1. freya221b
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    freya221b New Member

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    Help me torture my protagonist?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by freya221b, Jun 18, 2016.

    Hi all,

    I'm plotting a YA historical suspense novel. My protagonist is an aspiring actress with a humble job at a famous London theatre. Her mentor gets kidnapped, and she sets out to find & rescue him before the baddies kill him. I need her to take on this huge task all by herself, so I have to figure out a way to make sure she can't get help/support from the rest of the theatre company. Can you think of a way I can isolate her from them?

    Thanks, :)
    Freya
     
  2. Zorg
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    Zorg Member

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    Isolate how? Physically? What could be interesting is make the theatre company question her. Is she serious or is she merely 'acting?' That could be another form of isolation, their disbelief of her and their unwillingness to help.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2016
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  3. Fernando.C
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    Fernando.C Active Member

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    Hi Freya, welcome to the forum :)
    One way to do this is to establish that she doesn't get along with the rest of the theatre company. The way I'd do it is to have one or more members of the theatre company be in league with the kidnappers and so in order to hinder the MC they turn everyone against her and drive a wedge between her and the rest of the company so when she asks for help they'd mistrust her too much to assist her.

    Of course I'm suggesting this without knowing anything about your story, the setting and the characters and their relationships with each other. So it may well be that my suggestion won't work for you. But still it could serve as inspiration if this is a route you wanna take with your story.
     
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  4. I.A. By the Barn
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    I.A. By the Barn A very lost time traveller Contributor

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    She could have a bit of a martyrdom complex, not accepting help so she looks neglected and poor little her... however you probably don't want you character like that. Another suggestion is that she wants to do it on her own because she hasn't been respected as her own person and wants to prove that she is strong and capable. I do like @Fernando.C suggestion though of the theatre company have some stake in the kidnapping.
     
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  5. freya221b
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    freya221b New Member

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    Thanks, everyone! You're amazing! Zorg, that's a great idea. She doesn't need to be physically separated from her potential allies, but I want to make sure she doesn't have access to their money, wisdom, and/or social influence. She needs to be out in the wilderness of London, tracking down the baddies with nothing but her own wits and talents. Fernando, that's something I hadn't thought of, but I can see that it might well work. If the villain had a spy withing the company, that could actually contribute to the plot in a couple of good ways. I.A., I definitely agree that she should want to prove herself by rescuing her mentor by herself. I need a good reason why the adult actors around her would allow her to do that.

    You guys are the best! Thank you!
     
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  6. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sulfuric acid and molten-- oh right. I don't know, buried alive with a tube of air leading to the surface?
    a
     
  7. hawls
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    hawls Active Member

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    That isn't the greatest motivator. Refusing help or refusing to find help is selfish. Someone's life is at stake and she's going to exploit the situation to show everyone how amazing she is.

    The simplest way to avoid making your protagonist come across as stupid and selfish is to make sure it's clear that the people she encounters along the way can't be trusted. She asks so and so for help, but then overhears them conspiring with the villains. She runs to other people for help, but then they tell her she's crazy and try to contain her.
     
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  8. Johncrawfordz
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    Johncrawfordz Member

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    Another reason you can add is because the kidnappers warned that the police etc should not get involved or they'll kill him. Potentially, you can try character backgrounds to also define challenges your MC can face with these characters.

    Hope this helps

    Regards
    JohnCrawford
     
  9. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    What about the police? Why aren't they involved at all, since they would probably be doing more to help, besides the theater company?
     
  10. FireWater
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    FireWater Active Member

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    Maybe a higher-up within the police department is connected with the kidnappers, and is able to set a red herring or excuse for the police, in order to help the kidnappers' agenda.

    To take it further - what if they blackmail the MC that if she tries to go to the police for help, they'll kill the mentor?
     
  11. Mikmaxs
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    Mikmaxs Active Member

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    An old standby I've seen used to great effect is to have suspicion cast on your protagonist. Not only does it prevent her from getting support and assistance, but it also raises the stakes for her - If she fails to rescue him, she could go to jail herself.
     

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