1. Cityracer
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    Cityracer New Member

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    My story is stalled

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Cityracer, Feb 12, 2015.

    I can not think of what to do next for my story. The story takes place in a made up coal mining town in southern Illinois in 1933. The story follows a 34 year old alcoholic that has struggled with depression for most of his life. The character is basically on a mental/spiritual journey that puts a focus on the visions he's been having. The visions are meant to help the character realise that he needs to change.

    Now I'm on to the most important vision of them all. What I'm trying to convey is that character's alcoholism and depression is having quite an impact on his 12 year old son. My problem is I can't think of anyway to do that. Does anyone have any ideas?
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Whose point of view are you writing from? The father's? The son's? Some third party's?
     
  3. Komposten
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    Komposten Insanitary pile of rotten fruit Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Take a shower, go for a walk, do something peaceful and let your mind wander to other things. It should help you get a couple of ideas, at least it does for me. :)
     
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  4. Cityracer
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    Cityracer New Member

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    The point of view is the father's. In fact, he's the only character (besides those in his visions). The story uses some similar elements from the short story, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," in the fact that the entire story takes place in the moments before death.
     
  5. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm confused. You can't think of what kind of impact it would be having, or you can't think of how to express it?

    Edited to add: If it's the first, you could do some research on children of alcoholics and adult children of alcoholics. Among other possibilities, you could show the adult son neglecting his own wife and child in order to rescue his alcoholic father from yet another disaster, and his wife finally being done with her husband prioritizing his father over his marriage.
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Hi welcome to the forum.

    Have you considered having the boy get busted intoxicated? Or injured doing something related to drinking like stealing a car and crashing it?

    Nothing brings the alcoholism mirror home like a child following in the parent's footsteps.
     
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  7. Cityracer
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    Cityracer New Member

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    After reading a few responses, I feel like I need to give more detail on what I'm trying to achieve. First I need to tell you a little bit about the main character's past. The alcoholism and depression has its roots in his childhood. You see, when he was a young child, both of his parents died in a fire. That was a real turning point in his life. There were times in his life when he had seemed to have overcome his problems. Unfortunately, fear over losing his family like he lost his parents caused him to slowly slip back into depression.

    What I'm trying to convey is that he spent so much time fearing losing his family, he failed to realize that he is pushing them away and losing them as a result of his own actions. So, what I want to show is how he is affecting his family emotionally. Also, I want the vision to be of events that already happened.

    Currently, I'm exploring the idea of the main character being arrested for a scuffle at work while intoxicated. What I'm thinking of is at the bail hearing, his wife doesn't show up. Then, after he posts bail, he comes home to his wife packing her things and she tells him that she's leaving and taking their son with her. Then when his wife and son are leaving, he calls out their names to try and get them to stop, however, neither of them turn around, they don't even hesitate.
    It's only now, seeing the events in the vision does he realize the full scope of what had happened, because he was too drunk at the time the events happened.

    Does that idea seem believable?
     
  8. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Sounds good to me.
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have two issues:

    1) Children will put up with an amazing amount of abuse and neglect from their parents, and still come back for more. So I don't see his child not looking back.

    2) It's still all about him, him, him. Not how much he hurt his wife, not how much he hurt his child, but how much HE hurts because they left him. It's still fundamentally selfish.
     
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  10. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Yes unless the other parent poisons the well.
     
  11. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    By "vision" do you mean "his life flashing before his eyes as he drives off the cliff," or an apparition like someone seeing the Blessed Virgin Mary or ghosts like those in Dickens' A Christmas Carol? Or are you positing some sort of figure that represents his conscience or his better self, that separates out and speaks to him?

    I'm not sure I understand why it should take any sort of "vision" to convince a man in this situation that he's screwed things up royally.

    Another kind of "vision," yes; one that would follow on from what @ChickenFreak said above:

    I could see the child looking back at him with a mixture of pain, regret, and disappointed love in his eyes, then taking the mother's hand and walking out with her-- and all the father can "see" after that is the boy's look and how it proves that he's caused the very thing he was trying to ward off.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2015
  12. KenA
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    KenA Member

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    Does the son have any close relatives; Uncle, Aunt.. on the Dad's side? Maybe the son could develop a close relationship with one of them, and with their help, get the Dad in a good rehab program. The Uncle could become the son's mentor, and give the son keys to build a strong, reliable personality for himself.
     
  13. Ms. DiAnonyma
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    Ms. DiAnonyma Active Member

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    Your idea sounds good, though maybe he misses when his son looks back... (does seem to sound much more believable to have the boy at least do that, but what you can make that look is still probably pretty flexible).
     
  14. KenA
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    KenA Member

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    If you were a 12 year old boy with an alcoholic father, what would you be thinking? Might think of talking a walk in the 12 year old's shoes, Maybe use him as the main character in a paragraph or two; then move back to the father.
     
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  15. GirlMeetsPen
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    GirlMeetsPen New Member

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    Here's some real life insight:

    I come from a broken home- both my parents were alcoholics. First you need to state what kind of alcoholic this MC is. Is he abusive? Is he withdrawn? Does he go on rampages when he's drunk? Or is he the type to embarrass his family? Is he aware that he has a problem, or does he deny it?

    My dad went on rampages. He wasn't necessarily abusive, but he can't handle is alcohol. He never directed anything towards me or my brother; however, watching him from the sidelines was scary. We stopped talking to him or asking him anything, because he would scream responses.

    My mother WAS abusive, to me. She was crazy and would pull my hair and yell for no reason, among other things. I became a very introverted child because of this. I would lock myself in my bedroom; I developed depression at the age of 10; I had panic attacks. I suffered in school and with social engagements. Later, in high school, I would miss school because of injuries because of her. I literally did nothing outside of going to school- I was a picture perfect kid, but my mom ALWAYS found something to fault me for. I suffered up until I got help later in my 20s.

    So, there are some angles.
     
  16. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I still want his thoughts to be about something other than what HE has lost and how HE feels and how HE hurts. If he feels pain and shame because his son no longer adores him, that's still about him. His pain. His emotional life. Him. Him. Him. Poor poor him, feel sympathy, cry for him because he's lost his son's regard.

    Bleah.

    I would really like to see him having some true empathy, see him being focused on someone else's feelings, rather than focused on how their feelings make him feel. And now that I say that, I see why I dislike the idea of this being about the moments before death, because that is, again, all about him. It could still work, but it's harder that way.
     
  17. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    But I wouldn't believe it if it were about anybody BUT him.
     
  18. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, I suppose that is the difficulty. But if his thoughts are fundamentally selfish at the end, I'd have trouble caring.
     

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