1. Foxe
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    Foxe Active Member

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    Small but meaningful gift that can change a life

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Foxe, Sep 17, 2016.

    What are some things that you have received or can imagine receiving that would change your life?
    Something like advice, or a memorabilia item (that reminds you of something every day), or a new idea - i don't know!


    I am writing a story where the secondary character never strays far from the protagonist's heart. In the beginning, the two have a quick dalliance which the two see the depth of their bond, but for different reasons the secondary character leaves out of fear -- though it will not seem that way immediately to reader and protagonist.

    There is a period of physical distance between them -- a sense of abandonment -- followed by jealousy, callousness and resentment when the story brings them in proximity again.

    My idea behind this is that a 'gift' -- for lack of a better word -- is a catalyst for the protagonist's change, and a constant reminder or ultimate reminder of the bond the have in the beginning and how it's ultimately worth coming back to in spite of the in between nastiness.

    Here's a bad example:
    Char2 gives Struggling Writer a pen. Pen becomes a reminder to write every day. SW writes every day and eventually publishes a book. Pen, though a mundane object, holds a lot of meaning to SW and attributes positive life change to Char2.
     
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  2. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well the 'bad' example you gave was the first thing I thought of. It's used to brilliant effect in The Office Christmas special, when Tim gives Dawn a drawing pad and set of charcoals (or something), proving that he's the only one who's ever listened or cared about her ambitions to be an illustrator.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2016
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  3. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    I am giving you an example out of my own life. Though it didn't change my life, it was the most 'powerful' gift with the most meaning behind it I'd ever received (and to this day no one else gifted me with something comparable).

    There was once a helicopter pilot who regularly flew to Greenland. One day I asked him to bring me back one or two small stones, because I'd love to have a memory of the trip we were both on. And no, we weren't special friends or something, just casual, friendly acquaintances. Days passed, two weeks, and I thought he'd forgotten. Oh well, I'd survive without a stone from Greenland. Then I had birthday. On this morning I stepped out of my bedroom, and discovered a bottle of expensive whiskey sitting on the floor, just inside my door. The bottle was glued over and over with tiny, small or minuscule stones of every imaginable color and texture. There was just place for three fingers to grab the bottle, all the rest was covered by these stones. It must have taken hours to gather stones, crush them and glue them to the bottle.
    The giver had been the pilot. He knew that I loved good whiskey, and he hadn't forgotten that I'd asked him about stones from Greenland. I still have this bottle, though the whiskey is long gone.
     
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  4. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it's going to be really hard for us to come up with gifts that are meaningful to your characters and their situations because we don't know their characters and situations. You do.

    What is it that your leaving character is afraid of? What was it that brought them together in the first place? When they were together, what did they do/think/talk about/feel? I think a really meaningful gift would tie into the character's experiences... I wouldn't be affected by a rock-covered whisky bottle or a set of drawing materials, because I don't care about Greenland, whisky, or drawing. But for people who do care about those things, they're lovely.
     
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  5. Scot
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    Scot Active Member

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    It might help if we know the gender of the recipient, his or her religion, ethnicity, etc.
    Your gift could be a religious article, a watch, a portrait, or an item of jewelry; anything in fact YOU portray in your writing as emotionally important to your character. To your average person the article might be utterly mundane, it's how you make it important that matters.
     
  6. cydney
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    cydney Banned

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    I think this is a lovely and romantic idea. Makes me think ....
     
  7. Doive
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    Doive Member

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    Possibly you could look at anything say, given to a child, which falls in the category of "first...." First instrument to a musician, first telescope to an astronomer or astronaut, rock sample to a geologist, first paints to a painter? Pick an outcome for the character and work backwards?
     
  8. Elven Candy
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    Elven Candy Contributing Member

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    So this "gift" is basically just an item that constantly reminds the protagonist of the other character? It could be anything, really. A scrunchy, a pencil, a notepad the secondary character had written on, the secondary character's old phone number/e-mail, a broken wine cup's handle . . . anything. I always find the most powerful items for me to remember someone by are things they always had on/near them, something we used together (like a phone number or e-mail), or something I found when we first met.
     
  9. hawls
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    hawls Active Member

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    I keep all kinds of crap given to me by people who have broken my heart. But I have them hidden away specifically because I do not want to be reminded every day of the bond I thought we had. I don't doubt they have done the same with all the things I've given them. I fully expect my heartfelt gifts have been thrown out or destroyed in some fiery manner.

    Here's the thing though. It's not really gifts that remind us daily of the love we have lost. It's all the other stuff. A song you both loved. A movie you both cried over. The places you used to visit. Things you can't throw out. Thing's you just can't erase from your every day routine.

    It's all the unavoidable, unexpected stuff that suddenly brings all those feelings, all that pain howling to the surface all at once.

    It's like in that song "Always Something There To Remind Me".
     
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  10. Foxe
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    Foxe Active Member

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    I apologize, it's too much of a task to ask what would be meaningful to my characters without you guys knowing a lick about them.

    The better option would be to ask you what your greatest gifts have been or things that you always associated with someone, or something that made you partial to them always, no matter how they've treated you.
     
  11. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    I have four from my ex-wife. The first being a cast resin miniature statue (5in high) of a sexy brunette nurse kneeling with her uniform open. The second is one of those cloth posters of Betty Page as a nurse. The third is kinda strange but the thought counts, it is an odd erotica novel with a pretty nurse in a light blue latex uniform on the cover. (One day I will get around to reading it :p) And lastly a thin wall glass jar to keep surgical masks in. (Yeah I know there is a theme here, but I don't expect you to understand the relevance or the deeper meaning behind the oddity of such things.) Now if she had given me a Brad Paisly album, I would probably be a puddle of tears (I avoid Country like it was the bloody plague, cause she really loved it.)
     
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  12. tonguetied
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    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

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    It may be overdone but I think "words to live by" is a gift we often remember about someone special. You can carry that gift with you forever and anywhere and it can be shared without loss of your own copy.
     
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