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  1. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Need to include?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by GuardianWynn, May 20, 2015.

    So context.

    Work in Progress is about a woman in prison reflecting on what got her there. Which short version is that someone murdered her child and she emotionally snapped going on a murder spree. In prison waiting for her trail/during her trial/her final judgment she had different flashbacks. I don't show the flashbacks in order. One such flashback is her husbands death. He was kind of unlikable. I was wondering if I should show a flashback of them as teenagers in young love.

    Currently I thought it might be neat to do so but not sure if it is a waste of pages. The story at its core is much more about the son and her adult life leading to her mistakes. Technically her falling in love leads to her having a son. So there is a tie in but then again that is why I am here. Not sure where to sneak it in either but at the moment I am much more curious if it should be added more than how to add it.

    I actually have a similar question on you could call it her arrest. Since the book starts with her in prison and the end of the flashbacks is more her becoming a monster. Her arrest is never shown. Is this something I should show?

    @jaebird because you know about this already. So instead of sending you another private message. lol
     
  2. jaebird
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    jaebird Active Member

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    The quick answer would be does it add to the story progression or character development in some way? I would go ahead and write the scene and hold onto it wile you're working on the rest of the book, and later decide if it's something that the reader needs to see, or maybe see differently. Even if it never gets in there at all, the more writing you do on your characters the better you'll know them and portray them. Plus, hey, practice is always good :)
     
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  3. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah but that is sort of what I am asking.

    If the focus is on everything else. Is that going to far back? I ask you in more detail because you have read most of it. So you get the idea of where it is going. Is that unneeded distraction or context you want to know?
     
  4. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    If she thinks about her husband a lot, or he's a great motivation for her (for example, she wants to get back to him, she feels badly for putting him through this, any other such things), I'd put the flashback in. But if you're plan is to show the flashback and never mention the husband again, leave it out. It doesn't add anything to the story to mention her husband but not get into detail about their relationship.
     
  5. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks
    Yeah the motivation is more to the son. So it is much more that he is the son's father. I am thinking of leaving it out.

    Any thoughts on the arrest concept?
     
  6. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    If the book starts with her in jail, it's quite obvious to the reader that she was arrested. So you only need to show the arrest if it's meaningful.

    If she was alone (reading the paper at home, grocery shopping, traffic stop) when it happened, leave it out.

    But if she was with her son when she got arrested, having lunch or just catching up, put it in. Because then she might see the look of disappointment on his face and feel guilty for letting him down or making him watch her get arrested. It would add to how she's wronged her son and want to make it up to him even more.
     
  7. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just a thought on the husband. You said he's unlikable. Was he abusive, verbally or physically, to her or her son? If he was, their relationship could be another thing the woman would feel guilty for putting her son through. If the husband verbally or physically abused her son, she could feel guilty for not doing anything to stop him. If he was verbally or physically abusing the woman, she could also feel guilty for making her son watch it and be around such a dangerous person. Because even if he never attacked his son, it would still affect him emotionally.

    If this is the case, put the flashback of them meeting back in. Because then the woman could reflect on their relationship and wonder how she didn't see his anger in the beginning, and if only she'd seen it sooner, he would've never abused her/her son.
     
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  8. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah the arrest scene has really nothing meaningful to add. I was thinking someone might call me bad for not including it.

    He was abusive to her.
    In both ways. Not so much to the child though. He considered it once and this was a changing point for her. As she left him at this time.

    So you think the flashback to them falling in love should go back in now? Interestingly enough even back then he was kind of abusive as he constantly talked down to her. At the time she just didn't interrupt it as abuse. As she thought to herself. "If I am stupid then him calling me stupid isn't an insult.... is it?"

    Overall as the husband has been out of the scene at the timeline and been out of the scene for a while I was leaning towards them falling in love as not having much to do with anything. You disagree?
     
  9. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    It all depends on if the husband had a psychological effect on either the mother or the son.

    Abuse often affects everyone in the vicinity, not just the one being abused. So it's very possible the son could hate his father and/or resent his mother for allowing it to continue and not standing up for herself. The mother and son could also have a fractured relationship because the son didn't want to be around his father and because of this, saw very little of his mother. Or, the son could feel very overly protective of his mother and would stand up to his father, causing more anger and drama in the family.

    It's all up to you how it plays out. But if you're going to have a verbally abusive husband in the picture, readers may find it hard to believe that he left no lasting emotional damage to the mother or son.

    If the mother regrets marrying the husband because of the damage he caused to her or her son, reminiscing on how they fell in love even though he wasn't kind in the beginning, on when the abuse started, and how it changed the mother and/or son should be a vital part of the story. Abuse leaves impressions. And those impressions should be included if you want the story to be believable and realistic. If this isn't a storyline you want to include for whatever reason, I suggest removing the idea of an abusive husband all together.
     
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  10. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes that makes sense. The impression it leaves on her is tricky. She never truly blames him.
    If anything her feelings were sad that they didn't work and desire that they could have worked. The impression he left on her was cracking her psyche. Later on she kind of went crazy. This while not completely breaking her cracked her putting her in a more delicate position for the thing that did crack her. Or like he got her used to defenses that weren't healthy and when life got worse she went to those defenses which leads to her breaking the law and ext.

    I didn't really show any impression on the child but he was young when the father left. Some people think my writing of the child is poor at the moment anyhow. If anything his opinion was confusion. Wondering why they left and thinking they should have stayed together. Think that is bad?

    In either case it seems like the couple falling in love as teenagers is not really important is it?
     
  11. Lea`Brooks
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    She should. If she doesn't at the beginning of the story, then by the end she needs to. A victim of abuse needs to come to terms with the fact that the abuse wasn't their fault or something they deserved. They'll never move past it until they realize that.
    I'm no expert on abuse, especially child abuse. This is something you need to research if you're going to use an abuse backstory. I do know that children can go any number of ways. They can suppress it and not remember the abuse. They can become vulnerable and often find themselves as victims of abuse in the future. They can adopt the attitude of the abuser and become cruel and abusive themselves.

    But again, these are all things you need to figure out. You can't just say there was an abusive husband but not do anything with it. Abuse is dramatic and damaging and always leaves its mark on the victims. If you don't write it into their past and personality and how it affects them mentally, then there's no point in having the abusive husband at all.

    I already answered this question.
     
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  12. jaebird
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    I know you said that the husband is going to leave her a letter apologizing for his actions and she forgives him for it, but since I've only seen him as being an abusive man, I have no reason to believe he has it in him to actually ask for that forgiveness. I mean, so far, he's only a jerk and a horrible man, and she wants to believe that it will all pass over sooner or later. So that gives the indication that he wasn't always that way, but if all I see of him is his current state, then I can't really believe that he would change like that. So really you could show a scene where they're truly in love, which could explain more about why she continues to stay with him, and what he used to be like and maybe how that part of him resurfaced later on.
     
  13. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Needs to? I mean from the aspect of the character yeah that is how she will grow. But the story doesn't require this growth does it? I call it redemption. The idea I think was more her coming to terms with the fact she cracked and became the bad guy and that even though cracking wasn't all her fault becoming an abuser was stil her fault and that she needs to accept responsbility for that.

    Saying it like that. Not sure if suddenly your right she does need too grow like that or not. lol

    Yeah can't hurt to research it. I kind of had him as only five when she originally left the father. So I figured the son was to young to be broken by this.

    You do make a valid point actually. Originally the husband was meant to be the thing that broke her but I then realized I figured something else that happens to the son is the true thing that broke her. The abusive husbands became an idea that showed her beginning to break.

    Yeah it seemed like you thought it wasn't needed but were thought changed as the conversation continued.

    So you think it should be there to show the glimpse of his good side? I might have to redo the scene then. lol It isn't exactly in its current state a great version of that.lol. Yeah I wrote the scene just to see how it looked. Wanna see?
     
  14. Lea`Brooks
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    Yes, needs to. Abusive relationships are very powerful. They don't just go away, even once the abuse is over and the victim has recovered both physically and mentally. An abused woman will typically do one of two things: become unable to recover and continue to be victimized throughout her life, or become very strong and never let herself be victimized again.

    In your case, your victim broke. Maybe not necessarily because of her husband, but the trauma from it was there and unresolved. Because it was unresolved, she didn't heal from being a victim, so when her could was murdered, she became a victim again and snapped. (This probably isn't the whole story, but I'm generalizing.) Not only does your story need to be a redemption story, but it also needs to be a healing story. The readers need to know WHY she snapped, what happened in her past to make her weak, to make her break. Maybe I'm not understanding the whole story here, but it seems to me that abuse in her past would contribute to her breaking. And if it did, it's a storyline and a fracture in her mind that MUST be resolved and healed.


    I'd definitely research it. I don't know the effects abuse could have on a child so young, but there would be damage.


    At first, I stated them meeting wasn't relevant if you never mention him again. But if the woman feels guilty or mad at herself for not seeing how nasty her husband was when they first fell in love, I think it's important to show. Because the husband could either be incredibly nice and friendly when they first met (which is common of abusers) or he could be rude and insulting. In either case, the woman could reflect on how she didn't see it and how stupid she was to ignore the signs.

    It seems to me that this is a common problem you have when story building. You have ideas on what makes your character tick, but you don't explore them. And abusive relationships aren't just something you can randomly throw into a story as, "Oh, this happened once," and never expand on it. Because that's not how life and people work. People grow and change because of and often in spite of their past.

    Examples from my own life. My mom is an alcoholic. I don't drink because of it. And if I do, I don't get drunk. I also had an ex boyfriend who called me an idiot on a daily basis. I no longer allow people to talk down to me in any way. I have been sexually assaulted more times than I'd like to admit. I'd like to say I've healed from it, but I haven't. I still have nightmares, which leave me crying and feeling violated for days after. It prevents me from fully trusting men. It's slightly the reason I'm a feminist.

    So if this abusive husband story is really something you want to use, then USE it. Show the damage, show the events, show her healing. Just don't say, "it happened, she's over it," and then forget about it. Even if you don't have flashbacks about it, show it through her personality and how she makes decisions and opinions on people. Come up with scenarios in your mind that happened between them, and even if you don't show it, you'll know what she went through and what she suffered.

    I read some writing advice once that I think may really help you in your backstory. "90% of your world won't make it into the story." I may be the only person who likes this advice, but it really helped me. It makes me think about my characters and story, really dig, have answers for everything even if I never share those answers with the readers. Because those things help motivate your character, help drive your story, and help you to develop deeper plots. I remember when you were telling me about The Order, you couldn't tell me about the war. You didn't know what it was about and what side the country your story took place in was on. To me, that's the kind of thing that you need to know. Even if the reader never knows, it helps YOU. Because then you know how tough to make your country and why they have the laws that they do and why certain people are common there.

    I may be way off the mark here, and if I am, I apologize. I've just noticed that there are many things regarding your story that you don't have answers for. And as the writer, it's your job to come up with them.
     
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  15. GuardianWynn
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    First
    Thank you for the detailed reply. I can't mention how much I love this site for having so many people so often go into long replies.

    Also thank you for sharing part of your self. :-D I imagine it can't be easy. Thank you.

    I also love the advice of 90% you mention. Funny enough a friend of mine hated that advice. He once got on me for digging so deeply into plots I stated I never planned to show.

    Actually this story is part of The Order. Oh and you are right kind of on a point. The thing you mention is a world war but I didn't fully develop it because it was part of the past. Like 100-200 years before the main story. So the war is less important than the fact it happened. Then again I had details such as it was over magic and that the war ended to prevent more destruction. Also that new nations were formed with new policies. What I didn't develop were characters or exact plot points. Which I figured I wouldn't do unless I made a story at this time frame.

    Since we have discussed it at this length. I am wondering if you want correct context? I could PM you more correct context if you like discussing this. :D
     
  16. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't need to know the correct context. It's just important that YOU have the answers to these things.
     
  17. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    LOL.
    I know. I was asking more to see if you wanted to know.
     
  18. jaebird
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    I think it might be a way to convince the reader that this man is capable of making such a turn around in his life, not that it has to be done that way. Or that that has to be the only reason for including the scene. But yeah, I'd like to see it.
     
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