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  1. radkovelli

    radkovelli Member

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    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

    doggiedude Contributing Member Contributor

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    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

    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    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

    Sean Payne New Member

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    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

    Raven484 Contributing Member Contributor

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    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

    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    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

    Jeremiah Durham New Member

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    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

    Sniam Member

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    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.

    Ziggy. Member

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    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

    DrewRights New Member

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    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

    doggiedude Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think I would need a whole lot more information to give an answer to that question.
     
  12. DrewRights

    DrewRights New Member

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    Nvm i got my answer
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2016
  13. Seraph751

    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole...

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    That is an understandable snapping point.
     
  14. radkovelli

    radkovelli Member

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    Thank you all so much, your input has helped a lot! xx
     

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