1. drayelya
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    drayelya Member

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    Memory and regret

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by drayelya, Jan 27, 2011.

    Alright guys hello and welcome all who are/will read this and thank you for your time.

    I want several of my characters to have/feel regret for things for their past. The issue is I'm not really sure how to make the characters react to this kind of stuff. I know everyone reacts differently based on what it is but I was just hoping someone might be able to give me a little help with this sort of thing...
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I could help much more specifically if you tell me what it is they regret.
     
  3. drayelya
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    drayelya Member

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    OK, the best example would be my MC I guess. The Love of his Life (a woman whom Loved him just as much) was murdered by a jealous man whom was originally trying to kill my MC. The woman jumped in the way to save my MC whom at the time was staring out a window waiting for the woman in question (lost in thought/oblivious). Ever since then he has regretted not being able to save her. Is this a good example or a bad one do you think?
     
  4. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    It's a good example.

    Because she died while he was just staring out a window, he'd probably become very hypervigilant as a result. He wouldn't ever be able to relax or daydream, and if he did, he'd feel guilty the second he realized he was doing it. He'd second guess everyone around him and think they all had bad motives. Also, he'd probably be harsh toward other people when it comes to daydreaming - he'd criticize his friends/kids for doing it, maybe.

    Let me know if you need more help. :)
     
  5. Tesgah
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    Tesgah Member

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    He could also become very protective of the people he love, I guess. He could have bad dreams, where he lives through the incident over and over. In some he might actually be able to save her, but then she'd just die anyway.

    There are many types of reactions. He can become very silent, have mood swings, be hateful. But he could also do everything in his power to live his life for her as well.

    The sky's the limit, really:rolleyes:
     
  6. drayelya
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    drayelya Member

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    Alright thanks for the advice sir whom quotes Auron :) FFX

    OK so he can be just about every kind of depressed tormented and angry that can exist. When playing out the character I never really focused on him being depressed over that event; he was always angry and I attempted to use this event to explain his undying reckless desire to become more powerful. Though I'm still afraid of the whole cliche thing when it comes to that...
     
  7. N@asha
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    N@asha Member

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    I think a stronger emotion than regret would be guilt...

    You mention that you've been trying to use this event to explain his behaviours...perhaps:

    He has never been able to forgive himself - his guilt surrounding this event is the underlying root of all his actions. He hates his own being, is self-loathing, but rather than becoming depressed, it has manifested itself into reckless behaviour. Because of his own disrespect for himself he doesn't care about the consequences of his actions. The 'thrill' of behaving in such a way has allowed him to 'feel' something again and that has become his motivation. He seeks power, not because he really wants it, but because he has nothing else in his life.

    Really he needs a good therapist, a box of tissues and a good cry.....:)
     
  8. drayelya
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    drayelya Member

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    I have to agree with the box of tissues, the good cry and a good therapist in the long run. Couldn't have said it better myself :D

    Alright so that about sums up what I am after with him. I never thought about reckless actions or the thrill of seeking power though. Thanks very much!
     
  9. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I really don't see how this is cliche... :)
     
  10. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    First, I lost my wife a few years ago at far to young an age and the circumstances under which it happened were difficult to fathom (I have since remarried). That said, I think I have insight to the MC...

    First, any character going through loss must be filtered through how people deal with close loss. Specifically the 5 stages of grief. Read up on the Kubler-Ross model of grief. However, the short of it is:
    1) Denial
    2) Anger
    3) Bargaining
    4) Depression
    5) Acceptance

    Stages aren't linear. They hopscotch from one to the other and back again. I've been to a couple of years of counseling for it. I should mention that spousal loss is pretty much the most stressful event a person can experience. If you look at the Holmes and Rahe stress scale (of reasonably common events), it's number one. Losing a close family member is 5th. I can tell you. it is an S.o.B.

    What I'm meaining to say is that if you truly want to write a character that is experiencing this stuff, understand what it takes to go through it. It is not that the character would not feel regret but that it will be within so many other elements.

    I have regret. Everyone feels that if they had done something different, the outcome would have been different. For my situation, I am writing about my experience in novel form (I posted the first chapter and it explains my regret in a way. here). I couldn't have know what was going to happen but I still to this very day have regret that I could have done something different to change the outcome. Still, it is one of the elements of what that character is experiencing.

    Key to all that I am posting, it is ok to key primarily on one element of a persons emotions as they work through such trials. However, it needs to have a bit of context, if not fleshed out in full, other emotional elements need to be somewhat present to give your character the depth that makes them believable.
     
  11. drayelya
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    drayelya Member

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    OK I read the whole thing and it is later here (1:21 am) SO just to be sure I get it all good I will read it once more after I get some shut eye. I thank you for sharing your experience with me sir and God Bless you. I've been through a family member's death before so I slightly understand how to incorporate such feelings into my writing but I am still young and stupid (19) so I want to be sure to cover everything in this field. I want my character to seem as Human as possible as far as the emotional field goes. Thank you ever so much and I'll be sure to try to remember to read your chapter some time!
     
  12. Dani
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    Dani New Member

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    I think sometimes it makes us harder, angrier with life.And sometimes it wilts us. It depends on our own character and also on the simple time of day. Who is he does he have inner strength or does he flee when things get hard? Either way we hurt with it..And we show one face to the crowd and another to the mirror. Like another poster...sorry forgot the name oh Jeff...said, it's a mixed bag. At one moment you are reeling with anger and at the next you are in tears. It's an emotional sleigh ride. But it should be part of who he is now. Not just an event that passes and is forgotten, or even simply regretted . This kind of regret will stay with him forever and change him forever. It's not an easy thing to live with or write about. I wish you luck with it though.

    And as Jeff said you wonder, just how much of it you could have changed. I think that would be hard for your character too. If only...If only I hadn't been looking out the window. If only I had been paying attention. But of course it's much too late. Still though the wondering and the blame goes on in the darkest hours of the night. But you get up in the morning and you face the world. You smile and wave at the neighbours and you make it through the day somehow.

    I haven't experienced regret like you have Jeff though we all have regrets, and I'm very sorry that you went through that. I'm glad you got help for it and I hope the pain has lessened a little. You seem to have come out of it and I'm glad for that, but you are right she needs to explore the stages of grief or not write about it all.
     
  13. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    Well, men aren't all that complex in their mindsets, and basically can be lumped into two primary categories.

    You have your normal, average, guy, well adjusted, works hard, pays his taxes, drives a Camry, wears Dockers, watches sports to compensate for the lack of adrenaline and aggression in his everyday life and to enhance his own self image by identifying with his favorite sports heroes, agrees that both genders are equal and that violence is never the answer.

    These types of guys feel regret that they couldn't do more to save her (while secreting wishing they were a Rambo type guy that could sweep in, kill the badguy and save the day as an action hero). You'll find these types of guys on the TV news, crying in front of a camera, calling for the courts to give justice in his case (while secretly wanting only revenge, over the rule of law, and will feel guilty about wanting to see the murderer fry, when the courts only give him 10-15 year sentence).

    You also have the alpha male guy, well adjusted, works hard, plays hard, cheats on his taxes just because he can, rides a Harley Davidson, wears military fatigues and leather motorcross boots, considers himself a "Man among men" because in his egotistical worldview, he is the standard by which all others are judged, will lie to woman about genders being equal, yet when danger presents itself he is the first to grab a woman and shove her behind him so that he can face the danger alone...and knows, deep down in his heart, that the sissy mindset of "Violence is never the answer" is pure BS. Violence isn't the only answer, but its a darn good one that has settled the score quickly and decisively throughout all of history.

    This type of guy will hurt wildly if his love is murdered, due to his lack of attention. However, instead of wallowing in regret and self pity, is more likely to glare at the murderer with a smoldering volcanic rage boiling within his eyes, that will denote the impending acts of egregious violence that are about to unfold, that will doubtlessly result in some unfortunate chap from the county coroner's office having to scrap whatever is left of the murderer off the wall with a spatula. This type of guy knows that killing the murderer won't bring back his lady, but that there is also a certain...emotional vindication...that comes from avenging your own wrongs. Instead of a good cry and a box of tissues, he'll be fine with a bottle of whiskey and a long rainy night, just looking out of the window in self reflection.

    So, in my view, it depends on what type of guy your MC is, a normal average guy, or an action hero guy.
     
  14. drayelya
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    drayelya Member

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    After reading all of this, I would say my MC is slightly schizophrenic in that area. He tends to cry over her sometimes when he is by himself but did kill the guy whom killed her. He also tends to have a strong attraction to people in trouble, hence how he meets my Female MC. Various other things also play into all of this but that is a main reason he is the way he is... I think I made sense...and thanks to you for your insight as well Dani but to all whom don't know I am a man, sorry if the name seems feminine
     
  15. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    So he is a man of action. Tough guys will sometimes cry, but usually only when alone. Men of action will also cry at events like the burial of their child, regardless of who sees them...and heaven help the poor slob who who is foolish enough to make light of his pain.

    Acting on the instinctive protective nature is a trait of the action hero alright.
     

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