1. ikuko
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    ikuko New Member

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    Scenes not witnessed

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by ikuko, Apr 28, 2013.

    Hi! I have a problem with a plot development and I would like some advice or ideas how to get out of the hole I dug for myself. The problem is that I need a minor crisis resolution, but the protagonist could not have been present on the scene and the narrator's POV is firmly attached to the protagonist.

    The crisis arises from the differences between protagonist's new wife and his mother. I would like to convey to the reader that during that scene the mother's view of the new family member have changed from "You barge into my family where you are not welcome" to "I still do not have to like you, but you are part of my family". IF the protagonist (and narrator) could be there, the dialogue would be a fun thing to write, but there is no believable way to do so. It is out of character of the protagonist to listen in; nor does he have any supernatural observation powers.

    I suppose my best bet would be to have the participants to disclose some of the events to the protagonist later. The problem is that the story is set in the second half of 19th century, both ladies are reasonably discreet and telling anyone details of such conversations would be as unlikely as having the conversation in front of him in the first place. So, what hints can I give the reader, how can I show that a resolution had been reached? Did anyone have similar problem, and how did you get around it?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There's no good, easy way. The best way is to expose the character of the mother to such an extent that the reader can see the change in attitude toward the daughter in law. For example, the mother never lets the daughter in law enter the kitchen. But later on, she orders the daughter in law to help her bring out the meal to the dining table. Nothing mushy, but she lets the daughter in law into her domain without openly acknowledging the change in status.

    I don't recommend cheating around the point of view. That's never as satisying to the writer or the reader.
     
  3. ikuko
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    ikuko New Member

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    Ha! Clever. I have to think it through. Probably not household duties, there would be some bitterness with the new wife replacing the widowed mother as a lady of the house. But there could be other little tells. Perhaps I should give more attention to the description of the body language through the whole story and show the change this way.
     
  4. karajmnz
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    karajmnz Member

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    Besides having the mother change her actions slightly toward the woman, maybe you could have the mother say some kind of snide comment about her being a part of the family now. Nothing mushy, maybe slightly sarcastic. Do you watch Downton Abby? The character Violet is good at making these kinds of comments.
     
  5. ikuko
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    ikuko New Member

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    No, I did not. I was a little scared of the commitment of so many series.
    I think I can work in a small daunting quip like that.
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are any number of little prosaic sybolic things that could change. I might choose just one, set it up carefully so that it's noticeable for some _other_ plot reason, and then also use it to signal the change in relationship.

    - The MIL (mother-in-law) stops tasting the DIL's (daughter-in-law) food and changing the seasoning. Or if that shows too much respect, instead of just adding salt without asking, she says, "This needs more salt" and leaves it to the DIL's discretion to respond or not.

    - The MIL used to barge into the protagonist and DIL's bedroom; now she knocks.

    - The MIL starts setting a place for the DIL at the table, when she kept "forgetting" before.

    - The MIL stops forgetting to get gluten-free bread for the DIL when she shops. (Much more modern, but maybe something similar would fit the period.)

    - The MIL yells at the kid next door when his dog digs up the flower bed that the DIL put a lot of work into planting, the flower bed that the MIL was always complaining about.

    Something like that.
     

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