1. Concord
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    Concord New Member

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    Fear

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Concord, Jul 2, 2009.

    Hello all-

    I'm a writing a story where a 9 year old girl locks herself in her room after receiving a premonition of her death. I know how it begins, I know how it ends and I know what I WANT to do in the middle, but I'm not sure how to showcase it because my main character's goal is to stay sedentary.

    The theme is that living in fear is a choice no matter what the signs and portents say, so it's important to show how this girl has abandoned the outside world. But if this were one of those plot exercises, all I'd be able to say is she 'sets out to' stay in her room.


    I guess I'm just trying to see how I can build conflict from what's essentially inaction without it feeling arbitrary. If anyone has any thoughts or knows of other stories I might be able to turn to for inspiration, I'd appreciate it.

    Thanks!
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there have been lots of stories like this, involving someone trapped in an elevator, or a room, a wrecked vehicle, or what have you... two of the most well-known are poe's 'the premature burial' and the movie, 'sorry, wrong number'... i'm sure you can find more with a bit of searching...

    what you need to build is not so much 'conflict' as 'suspense'... but, first of all, how could a child that age be allowed to lock herself in her room for more than an hour or so, without a parent or other adult stepping in and dealing with the situation?
     
  3. JavaMan
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    JavaMan Senior Member

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    Very interesting. This, as it seems to me, is some type of psychological type of book -thriller? otherwise?


    The best advice I can give to is invest in both an introductary and somewhat intermediate college level book on psychology. It would be extremely benificial, IMHO, to study areas especially connected to the superego/ego (Freudianism) Anxiety disorders, obsessive/compulsive disorders, and/or paranoid schizophrenia. Reason being that a person locking themself up in a room can be a syptom of the mentioned diseases/disorders.

    I could say more, but I'll wait to see if anyone else has any advice....

    Edit:

    From a certain persective, having what may be a valid premonition will of course lead a researcher into the reaqlm of religion and metaphysics....
     
  4. Concord
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    Concord New Member

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    . but, first of all, how could a child that age be allowed to lock herself in her room for more than an hour or so, without a parent or other adult stepping in and dealing with the situation?[/QUOTE]

    Doing research I came across a story of a girl in England who developed a fear of dentists after one accidentally cut her tongue, refused to open her mouth when the time came to go back and ended up dying of starvation. So kids will do some extreme stuff to stay safe.

    Having an adult step in actually a viable conflict I've been working with but it just doesn't feel like a driving force.
     
  5. Necromortis
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    Necromortis Member

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    What about having the primary conflict being man (well, in this case, girl) vs. self.

    Obviously, if she's locked herself in her room, she's going to be alone, and because she's a child, she'll have a very vivid imagination. She'll have to work to overcome every moving shadow, every creaking noise. She could develop hallucinations, especially as she starts to run out of food and gets hungrier, that she has to overcome.

    What I'm trying to say is there's a lot of room to play around with how the child's mind would respond to such a situation, which could set up some pretty interesting conflicts. Introducing an adult trying to get her out of the room, potentially during the height of one of her hallucinations, could prove fascinating.

    ~Christian
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    Doing research I came across a story of a girl in England who developed a fear of dentists after one accidentally cut her tongue, refused to open her mouth when the time came to go back and ended up dying of starvation. So kids will do some extreme stuff to stay safe.

    ...again, it makes no sense that a child would be allowed to just starve herself to death, when adults around her could have saved her... don't take all you read at face value... there had to be more to that story, if any of it was true...
     
  7. Dr. Doctor
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    Dr. Doctor Contributing Member

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    I like that idea about having an adult trying to come in, that would vary things up and it would add some good tension in there, as well as provide for the child to reveal more about herself in dialogue/thoughts.
     
  8. PS Foster
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    PS Foster Member

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    The attempts of the parents trying to get her out of the room could add some good action to the story. Her refusals, attempts to keep them out, feelings while they are trying to get her to come out, can all add to the story. Her emotions and thoughts will be very important. The parents' emotions during this time: fear for their daughter, helplessness as far as getting her to see reason, maybe even thoughts that their daughter is mentally ill, and fear of what she is doing to herself while out of their sight.
     
  9. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    I'm sorry, but if my 10 year old tried to lock herself in her room, she would find herself without a door. I would have that knob unscrewed and off her door so fast her head would spin, then the door would be removed and put in the shed.

    Unless we were in a building higher than the second floor, if for some reason I couldn't get the door knob off, I would get a ladder and be in her window, breaking it if need be.

    Any parent not willing to do something extreme when a child is in danger, or potential danger, is not a good parent. I don't know how believable your story would be to people who have children.

    Edit: Now if you made the story about someone who is say, 19 and living on their own or with room mates or something, that would be more believable to me, because there wouldn't be anyone there to tell them no.
     
  10. EyezForYou
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    EyezForYou Active Member

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    Concord, I think your story will work best when it is her parents whom she finds out are the monster.

    At the end of your story, you reveal that it was her parents who locked their child in the closet to starve to death as a symbolization of the purging of one's sin.
     
  11. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    Perhaps the parents are dead?

    A burglar comes in, shoots the (single mother or father? both parents?) the child hides...

    About a million other explanations also possible.

    Parents are away, left the child with her aunt/uncle/babysitter, her aunt/uncle/babysitter found her missing, called police, everyone's searching for her, parents are flying back from London, nobody knows she went back home and locked herself in the closet...

    Who knows, may be the surprise ending is that the mother's been dead on the couch the entire time, and she died of natural causes?
     

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