1. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Love to Obsession in a Short Story?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by JJ_Maxx, Oct 14, 2013.

    Can I have a female character meet a man and become obsessive to the point of destruction in a short story?

    My female MC meets a man she can't have, and slowly creates a reality where she feels they are madly in love, even though he has never/will never meet her. She starts out with a desperate need for a love that won't hurt her and this man falls in her lap. She latches on to him and slowly slips into madness, shutting out her friends and losing her job, all in an attempt to stay with the one she loves.

    The question is, could this be pulled off in a short story or is this too big? I've heard that a short story should only cover at most a couple of days but this would take longer than that.
     
  2. A.M.P.
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    It depends on your starting point and how quickly she descends into madness.
    Maybe have her start as having already met the man and begun to become obsessive to save space.
    That would also put the action front and center which is good, especially in short stories.

    A short story is about less than 10,000 words? Or was it was 7,500...
    Either way, I think that's plenty of room to focus on her psychology and her destructive behavior.
     
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  3. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    All depends on how you handle it. Granted trying to cover a lot of changes might result in a lot of exposition but you
    could sandwich in between your main scenes.
    Or as A.M.P put it.
    You could also dive in explaining that they met, without developing it into an actual scene - exposition leading into a
    scene - That might even give you an opportunity to keep your mc's voice unreliable.
     
  4. JJ_Maxx
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    I was thinking of starting with the nasty dissolution of the previous relationship, then lead into her meeting this guy. Also, she never meets the guy because he's dead. Well, she never physically meets him. She is able to insert herself into his memories, but she is only a spectator, she can't change or interact with anything.
     
  5. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Oh! That's a twist!
    I haven't read it in a long time but I thought there was a sci-fi book The City by Clifford D Simak that had linked
    short stories that covered complicated stretches of time. But I can't remember if the jumps were in the stories or between them.
    Did you have a page or word goal?
     
  6. Thomas Kitchen
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    You could start it from just before the point she slips into madness, or some other later point in the story. Don't feel like you need to put in the meeting of these two characters, just to start the story from the "correct place". Unless the initial meeting is needed, I would leave it out.
     
  7. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Yeah I will check those out! I have up to 18,000 words to work with.

    Well, I feel like I have to show some of the lead up to explain the sci-fi part of it as well as her mental state before meeting him. Maybe I could weave it in from the present, I don't know.
     
  8. A.M.P.
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    18k words is a novelette no?
    Much longer than most short stories.
    With that amount of room, you should have little problem creating an interesting MC.
    Heck, you could easily start with the dissolution of her previous relationship and set her up with the new beau.

    I think I would do it in part exposition, part narrative.
    MC is dealing with the loss of the relationship and reflecting on it in her own messed up way when she begins identifying to the new beau and quickly replaces her memories with him instead of her old lover.
     
  9. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Technically, yes. Perhaps I should just take my time and not rush it and see where it leads me as far as length. If I wind up at 20-25k I can always prune but I may find out I have plenty of room for learning about my character and her descent into self-destruction.
     
  10. A.M.P.
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    Yeah, write your story first.
    Don't stress the word count.
    I often find that after a draft and during my first edit, I often cut off hundreds of words simply by condensing paragraphs and cleaning up my wordings.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Not from love to obsession; from lust or infatuation to obsession. Love has naught to do with it.
     
  12. Thomas Kitchen
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    Not sure about that. Love has something to do with it, at the very least. I could very easily imagine myself falling in love with a girl and then getting protective of her, thus leading to obsession, albeit on a far smaller scale, and I would get over it within a couple of weeks, perhaps less. But this girl obviously does have lust mixed with love, and because of her personality and the way her mind works she is tipped over the edge. But in the end, I suppose it's all down to opinion. :)
     
  13. JJ_Maxx
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    Yes, you could just as easily call it infatuation, but not lust, because the need is more emotional than physical. She may feel that she is in love, but really it's a cheap substitute for it.
     
  14. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    A short story can be anywhere from 5 to 50 pages, so I'd say you're safe.
     
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    It's possible as long as you make the time lapse feel real
     

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