1. MatiaHeslep
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    MatiaHeslep New Member

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    First person- How to describe when char. is numb/devastated

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by MatiaHeslep, Nov 22, 2013.

    My character is the narrator and is currently numb, heart-broken, mourning, etc. Unless it somehow is relevant to the mourning process (IE The door is painted dark green, it was Julia's favorite color) I am having a hard time describe the scenery because I feel as though it isn't realistic.

    To what degree am I allowed to describe the scenery, other people, etc. whilst she is in the debilitating grieving stage? Should I just focus on the scenery I can connect with the person she is mourning or should I acknowledge a little more than that? Should I be over descriptive to her emotions to make up for the lack of exterior description?

    I hope my question made sense and I posted it on the correct forum. Cheers

    Matia
     
  2. Nicki_G
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    Nicki_G Member

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    Just a thought:

    If the character is mourning over the loss of someone, I would have the character focus on one thing that they have from the deceased. Everything is just a blur. Everything is cold, lifeless, hopeless. The only thing that now matters is this object, color, picture, smell, something....

    That's how I tend to write it in my stories, if the person who passed was someone very important to the main character.

    Happy writing!
    Nicki
     
  3. MatiaHeslep
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    MatiaHeslep New Member

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    Thank you Nicki! Very insightful. In my writing, my character has to identify the body and proceed to tell the deceased's family that the character has passed. I was unsure how much I would have to describe about the journey from the morgue to the family but if I'm absorbed in the emotion I think that will be description enough :)
     
  4. Nicki_G
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    Nicki_G Member

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    Yes, that should hold the reader and make the reader believe that this is utterly devastating =)
     
  5. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    Sounds like you're thinking in terms of narration and telling the story to the reader. Why not write in the POV of the protagonist? I don't give a damn if a green door reminds someone of her lost love's favorite color. If she doesn't act on it, it's not what she's focused on, it's what the narrator thinks I might need to know. And that's a factoid, which entertains not at all. But, if the protagonist focuses on a door for that reason while driving, and runs off the road as a result, that's story.

    Using first or third person is a writer's option, not a way of legitimizing the narrator lecturing the reader. Take the following:

    She want to the garage to get the car.
    I want to the garage to get the car.

    The personal pronouns used change nothing. Of more importance, neither line will entertain because it's an overview, a summation of time, stated in report format. You cannot be in a character's POV if you're not also in real-time. There are times, of course, where you do sum up, out of POV, but those times aren't within the scene when the scene clock is ticking and the reader is, supposedly, living the scene along with the protagonist.

    This article gives an example of one technique for placing the reader into the protagonist's POV.
     
  6. MatiaHeslep
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    MatiaHeslep New Member

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    Excellent link, thank you :) Green door was just a point of - I'm not describing unless it is relevant to her grieving. Grieving generally leaves people blind to anything but their emotions and the things that may trigger their emotions but I do hear your points and I will absolutely be using that website. Fantastic find :)
     
  7. MatiaHeslep
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    MatiaHeslep New Member

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    JayG I was hoping to address another question toward you if you don't mind. In regards to that link and the pattern of (Scene) Goal, Conflict, Disaster (Sequel) Reaction, Dilemma, Decision: May multiple Scenes and Sequels be going at the same time?
    Or may there be two separate goals and conflicts that blend into one Disaster then carry on as one whole unit for the remainder.
    Or would you say keeping it separate is key?

    I feel as though the article doesn't touch base as well and using these steps as a funnel into one might be fascinating. I find my plot line can intertwine very well but do not know how effective it will be.

    Thanks for the advice :)
     
  8. akexodia
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    akexodia Member

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    Stand in the place of the character. Use all the senses. What does the narrator hear ? For instance, if silence is what he/she 'hears', then describe how the silence is biting his/her sanity.Connect the silence to the numbness.
    Instead of writing about the emotions plainly, it'd be better to relate it to something (like you said, the surroundings and the people). You can think of lot of things you can relate it to. Look for the basic nature/characteristics of that element and put it as an anomaly.
    # Time of the day - how she thinks the time has slowed.
    # Season - A vivid spring may appear bland to him/her.
    # Some character - some character's ever-happy nature fails to bring a smile
    # Music - The favorite music sounds dull.

    Good luck!
     
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  9. MatiaHeslep
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    MatiaHeslep New Member

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    Ah that too is an excellent point, thank you! Describing details and the lack of an effect they have compared to how they normally would really gets the point of describing across without taking away from her grief. I will definitely use that strategy as well :)
     

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