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  1. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Is amnesia too farfetched - p.s. is my twist on it it too far fetched?!

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by peachalulu, Jun 2, 2012.

    I'm debating whether to keep a twist in my book/epic or not. One of the characters gets caught up with the villain ( a gangster ) , and agrees to fake amnesia gaining the confidence of this girl in order to discover where she has hidden some money. Midway into his manipulations , he is attacked and really does get amnesia. The girl gets spooked by his behavior and acts like they've never met - which is then undermined by several characters making him wonder why everyone around him is behaving oddly. This isn't explained till the last few chapters.
    Too much?
    The only book I've read dealing with amnesia was The Bourne Identity, which I loved.
     
  2. henry ni
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    henry ni New Member

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    Honestly I feel the idea of amnesia doesn't make much sense itself: you lose all all memories of past events, names of family and friends, house address, but you can still speak and write fluently. Other than that it sounds like a interesting story with plenty of booming going on in the background.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I recommend researching the various types of amnesia, both physical and psychological, before proceeding.

    Post-traumatic amnesia, caused by physical head trauma, is always accomanied by some retrograde amnesia, which is losing the events immediately preceding the trauma ("No PTA without RA"). Whatever memory is recovered during physical healing is typically all that is ever recovered. The rest is permanently lost.

    Because it is due to physical brain trauma, it is often combined with other neurological symptoms: tremors, vision problems, speech problems, weakness or loss of control in limbs or extremities, etc.

    Psychological amnesia includes such phenomena as repressed memories, due to psychological trauma that is too much for the mind to accept. Unlike physical trauma, the memories are always there, fighting to be released. The worst symptoms are typically from the associative links that could expose the memory. The mind reacts by creating phobias and other extreme reactions to anything that gets too close to the memory.

    All this is oversimplified. If you are going to use amnesia, research it thoroughly.
     
  4. Afion
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    Afion Senior Member

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    I think amnesia is overused as a story idea. Maybe instead of labelling it, you could have him gaps in his memory without mentioning amnesia?
     
  5. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    What isn't explained? That he now really have amnesia? I think that will be too much, the readers will be confuse. As in Bourne Identity, the excitement of reading about amnesia is when readers and the amnesiac character together find out who he/she really is, sort of like reader joining the character's journey of self discovery. So, coming back to your story, you should start the story when he is amnesiac for real, then path to self discovery in bits and pieces like a jigsaw puzzle, and finally everything is in place when he finds out how he faked amnesia and blah blah
     
  6. skulbaka
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    skulbaka New Member

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    Regular amnesia has been used too often. If you want to use it, I would create a twist. When the guy who fakes amnesia is attacked, he does not lose his memories but due to a hit on the head they are confused and don't make sense. He remembers making the deal to fake the amnesia to manipulate the girl but he doesn't remember whether his current identity was created for the purpose of controlling the girl or not. However, if you focus too much on originality then you lose sight of what you wanted the story to be like in the first place.
     
  7. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    There are a few things that bug me about portrayal of characters with amnesia due to brain injury:

    * firstly, that they never seem to have any of the other issues typical of brain injury - it's very unlikely that you'll find someone with only one problem

    * secondly, they always have total retrograde amnesia without any anterograde amnesia - most people with amnesia have a partial degree of both

    * thirdly, they usually have a sudden dramatic recovery caused by an emotional epiphany - this does not happen with brain injuries, any more than you can heal a mangled leg by an emotional epiphany

    There actually is a condition that works pretty much like the stereotypical depiction of amnesia - psychogenic fugue. It's a type of dissociative disorder in which a stressful event causes the person to run away and repress their memories. (Because they tend to run away, they're far more likely than brain-injured amnesia patients to not have anyone around to tell them who they are.) If these stories had the amnesia set off by a stressful experience instead of a head injury, they'd be more realistic.

    Another comment: One of the most realistic fictional portrayals of retrograde amnesia I saw was in an episode of Dexter. Due to a concussion, he lost a couple hours of memory, and as result he had no clue where he'd hidden one of his bodies (Dexter's a serial killer). He did eventually find the body, but he didn't regain his memory.

    And lastly, with all this, I still think your story could work well, just because of the delicious irony of someone actually getting the condition they've been faking. If you can find a way around the fridge logic of it, that is. (Is it a sci-fi or fantasy setting? If so, you could have him get hit by some sort of memory wiping thing instead of having mundane amnesia.)
     
  8. spid3rB4t
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    spid3rB4t New Member

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    Actually, I believe you don't lose your speech or your writing ability because those are handled by a different part of the brain.
     

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