1. KatieValino
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    KatieValino Member

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    Full Circle Themes

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by KatieValino, Feb 27, 2014.

    This is something i find myself doing a lot in my writing, having earlier themes that have opened in the former part of the novel, come full circle toward the end with a lesson involved.

    An example would be the saying; the sins of the father. I know there is more to it, but i had always believed it was, "the sins of the father shall be outdone by the son," meaning that the bad legacy the father left to his child would then develop into an even worse creature in the form of the progeny. It also engages with the ideas of the victim becoming the abuser etc

    In my novel, the sins of the child ARE so much worse than those of the parental archetypes BECAUSE the progeny were trying so hard to be better than the former that they fell into the same traps as their parents and in the end, follow the same path.

    I was wondering how many of you guys take this approach, the full circle themes that come to bite the characters in the butt, and how YOU implement it within the plot development.
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    An interesting theme as a goal, to be sure. :) But to answer the implied question, no, my themes don't often take this course. My stories tend (try) to be about self redemption coupled with the idea that a life untried is a life unlived. My protags are usually deeply flawed, have often committed grievous harm to others, to themselves, both, etc. and their story is one of learning to forgive themselves while marking the lesson of their misdeeds, never forgetting.
     
  3. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    I'm not very experienced as yet, but I tend to agree with Wrey. The idea of finding redemption appeals to me.

    Recently I had to do a hatchet job on one of my favourite characters. The story started taking on a life of its own and because I felt it to be more cohesive and less convoluted than the original idea, I went with it. I had to sacrifice my lovely character and make him a cause of conflict by turning him into a raging homophobe. But then it struck me. Why did he hold that viewpoint? As I recreated his back story and gave him a reason, though still not justifiable in my eyes, I thought: What if something happens to make him realise the error in his thinking? Can I bring about a change in him for the better and start to restore him as I originally envisaged him? Turns out I can.

    I think the reason I'm not drawn to 'full circle' type stories is that deep in my heart I want to believe that everyone is capable of change for the good. That and I refuse to accept that I am the sum of what others have made me. I believe in accountability and it's way too easy to blame others for decisions that, ultimately, I made.

    I wish I could be more helpful, but truthfully it's not an idea I would spend much time thinking about.
     
  4. KatieValino
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    KatieValino Member

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    I totally understand what you both mean @obsidian_cicatrix and @Wreybies.
    I suppose in the end of my novel it sets up the characters to fall, in the sense that in the sequel, is when the sins shall be greater, but that paves the way FOR redemption. They see the fruition of the changes they implemented, hoping to erase the past injustices of what their predecessors have done, follow the same route through blindness and ultimately redeem themselves, mostly with sacrifice involved.

    I also love redemption and i truly believe they can be full circle, the journey changing the character, only for them to ultimately revert back to the good that they once were after the journey has revealed to them what NOT to do. A learning experience as it were.

    An example for one character would be as follows:

    She hates the Consul for the bigotry it tries to impose on the people -----Once the Consul is gone she is in the same position as them ------ Finds herself feeling bigoted towards a faction that is different, that threatens her world, in the same way the Consul loathed a different faction that threatened theirs -----After everything has gone to shit due to the rash actions of the MC and co she realises that they had fallen into the same trap as the Consul, choosing between A or B and not thinking of C -----works hard to undo the damage done by herself and the previous powers in order to bring true equality between all factions, even at great personal cost.

    It is like a circle in so much as her having to live through the same circumstances that the predecessors did allows her to see how easy it is to follow that path and how truly to be better than an idealist with beliefs (as she was at the beginning) and an idealist with actions( aka the Consul).
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2014
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  5. Pepsik
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    Pepsik Member

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    I think I see what you mean. I think... Are you saying the son, in attempts to undo the wrong his dad committed, manages to screw things up even more; committing even more sins. Some maybe even more evil than what the father did?
     
  6. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    I had a conversation with my daughter a couple of weeks back. Her son has just turned two. I asked her: "Have you found yourself doing the same things I did, things that you swore you would never do and say to your offspring?"

    She laughed and nodded. "Yeah. It's kind of inevitable isn't it?"

    It's only now that she's a parent herself she understands my reasoning for the things I did. I always acted in her best interests no matter how she hated me for it. Just as this repetition can be for the good, if influences are less than positive, it can end up being to the detriment, and many of our cues on how we behave we learn from our parents, and those around us.

    Sometimes we are forced into making bad choices because there is no good choice, and other times we continue to repeat past mistakes because we are foolhardy enough to believe ourselves to be the exception, that somehow we can make a thing work when others have failed.

    As a concept, it's very interesting. But like I said, I'm all about the redemption in the end. Unless, that is, you are my true antagonist, (as opposed to an emotionally fuelled sub plot) then you get what you deserve. ;)
     
  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, I can see this, and I guess from this perspective my stories do try to come full circle. In one of my stories my central protagonist, Marco, is guilty of murdering his wife and the man with whom she was cheating on him. There is never any twist (cheat) that he is in fact innocent. He's very much guilty of the crime he committed and the story begins with him many years into his prison sentence. The course of events take him unexpectedly away from the prison and into a position where the fate of humanity rests in his hands (cue dramatic music) but he has to learn to forgive himself and feel worthy of his situation before he can own his responsibility. He never sees his situation as a way to redemption. His redemption must come first.
     
  8. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I actually like to do full-circle themes more in short stories than in novels. Somehow they naturally develop, and I'm sure one day I'll collect enough to be able to publish a book full of them! :p I especially like to re-use lines I've had at the start of the story, and I like to repeat lines for emphasis also. I use this a lot in my second novel, and I think it works well for the theme, genre, and style of writing. :) Full-circle is awesome!

    N.B. Even Mufasa said this: it's the FULL circle of life. ;)
     
  9. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    I only wish I could. Brevity and succinctness are things I find nearly impossible, but I'm working it. ;)
     
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