this particular device is overdone, but if it's done well, it can work.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Overdone? Perhaps. You do have to take into account that it has been in use as a plot device ever since the Greeks started writing and performing plays, and almost certainly much earlier than that.
     
  9. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're right, Cogito. It's done so much probably because it's successful. But I sometimes tire of seeing the government portrayed purely as evil, secretive and corrupt. I see enough of it in the news.
     
  10. indy5live
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    indy5live Active Member

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    Yeah, I'd rather a special interest group be after him than the law. The law would be more interested in stopping the crimes then some lunatic that's supposedly predicting the future. If anything, they'll treat his stories as Tips but nothing more. Maybe they even push him away, like "What did I tell you about coming around here, we aren't interested in hearing any more of your stories, we're trying to catch a serial killer here." While the special interest group is hissing "We can help you, you know? Come with us and we can teach you how to control your ability, to stop the murders, etc." I plan to make it end with a hanger; the cops arrest someone that's been committing all these murders yet every murder that took place was in direct relation to one of the main character's stories...so the reader never really knows if he was predicting the future or if it was all just a big coincidence (But believeable and explained coincidence, like why the murderer was killing these people and how he knew of so-and-so's stories).
     

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