1. Vamp_fan22
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    Vamp_fan22 Senior Member

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    something traumatic

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Vamp_fan22, Mar 6, 2011.

    what kind of traumatic situation would make a person want to give up on their dreams? My character wanted to be a concert cellist more than anything. He was abused by his mother and father until he was 17 when they died in a car crash. I'm thinking that maybe his parents did something to him, something really bad that made him give up on playing the cello. I just can't think of what.
     
  2. Dandroid
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    Dandroid Senior Member

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    there are thousands of scenarios you could run...somehow...the dream of being a cellist has to be associated with the trauma in whatever form it takes...something that creates an aversion to playing, or to the instrument itself...perhaps there could be some guilt associated...char being told that his little brother that died at 3 would have received proper medical care had they not purchased the cello...
     
  3. Vamp_fan22
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    Vamp_fan22 Senior Member

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    Actually he lives with his brother after his parents die.
     
  4. Dandroid
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    Dandroid Senior Member

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    it was just an example...not direct reference...sheesh
     
  5. Vamp_fan22
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    Vamp_fan22 Senior Member

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    Oh no. I'm sorry, I wasn't trying to be rude. I didn't realize that I had come off as snappy or anything. Sorry.
     
  6. Dandroid
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    Dandroid Senior Member

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    no worries...i 'sheesh' a lot...
     
  7. Vamp_fan22
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    Vamp_fan22 Senior Member

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    Oh that's good. I felt really bad! lol!
     
  8. Smoke
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    Smoke Contributing Member

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    Every instructor that he has tells him that he sucks and never bothers to tell him how to correct the problem.
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Random thoughts:

    - His mother (or father - I'm choosing randomly) always wanted to be a musician, but she wasn't good enough. She felt a lot of resentment and jealousy that he looked like he was going to be good enough, and didn't do a complete job of concealing it, or maybe didn't bother to conceal it at all. He was able to let this bounce off him while she was alive, but now that she's dead he somehow feels obligated to give up his dream because she wanted him to fail, and he feels a twisted obligation to give her what she wanted.

    - His father _was_ a musician (or another kind of artist - it doesn't have to be too close to the character's ambition), and that was all that he cared about. He abused the character, he abused the mother. The abuse was tied in with the father's art, and the character never got an example of how you could balance being an artist with being a human being. The character wants to be a human being, so he thinks he has to give up the art.

    - The form of the abuse was that the parents pushed pushed pushed him in his music, and spent all the family money on his music and lessons and instruments, and emphasized all the sacrifices they were making, and drowned him in guilt trips. And then they died due to one of those sacrifices - maybe they didn't get the brakes fixed because there was no money, say. So the music cost him his relationship with his parents, and then his parents, and he wants nothing more to do with it.

    ChickenFreak
     
  10. Natbutterflyblue
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    Natbutterflyblue Member

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    Just a random scenario I thought of.
    He scraped and saved money for years to buy a Cello himself because his abusive parents would never buy him one. When they discover the Cello they beat him really badly and go to take the cello back to get the money and have the car accident on the way.

    Or something that in his mind causes his parents accident. Even though he was abused he would feel guilty.
     
  11. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    Years of emotional abuse can erode and destroy self confidence in the young, the impressionable and weak willed adults. Combine this with an incident that makes aspiring to his dreams difficult, and you have a recipe for disaster, that also allows for a story that has room for character developement to learn from his past, adopt a mentor, pull himself up by his bootstraps and soldier on to overcome whatever roadblocks lie in his path to achieve his dreams, win the girl and ride off into the sunset as the hero.

    That last bit is a neo-classic metaphor for a happy ending, not directly a suggestion.

    For someone with crushed self confidence, sample incidents that could prevent him from pressing on to achieve his dreams could include:

    Tragic accident that leaves him with nerve damage in his hands, a diminished sense of touch and motor skills makes playing any musical instrument very difficult.

    Poverty, musical instruments and music lessons cost money when the number one concern is putting food on the table.

    Romantic interest conflict, "It seems like you love that stupid cello more than you love me...its time you chose which one you want to spend your time with".
     
  12. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    It doesn't have to be a dramatic or extremely unpleasant experience that changes someone's life... it can be something which changes how they see themselves or the world.

    For example, if the character enters a contest and loses to an inferior artist with connections, it could make him see the artistic world as corrupt. But entering a contest, badly prepared, and wining over artists who are superior to himself, because his uncle's friend is on the jury, could have the same effect.

    Trauma can also be caused by what you do, not only what is done to you. Perhaps the character at one time cheated to get a scholarship or something, and the guilt has eaten away at his enthusiasm for music.
     

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