1. TrueMiszou
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    TrueMiszou New Member

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    Obsessive girl needs a conflict

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by TrueMiszou, May 6, 2013.

    Trying to figure out a conflict for this character:

    She's a controversial photographer who specializes in photo's of people who are on their own, in their element and being weird. She doesn't like to look at herself as a stalker, more of an unconventional artist, someone who's exposing the raw reality of humanity.


    This is what I have so far and I know I'm sitting on something REALLY cool, I just don't know where to go with it. I've been thinking of all sorts of conflicts... for example, maybe she falls in love with a guy after taking a few photo's but it jeopardizes her relationship with her hobby by making it more of a stalker activity, which she is strictly opposed to.

    What do you think of that? I'm toying with that "love" idea but I'm not 100% yet. Anything come to your mind when you read this?
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are you more into developing characters, and you want a looser plot, or are you looking for a meatier plot? What comes to mind is that she witnesses something, and gets a photograph of something she's not supposed to, such as a murder, or kidnapping or some sort of other high-stakes criminal activity.

    And of course, she falls in love with a guitar player.
     
  3. TrueMiszou
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    TrueMiszou New Member

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    I'm definitely more into building the character, that seems to inspire me more than plot ideas. I like the idea of building great characters then watching them collide, that sort of stuff seems to write itself. Maybe I should have a loose plot and just great characters.

    Haha yes! I think she must definitely fall in love with a guitar player now. It's inevitable, I don't think I could stop my fingers even if I tried.

    EDIT: Also I did think that maybe she witnessed something she shouldn't but that takes it down the "crime" genre which I'm not too interested in.
     
  4. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    You've got an interesting problem to grapple with here. I think that a lot of people are going to have an instant, visceral dislike for your character, given that she invades people's privacy in this way -- not only does she invade it, but she takes pictures - she has photographic evidence and mementos. Your challenge is going to be creating sympathy for her -- an explanation as to how she started doing this, some sense of conflict, that she knows this is wrong on some level, and showing us some of the dangers of doing this. Not only could she get caught, but I would suspect that there are many instances where she could be in physical danger (falling off of a building while trying to get a shot through a window, for example.) How does she pick her subjects? Does she become obsessed with them somehow? Do they have something she wants or are they something she wishes she were? Who was her first subject, and how did that evolve and end? Something changed in her and made her seek this thrill again. Does she think most people are phonies and wants to expose them? Is she longing for some sort of home life that she never had? You've got to do a thorough job of explaining how this all came about.

    Does she want to stop? Does she start taking pix of this guitar player, because she thinks he has somehow wronged her or she got a mis-impression of him, but eventually she realizes that he is not what she thought? Does her evolving relationship with him make her stop taking these pictures, or does she end up luring him into her world, and this ends up some sort of joint obsession? Is she able to eventually compartmentalize this need into something more productive (i.e. she becomes some sort of investigator) or could this end up being some sort of expose or analysis of members of the paparazzi?
     
  5. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    It could be some sort of scandalous sexual liaison.

    Maybe somehow related to guitar player boy -- one of his parents, or his girlfriend/fiance doing something with someone they shouldn't?
     
  6. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Personally, I think the photographer witnessing something is a bit overdone. What if she gets a taste of her own medicine and receives candid photos of herself? She could become paranoid that any of her own vices or abnormal behaviors could at anytime become public. Her insecurities and paranoia begin to drive her insane....
     
  7. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not if Miszou does it right.

    This is an interesting idea. Of course, it would need to resonate with Miszou in order for him to do it right. ;-)
     
  8. TrueMiszou
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    TrueMiszou New Member

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    @chicagoliz:
    Thank you Liz you've given me a lot to think about.

    One of the points I think she is trying to make is that we all do weird stuff when we're alone, sometimes for no reason at all. We just do. And through that I want to create a relationship with the audience who I hope will be thinking "oh, so it's not just me then" and this sense of relief will hopefully balance out the wrongs of her invading peoples privacy. I want to make many observations on current privacy issues, CCTV, Google Glasses, all that sort of stuff, and yes, like you said, Paparazzi is a great parallel to draw from. People dislike Paparazzi because of the invasion of privacy but the difference is she wants to show how interesting people actually are and the beauty people, rather than show how much weight they've put on.

    She doesn't become obsessed until she meets her guitar boy. That is when she goes too far, in her mind, but she doesn't want to stop.

    I'm thinking that maybe she actually gains quite a following in galleries and online, she publishes anonymously and sparks a lot of controversy.
     
  9. TrueMiszou
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    TrueMiszou New Member

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    @Garball:

    That is an interesting idea. I'm not sure whether she would respond badly to it though because the overall message she's trying to put across is that we're all crazy, just most of us hide it well, so I don't think she would mind too much if she got snapped. She's a little eccentric, in the sense that if somebody saw her pick her nose she would just carry on doing it, and maybe even eat it just to make a point.
     
  10. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    This might be an interesting idea to explore -- a blog that goes viral, where this anonymous person posts pix of people when they think they're alone. A lot of people view it, perhaps even as they're outraged that it occurs. People are interested not only in what she posts next, but in trying to catch her and expose her identity? Keep in mind, there would be plenty of people who want to sue her. So if it gets really high profile, the stakes are high -- if she's caught, the consequences will be severe. She could even be criminally prosecuted.

    I'm not so sure people need reassurance that other people do weird things alone. Most people do, or at least they're not worried about how they appear to anyone. I do think, though, that a lot of people would not like the idea that someone would invade their privacy this way. So you're going to be walking a very fine line.
     
  11. TrueMiszou
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    TrueMiszou New Member

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    Yeah I guess I need to think carefully about this.

    I think it's more the fact that... when you're alone, you're not doing things for attention or to please anyone, whereas in public there's no avoiding it. A general conversation with a friend can sometimes turn into a battle of wits. I think she just wants to celebrate peoples secret, bedroom selves, the self that they rarely reveal to the public. I guess I need to find examples that resonate with people like yourself. Have any weird things that you do when no-one's looking?

    Also, yeah I like the idea of people trying to find her identity through her online postings. I could imagine people like 4chan getting behind that.
     
  12. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not that I'm going to disclose on a forum ;-)
     
  13. squishytheduck
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    squishytheduck Senior Member

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    This girl sounds like Harriet the Spy grown up, so you could have some sort of adult version of that book's plot. For weird personal stuff, there's tons of examples on websites where people anonymously send in secrets, like postsecret was a popular one many years ago, and there's other ones now too, I don't remember their names, but you'll find them on Google.
     
  14. TrueMiszou
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    TrueMiszou New Member

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    Harriet the Spy looks pretty cool to be fair. My main character is frustrated with the world around her. She feels a little bit trapped by etiquette, rules, and social standing...
     
  15. NathanRussell
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    NathanRussell Member

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    I read your post and I immediately thought of a short story by Julio Cortázar that I read rather recently. It's about a photographer who takes a photograph and obsessively analyses the blow up of the image, and this is where the story's title comes from, it's called 'Blow Up'. The photographer gradually figures out what is going on in the photo, that what he thought was a romantic scene between a woman and a boy is actually one of homosexual seduction by a man nearby of the boy. So perhaps your protagonist could take a photo in this manner and obsess about it so that they come to a realisation, or even start to see something that isn't there?
     
  16. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think you are right, what you have so far has awesome potential. But you don't have much else. You can't expect any of us to "give" you a conflict, you have to create it from the logic of your character whom you know much better than us. However, I see this as the beginning of an excellent crime novel.
     

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