1. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman Contributing Member

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    How would you find something that you aren't supposed to?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Alex_Hartman, Nov 10, 2008.

    My MC finds out that her dad isn't who she thought he was...well, he wasn't her dad at all. But I have no idea how she finds out. Originally, it was her mom's diary in a box up in the attic. But I found that a little on the cheesy side. I need another way. How would you find something that you weren't supposed to? It doesn't matter what it is.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    But it does matter. In your case, there are a number of possibilities. she could find an adoption record tucked into an old family Bible. She could have an accident, and find out her blood type is not genetically possible from her parents. A drunken father could say something semiconscious on the couch, something that makes her wonder.

    That's just off the top of my poiny little head.
     
  3. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman Contributing Member

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    I've been attempting to think of other possible things, but for two years I was bent on having her find out through a diary and it's been really hard to find something else. Some things won't work though. She was never adopted, she is still with her mom. Her "dad" is actually her uncle, so they are still related and sort of look like each other.

    He could get drunk though. I've always wanted to make him do something stupid.

    I was hoping it could be something written down, only because then, she could go back to it and show her friends, who are a pretty important part of the story.
     
  4. Kylie
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    Kylie Contributing Member

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    There are lots of possibilities:
    -she heard snatches of a conversation
    -she saw her birth certificate
    -someone(like a relative) implied it (when speaking to her)
     
  5. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Where is her real father? Maybe her mother could be married to the brother (real father) and he was killed in an accident. The mom was pregnant at the time and your MC finds an old newspaper clipping in the attic about the accident. In the article, it mentions that he "was survived by his pregnant wife, (insert MC's mom name)" Your MC knows she has no older brother or sister and the dates of the accident would coincide with her own gestation and birth...(blink) a light goes off in the MC's head. She would then confront her mother about the article, the prior marriage...the MC always knew her mom and "dad" got married after she was born but she just assumed mom and dad, like many young couples, just made a mistake with birth control. In fact, her mom might even have told her that.

    There is no limit to the ways you could introduce this fact into your story. The prior history can be positive...like, real dad died saving a kitten from a burning home...or it could be some other colorful discovery...like, real dad killed a man during a burglary and is still in jail serving a life term. The brother (uncle) and the MC's mother had a prior "history" and chose to marry when mom found out she was preggers.
     
  6. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman Contributing Member

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    Crap Salty, you figured out the whole background story. Her mom was pregnant with her before she was married. But before they even had a chance to get married, her real dad (Erik) "disappeared" with the help of his jealous older brother, James. And I was thinking about my MC finding an article...

    But Erik still has to be alive. James tried to drown him, but couldn't finish him off and just left him there, then Erik caught hypothermia and forgot just about everything. James' problem was solved, now he could go marry his brother's almost-wife without his brother getting in the way...only he didn't know that Christine (the mom) was pregnant.

    He has to be alive because, well, the majority of the story is the MC trying to find her dad and bring his memory back.
     
  7. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Why can Erik send a letter? Or maybe he hid it for her to find. I think if her mother's diary is done properly it can be totally believable. Although if I were her I wouldn't keep it in the attic. With information that important, I would find a good hiding spot for it.

    Perhaps the girl is cleaning house and discovers a secret hiding spot, and discovers her mother's diary.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It could also be more subtle. Re-reading a bunch of old letters that her mother saved up, and realizing for the first time that her father was out of the country or otherwise unavailable (doing some time in County for something he did on a drunken binge?) at the time she was conceived.
     
  9. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    Old newspaper article, maybe? Perhaps something would mention the person she thinks is her father, and would make note that he doesn't have any children (or any daughters of her age)?

    (You'd have to find a way to tie it in to the plot's events, and reveal how she found the article (clipped and stuck in a book in the house?--while researching something at the library?) but that's your job, not mine. :D Just throwing the idea out there.)

    ETA: Oops, see somebody beat me to it.
     
  10. Ameasha
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    Ameasha Member

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    :)Why not have the diary found behind a brick in the wall that is being restructured for the fireplace. The contractor finds it and gives it to your MC.
    Just a thought.
    Ameasha
     
  11. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    I like idea of having a series of events lead to the discovery as opposed to one startling event. The added narrative might take some of the focus away from your mentioned ideas, but it would certainly bring the reader along for the ride.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Here's a possible indirect scenario:

    She found love letters to her mother from her father from before she was born. They are not signed, or signed with a cutesy nickname. She has always assumed the letters were from the person she knows as father.
    One day she is looking at writing by father #2, and notices that the handwriy=ting is really different, So she starts digging around and finds other writing colse to the time she was born - the writing looks almost identical to father #2's handwriting, and it's different from the love letters.
    Ok, maybe it was a previous boyfriend.
    Then she remembers one of the letters that mentions the baby they are about to have. She's not entirely s=ure, so she looks for that letter. It takes a while to find it, but the handwriting is defininitely not the same.
    Eventually she comes across an old photo abum withwriting on one of the pictuires that matches the love letters - from that she realizes that the lettesr were from a brother of her "father", a brother she never knew existed,

    Of course, the mother never knew her daughter has found those love letters at all. She would have destroyed them if she knew.
     
  13. Emerald
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    Emerald Contributing Member

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    On a somewhat less related note: vague, spontaneous amnesia? Come on...
     
  14. whitefairy
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    maybe someone could have told her by accident? Like some guests were over, and they thought that she was just another guest, and thought she was just a family member, and mentioned it. Like saying "I wonder if that girl knows yet that he is not her real dad". Something like that. I know that it is not the best idea in the world. Sorry! I will keep thinking though!
     
  15. NaCl
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    Better yet, add lots of angst...an old family member (mean spirited great uncle who nobody in the family likes) comes uninvited to the annual family Thanksgiving dinner. Your MC tries to be nice to him as she doesn't like the way he is treated by everyone else. In a tender moment where the two of them are alone, he informs her of the truth that he only suspects. Of course, she is shocked and now feels she understands why he is so unloved. She spends the next few weeks upset about the allegations and denying the possibility. At some point, she could even verbally attack the uncle for his terrible insinuations, not knowing that her mother is in the hall outside and hears the entire angry exchange. Her mother then enters the room and tells the MC the truth in front of the old uncle. She even thanks him for having kept "their" secret for so many years. Juicy huh? Lots of conflict, lots of emotional movement, expands the plot as the great uncle obviously knows more about the situation than he has let on.

    Why did the great uncle keep the secret for so long only to suddenly violate the prior understanding with the MC's mother? Something made him do it. What secrets about her real father led to all these years of deception? How do the MC and her mother deal with the dramatic change in their relationship? What about the fake dad? Was he complicit in the fraud or just another victim?

    Damn....there's some great grist for this here mill! Have fun.
     
  16. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman Contributing Member

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    I actually did that in one of my drafts (I made three different ones, but none of them ever got finished because I didn’t like the way the story was going and had to start over). She found a picture of some guy with her mom in a bed post, this was a picture that she actually found when she was little, but her mom caught her with it and freaked out. She finds out that is was her actual dad in the picture.

    I have also realized that I don’t really like Erik having memory loss, just because now it seems like I was trying to find the easiest way out. To be quite honest, the easiest way doesn’t sound like the best anymore…

    I was also thinking about love letters or something along those lines. But I think that before, I was going to have too much. I planned on having her find a diary, letters, pictures…everything. Now I realize that that would be going overboard.

    One thing I was thinking of with the diary was having her find it, but right where her dad’s disappearance was supposed to be, all of the pages were ripped out. She knew something important had happened, she just didn’t know what it was until she finds a page or two later on that explain enough for her to know. Either that or she finds out everything from a series of letters. That would make her have to think more. Which would keep her from getting what she wants =D

    I also really want to have James find out that she knows. Preferably right before she finds Erik. That would be so much fun.

    Thank you guys so much! The ideas are coming a bit easier now =D
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Does the house have a fireplace? Maybe the slightly scorched diary could turn up during a chimney repair - it fell down the ash chute but ended up falling through a hole into a space behind the ash pit. The hole was repaired long ago, but other recent repairs reopened that area. She happened to be there when the brickmason opened up the space, so he handed her the diary.
     
  18. Faithch
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    Faithch New Member

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    Well, assuming that the parents had this girl early in life, you could have some really old and cranky women come along and say something like "Yes, I remember when your mother was pregnant with you, her and that (insert real father's name here)
     
  19. Nilfiry
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    One day, she comes to work in <insert place here>. She meets an old co-worker of her real father. One day, she accidentally drops her wallet, and in it was a picture of her when she was very little, her mother and false father. The co-worker picks it up and sees the picture. The co-worker has seen her, her mother, and real father before so the co-worker asks her who the man the picture is. She answers it's her father. The co-worker doesn't recognize that man and informs her that. She gets angry at the co-worker and leaves, but what the co-worker said remains in her hed, causing suspicion. She tries to ignore it, but then could'nt take it anymore and starts doing some research. Then, one day, she <insert everything else that was suggested>.

    Anything is good really since things happen by chance all the time.
     
  20. topper
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    or she could be doing a family geneology project, ask her mother for her wedding date, get the real wedding date because her mother was distracted and didn't think about it, freak out because she thinks she's a bastard, confront her mother/have a hasty cover-up that sparks suspicion, or have her freak out in private, and start doing all kinds of research because they got married so long after they were born, and she suspects something fishy.
     
  21. rakel
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    rakel New Member

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    If her step-father is a real sleezeball, he could be drunk and try to fondle her, saying, "You're not my real daughter anyway."
     
  22. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman Contributing Member

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    I think that there would be a problem if I had him say it straight out (thought I really have wanted him to get drunk). It might be like "show don't tell" except dealing with the plot.

    I've always wanted her to have to figure it out (without an epiphany), but I need her to find the right things, a little bit of everything scattered all over.
     
  23. jwilder
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    As a kid, I always found stuff I wasn't supposed to find usually by being nosey. Mom and Dad would be out and I was never allowed in Mom's closet, so I'd go and play with her clothes and shoes, and discover some Christmas presents stuff in the back, or find an old box of letters and photos on the top shelf under a shoe box, etc etc.

    As an adult, I usually stumble upon things while cleaning. Accidentally finding the necklace my husband bought me hidden in his sock drawer while I'm putting away his clean socks, cleaning out a closet and finding a box that I've never seen and looking inside - stuff like that. Helping someone move and reorganize their new home might be a plausible excuse - or helping someone clean out an attic or a closet to give stuff away to Goodwill. Any reason to open a box or look inside something you wouldn't normally open or look at.
     
  24. Alex_Hartman
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    Alex_Hartman Contributing Member

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    Oh! I had an idea (finally)! I could just have her looking for something, maybe for school, and asks her mom (Christine) about where it is. Then she tells her to look in Christine's closet, forgetting that there was stuff in there that my MC wasn't supposed to see. And she finds something small, like a picture with names and dates on the back, or a letter or something... I could do the attic, but that doesn't seem as right. If I were Christine, I wouldn't want my hugest secret to be too far away from me.

    I can't believe it took that long to figure that out. *sigh*
     
  25. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It takes as long as it takes. You, as the writer, are the only one who will know when the pieces fit together just the way you want them to.
     

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