1. MisterOz_GatorLover
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    MisterOz_GatorLover Member

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    Need help creating a plot that involves a female lead that isn't into watching sports

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by MisterOz_GatorLover, Dec 29, 2010.

    I'm a big sports fan but want to try and relate/identify with people that aren't into following sports. So I'd like my female lead to overcome the obstacles of asthma and accomplish something noteworthy and recognizable.

    Her talents are singing, swimming, and caring for kids. Her interests/hobbies/passions are singing, music (80s-early 90s pop, trance, underground rock, classic rock, and 80s-90s R&B), swimming, places all over world, cooking, cleaning, going to the beach, sunsets, snow, children, writing music, dolls (as a child), animals, photography. She is also a gym rat.

    My first idea was having her win some sort of beauty pageant and become a "definitive" winner, meaning the first winner of a beauty pageant that hasn't won because of looks but rather talent, skill, and effort. However, the beauty pageant I'm having her win is one in Hawaii, where she isn't a resident. I don't know if that's a possibility so that could be another thing holding me back.

    But if you can provide ideas and feedback, I'd appreciate it. This is a challenge where I need your support.
     
  2. SashaMerideth
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    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

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    How about you look into the fields of scienc and medicine instead?
     
  3. Spring Gem
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    Spring Gem Member

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    I don't know much about asthma, but with your characters talents and interests there are many ways for her to "accomplish something noteworthy and recognizable." She could write songs and perform them in a benefit concert for a local charity and that event eventually leads to a recording contract. She could volunteer to coach children in the Special Olympics. She could take photographs that get featured in National Geographic or some other noteworthy magazine. She could keep her cool during a natural disaster, such as a flood or tornado, and save some people.

    That's just a few of the many possibilities. Good luck with your story.
     
  4. MisterOz_GatorLover
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    MisterOz_GatorLover Member

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    Well how does the idea of her winning a beauty pageant suit you guys? Is that an angle I should try? If so let me know.

    Anyway, thanks for the suggestions. I am open to them and much more.
     
  5. SashaMerideth
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    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

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    As a modern college girl, I find the idea of winning a pageant to be an outdated and even disgusting goal.
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Wow, that's harsh. Why "disgusting"?
     
  7. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    Mr. OZ,

    I don't understand where the not liking sports comes into it? Will she be contrasted against a character who does like sports?

    I dislike sports, watching them, but have always be extremely athletic. So, I have many opinions on those who watch sports, so just ask. I'd offer them now, but I don't know how you want the topic addressed.
     
  8. R-e-n-n-a-t
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    R-e-n-n-a-t Contributing Member

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    Of course her hobbies include cooking, cleaning, and taking care of kids... lol

    I think the whole pageant system is idiotic as well. "Hey! Let's decide who's beautiful and awesome, and who's a loser! Our ideals are perfect!"
     
  9. SashaMerideth
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    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

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    Rennat has put it more elegantly than I would have done.
     
  10. MisterOz_GatorLover
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    MisterOz_GatorLover Member

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    Well what other reward could she attain besides sports? I don't like the idea of saving people. I'd rather have her win something that she worked hard to do and required talent and effort on her part. Maybe saving people does, but I'd rather have this be something that took preparation, which isn't the case with saving people. And she can be a "revolutionary" winner, meaning she didn't win the pageant because of her looks but rather her talent, effort, personality, and ambitions.

    It is a contrast because the male lead is a sports figure who follows sports, including his team. He's a sports star that becomes the face of Hawaii football the year he is a senior. However, I need the female lead to gain more notoriety than he.

    Those are female interests? Well I can't identify with girls because I'm a guy. I also can't think of many interests that non-sports people harbor. I listed a bunch of interests anyway. And like I said, she'll be a "revolutionary" winner that maybe breathes life into pageants because she wins not because of her looks (she beats out more "beautiful" people if you will) but because of her abilities, talents, and fun-loving nature. She is the antithesis of popular female figures today--people like Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan (who to an extent EARNED her fame unlike the other two), any girl who's achieved fame because of talentless, trashy reality shows, and women who only appear in tabloids because of scandal and trashy antics.
     
  11. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    OK as a modern independent type woman - I find idea of winning a beauty concert for something other than beauty a bit bizarre everyone has their talents, I wasn't the elegant beauty pageant type another girl might be. What about citizenship award, or an acting competition - maybe she could win the X Factor or something similar don't have to be traditionally beautiful for that. She likes cooking why not a televised cooking competition. Or a dance competition Hairspray style. Why can't she win the Nobel prize or a science prize for something. Maybe do like Charlie off of Numb3rs and write a popular book based off mathematics.

    Why can't she have asthma and be stunning ?
     
  12. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm a guy, and I think beauty pageants are demeaning. Judging the contestants not only for their looks, but for their singing, dancing, personality, etc, makes it worse. So if the main character wins a beauty pageant, I would think, "What's wrong with her? Why doesn't she apply her talent to something useful?"

    It's depends a lot on your values, though. I understand beauty pageants are much more common in some countries.
     
  13. MisterOz_GatorLover
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    MisterOz_GatorLover Member

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    She is stunning, but for beauty pageants, she'd be an underdog. Anyway, thanks for giving me your points of view.

    I can't think of too many things that non-sports people can accomplish that would be the equivalent of winning a championship (or player of the year award). If you can offer suggestions on that, would you? Anyway, the most popular singing competitions (and probably dance competitions) are superficial. American Idol is almost the same as a beauty pageant--looking for people who LOOK like pop stars while shunning talented people who may not be too good looking or don't fit the pop star mold. Its tendency is to praise Mariah Carey wannabes and shun everybody else. So I don't think her winning a singing competition would be an improvement over winning a beauty pageant unless that singing competition is an "honest" one completely dedicated to singing.

    I could also have her earn a recording contract, but that wouldn't be a major deal like it would've been 30 years ago. It's no longer a secret that signing with major labels means being a puppet of them. Perhaps I can have her release an album with her trance group and watch it soar in popularity, even earning music awards nominations. Then again, there are some that believe that music awards shows have the same meaning as beauty pageants, so that might not be much of an improvement over having her compete and win in a beauty pageant.

    Anyway, the sad thing is, this has put me in a hole. Who else is celebrated as much as entertainers (whether they be hard-working or phony entertainers--cough, reality stars, cough), politicians, and sports athletes? I could have her earn a spot on Glee or becoming famous on a local television show like Glee, but I don't know if that'd work. The pieces still aren't fitting sadly. But thanks for your suggestions.
     
  14. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Susan Boyle came second on Britain's Got Talent - don't think her looks got her there would be even more disturbed if it was what got the little man that won the votes. Will Young that won the first Pop Idol is a reasonably good looking man with a good voice but wasn't the prettiest in the top three - he won for standing up to Simon Cowell as much as anything else - OK not in the US but something could break the mould there. Kurt Nielson that won World Idol was distinctly average looking but amazing voice I still turn him up when he comes on the radio.

    Then there are writing competitions - she could write a novel I can name way more authors than I can sports stars to be honest. Maybe she could stand up to a politician on a phone in and be invited to do an interview slot - rising Oprah type recognition.

    An American Sportstar is unlikely to get huge international recognition I can't name many of them - only beauty pagent winner I know in the UK is the little girl that was murdered.

    Personally I would think it would be more insulting and degrading for someone who is not the most beautiful to win a beauty pagent. For some people that is their talent they are pretty to look at and give us something to look at.

    Maybe a cooking competition can get her, her own show - I have heard of Martha Stewart for various reasons lol

    Maybe an acting competition gets her a part on a show like Torchwood or Dr Who etc

    Why can't winning a Maths or Science prize get her recognition because of what she has achieved? She could be an archaeologist and win something there maybe write an award winning book as a result.

    There is plenty just as celebrated as sports. A famous historian/archaeologist/scientist in their own world is as celbrated as a sports star or singer is in theirs.
     
  15. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    She could be...

    * An inventor who wins a competition, or finds a way for third-world countries to produce cheap water and gives her invention away
    * An entrepreneur who wins a competition, or starts a very succesful retail chain (and sells it off and gives the money away, if you want her to have a relatively normal life situation)
    * An artist who wins a competition, or just becomes famous and gets to participate in talk shows

    I don't see the problem - what is it about a beauty pageant that is necessary for your story (or for her character)?
     
  16. SashaMerideth
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    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

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    For people that care about sports, man of the year or winning the super bowl is a big deal. It joust annoys the rest of us that don't care about sports. How about she achieves something that actually has an impact on the world, that changes lives of everyone, not just some sport geek.
     
  17. Spring Gem
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    Spring Gem Member

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    Almost every interest/activity you could think of has an associated organization that gives out awards. Those awards probably don't mean a thing to anyone outside of that particular activity. For example, I'm not a sports fan. I don't care who is the player of the year. It doesn't matter to me which team wins the championship. BUT, I am an amateur photographer. I can talk all day about my cameras and lenses. I can explain focus, f-stop, and shutter speed. I've had my own darkroom. I can tell you stories about getting to the perfect place to get a great sunrise picture. I'm a nature photographer and would love to eventually be good enough to get a photo spread in National Geographic magazine. (Did your eyes start to glaze over? :D)

    Do a search for photography awards, and you'll find some that are very prestigious with substantial money attached to them. I'm sure the major newspapers and tv news shows have articles on some of them, but unless you are attuned to the photography world, you wouldn't pay attention to them. In other words, it's all relative to your interests.

    So to write your female character convincingly, you are going to have to get inside her head. You seem to want to put her in a beauty pageant, but what are HER motivations for doing it. Would her interests and talents lead her in that direction? What would cause her to want to enter a beauty pageant rather than entering her photography in a state/region wide juried art contest? Why would she consider winning the beauty pageant more satisfying/prestigious than having her photography winning over the work of the best photographers of the region? (I'm using photography here because you have it listed as one of her interests, but you could use any of your character's talents/interests.)

    You'll probably have to do some research into whatever contest your character "wins." (Have you done any research into how beauty pageants are run, how the contestants are judged, etc?) You will need to do more research if the contest and subsequent win is a major part of your story.

    Hope this help.
    Lavern
     
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  18. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Does she have to win something? She could simply be recognised for something...

    How about she runs a campaign for asthma awareness? Fund raising for asthma charities, or lung cancer, because she knows how hard life can be when every daily task becomes a challenge because you can't breathe. It makes it personal, and it makes her a strong spirit - fighting for those too weak to fight for themselves because she can relate, and she cares. It's certainly far more touching and will have a greater impact than winning a competition of any sort. I know you didn't wanna do sport, but how about she runs a marathon to raise money for some asthma charity or asthma research - to show people that asthma needn't limit your life, and of course, the symbol of being out of breath and running, whilst unoriginal and possibly cheesy, is still the best and most obvious one associated with asthma - when you can't breathe, you can't run. But by all means have her do something else, but I don't get why you wanna avoid all sports? Rock-climbing or sailing might be a little less cliche in this sense.

    Btw, please don't do the beauty pageant idea - I just think of Barbie Dolls when I even see the word "pageant". Why would any self-respecting girl whose priority is NOT pure vanity enter a pageant?

    You need to give her a pretty good reason for entering, I think, if you don't want the stereotype of beauty pageants to ruin your story. I can only think of Miss Congeniality, perhaps? (Undercover cop forced to become one of the contestants in the beauty pageant in America, in an attempt to protect the eventual Miss America. Sandra Bullock - she plays a tomboy, so the whole point was that it was hilarious to ask her to go through waxing and make-up etc) Could be good inspiration for how to spin off on the beauty pageant theme without downgrading your character.

    But personally, I think if your character would actually fight for a cause, it'd be much better. You'd be showing all her spirit and character and values without having to say it. Whereas I really don't see how you can do that in a beauty pageant, without making it into some EXTREMELY cheesy speech about world peace and all the judges being so touched by her beautiful words... (not making fun of you, but that's how I see it happening and I don't think it looks so good, y'know?)
     
  19. JTheGreat
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    JTheGreat Contributing Member

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    I like the idea of the girl writing a song and singing it for a benefit concert. Beauty pageants are way too overdone, and I don't think that situation would fit the message you're trying to send.
     
  20. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm staring at this sentence wondering what I'm missing. Almost every interest or profession or hobby or cause would have a potential associated award, so I'm confused at the idea that there's nothing out there but sports or beauty pageants?

    She could:

    - Win a literary contest.
    - Get a major grant for some academic pursuit.
    - Win an award for some academic pursuit.
    - Win an award for breeding plants.
    - Win an award for creating art.
    - Win an award for creating music.
    - Win an award for creating a film.
    - Win an award for helping the needy.
    - Win an award for achieving a charitable goal.

    And dozens and dozens and dozens of other possibilities. Sports really is a very small part of the human experience. :) Is there some unstated restriction that makes these many possibilities inappropriate?

    Edited to add: For example, winning the Newbery Medal for a children's book would, IMO, be an infinitely bigger deal than winning some Hawaiian beauty contest, or most sports awards. I'd compare it to being an Olympic gold medalist. I'm sure that the other literary prizes, like the National Book Awards, or the Booker Prize in Britain, are just as big, but I've been aware of the Newbery Medal winners since I was a child--those books go on and on and on.

    To go bigger, I assume that you've heard of Nobel Prize? That's far, far bigger than any sports or beauty award could dream of being. Now, it's a good deal too big to work for your story, I'm just trying to point out that there is a world beyond sports.

    Edited again to add:

    There's also the Pulitzer prize--also bigger, IMO, than almost any sports award, and probably too big for your story.

    She could be elected to political office--senators and governors are kind of important, even if they can't dribble a basketball. :)

    For prizes, look at Wikipedia's page for "List of prizes, medals, and awards". But most of these prizes are _too big_; I'd say that most of them are far more important than an Olympic gold medal or a major sports championship.

    For example, I think that it could be argued that certain Nobel prizes are more impressive than being President of the United States. I'm really, really fervantly hoping that you'd consider the presidency to be more important than a sports accomplishment? I'm not trying to be nasty or sarcastic here, I'm just still knocked over at the idea that the only accomplishments worth considering are sports related, and that the only thing outside sports is a beauty contest.

    So, I think you'd need to do some research to tone things down a bit and find a smaller award, rather than one of the major awards on the Wikipedia page I mention.

    Edited yet again to add:

    Music? Try the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Music. You may have heard of Stephen Sondheim, Aaron Copland, Igor Stravinsky, Leonard Bernstein? They all won it. Far, far more important than player of the year. Again, that prize is too large, but I'm sure there are lesser ones.

    And one more remark, perhaps the last one: The "asthma" plot seems to suggest a worldview that is almost entirely sports focused--one in which almost all worthy accomplishments are in sports, so that a person with asthma might as well give up on life. But most people don't have that view. Asthma is certainly a problem, but it's not a problem that would cause a person who _doesn't_ feel that life is all about sports, to feel that they have to make a special effort to keep their life from being second rate. (Although, with asthma, how is she going to sing? I'd think that she'd need to play an instrument, a non-wind one. Or write music.)

    ChickenFreak
     
  21. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    You seem attached to this beauty contest idea. I would forget it. It's dreadfully naff.

    You seem attached to this idea of her winning something. As Mckk says, she need not win anything to be recognised as a person of accomplishment. I would forget it.

    You seem to be implying that in order for her accomplishments to be seen to match those of your male lead she must be known and applauded by as many as he is. This is a peculiar outlook.

    You are a writer. You need to go a little deeper into things. Hopefully your readers are not robots whose understanding consists simply of computations.

    He's a sportman adored by all. But the adoration is cheap and will soon pass. He walks down the street and is mobbed by hundreds. Imagine she's a compassionate doctor or care worker, whatever. She walks down the street and is approached by a solitary,tearful child who thanks her for saving the life of his mother or whatever. A rather cheap example, but still, the child's tears are more meaingful than any crass award.
     
  22. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    This viewpoint is as demeaning to women and the viewpoint that considers them only good for things like pageants or housework. I have a friend who is not only a pageant winner, but also a person with a handful of college degrees and an award-winning writer. She is, in fact, an extremely bright and capable person. So what does that do to your stereotype?

    Sasha, your view is anti-feminist and is a consequence of a patriarchal value system, which you have apparently bought into.

    As for this particular story, I don't think winning a pageant at any level is going to bring the kind of notoriety the OP wants - at least not unless there is some sort of scandal attached that the press grabs on to. An actor or recording artist is more likely to get you there if you want to go with a pop culture angle. There are also many good suggestions in this thread.
     
  23. MisterOz_GatorLover
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    I don't like the idea of abandoning her winning something (whether it be a contest or a pageant) because it sounds like it wouldn't make too much sense. It would also go against my hopes for the story as well. Her saving people is not an act that would take effort. But I know what is.

    Somebody suggested that I have her win a surfing competition. That sounds pretty neat and is the best suggestion I've heard. But not only could she win one surfing competition, but three instead. That would make her an instant recognizable name and role model. I want her to be a role model, but a role model who achieves her status through effort and passion. She could also add winning singing competitions and maybe being part of a popular variety show act to her list of accomplishments. It would let the state (Hawaii in this case) know that she is multi-talented and is a "new age" female role model, much more so than these scandalous reality TV stars that are undeserving of recognition. But it's gotta be a local singing competition different from American Idol (one that doesn't look for Mariah Carey wannabes and is legit). She could also win some sort of "new contest" where they don't reward looks but rather skills, humanitarian efforts, talents, and personality. It would be much different than a beauty pageant but would give her instant recognition anyway.
     
  24. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not sure why being a citizen of the year or winning awards for saving children requires less effort than a surfing contest ?

    If that fits better go with it. However make her a brilliant dancer/performer and not sure why she couldn't win Americans Got Talent.
     
  25. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Once again, what is wrong with academic or artistic or humanitarian achievement? There are plenty of things to "win" in those areas. Are these things worthless to you, and are you under the impression that they are worthless to the rest of the population?

    ChickenFreak

    One more comment: You may be assuming that some people may have some interests other than sports, but that everyone is interested in sports. This is not correct. :) I couldn't name even one current sports figure--when I try, I come up with ancient names like Bruce Jenner and Willie Mays.

    If someone told me that the guy at the next table at a restaurant was a current football star or this year's Miss America or the winner of American Idol, my response would be, "Oh. I wonder what they have for dessert here?" If they told me that he was a Newbery Medal winner from, oh, the 1970s, my response would be "He is?! What book? What year? _Really_?!" and I'd spend the whole meal stealing glances and resisting the urge to speak to them.
     

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