1. Flashfire07
    Offline

    Flashfire07 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    4

    Help making this scene more realistic?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Flashfire07, Sep 11, 2011.

    While writing my newest piece of fiction I ran head first into a massive bought of writers block. Quite simply I have my main character encounter a brutal fight involving a close friend, he picks up a pool cue and sets about turning the attacker into hamburger meat. The thing is, this character is a shy, quiet guy, he avoids conflict throughout the entire story, even going so far as to allow his house to be ransacked rather than put up a fight. So my problem is that the story hinges on his violent outburst but I don't feel that it's realistic for the character to walk into the bar, see his friend being pulverized, pick up a pool cue and wade into battle like a Norse berserker. I'm wondering if anyone could provide some advice on how to make this scene more realistic?
     
  2. evelon
    Offline

    evelon Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Messages:
    613
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    England
    I can see him 'wading in' to help a friend even though he would be reluctant to put up a fight in a burglary. It's a different situation and although he may be acting out of character, it isn't unbelievable that someone who shuns violence would jump to the defence of a friend. It happens.
    But since you, as the creator of this character can't believe that he would act in this way, you have a problem. How are you going to be able to convince your readers if you're not convinced yourself. The only way to make the scene more realistic is to believe in it.
    It's how you treat the incident after it happens that's as important as how you treat it during the fight. A fight's a fight, but the aftermath gives you lots of scope for emotion, remorse, disbelief, fear.
     
  3. Steerpike
    Offline

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,061
    Likes Received:
    5,265
    Location:
    California, US
    It this character's actions aren't plausible based on how you have developed the character so far, and if the scene is crucial, then you probably need to go back and do some rewriting. What comes before should build up to this.
     
  4. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    The quiet ones are the ones who crack, especially in situations that have a personal resonance. Someone who grew up bullied may lose it when they see a friend bullied in a similar way.

    Many years ago, I had a colleague who was barely noticed, and who never stood out professionally either. His office was a couple doors down from mine. One day, during our annual review period, there was a commotion in the hall. My manager was on the floor, and security was restraining the colleague.

    The manager had been delivering a somewhat less than favorable review. The colleague started telling the manager to get out. Instead of backing off and finishing the review later, the manager stood his ground, and the colleague lost control. He attacked the manager and began hitting him. The colleague was escorted out and suspended, and formally terminated two days later.

    This was the guy you read about in the paper. A loner, a quiet guy who kept to himself, didn't make friends, looked average. Apparently he had a problem with authority, or with being judged. No one knew until the day he snapped.
     
  5. A J Jaafari
    Offline

    A J Jaafari Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2011
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    You could add a level to the character about defending others vs himself. Many heroic types are willing to suffer indignities, but are implacable in their defense of those who need it. I don't want to make the story up for you (rudely stepping on your toes as an artist) but I could imagine someone who detests violence, but might be haunted by a time he didn't stand up for someone else, and sees it happening in front of him again.

    For realism, I wouldn't have him be very good at fighting. If he's successful, it should be based on the element of surprise, luck, and possibly going for the most vulnerable target he sees. It won't make for a very long fight scene, but if he's going to be successful without being an experienced fighter, he has to strike the low blows, fight dirty, and get out fast.

    A J
     
  6. Flashfire07
    Offline

    Flashfire07 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    4
    Hmmm, yeah I could try setting it up as more of a 'snap' scene, which would also fit in with the sheer brutality I bring to my fight scenes. Thanks for the help so far on this, I often have trouble writing scenes that don't fit with how the character is 'supposed to act'.
     
  7. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,683
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    I agree with Cog on this. There are lots of examples out there. I remember a case a few years ago out in Wisconsin, where a kid in his 20s in a small town there, who'd never amounted to much, became a police officer and then a member of their SWAT team. He was really proud of being a cop (and a SWAT team member) and even kept his official-issue assault rifle in his pickup with him, showing it off to people. It was as if he was being accorded a level of respect that he'd never gotten before. He had a girlfriend, but at one point she broke up with him. She was at a party with a bunch of friends, and he went to try to convince her to get back together. Everyone started laughing at him and taunting him, and he went out to the pickup, came back with the assault rifle, and shot and killed 6 or 7 people. He later killed himself.

    If you're going to take this kind of approach, it's important in the run up to the incident to show the character absorbing what happens and swallowing his anger. I would make him appear to be succeeding, while at the same time allowing the reader to gain a hint of what could happen without telegraphing what's coming. It sounds like a great idea. Good luck with it.
     

Share This Page