1. stormcat
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    stormcat Active Member

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    How does your character grieve?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by stormcat, Jan 30, 2014.

    Suppose someone close to your character has died, how would they cope? Each person grieves in their own way, so why should fictional people be any different?
     
  2. Acanthophis
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    Acanthophis ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) Contributor

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    My main character grieves via alcohol, which I know is kind of generic, but it works for me. :p It's not a long term solution, but long term solutions are what the overall story are for, not each chapter.
     
  3. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Funnily enough, one of my characters in my novel semi-died (touch of coma here and there) and another died.

    The characters love-interest can't bear to see the MC in that state any longer after months of taking care of him removes herself from him and focuses on her relationship with another man and my MC gets driven by a desire for revenge for the one who did die.
     
  4. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    My character goes through the motions of social interaction, but he's just not 100% present in any ongoing activity. It's as if he now has two lives, the one he's outwardly living, and the one that is mired in grief and unfinished business—business which, of course, will never be finished now.
     
  5. Cailinfios
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    Cailinfios Member

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    In my book my MC's boyfriend kills himself
    She has a few nightmares, a few days of intense mental pain and trauma, then she puts her mask of indifference back on and continues her life - kind of. She moves to a different city so that she won't have to see places that remind her of him any longer. She pretends she's gotten over it, but really, she's still crying inside pretty much all the time. It will take a long time for her to recover.
     
  6. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    My female character's husband is killed at the beginning of the novel. Her mother tells her she has to put herself together for her daughters. So, she forces herself to not show much grief when she's around her girls. This exhausts her.
     
  7. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    I have a MC who watched her fiancee get killed in front of her in an accident. She became almost comatose; would not leave the house, would not feed herself, etc. until she was rescued by a kindly neighbor. She then makes herself constantly busy; she has a full time day job, works in her shop every evening for several hours, takes care of her own house and only allows herself one day of recreation with close friends per week. Staying busy constantly = normalcy, and is her way of keeping her mind so focused on other things she has no time nor energy to relive the horror of her fiancee's death.
     
  8. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    My second character grieves through Rage after he believed the MC had lost her life. In reality she was still alive, but the secondary character does not know that.
     
  9. Echoesian
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    Echoesian Member

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    My character uses dissociation, a psychological defense mechanism, to disconnect his powerful and painful emotions from his consciousness. Although it is effective, it leaves him feeling hollow and numb all the time. In order to reclaim his other feelings, he will have to accept the grief as well.
     
  10. TheApprentice
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    TheApprentice Contributing Member

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    Nick goes catatonic

    Mikkish gets buzzed and hurts people

    John swears retribution.

    Morgan cries for a few days and then gets over it
     
  11. RabidChipmunk
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    RabidChipmunk Member

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    In my story, a character and his wife were married for several years, but she couldn't conceive a child. Then, when she finally did, it died a year later from illness. The husband completely shuts down and refuses to talk to anyone, even his wife. The wife, meanwhile, unable to deal with the loss of her child and, essentially, her husband, runs away to a fishing village across the mountains to try and start her life over. To this day, her husband doesn't blame her.
     
  12. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    Currently writing about a guy whose father dies one night, in the room next to his, but he is too busy with his work to notice it in time to help him. Turns out he was actually working on his own father's memoirs. He stops working, of course, saying that some important notes and books are still in his father's room and he doesn't want to disturb anything there. He forces himself to study for an exam, for months, forgetting to wash himself, eat, sleep, shave etc. Of course, he keeps telling himself: "I'm okey, I'm okey." :)
     
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  13. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    somehow, of all the tragic death stories on this thread, yours moved me the most. I'm not sure I'd like to write something like that, but it's just the kinda thing I would read lol. I think it's probably because yours include tragic irony - if he spends time working hard on his father's memoirs, one can assume he cares deeply about his father, and yet this is what made him neglect his father at his time of need. Gosh.
     
  14. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    @Mckk glad you like the idea Mckk, I hope I don't screw it up :)
     
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  15. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    @Burlbird - add my kudos as well. Painfully ironic.

    I have several MCs scattered across different historical periods. In one, a woman is married to a wealthy and powerful planter in a slave economy. An informer reveals an impending slave revolt, in which one of her husband's slaves is a leader. She begs her husband for them to return to their house in the city with their three sons (aged 17, 15 and 11), but he insists on staying, and keeping the two older boys with him, leaving her and their youngest son to flee. The night of the uprising, their plantation is attacked, with the husband, the two boys, overseers, loyal slaves and some local militia successfully defending. In the fighting, the 15-year-old is killed.

    The woman never forgives the husband nor the oldest son, who remains loyal to his father and his decision. The woman remains married but is never anything but cold, even in public. She lavishes all her attention and affection on the youngest son and keeps him away as much as possible from her husband and eldest son. Over time, the eldest son falls in love with a girl and is approaching the point of proposing marriage when his father asks him to go overseas to arrange for the purchase of new machinery for the plantation. He sends a long letter to the girl, but his mother intercepts it and sends a much different letter to the girl's mother. With the elder son gone, and knowing that her younger son is strongly attracted to the same girl, she arranges a dinner with the girl's family and encourages the younger boy to pursue the girl, who is hurt that the other son left without a word of farewell. The girl is also drawn to the younger boys new, liberal views, and she thinks him dashing. When the older son returns from abroad, he is shocked to discover that the girl is going to marry his brother.
     
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  16. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    I recently wrote a story were my leading man's grandpa died the leading man expresses his grief all at once at the funeral and at the cemetery when he watches the casket being lowered into the grave. Then gradually he becomes busy with work taking care of the house and his hobbies and church that he has no spare time to grieve.
     
  17. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    @EdFromNY - you know, if you have a full draft, I wouldn't mind reading that. That sounds really interesting. You still have my email I hope :) It sounds like one filled with familial relationships and twists and even a dash of romance - all things I love to read. Message me if you're willing to share! (I don't write historical novels - far too much research - so don't worry about me stealing things)
     
  18. yanlins
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    My MC had to save a person he never really cared about for his girlfriend. So he left her behind, and is consumed by remorse and guilt, some of which he pins on the person he saved, which would have been easier if she was guilty but it happens that she was innocent of the decision. So in addition, the MC has some tension in deciding how to treat her. He tries to keep it under control, but he lashes out from time to time with anger and then succumbs to deep moodiness and introspection about his actions.
     
  19. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    In one of my WIPs, grief and moving on are hard to tell apart. My MC copes with the sudden heart attack death of her (seemingly) strong young husband by pledging to carry on their mutual dream of moving to the country and starting a plant nursery. The initial shock causes her to give birth to their only son nearly two months early, he is born sickly and weak, and the dream has to be deferred for years due to the time and financial demands of his care. The boy also dies young, ironically in a truck vs. bicycle road accident. My MC is not financially or emotionally able to bring the dream to fruition until twenty years after her husband's death, by which time she will do just about anything to make sure it happens. She has never dated or remarried, and though she has no illusion that he is actually present with her, she enjoys her late husband's memory as her constant companion.

    This is all backstory; the book begins when she is about, as she believes, to make the dream real.
     
  20. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    My character earlier on gets extremely angry and rages.
     
  21. AlannaHart
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    AlannaHart Contributing Member

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    Finds someone 2000 years later that looks remarkably similar to his dead partner and pretends not to fall in love with them o_O
     
  22. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Despite the perceived grimness of the topic, it's kind of humorous that you actually answered the question within your question - or at least made any responses almost moot.
    Of course, you weren't really looking for how to make your characters grieve, were you? Just a little insight into human nature.

    Your question, actually struck a responsive chord in me because I just started working on an urban fantasy that starts off addressing this very issue. Two people are killed. The last remaining family member is left, not only to cope with the loss of his family members but is in the situation of having to put off his grieving as he attempts to find out who was responsible for the deaths of his family. Additionally, he must deal with the fiancée of his now deceased brother. All of these things play a part in how he, as well as the fiancée, cope with the loss, all the while knowing the time for grieving must be put aside until later. But the grief does not always willingly wait for a time more convenient, does it?

    There is one thing I have learned through the years that is almost universal in those dealing with the loss of a loved one. They will almost invariably find something for which to feel guilty in their relationship with the deceased. Now, why do you suppose that is?

    The answer's easy, of course. We are all human and, being human, we are imperfect. We make mistakes and out of embarrassment, hesitate to apologize for them as though the wronged party does not know we made the mistake, or we owe them an apology for something. We, as a species, have this innate ability to dredge up the most obscure piece of history between us and the departed and we will hang on to that bit of guilt, sometimes for the rest of our lives, as we continue to mourn our loss. THAT is the one thing that is almost invariably the same in everyone's grieving process.
     
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  23. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    This may not actually be not having time to grieve as much as avoiding the confrontation with the grieving.
     
  24. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    That is an incredibly interesting observation. One I will keep in mind as I write, from now on. Thanks...
     
  25. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    when my cousin died I don't think I could. when she was among the living she was quite evil. I said my peace at her funeral and one final farewell. sometimes humans also seek to entomb rather painful memories than grieve
     

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