1. ilioneus
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    ilioneus New Member

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    Stuck on setting up an emotional scene

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by ilioneus, Sep 29, 2015.

    Hi there, I’m trying to do some set up for an emotional scene, but was looking for some feedback on how.

    The story is sci-fi, set in space. The characters involved are the MC, his lover, and the MC’s daughter. At this point in the story the MC has gone through a particularly hard time. He has a contentious relationship with his homeworld and just recently found out that his mother might be alive after supposedly being dead for many years. The MC has had to deal with this knowledge, along with a very stressful trip to his home planet. There, he had to deal with sycophantic elders who are after his family’s money, trying to understand what happened to his mother, and painful memories from his past stemming from his home world. Despite having his lover and daughter with him on the trip he suppresses how all this is affecting him to show a strong face.

    After they leave, he’s dealing with a lot of pent up emotions about the trip and about himself.The MC is the sort of person who simply does not talk about his feelings with other people. He will bury his feelings deep down and try to avoid thinking or talking about them. As time goes on these pent up emotions start adversely affecting him and his moods, but even so he refuses to acknowledge this. (It’s supposed to be a very unhealthy behavior.) His lover knows this is happening and attempts to sit down and speak with him about his feelings and how they’re affecting him, but he continually says he doesn’t want to talk about it. If his lover pushes the issue the MC shuts down and shuts him out. His lover wants to respect his wishes, but also knows that if he does the MC will never deal with or talk about these emotions.

    Here’s where I’m stuck. I’m trying to come up with an engaging catalyst to force, or make, the MC confront and deal with his feelings. Something, perhaps, that his lover or daughter can do to make him see what’s happening. I want the scene to be exciting, and more than just the two characters sitting down and having a simple conversation.

    I've sort of written myself to a stop, since I can’t, for the life of me, come up with a scenario that the lover could use to kick this off for the MC. Does anyone have any suggestions that might help, or places I could look for inspiration?

    Thanks in advance for any feedback you’re able to give! This is sort of new territory for me, so there’s a lot to learn.
     
  2. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Sounds like he needs a short, sharp shock (not that a shock can be long...) to tip him over the edge, where he can't hold it in any longer. What if he thinks his daughter has been seriously hurt? Or he thinks his lover is cheating? It can be a simple misunderstanding or his lover could contrive something out of desperation.
     
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  3. theoriginalmonsterman
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    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    What if the Lover wants to help him, so she asks for help from a local therapist to help? I know this is leaning towards Goodwill Hunting, but it could still work out well if done right. Of course I don't know too much about the world this story takes place, so if it sounds illogical for a therapist to be willing to help out just out of the kindness of his heart, then I'm sorry for wasting your time :p
     
  4. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why does it all have to be in one stretch? Maybe you could let them have the discussion, the mc tells the lover to leave it, and a scene or so later something happens or some news reach him that makes him reevaluate?
     
  5. theoriginalmonsterman
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    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    What happens when you leave a piece of pizza in the fridge for too long? It goes stale and you have to throw it out. Same idea with this. If you leave and come back to it later it'll be stale, and readers will probably just find it more boring than interesting.

    If this story was specifically romance then I would say otherwise, because in romance people like having the tension build up. With Sci-fi however people seem to want to get straight to the action.

    Eh... I guess it really depends on what audience you're trying to market it to.
     
  6. DueNorth
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    DueNorth Active Member

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    When anger (or other feelings) are buried and not talked about they get displaced and/or projected and acted out towards others in the form of irritability or being over reactive with relatively small incidents. This would set up possibilities for your MC to over-react to something, get called on it by his girlfriend ("why you going off on me about that?), which gives you an opportunnity for her to challenge him that his being a hardass with others is one thing, but when it leads to hurting her and/or her daughter she's not giving him a pass.
     
  7. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    @theoriginalmonsterman
    that was actually the reason I suggested it. Focusing on feelings and emotional problems for that long Will probably slow the whole story down. Breaking in with some action between problem and solution Will not only make it more realistic, it Will up the pace as well. I think that is a better Way to keep readers interested but hey, you're the expert on sci-fi so you should do what you think best serves the story.
     
  8. ilioneus
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    ilioneus New Member

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    I was thinking that some sort of shock or event might be a good thing to sort of tip him over the edge. I don't think his lover would want to make him think she was cheating on him, but contriving something is one possible solution. Sort of tricking him into realizing and talking. Perhaps making him angry enough that he lashes out in a way that can't be denied, possibly focusing on the very things he's trying to repress.
     
  9. ilioneus
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    ilioneus New Member

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    @theoriginalmonsterman

    I don't think he's the sort of character who would be comfortable talking to a therapist, unfortunately. He would likely shut down, since he's not willing to talk to the people closest to him. Part of it is fear of appearing weak.

    This story isn't a romance, so it's not really tension between the MC and his lover. It's more of a character point in the story where the MC is having to face the things inside him and hopefully learn to not do so much of that in the future.
     
  10. ilioneus
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    ilioneus New Member

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    @DueNorth

    This is exactly what I'm trying to have happen. The feelings don't have anywhere to go so they would be affecting his mood, and his emotions in the day to day. Having something for him to react to is, I think, a good idea, since something like that can't really be denied. Part of the idea I'm going for is perhaps his lover having to actually sort of trick him into realizing and talking about things. I do really like the idea of it directly affecting his loved ones, since he doesn't actually want to hurt them.
     
  11. ilioneus
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    ilioneus New Member

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    @Tesoro

    I was trying to have there be a bit more action involved, since focusing too much on the emotional part would be something the MC would have little tolerance for in the first place. I definitely think there's something to be said for having a conversation, leaving it, and then more forcefully coming back at it later. Talking didn't work, so here's something more action related.
     
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  12. DueNorth
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    DueNorth Active Member

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    Just my view...with considerable experience helping people talk about feelings (I worked as a therapist for many years) "tricking" people into talking about feelings is a horrible idea and usually backfires. Instead, have the girlfriend show (tell) the MC how much his "acting out" behavior is hurting her and her daughter and show him that it is safe to talk with her--he then has an emotional catharsis and is relieved. Honestly, had this experience with many "macho" guys who were determined not to talk about sadness or loss, just to be a-holes with everybody. Have the girlfriend stand up to him, not trick him. You act like you're afraid of the guy yourself--take charge--you created him--give him a soft inside he's afraid to show. :). Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2015
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