1. carsun1000
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    carsun1000 Active Member

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    How do I describe him?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by carsun1000, Jun 17, 2011.

    One of my characters who is a billionaire by the way, had just been informed by the FBI that his recently murdered father was a rapist sixty five years ago. It was the first time he was privy to this information.

    I am having difficulty describing his reaction to the news as he sat in the conference room where the news was broken to him. I also want to make sure that his life must continue after this revelation.

    what adjectives would you use to describe him? Thanks for your help!
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Stunned.
    Shocked.
    Dumbfounded.
    Flabbergasted.
    Revolted.
    Sickened.
    Pained.
    Staggered.

    Just off the top of my head. I think what you need to do, though, is decide what emotion you think best fits his reaction, then find the best word to go with that.
     
  3. Mr Mr
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    Mr Mr Active Member

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    How you would describe his reaction depends on how your character would react. I'm assuming he would be shocked but he might be angry. Whats your character like?
     
  4. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I'm going to kind of disagree with everyone. I think you should describe his actions, is he crying, shaking, rocking himself back and forth, pacing, staring at the wall blankly?

    Then get in his head and say what he's thinking (not out loud, unless this gives him a mental break). Is he thinking about everything he did with his father, how much he loved him, or is he thinking about (and remembering) all the clues he should have seen and hating himself for missing them? Berating himself for being stupid? (not that he is, but he might think he was in that situation).

    Think of the physical changes, are his eyes dry or is he crying? Is he sweating? Is his lip/chin quivering, hands shaking, etc.

    Find ways to make your reader see him feeling those things (after deciding which are appropriate for the emotion he's feeling) and you won't have to label it as anything.
     
  5. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Agree with Trish... adjectives are the easy way to describe something, but the scene will seem more real and alive if you can describe it through context and body language.
     
  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Have to agree with Trish.
     
  7. darkhaloangel
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    darkhaloangel Active Member

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    I don't know where the line is from was a rapist to is a rapist - do you ever stop being a rapist? That aside

    Why don't you just image what you'd do if someone else told you your father was a rapist? Then act it out and take note of how you feel, what you do, reactions, conflicts etc. Practise crawling inside your characters head and living under their skin.
     
  8. carsun1000
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    carsun1000 Active Member

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    like most rich guys sometimes collected, some other time not so cool. Gets mad pretty quickly too
     
  9. carsun1000
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    carsun1000 Active Member

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    Thank you Trish,
    I had thought about him storming out of the conference room , tell his driver to GTFO (if you know what I mean) of the car, and sits in the back seat crying his eyes out, then after ruminating over his father's life and what the future holds, he drives away leaving the driver to fend for himself
     
  10. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, when you die.
     
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  11. Jonp
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    Jonp Senior Member

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    I would imagine he would, in his mind, go over his entire childhood looking for signs and hints, think about his mother and wonder if she knew about it.
     
  12. Sang Hee
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    Sang Hee Contributing Member

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    If you check Worst Line Reading Ever on Youtube then do anything but that.
     
  13. Suadade
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    Suadade Senior Member

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    Did he love his father? That would have a bearing on what kind of reaction he has.

    There was a great Swedish author, Frans G Bengtsson, who once said something along the lines of "we can know what a character does and says and how he looks. Nothing more can we know." He never described his characters' thoughts. I think I would do something similar in this situation - just exit the character's head, if the way the story is written allows, and describe his extreme reaction from the outside. I think not knowing what the character is thinking would probably make us imagine and sympathize with his feelings more and not less.
     
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  14. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Anyone else consider denial? I mean if you were just told that your father was a rapist from some stranger, FBI or not, would you honestly just believe them?

    The denial I suppose would depend on the relationship he had with his father. Were they close and best firends or was the father distant and more about business or was he abusive verbally or physically?

    It's hard to say without really knowing the character. He could react in a number of ways.

    But the first thing would probably be denial. How long that lasts again would depend.
     
  15. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would agree with Trish, certainly. In fact, I was going to say that very thing. Don't tell us he was dumbstruck or shocked or whatever. How would someone outside the scene see him when he got the news? That's what you want to share with your readers. His actions and gestures will tell the reader what he was feeling.

    AND as Suadade suggested, how the character reacts to the news depends to the largest extent on his relationship with his father. Did he hate his too-too perfect father and now the cops are telling him his old man's entire life was a lie? Does he burst out laughing at the fraud his father put across on him all those years? Or perhaps he idolized the sonofa and, at hearing of his god figure's sordid past, he is totally crestfallen and wants to throw up.

    You can't just make a snap judgment on something like this because too many unknowns come in to play.

    The bottom line is, you need to figure out the answers to those questions because you are the god of these little creatures you have created who live and die at your will. And only you know what motivates them and what makes them tick and how.
     
  16. carsun1000
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    carsun1000 Active Member

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    Isn't it cool when writers have that kind of power? the power to make or break. I agree with Trish as well and I am already working on describing my guy
     
  17. _Lulu_
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    _Lulu_ Member

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    That's exactly what I was going to say.

    Again, I don't know your characters but I think denial would come first and then other emotions will hit (at a later time, short or long) anger, hurt etc.

    I also agree with Trish, describing it will seem more real.
     
  18. martial_wolf
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    martial_wolf Member

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    And to add to this once he does get past the denial stage I really don't think being completely "angry" or "shocked" is going to do it. I just don't see it as believable if he had any relationship with is father. Conflicted, maybe even a little angry I see. But just sick of him and done? Nope. Not very human.
     

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