1. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Opinions sought: To write a touching good-bye scene or not?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Lifeline, Dec 16, 2015.

    Hi out there,

    I am confronted with a dilemma and I thought I would ask the community:

    My two MC's are faced with a possibly extended separation period. Now, I think most readers out there would expect a really touching good-bye scene before starting in on what comes in the next chapters. Problem is, this scene-to-be would not expand the plot and further the story.

    I am divided on this, all that needed to have been said before has been said, and does the world really need another Scarlet o'Hara? Especially as this is a fantasy story and not (only) a love novel! But how many readers would expect one?

    Please expand on your opinion. My WIP is 'dark fantasy' (thanks to my Beta who has stuck it with this label *grin*). The attachment between my MC's is the driving force for fighting to save each other - and incidentally the world as they cannot get one without the other.
     
  2. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    This may seem like a cop-out answer, but if you don't feel like it belongs, it probably doesn't belong. There's nothing inherently wrong with a goodbye scene, and they can be very well done. But they can also be poorly done. And sometimes the story might be stronger for not including one.

    I'd say to go with your gut, especially since the only reason you'd include it is to meet "readers'" expectations. That's a red flag to me.

    But then, maybe it is necessary--and that's what beta readers are for. If your story doesn't have the scene and the beta readers don't raise a fuss, you're probably good. If they collectively feel something's missing, maybe it's time to revisit the idea.
     
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  3. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Oh yes *sigh*. My gut really says the same thing, but then I have been accused on occassion of minimalistic writing. I am waiting a bit if there are other opinions out there, but if not I am going with my gut.

    Thanks for your opinion, I now see the red flag waving out in the storm ;)
     
  4. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know that minimalistic writing is something bad enough to be "accused of".... As a stylistic choice, I'd say it's perfectly valid and been proven successful by published authors.

    Of course, that said, there's good minimalistic writing and not-so-good. I wouldn't take "minimalistic writing" as a criticism and stop there, though--I'd want specifics from my betas as to the wheres, whats, and whys. Maybe it's not the style that's the root problem (or, of course, maybe there's no problem at all).

    Best of luck!
     
  5. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    No, I just meant that sometimes I have a tendency to let the readers draw too many conclusions by themselves, as in: one adjective there and another in the next paragraph put together means something specific :).
    And it really is not a problem as long I have Beta(s) who point out that they got lost by too few words - because in my head of course all is connected and clear. And anyway I am getting better and better in identifying these instances before I let them fly, exactly because of my Beta :friend:.

    But that is beside the point as here the question is really only to include a whole scene or not. But I am heavily leaning towards making a (hopefully) skillfull transition to what happens after.
     
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  6. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm further left than @xanadu ... why would you think readers "expect a really touching goodbye scene"?

    If it advances the plot, or deepens the character, fair enough. If it's just there for word-count, or to jerk some tears, forget it.

    This reminds me of one of my most-hated cinema/TV tropes...the world is coming to an end in sixty seconds, but the hero still has time to convince his floozy that she's more important to him than anything...and somehow time stands still for the two lovers, and he's still got sixty seconds to save the world!
     
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  7. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Now you make me smile :)
     
  8. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You could look at this from another direction: What message would you be sending your readers if you do not include the goodbye scene? Some readers might interpret that to mean the two MCs really aren't as important to each other as they (the readers) were led to believe. I'd say include the scene.

    But then, I'm not a minimalist. :) I don't believe less is more. I think less is less and more is more. Somebody (F. Scott Fitzgerald?) once classed writers into two kinds: putter-inners and taker-outers. He considered himself a taker-outer. I prefer putter-inners. :)
     
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  9. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Hm. You sure have another angle..

    Have to think about that. I can write it without trouble (and without only 60 seconds to save the world ;)), they have time enough for that, and the outside world is held at a distance during. So no conflict potential with @Shadowfax there. I am pretty drained out by what went before but it would just mean another evening to write more. *thinking*
    And what if I write and let my Beta(s) tell if it should remain? That seems like the proper choice..
     
  10. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    If the scene itself doesn't work, you could communicate the impact of the parting in some other way.

    Joe whispered, "Hasn't Jake had more than enough?"
    Jane shrugged. "I took his car keys after the fifth drink."
    "Yeah, but..."
    "Susan left this morning."
    "Oh. Never mind."
     
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  11. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Oh sure. That has to happen in any case, as there are others just as aware as my MCs (and certainly more aware as they would have liked) that there is a real conflict coming up. But I will bear it in mind, Thanks! :)
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I would allude to it, like have a character remember the sweetness of the kiss, but not include the scene if it doesn't move the story forward.

    Just my opinion.
     
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  13. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    All of you have made some good points. I really appreciate the input, thanks to all who replied!

    I have another scene to write before I get to the sticky one and will see what comes out of my backbrain. If there is potential for advancing the storyline then I will write and include it, if not then maybe just for me and for my Beta. I will go with that opinion then. And certainly the MCs will find a way to refer to it too @GingerCoffee ;)
     
  14. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    Goodbyes are a good opportunity to says things that can't easily be said during a friendship/relationship. Hurdles of pride, awkward ongoing embarrassment and all that. If your characters can be 'deepened' (as someone above said) then it could well be worth the scene.
     
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  15. edamame
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    edamame Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it depends on your characters and whether they are the type to wear their hearts on their sleeve, pretend nothing is wrong, or actually be stoic about it. If you don't want to write one, I wouldn't.
     
  16. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    I finished a book with a goodbye scene where the MC avoided the scene altogether. She sat in her car and mulled over the reasons she was leaving and could not face seeing the love interest one more time. Instead, she turned around and drove away...leaving my readers stunned but ultimately proud of my MC (as it was the ethical thing to do--not staying with the love interest).
     
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  17. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is an interesting point, as well. There is definitely a difference between deliberately not having a goodbye scene and just not having a goodbye scene.
     
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  18. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Wow, that sure is yet another angle. Gives me ideas, right. Would also be very, very much in character, definitely for one of the MC, and the other would just has to cope :twisted:. Conflict potential down the road, yes! :D I am a sucker for a good conflict, and if I play up that angle the honeymoon (so to speak, all of only three days, poor characters! *sniff*) would definitely be over, which would be a very, very good thing. And I have to stop the ideas spilling out now.

    Yeah, that feels about right. That it incidentally lets me avoid this huge dispute is a welcome bonus.

    I can only reiterate, you guys are awesome!! :agreed:
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2015
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  19. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    There is more to be said about realizing feelings in the wake of separation then conducting a perfect goodbye scene that looks like it came out of a romance novel. So consider that as well.
     
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  20. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Nothing left to be realized here ;) but good point for others!
     

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