1. CMastah
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    CMastah Active Member

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    Deluding oneself (third person)

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by CMastah, Jan 1, 2015.

    So yeah, I'm on a third person section of my story (it doesn't follow an MC) where we're following the thoughts of a racist character. The thing is, this is a fictional world (and racism CAN be valid in a fictional world, like racism vs orcs in middle earth) where we have a race of creatures who've been explained to people in a previous section as being good samaritans towards children and invalids, but SHE says in her 3rd person narrative that it's all a show and that in reality they're actually dangerous monsters and that they only pretend to help children for show (that even if no one is watching, they act good because PERHAPS someone is watching).

    She's attempting to ambush two of them by using a child as bait (a child trained in combat), when the two of them see the child, they talk to one another about helping it (in a language the child doesn't understand but SHE does). She doesn't give them a chance to say it in a language the kid would know and kills them and then lies to the child and says they were discussing how they were going to kill her (the kid).

    What I'm concerned about is making it clear that she's (the woman) deluding herself. One method I thought of is mentioning where she'd learned such (prior to this section, it's made clear that the universities are teaching propaganda), but I wanted to know, having said all this, is it clear that she's delusional or do I need to be a little more heavyhanded? I'm worried readers might think her insightful rather than crazy (I don't even phrase the start of the sentence as 'she knew' or 'everyone knew', I go straight to 'Kaltsirs always put on a show' and such. If it wasn't clear NOW though, in a later segment when we more of these creatures, it'll DEFINITELY be clear then that they're not evil (although honestly I'd rather it be clear now)).
     
  2. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like your concept; it starts brewing conflict for the woman and child later. I don't have any solutions, but I'm going to mention some stuff that popped into my head in the case that it helps your cogs turn.

    If she's deluding herself, she could make guesses about their intentions. For instance, one orc (I'm calling them that just for the heck of it) could mention taking the kid back to their camp, and that they have a stew cooking. She could quickly guess that they're actually going to cook and eat the child.

    I think her idea that they only act kind because they think someone is watching is slightly convoluted, too. That's stretching even racist delusion. So like the eating people example above, I think it might be a good idea to convey immediate bad intentions as well.

    And just how clear does it need to be that these orcs are not evil, and that she's lying to herself? Would it be so bad to leave contrasting clues to keep the reader guessing? Like signs of an orc attack here (in which the orcs are later found to be defending themselves or it was the evil city guard posing as orcs), and stories of them helping children elsewhere. It might help suspense.
     
  3. CMastah
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    CMastah Active Member

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    Thanks for the tips, on the 'how clear does it need to be that these orcs are not evil' point, the issue is that I want to make it clear that the human kingdom has spread propaganda to justify the murder of all other races and that this character is a product of such things (and which is why she's so badly mistreating the MC, who isn't human). Humans (in this setting, I don't mean real life :p) don't believe in altruism in anything that isn't human.
     
  4. Lancie
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    Lancie Contributing Member

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    You could perhaps add things in her mannerisms that portray just how paranoid she is. Propaganda would certainly be responsible for some of her attitudes but it would probably take a little more than that to really twist someone. If you could make that clear in her narrative it would help you write her character.

    Does it go to the point of seeing/hearings things differently to how they happened? Has she ever witnessed the orcs being nasty herself, something she misunderstood as a small child, or does it stem from a heavy religious/cult style teachings where people she deeply fears/respects has ingrained it in her? Perhaps she can have a mob mentality in places where it becomes clear she's just not thinking for herself? Recalling an argument with someone who defended another race and her completely over reacting, something like that maybe.

    I think it would be ok to keep a little mystery but it will depend on how integral the delusion is to the plot or whether it's a character trait. If it's the latter I'd personally think it better to make it fairly clear early on.
     
  5. CMastah
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    CMastah Active Member

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    It is actually a plot point because this delusion is widely shared and endorsed by the provincial governments, but should be clear to the reader. This is the reason that the MC decides to find her own race and to escape the woman who's raising her.
     

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