1. seekparadise
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    seekparadise Member

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    My two protagonists are separated during the story?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by seekparadise, Oct 18, 2015.

    I'm writing a story about a university student who falls in love with a close friend of hers who has a girlfriend (groundbreaking, I know.) The whole theme of the piece is about how the high that love gives you is the same high that drugs give you, and the addiction that results from both. About two thirds of the way through, he leaves her for good, and practically disappears from her life. The protagonist then goes through a period of drug experimentation, and tries to fall for other boys to no avail. They all pale in comparison to the feeling that the original boy gives her. The closing scene is of the two finally meeting again, and although intense feelings remain, they go their separate ways, and the boy ends up engaged to another girl.

    The story is divided into two parts: 'before' he leaves, and an 'after,' which is when she begins to experiment and he is absent from her life entirely.
    My question is, how should I go about the part in which they are separate and absent from each other's lives? I've thought about omitting it entirely, but I feel it's integral to the theme, and integral to explaining why it doesn't really work out between them.
    What I have at the moment is an opening scene where the reader is launched straight into her new life. She has a boy chase her during this period, and I have a scene where she tries to fall for him but finds herself unable. I don't want to skip over it but I don't want to ramble on too long (like I'm doing with this post.)
    I also have a bunch of summary I could use.

    I know I shouldn't introduce characters late in the story, but how do I write about her new life without doing so? I could use summary, but it feels too skipped over, and I don't want to give the reader the impression that we're all just hanging out waiting for him to pop back up. I really want to dig in that feeling of missing someone so deeply while being immersed in a new life, and I really want to draw that parallel well between the high of drugs and love.

    Any tips or advice?
     
  2. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is this going to be a novel length story or something shorter? Just to know how much space we're talking about.
     
  3. seekparadise
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    seekparadise Member

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    It's looking to be around 10,000-12,000 words
     
  4. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do you really have two protagonists? It sounds like your female character is the main character - she's the one who goes through the changes and actually does stuff, based on your summary.

    So, if that's the case, there's no need to be writing anything from the male character's POV - you can stick with the female protagonist throughout.

    If the male character is also doing things and realizing things and growing, then you probably have two separate stories interwoven together, which is fine, but 10K-12K words really doesn't seem like enough space...
     
  5. seekparadise
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    seekparadise Member

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    I suppose I worded it badly. Sorry about that. She is my only protagonist but I guess I'm trying to figure out how to introduce her new way of life including her new friends and love interest (ish) so late in the game. At the moment it falls where Act 3 should be beginning, but I'm considering moving it up to the second half of Act 2 so it doesn't feel like some fast-forwarded montage before the final scene.
     
  6. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    It sounds like the main theme of the book is about her self-discovery? She starts off fragile, goes through a rough time, and comes out stronger on the other side of things? Is that about right?

    If so, I'd say it's not a problem to introduce new characters at the "coming out stronger" stage. If the new characters were central to the main plot, it might be a bit weird, but if they're essentially supporting characters showing how she's now healthier? Seems fine to me. I wouldn't worry about it.
     
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  7. nhope
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    nhope Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Lily sat on the edge of the flattened couch cushion, elbows on knees, looking at her choices staggered on the glass covered lobster trap table. "eenie, meenie, miney, moe", she chants, deciding which to do first while knowing in the end, all will be channeled into the skeleton she has now become. She reaches for the blade but stops mid-air. That smell. His smell. Their smell. Wafting up from who knows which room but she knows it well, the subtle strength of Patchouli, the one scent they could always agree on.

    She found she couldn't focus as foreign tears commanded an impromptu break out of her sand-brown eyes. Lily retreated back, inhaled the fragrant Patchouli, closed her eyes and fell back into long ago, oh so long ago...
    =====

    So my input is you pretty much start in the middle of both stories, where she finds herself at a turning point in doing / not doing the drugs, taking the reader back into the story of how the pain of that lost love got her there in the first place.
     
  8. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm with BayView here. Actually I have the same kind of scenario in my latest WIP; My heroine who had to chose between the two guys in her life end up losing both and goes on a journey (figuratively speaking) to find her real self and try to become who she wants to be and make a life of her own where she doesn't depend on anyone. She meets a few people in this new life, people that helps her in her gaining independence and getting to know herself. People who challenge her and make her see her own strengths. There's also a friend who used to have a minor part in her old life that now becomes more important, so maybe that could be something to consider? Letting people who previously figured in the book only as background characters become more important for your mc.
     
  9. seekparadise
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    seekparadise Member

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    She comes out stronger, yes, but she comes out alone. The friends she makes during this time of experimentation really is sort of part of the drug world, and while she finds solace in them, they're all sort of there for the same reason- they're all trying to forget something or someone. So their friendship group falls apart because once Summer is over, reality crashes in, and they all realise how effed up they all are, and how much they all need to get their lives sorted. Get jobs, grow up etc.. so they all go their separate ways, too. So in other words, they aren't really part of the becoming stronger phase at all, they're all sort of a bunch of lost teenagers trying to find their way. This is why I'm considering moving it to the second half of Act 2, and trying to figure out how much of it should be scenes and how much summary to include..
     
  10. seekparadise
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    seekparadise Member

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    I actually really like that idea... because the story does cover a span of a few years. God, then I'm thinking, maybe the piece should be much longer? I have a lot I'm trying to cover. The story is quite long. You've given me a lot to think about, thankyou!
     
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  11. seekparadise
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    seekparadise Member

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    Yeah I was toying with that idea too! Perhaps a love interest that is previously there and pops back up later on as part of her new life. I really like that aswell. Thanks!
     
  12. nhope
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    nhope Contributing Member Reviewer

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    You're welcome! Go slow, think it through, and how it should be written will come to you.
     
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