Tags:
  1. radkovelli
    Offline

    radkovelli Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    NYC

    Is this too far fetched?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by radkovelli, Jun 8, 2016.

    My main character is supposed to have a mental breakdown in my book and I've been brainstorming ideas of what could trigger it.

    To paint a bit of a picture, he's a total loner and has been all his life. He lives with his older brother due to their parents being in jail, and his older brother is an awful person. He's always abused my main character as a way of obtaining power he never had in his life. Because of this, my main character is already a little unstable.

    One thing that he's always had was his dog. He finds socialization to be difficult so he's always preferred being around animals. This is shown a lot through the book. He takes care of the animals on the farm he lives on, he's always with his dog, as a kid the dog was his only companion, etc.

    One day, the older brother goes a little too far with his abuse of my main character and the dog attacks him. After the attack, the brother shoots the dog and forces my main character to witness it.

    For a few days, my main character is in shock and eventually that all builds up to him having a mental breakdown and trying to kill his brother.

    Do you think it's too far fetched of an idea? I just want to make sure it seems reasonable for someone to lose it that badly because of something so cruel happening to a pet rather than another human.

    Thanks for the advice!
     
  2. doggiedude
    Offline

    doggiedude Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Messages:
    1,452
    Likes Received:
    1,248
    Location:
    Florida, USA, Earth, The Sol System
    If I was in the right situation, I could probably murder someone who was injuring any animal.

    You might want to add some reference to the family having a history of psychiatric problems.
     
  3. izzybot
    Offline

    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2015
    Messages:
    848
    Likes Received:
    932
    Location:
    SC, USA
    Doesn't sound far-fetched to me. Isolation and abuse and losing the main thing that comforted him? Yeah. Honestly I don't think there's any need to mention psych problems in the family, it seems like just this one person's life justifies his actions, but it wouldn't hurt if you wanted to go that route either.
     
  4. Sean Payne
    Offline

    Sean Payne New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Under the circumstances I feel like this is almost an entirely reasonable reaction from the main character. He's already unstable and his only family member just killed basically his only friend.

    It's the one thing that makes him snap and I think it's justified as it builds up to this point with everything that happens before this
     
  5. Raven484
    Offline

    Raven484 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2016
    Messages:
    533
    Likes Received:
    263
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Not far fetched at all. I am sure it has happened plenty of times already. Cat people scar me more than dog people in this respect. I know people that would almost kill you if you messed with their dog.
     
  6. Shadowfax
    Offline

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    2,504
    Likes Received:
    1,337
    I was reading about a vegan cricketer who objected to his team's sponsor being a creamery...""We're too speciesist..."

    If he were to convert the rest of humanity to vegetarianism or veganism, overnight there would be the biggest genocide in history as every meat-producing animal was cleared off the vegetable-growing pasture.

    Samuel Butler had it right when he satirised standing up for the rights of plants not to be eaten.
     
  7. Jeremiah Durham
    Offline

    Jeremiah Durham New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    1
    To me this sounds like the perfect way to set up a mental breakdown! One way to achieve this even further is to have the main character keep experiencing bad dreams or nightmares until he becomes too frantic to produce a good life anymore. I hope this suggestion helps.-JD
     
  8. Sniam
    Offline

    Sniam Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2016
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    39
    Location:
    France
    I'd even go as far as saying : Why wait a few days to actually make your character act ?

    Let me explain. A mental breakdown is like the brain going afk and instincts kicking in. Sometimes you destroy everything that is in front of you, sometimes you just stay idle, waiting for something that most often don't come. So, if your main character wants to kill someone, it should be in the heat of the moment, when he's seing red and nothing matters but aiming for the throat.
    If you take a few days "off" the problem, the brain is here to rationalize things and, basically, calm you down. You don't build a mental breakdown over a few days, it is just tons of little things that keep building up until you are no longer strong enough to keep them inside and finally let them loose. If your character plans on killing his brother, that's not a breakdown, that is planned murder; and, by the description you made, I'm not quite sure he is that kind of guy.
    That is why waiting for a few days seems odd to me.
    But, if your MC is too weak or bruised to act at the moment the dog is actually shot, you should think about one more little triggering moment that would unleash all his frustration and rage, but a few days later. Like the brother making one smartass joke about the dog, or ordering the MC around and he suddenly says "No.", just a little something to make the cup of his patience and tolerance overflow.
     
    doggiedude likes this.
  9. Ziggy.
    Offline

    Ziggy. Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    You make the moon our mirrorball.
    It isn't far-fetched at all. You don't have to show us the rationalization, all you have to do is show the character believes in what he is doing. And witnessing the only thing in his life which matters to him, whether it be a dog, a lamp, or even a volleyball, being brutally shot is enough to send anybody on a downward spiral.
     
  10. DrewRights
    Offline

    DrewRights New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    2
    I wrote two sci fi screenplays and in the sequel, I wonder if it's too far fetched to have a lunar scientist kidnap my main character to avoid her prison sentence.
     
  11. doggiedude
    Offline

    doggiedude Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Messages:
    1,452
    Likes Received:
    1,248
    Location:
    Florida, USA, Earth, The Sol System
    I think I would need a whole lot more information to give an answer to that question.
     
  12. DrewRights
    Offline

    DrewRights New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2016
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    2
    Nvm i got my answer
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2016
  13. Seraph751
    Offline

    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole...

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2016
    Messages:
    555
    Likes Received:
    372
    Location:
    Texas
    That is an understandable snapping point.
     
  14. radkovelli
    Offline

    radkovelli Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2015
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    NYC
    Thank you all so much, your input has helped a lot! xx
     

Share This Page