1. Shbooblie
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    Shbooblie Contributing Member

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    Forgiveness.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Shbooblie, Apr 3, 2015.

    I was just wondering what advice any of you could give me on a plot point of my story idea.

    My main character has took in a homeless girl and he is starting to develop feelings for her. He ends up climbing into her bed whilst she is sleeping because he wants to hold her and be near to her, However, he ends up biting her and drinking her blood (he has a fictional disease that is similar to vampirism but he is not a vampire).
    When she wakes up in the morning she thinks it was all a dream but he confesses that it was him and that he had been lying to her.
    I just wondered how believable it would be for her to forgive him for the attack and the lies. She doesn't straight away of course, she is scared of him for a while afterwards. I want to write it in a way that makes him pay for his actions but at the same time I want them to still be friendly with each other and I'm struggling finding a middle ground between the two!
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It depends, I think, on the difference between his actual intentions and what she thinks his intentions were. Was this his diseased way of expressing affection? Can he make her believe that? What if she believes it was an attempted murder? She wouldn't forgive him for that, certainly, unless he could convince her that he really wasn't trying to harm her in any way.
     
  3. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Whoa.

    You need to worry not only about the girl forgiving the character, but also the reader forgiving the character.

    It'll depend a little by what you mean by "girl" - is this an actual girl, or an adult woman?

    Even if she's an adult, though, I think you're going to have a hell of a time convincing me, as a reader, that he's a good guy after he pulls something like that, 'cause it's really, really skeevy.

    The in-story forgiveness will depend on your female character's characterization and how vulnerable she is. I mean, lots of abuse victims stay with their abusers, and even lie to defend/protect them. So it's not necessarily all that unrealistic to have your female character get past the betrayal.

    But readers? We are not abuse victims. I'd want to see some SERIOUS self-loathing from that male character, a clear recognition of the wrongness of his act and how he betrayed her trust. Even then... yikes. That's a doozy.
     
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  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    How does she not wake up?
     
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  5. Shbooblie
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    Shbooblie Contributing Member

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    Wow thanks guys, this is so helpful.
    The girl is an adult woman who has been in an abusive relationship in the past.

    "Was this his diseased way of expressing affection?"
    Very much so. He wasn't intentionally being a creep and it wasn't a sexual thing. He was just starved of human affection and at the time that was the right way (in his mind) to express it.

    He is definitely coming from a place where he already hates himself and he hates himself even more for what hes done to her. The fact that she was abused in the past makes him feel even worse about it. It's not a particularly violent attack (although that obviously doesn't justify it), so its wouldn't be incredibly painful (I'm still figuring the mechanics of this bit out) So she stirs a bit but shes not fully conscious for it.

    The idea of putting this scene in would be as a catalyst for him to confess everything to her and the reader.
     
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  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It sounds intriguing.
     
  7. Shbooblie
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    Shbooblie Contributing Member

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    Thank you. That's really encouraging. Intrigue is what i'm going for :)
     
  8. Boger
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    Boger Contributing Member

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    Severe intoxication, I would suggest
     
  9. Shbooblie
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    Shbooblie Contributing Member

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    Actually, thats given me a thought. Maybes she is a very light sleeper stemming from being homeless so she gets prescribed some sleeping pills and that was how she wouldn't wake up. Thanks Boger!
     
  10. Shbooblie
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    Shbooblie Contributing Member

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    Hey guys so I've been working more on this scene and I've decided that what happens is that she gets attacked by the MC as above as the MC has run out of his supply. He then decides to tell her what happened (which he didn't have to do because she was dosed on sleeping pills and wasn't actually awake for it so she would have been none the wiser). She freaks out and runs out the front door knowing that he can't go and chase after her (because he gets sunburn faster and more severely than a normal person). So I've decided to write it so that he does chase after her and when he finally gets to her hes all blistered and sore. If he's paying for his acts by both physically and mentally torturing himself would this be enough to get the readers on board with forgiving him as I want my secondary character to?
     
  11. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't perceive him getting sunburn because he's gone out in the sun chasing her as being anything other than him playing the martyr, and that sounds like real abuser-style behaviour. And abusers tend to have a great line in "I'm so sorry, I'll NEVER do anything like that again", so you'll have a hard time convincing me that he's any sort of reformed character.
     
  12. Shbooblie
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    Shbooblie Contributing Member

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    Thanks Shadowfax. That's my problem, she's been abused in the past and he's thinking that now she sees him like her ex partner. I've written down her side and his side (just as an exercise), she says something like abusers will make you reliant on them completely so its harder for you to get away from them. She was reliant on her ex partner which is why she stayed and as my MC has provided for her he's kind of done the same thing. I've got her running out the door and him going after her then I'm not sure how to reconcile it. As I'm writing as my MC I can kind of say how disgusting and terrible he feels and how he really is remorseful but as a reader and as a character you can't really 100% believe anyone.

    I know the end goal of the story where something worse happens, but I need to get them to make up somehow to make the final act have more impact.
     
  13. Sundowner
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    Sundowner Member

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    I agree with Shadow. He's not sacrificing anything to try and sway her to stay with him. A few blisters never hurt anyone.
    I think to really show he means business, he has to give something up, to really prove he wants her. Starve himself maybe?
     
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  14. Shbooblie
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    Shbooblie Contributing Member

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    Thanks Sundowner, that is a really good idea. I'd toyed with him moving out of his own home and letting her stay there so it would be left up to her when she wanted to talk about things. Maybes if I did this and then added in the starving thing too. In my story when he starves he starts to look more and more like a corpse, so maybe she could live away from him and then when he comes back he looks horrific and they talk about all this crazy stuff happening. Is giving up his own home and starving himself enough to prove himself to her though. I'm struggling for ways to make him suffer!
     
  15. Sundowner
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    I want to say that almost sounds like it's overdoing it. I kinda meant the starving thing to mean he's promising not to eat ever again while they live together, so she has nothing to worry about. I think if they're not living together, it's really overkill. Just my opinion though, I'm not saying it can't work.
    I like the idea of him giving his house up. Maybe she can find out he didn't even have another place to stay, and was bumming under a bridge or something. That would be a good show of sacrifice. I'd really do one or the other with the starving thing.
     
  16. Shbooblie
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    Shbooblie Contributing Member

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    I agree, it is a bit overkill, the only reason I thought of doing both was because everybody I've spoken to really wants to see this guy suffer! So now I know what too much is it will help me to get the right balance. I think I'm going to go with him saying he'll leave and she can live in his house whilst he hides under a rock or something for a couple of weeks. Then when he comes back he won't have eaten properly so he will look dreadful and then they can have the talk.

    I mean he wouldn't give up his home to make her feel comfortable if he didn't really care about her. Hopefully this will be enough to get her to forgive him.
     
  17. Sundowner
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    Sundowner Member

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    I wouldn't worry about making him suffer too much. People are saying they want him to suffer because they don't know him, they're just getting a vague description of a guy who took advantage of a defenseless girl. It'll really matter when you write him, how you write him, who is character is and how he responds to events. I don't think people are going to hate him as much as you think they do now after they actually read the story.
     
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  18. drifter265
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    drifter265 Banned

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    I thought the story was good up until "he ends up biting her and drinking her blood." I can't stop laughing. You have to include this before you tell us he takes her in and falls in love with her. This guy sounds like a pedophile. That girl would not forgive him. She would go back on the street where he found her. Anything would be better than staying with that guy.

    To be helpful, though, and to make this story work, work on the character's motivations. Why does this girl have to stay with him? Why does this guy not realize he has a problem?
     
  19. Sundowner
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    Sundowner Member

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    I don't think you know what being homeless is like. Anything is better than being homeless, even staying with someone who makes you uncomfortable. When you're out on the cold streets with no roof, and the constant possibility that you could be mugged, raped, killed, or any combination of the three, you'll take shelter just about anywhere that offers it.

    I think the story works fine, I like the idea. If they already built up some sort of relationship (acquaintanceship that is) before he bites her, then she probably wouldn't consider going back to be out of the question. Not when the alternative is what I just described. Seriously, some people literally just kick sleeping homeless people they see, for no reason. It's not fun.
     
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  20. Shbooblie
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    Shbooblie Contributing Member

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    So obviously I can't really fully explain everything without telling you the whole story but this guy knows he's not normal and knows its sick and unhealthy. There's hints dropped as to what is wrong with him so the whole 'he bites her and drinks her blood' thing is supposed to be a shock but at the same time its supposed to make sense as it fits together all these bits that are a bit off about him. I'm just hoping I can pull that off. I don't want to write a story where it starts My name is .... and i'm immortal, I want it to be a gradual reveal of himself as it would be if you were actually to get to know someone. You dish the crazy out in little pieces and suddenly you don't seem as crazy as you really are!

    They are on quite good terms before that happens and he has done a lot for her and vice versa. They're not in love (perhaps he loves her but hes been so starved of affection he'd probably love anyone he had positive extended contact with), but they are definitely friendly with each other. The whole reason he ends up taking her in is because he witnesses her being attacked (quite terribly). He ends up letting her stay though because they both don't want to be alone. I've kind of got it to a point where she says - ok you've been hiding stuff but you've actually been a good guy before all that so lets talk.

    It's actually my first piece of writing other than song lyrics so hopefully I can make it work. It's hard to know if I'm doing it right!
     
  21. Sundowner
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    I think it sounds like a pretty good story! I'd like to read it. I'd even offer to beta read it. I'm a little slow and I'm not great with figuring out where commas should go, though, so I probably wouldn't be very useful.
     
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  22. Shbooblie
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    Shbooblie Contributing Member

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    Wow thanks @Sundowner, I appreciate that, let me know if you ever need any beta reading doing and I'll happily oblige :) Though I'm the same with commas and things. It'd be interesting to see if I have actually achieved what I set out to do with this from a readers point of view.
     
  23. Ivana
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    Ivana Contributing Member

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    @Shbooblie I think you could pull this off, especially if it's YA, and if you make a girl fall for him (which is what I presume would happen eventually). It sounds like an interesting idea and I would like to see the relationship development between the two. Reminds me of Twilight a bit, with all the suppressing instincts and trying to restrain himself thing. :)
     
  24. ChickenFreak
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    Sorry, but I see this as directly analogous to rape, and none of the suggestions so far come anywhere near achieving reader forgiveness for me.
     
  25. Shbooblie
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    Shbooblie Contributing Member

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    Thanks @Ivana. I've decided to go with more adult themes in my story so I think it would be a bit too much for YA in some parts. I'm just gonna write it and worry about genre later on! I wanted to kind of flip all the Twilight themes on their head by saying if vampirism was real it wouldn't be magical, the people would be humans with a disease and they wouldn't be all together sane people either.

    @ChickenFreak, Your thoughts are something I had considered people might experience with the whole climbing into bed thing. All I can say is I've tried to portray it in a totally non sexual way. My MC is not a sexual being at all (he says every time he's had sex something awful has happened, he also doesn't function properly.)

    My secondary character has dealt with a lot worse in the past so wrong or right she kind of puts this off as 'whatever I've had worse' he's kind of like the best of a bad situation. Not that he can really justify himself, he tries to explain why he did what he did. Just as an example to show you the kinds of things he says(this is by no means a final draft):

    'What the fuck was I thinking? What the fuck was I even doing there? What sort of odious person had I become? I was sick, sick, sick. In my body, in my mind and in my actions. I had succumbed to my affliction. I had let it become me, in that moment it dictated my behaviour. I didn't want to hurt her. I never wanted anything like this to happen, though I knew in my mind it was always a possibility.'

    So he knows hes messed up. I agree, not everyone will like that she eventually goes back to him, but she has went back to people who did a lot worse to her, i'm not saying it's necessarily what she should be doing but it's not beyond the realms of impossibility for her.

    Whew, essay over!
     
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