1. JennaPeterson88
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    JennaPeterson88 Member

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    Need a reaction

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by JennaPeterson88, Nov 7, 2011.

    Hello, everyone! First of all, thank you in advance for any suggestions. I'll be sure to pay it forward and reply to other threads in this forum very soon (going to bed as soon as I post this).

    My current project revolves around the relationship between two brothers who are both dealing with PTSD and how they get through [situation]. My trouble is that I can't quite decide what I want the details of that situation to be, based on what I know about my characters. I've got a few ideas, but I'd like to get some suggestions to see if what I think the situation should be is logical.

    First of all, the brothers are not truly brothers. Both were born to different families and adopted into the same third family, at the same age and around the same time.
    The catalysts for both brothers' PTSD took place before their adoptions. They were both born & raised in Norway, and most/all backstory information for this story is therefore set in Norway.

    The story takes place in Canada when the brothers are roughly 40.

    Brother #1 is now a Canadian citizen, living there with his wife and 2 kids (a teenage daughter and a preteen son).
    When he was 8 he was in a car accident that killed his parents & older brother. He was also bullied a little later in his childhood by a boy who was fostered by his new family, and severely injured as a teen in a 2nd accident. Brother #2 was also in that accident, though he was relatively unharmed, and experiences survivor's guilt because of it. Neither brother was the driving.
    Brother #1 is ashamed of his PTSD symptoms and therefore tries his best to hide them. As a child/teenager he also felt the need to "be strong" for his brother's sake, and as a parent he feels the need to "be strong" for his kids and fears traumatizing them by exposing them to his troubles. His wife, who I've conveniently made a psychologist, has been trying for the past 15 years to get him to open up to her. This is finally starting to happen at the beginning of the story, and the kids are at an age where they are starting to notice things and ask questions.

    Brother #2 has remained, up to this point, in Norway, and is unmarried. He has never had a serious relationship.
    He grew up in a broken home with an alcoholic father who tended to be a very violent drunk. He was abused routinely, but also witnessed his mother being abused just as often, and at age 8 witnessed her death as a result of this abuse. His father is in prison, and has had his sentence extended twice under the clause in Norwegian law that dangerous offenders can have their sentences extended by up to 5 years at a time if they are still a danger to the public.
    Brother #2 has been openly depressed and troubled since the murder and has made no attempts to hide it. As a teen he went through several periods time when he was self-injuring on a regular basis. During these times he would only be open and honest about what was going on with brother #1. He attempted suicide twice.

    Now, roughly 30 years after the murder, the father is being released from prison. Brother #1 is afraid that brother #2 will attempt suicide again and asks him to come to Canada and live with his family for a while. Brother #1 left Norway 15 years ago and has kept in contact with his brother, but hasn't seen him with the exception of a few brief visits since he left the country.
    The father starts writing letters to his son (brother #2), having somehow obtained the new mailing address. I'm thinking he conned their adopted sister into giving up the info, but I haven't quite smoothed out the details yet. The letters are not outwardly malicious in content, but the father all-but demands that brother #2 come see him. Both brothers are afraid that the father will eventually follow brother #2 to Canada if the letters go unheeded, and brother #2 is obviously having an extremely difficult time with his PTSD now that he's facing the reality of his father's release and the possibility of actually seeing him again.

    Brother #2 is going to snap and do something drastic/stupid, causing the above mentioned undecided situation.
    I want the story to remain in Canada, so brother #2 cannot be deported.
    I do not want any harm to come to the family or marriage of brother #1.
    I do want the story to continue to revolve primarily around the two brothers.
    Brother #1 will obviously be changed by the whole experience by the end of the story, possibly for the worse, but I need him to stay sane. (In other words, brother #1 will not snap.)
    Brother #2 may or may not recover mentally, and may or may not survive at all. I haven't decided, and I'm open to any combination thereof.

    I'm thinking that the "story question" is: Can brother #1 save brother #2 without losing his sanity?


    So, what should the reaction / situation be?
    Some possibilities I've already thought about-
    Brother #2...
    • attempts suicide in private and ends up in a psych ward
    • attempts suicide in the hospital (admitted due to alcohol poisoning) and gets transferred to the psych ward
    • commits a serious crime (not murder) against someone who reminds him of his father
    • takes up drinking and kills someone while driving drunk (not intentionally)
    • takes up drinking and, while drunk, starts fights with fellow male bar patrons when he witnesses what he thinks are acts of violence against the women those men are with. Eventually he's going to piss off the wrong sort of person and get into some very serious trouble.
    • a combination of 2 or more of the above

    Which of my options (or combination of options) seems most plausible, and/or can you suggest any others?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Flashfire07
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    Flashfire07 Active Member

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    I have to say it sounds like a decent outline so far. I would combine the takes up drinking, bar fight, hospital and then psych ward approach. If you can't decide on one, decide on many!
     
  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with Flashfire - you have a nice outline, and I think a better grip on what you want to do with it than you realize. Your "story question" is a great way to go. So, the first thing you want to do is answer it for yourself. You can do this a few different ways: 1) write your way to an answer; 2) write a very sketchy outline of what happens along the story's timeline until the answer becomes obvious; 3) write detailed character descriptions of both brothers and see what makes sense. If you don't want to write any of the three, go for long walks and turn the problem over in your mind (my usual approach). Once you've answered the question, the situations and reactions will flow from that.

    Good luck.
     
  4. JennaPeterson88
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    JennaPeterson88 Member

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    Thanks for the replies! I think you guys have it right - Soren would definitely do a combination of those things. Now to write it such that he doesn't get himself deported in the process...
     

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