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  1. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Has a character's action made you stop writing?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Link the Writer, Apr 15, 2011.

    Basically, in the first two books of my Colonial detective series, Amos lives with a tavern owner who is pretty much an arrogant bully to all of his employees, especilly to Amos and this tavern owner has a violent temper.

    Well, in a later scene, Amos and Benjamin (his best friend and fellow tavern worker) arrive back in the tavern after visiting a witness to the crime the story's about. Well, this happens...

    Suddenly, I felt an explosion of pain on my jaw. Stumbling backward into the wall, I fought back tears as I clasped my mouth tightly. Through the numbness, I could feel two loose objects bouncing around on my tongue. I spat them out on my hand. It took me only a second to realize that they were my teeth.
    “You hurt Amos!” Benjamin cried.
    “It’ll be you next if you don’t shut up!” Wilkins roared drunkenly, slamming his ale on the table.
    “Wait…wait…” I gasped, holding a free hand up. “Don’t.”
    “Give me one good reason why you two were late in getting here…” He growled.
    I panted. What would I tell him? That Benjamin and I were at Mister Marcus’ house asking him about the recent murder nearby? That the only reason we did this was because Marcus knew that the poor soul that was murdered had some connection to the hunchback in the attic and the missing locket?
    Wilkins’ hand then gripped my shirt collar and yanked me closer to him. I could smell the stench of ale on his breath.
    “Tell me!”

    After writing that, I stepped backward from my story. I know I had planned for Wilkins to do this, knew I wasn't aiming to protray him with any sympathy at all, but I was still shocked at what I just made him do.

    I still want to write it, but I'm not happy with Wilkins' treatment of Amos and am scared of what else I could have Wilkins do to him.

    So, has this ever happened to any of y'all? Have you characters done something so terrible that you just take a step back?
     
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  2. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Um, yes, I've had that happen, but I have to say that what you've written doesn't seem that bad to me at all. Oh, and no it's never made me stop writing.
     
  3. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Really? How come?

    I mean, yes, obviously there are worst things I could have characters do to each oher, but beating up a kid can't be good.
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have sometimes needed help

    One dear Mallory helped with when I went into panic thought I had killed My the Abbot character - he is my favourite character I had written to the point where another character Gil (nurse in a previous story), goes to take his pulse and I just could not write what Gil had to say. I had to write a further three thousand words and a dangerous act of magic before I found out if he made it. I couldn't bear the thought I had killed him.

    Another scene at the end of novel three took me over a month of procrastination to write. I still have to rewrite the final thing.

    Like Trish has said it is in someways quite tame - even with it being a kid. However still difficult to write. I have to rewrite the one where Athena beats up Socrates for Sunday.
     
  5. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I didn't know it was a kid but I do much worse, I've read much worse. I don't know, it just doesn't seem that bad to me. How old is the kid?
     
  6. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have, indirectly. I mean, it was not the characters fault. I'll explain: I recently let a friend of mine read a piece of the story i'm writing (BIG (!!!) mistake, now I have learned my lesson) and he criticized my MC's behavious so strongly that my self confidence just collapsed, he said it was totally unthinkable that someone would behave like that and I was like :eek: because To me that was totally justified and it made me think, think, and most of all doubt my own judgement and my entire story. Would someone else consider it ridiculously illogical too? So that really put me off continuing writing it. I will never let anyone read what I'm writing WHILE I'M STILL WRITING IT again.
     
  7. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    That's a shame, Tesoro. People can be very adamant about things that they don't get or that offend them and you just have to dig down, find your kahones, and stick to your guns. Just suck it up and keep going. That's the best I can tell you.
     
  8. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    thank you Trish! :) Sooner or later I will take it up again, I just need to rehabilitate my self-confidence first :rolleyes:
     
  9. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Tl;dr w176 agrees that it common, but thinks we need to understand and relate to dark stuff to make the world better.

    ---

    Personally I'm the kind of person that is thrilled by the sick feeling in my gut, but in a wider perspective it is quite common in my experience. Interestingly it is even more common that you feel a need to take a brake or debrief the experience if you have taken the perspective of the abuser.

    I'm in tho the Nordic scene, sort of progressive and art focused larping, often playing heavy psychological scenarios like concentration camps. These usually take a lot of strain on all the participants, even if they are fantastic experiences. There all kind of psychological safe resumes like safewords, debriefings, workshops before the events to build trust and so on and there always an ongoing discussion about stuff like this. It can be a really unsettling experience to examine the darker sides of human nature.

    In my experience is that is most often the ones who had the abusive roles, like prison guards harassing and humiliating the prisoners, that either need to take a brake or feel a deep need to talk and debrief afterwards. But in my experience it not dangerous as long as you don't push yourself past you limits, and debrief afterwards. (This thread could be seen as debriefing imho)

    Often people come away from the fictional exploration of a dark theme with valuable experiences. Fictional exploration help us understand the world around us, and through recognizing the potential darkness we all carry understand why thing at times go wrong at times in the world. Empathy and insight, seeing our own flaws and the flaws of humanity helps us becoming better people in my opinion.

    Two weeks ago I was at a mass hysteria workshop, creating and immersing in scenes like a crowd of dedicated Justin Biers fans outside his hotel, a bunch or sport cheering and chanting for their team, to a wild rave party and a scene when we for a few moments became a lynch mob about to lynch an accused rapist.
    Giving up my personal identity to give into the group identity was both an intoxicating and scary experience. How the warmth and love you felt of chanting for you team just where a few steps away to giving into the crowds wrath and be willing to lynch someone at a mere accusation.

    Yet to change the world for the better I think we need to understand that why decent people can be willing to lynch someone, to understand and relate to the mechanics behind the behavior to change the world for the better and make it a place where lynch mobs don't form.
     
  10. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    That's (ahem) cojones.

    Otherwise, yes, absolutely.
     
  11. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    ROFL... I guess that's one of those things where I just say oops and blush? Thanks. Good thing I've never used that in a book, huh?
     
  12. Vance
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    Vance Member

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    Once, my detective solved the crime back during chapter three. That's when I realized that my mystery was pathetic and that anyone with half a brain could solve it far too easily. I couldn't handle a realistic way where the detective was both a genius and failed to solve such a simple logic problem. So I stopped writing that book forever.

    Not exactly what you are referring to, but that's my closest experience with it.
     
  13. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    I can honestly say I've never written anything that I couldn't just go back and rewrite if I wasn't happy with it.

    ...And I've written far worse that what you have presented.

    If you really want to write it, but aren't happy with having it actually happen to the character...just write it, have Wilkins close his eyes, shake his head, open his eyes again, only to realize it was his imagination running away with him. He hadn't actually assaulted anyone, he was just thinking about it really hard. Perhaps he thinks better of the idea, possibly with a pang of guilt, after visualizing Amos spitting teeth and blood.
     
  14. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Honestly, as Trish has said, it's not that big of a deal. I mean, of course it would be in real life, but in writing, there are much worse things you can do to a character. In my stories, my characters have been murdered, stalked, brainwashed via violent means, hauled off to nazi-esque concentration camps, implied rape etc....

    I mean, different people have different thresholds, so whether you feel comfortable with something is up to you.

    But your descirption doesn't seem that shocking -- especially if the teeth knocked loose were baby teeth, in which case Amos will grow more.

    (Elg, thanks for the shout out and long live the Abbot)
     
  15. Silver_Dragon
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    Silver_Dragon Senior Member

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    No, I've never stopped writing because of anything like that. I do have trouble putting in the details, though...if it's something really bad, I'm often tempted to make it happen "off-stage."
     

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