1. Dagolas
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    Dagolas Banned

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    Brainwashed character narrative?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Dagolas, Dec 21, 2014.

    Hey,

    The protagonist and narrator of one of something I'm writing is CEO of a IT company (it's set in 2100) in a dystopian world where people are brainwashed through every media possible: brain-washings are scheduled regularily: for example, from 9 to 12 on Thursdays, all the screens in the country start showing weird epileptic shapes which serve to brainwash the people, who forget about seeing it and go on their merry way. They believe the government is great (when it is just greedy and manipulative) and worship the dictator like a God.

    Now, our CEO one day manages to miss one of the screenings and becomes slightly aware of being brainwashed. He decides to see if he really was and starts purposefully missing the screenings, and then becomes more and more aware. He then sets it as his goal to save the maximum amount of people and stop the broadcastings and government.

    Now, my problem arises here: the first chapter or two will have the character be brainwashed. How could I include this in the narration? I have no idea.
     
  2. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    Are you looking to consider an omniscient point of view?
     
  3. Dagolas
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    Dagolas Banned

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    No, I'm most comfortable in a first person narrative.
     
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  4. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    Have him find an old document that may indicate to the reader, but not him, that the world is brainwashed?
     
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  5. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    You could just have him saying things that don't feel true to the reader. Like have him reflecting on what a privilege it is to pay taxes, or whatever. Have him be harassed by a cop, and he's grateful for their protectiveness.

    I'd say it would be most effective if you were subtle about it - so the reader wouldn't KNOW the guy had been brainwashed, but would just have the sense that something's a bit off.
     
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  6. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    This reminds me of that movie equal something with the drug that render people emotionless.
    In this case it seems that the brainwashing is sort of giving him rose tinted glasses. Meaning he looks at something like "Police beat 14 year old girl to death" and his mind goes "Shame, kids today. When will they learn to follow the sacred following law of the police." He isn't self aware he is brainwashed and he has a personality that is just filtered through these laws right? Me personally? Chapter 1 I would show it full force like no holding back. This way as he becomes a character people see the difference between who he was and who he is.
    The hard part is transition me thinks. Think of my above example and how that might be different through different amounts of missed doses.
    1 missed dose "Kids today, I wonder what she could have been doing to anger the police so badly."
    2 missed dose "Wow was is the world coming to. I am surprised the police had to kill her though"
    3 missed dose "I don't get why but I don't like this. This is just wrong"
    4 missed dose "Why would the police do this?"
    5 missed dose Well you get the point I hope. How quickly the scale goes I don't know. The point is if it is from his viewpoint then show us his view point. If it is drugged, don't go to extremes to show us this unless he is aware of it. Let us be shocked to learn this not wonder when the confirmation is going to come out so we can move on. Make sense?
     
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  7. James Random
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    James Random Member

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    I think that if you're going to go for that sort of narrative, you have to make it so that the true personality of the characters starts to show when it's close to 'dose time', which then enforces their 'brainwashed' personality. This way we can see the effect that the drug has on them as a person and how they act and think differently.
     
  8. theoriginalmonsterman
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    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Don't make it aware he's brainwashed to mess with the reader. Then later on when the protagonist begins to realize what's truly happening slightly hint that he's being brainwashed until eventually it hits the reader that the protagonist was brainwashed from the beginning.
     
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  9. mad_hatter
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    mad_hatter Active Member

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    I agree with Monster Man; don't include it in the narrative. If you're writing from first person, you want to reveal this to the character as it is revealed to the reader. Your protag doesn't know he's brainwashed. He's happy. There should be no mention of brainwashing or of the broadcasts until your protag discovers it. However it is that he misses the broadcast, after it is finished, that's when he should start to become aware, as people seem to be acting odd (or normal, which now feels odd to him).

    I do have another, slightly off-topic concern though - Presumably the government have set up some system to make it impossible for somebody to miss the broadcast. How can it be so easy to miss the broadcast? Why wouldn't somebody have missed it before?
     
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  10. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    True story...old Scot visiting his son who's a big cheese in a US company. He goes for a stroll around the neighbourhood. Police pull up. "Excuse me, sir, what are you doing?" because who would walk anywhere when they have a perfectly good car? - he must be up to no good...but they're polite about it just in case he's a local whom they wouldn't want to upset. Moral: It's nice to have a police force that is that attentive to unusual goings-on in your neighbourhood - but when does that become harassment?
     
  11. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That would depend on how the cops conduct themselves, I wager. If the characters of this story considered even threatening, rude, or sinister behavior a positive thing, a form of "tough love" or something, it might make the reader go like "um, something's wrong." If it's a cop politely making sure everything's in order, there's no reason to be bothered or offended. They're just doing their jobs.
     
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  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    My first question is actually - how does the government ensure nobody ever misses these screenings? There must be mandatory attendance for these things with heavy punishment for missing it. What good reason does your character have for missing it? You make it sound like he just misses more and more screenings of his own accord - but with no consequences from the government or spies or the police? For a government that goes this far to control his people, it doesn't make sense that he would be able to freely miss so many screenings, esp undetected and nothing done about it.
     
  13. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, if they were brainwashed anyway, they could just be brainwashed into always going to the screenings, right? And then this guy got trapped in an elevator or something and missed one by accident, and then the next day his TV was broken or something, and that gives him just enough free will to realize he doesn't want to listen to any more screenings...
     
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  14. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    But that's the thing - by this logic, loads of people should have broken free of the brainwashing attempts, don't you think? My main objection, though, is what measures has the government put in to ensure something like this doesn't happen? What are the consequences of missing the screenings? There must be something. Otherwise little accidents happen and sooner or later you have a rebellion cus people will miss screenings at some point in their lives (for example, what if you were simply taking a nap and sleep through your alarm?).

    And if things just suddenly get broken consecutively to allow the guy to miss the screenings, you risk sounding really contrived.
     
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  15. lustrousonion
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    lustrousonion Contributing Member

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    If it's nearly 100 years in the future and you have to look at screen (not to sound too "in Soviet Russia"), the screen would probably be looking at you as well. If you miss a screening, it stands to reason that someone would know about it and a plan B would go into action.

    As for the original question about getting this across, the main character could feel urges that he reacts to violently and feels compelled to push down. Something like making a little joke about the government in his head, then mentally scolding himself more strongly than necessary.
     
  16. James Random
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    James Random Member

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    Virus innoculations. The Government has convinced everyone, long ago, that they were all infected with a virus and require injections every so often to stop it from killing them. :)

    Or it could have addictive qualities to it.
     
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  17. NickAI
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    NickAI New Member

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    To account for the security issues regarding a missed brodcast, you could set a technological downfall of humanity in the years prior. The government is also brainwashing to make everyone forget about what they did to cause it. So these sessions would be veiwed on tube TVs, and have a mix of old and futuristic qualities to the city. This would add a major point of interest along with denying any spying of any sort by the government. And don't let the protagonist be the only one who figures it out. Have a neighbor or someone that he sees everyday be taken by federal officials early on, but making little note of it, and have him return in the later parts. For the narration, in the early chapters, have him wake up every day with noticably similar thoughts, with small differences in the beginning of each chapter, and have "its for the best of us" be the echoing theme in them, never asking why. Then after the missed brodcast, let the theme be questioning everything, realizing that certain things belong and others do not.
     
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  18. HelloImRex
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    HelloImRex Contributing Member

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    That's the twist, someone wanted him to miss the screenings the whole time and there are other people who are aware. It seems plausible an underground would want a CEO to become aware so instead of making it where he just fell through the cracks. Leave it unanswered until later where its revealed to be intentional.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2014
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  19. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Flu jab anybody?

    Especially for Swine flu, Bird flu...
     

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