1. Ohmytheoctopus
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    Ohmytheoctopus Member

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    Having a Devil of a Time.

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Ohmytheoctopus, Aug 2, 2008.

    I'm working on a story, and I'm having trouble coming up with an ending. I'm used to writing faster-paced stories, and this one is more character based, I guess, than plot-based. Here is the ridiculously shortened version.

    Alex, the MC, is a 28/29 year old working an unsatisfying desk job. He's a manic depressive insomniac who'll do anything to get some, any, sleep. Including popping Oxycodone and drowning himself in alcohol. But everything changes when he finds a young woman sleeping in the back of his car. When he shoos her away, she doesn't respond, and he comes to realize that she's nearly catatonic. For reasons I havent quite worked out yet, he takes her in and names her Wander. As he begins to care for her and tries to help her regain herself, he starts losing his dependency on alcohol and drugs. His best friend Tony is convinced that Wander is an angel sent to help Alex.

    Now, Wander and Alex's relationship is in no way romantic. Like I said, I dont know yet why Alex takes her in, but I DO have it worked out why she's catatonic. I guess the main thing I'm asking is, does anyone have any ideas about what kind of conflict I should include in the story? Wander doesn't "come around" until very near the end, and I'm not sure if I want that to be the ending, or what... OKAY. Here's my question: Should I add more of an outside conflict, or would you reccommend that I keep it a story just about the characters?
     
  2. Chef Dave
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    Chef Dave Member

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    What about this? Alex's mother was catatonic. She was driving south on the local highway when a DUI crossed the lane and hit her car. She survived but Alex's older brother was killed.

    The car accident left his mother with post traumatic stress and depression which resulted in catatonia. She never fully recovered from her anguish and became an alcoholic. She died after her car plunged off a cliff. The state police could not decide whether her death was a DUI or a suicide. There were no skid marks on the road. Her blood alcohol level was .142.

    Alex was too young to help his mother. He took refuge by hiding himself away. He became reclusive. He developed obsessive compulsive behavior and took comfort in following set routines. Unable to control events outside his life, he controlled his immediate surroundings. Everything in his home has to be "just so."He counts steps as he walks and will take longer or shorter steps to reach his destination because he likes round numbers.

    When he grew up, he became an actuary. This is the perfect job for him because he loves mathematics and accounting. He works for an insurance company and spends his day in a corner office where he crunches numbers to make rate determinations and assess insurance probabilities.

    Although he is good at what he does, he has no friends. He mumbles when talking to people and won't make eye contact. Colleagues have long since given up and no longer invite him home for supper. They don't ask him out for a drink after work. They leave him alone ... and don't even wonder why he won't make an appearance during the annual office Christmas party.

    He has a next door neighbor who walks her dog at the same time each day. The woman used to say hello but he'd duck his head, mumble, and not say anything.

    His relationship with Wander allows gives him the opportunity for redemption. Unable to help his mother, he helps this stranger who bears a striking resemblance to his parent.

    Wander's presence disrupts his routine. As he helps this woman recover, he begins to lose some of his obsessive-compulsive tendencies and becomes increasingly normal. He starts to smile at people. He begins making small talk and overtures of friendship to his colleagues. One day as his neighbor walks by with her dog, he startles her with a shy smile and a tentative, "Hello."

    By the time Wander is ready to leave his life, Alex is the person he might have been had his family not been visited by such horrible tragedy. He is normal ...
     
  3. Chef Dave
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    Chef Dave Member

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    I thought about this some more.

    If Alex were to become an actuary, he could become a real dweeb. He could wear a tweed suit and a bow tie. On his first day of work, his colleagues asked him out for a drink at the end of the day. He replied with an actuary quote: "Impaired drivers kill someone every 30 minutes. That's 48 people per day or 17,520 individuals per year."

    If someone were to encourage him to just have one drink, he could reply with more statistics: "Low risk drinking is exceeded by an estimated 74% of male drinkers and 72% of female drinkers aged 21 and older."

    If you like this idea, here's a site with alcohol consumption statistics.

    http://www.gdcada.org/statistics/alcohol.htm
     

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