1. Emily Everheart
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    Emily Everheart New Member

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    The essentials in a revenge story

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Emily Everheart, Aug 17, 2016.

    My title says what I am looking for honestly, but I will go into some detail. The story I am writing is a supernatural existence overplayed on reality story. Good examples of this are common enough, Percy Jackson and the half blood camp existing in a world that is still our own however is more than our own. Hogwarts existing in a homely little English countryside even though humans know nothing of magic and don't notice it. My story is more so about paranormal forces, specters, demons, and most importantly, ghosts and mediums.
    The key aspect of my story though is the Main Character and her journey for vengeance. She is new to the paranormal world that lays over top the normal, and soon after her delving into this foreign land which exists within her own, her sister, who has been in the paranormal aspect for some time, is murdered. In a quest for power, the villain slays the sister in search for his own personal and selfish goals. This causes a quest for vengeance in my Main character, against the antagonist.

    However, I am not sure what to include in this story. What is a good Revenge story not complete without, or what is so common in a revenge story I should forgo it and try for something new?
     
  2. Dr. Mambo
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    Dr. Mambo Active Member

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    The most important thing you have to do is make the reader upset about the sister's murder. If she's already dead when the story begins or the first scene is the villain murdering her then nobody is going to care. Take the time to get the reader to form a strong, positive emotional attachment to the sister. Go into detail during the murder scene once you find the appropriate place to include it. Make the reader hate the villain.

    After that you can pretty much do whatever you want because your readers are going to be fired up to see the villain punished.
     
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  3. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Ah the good old revenge of passion kind. Though it is not as fun as the revenge for the sake of being a callous ass looking to save face and do the right thing. Revenge of passion is brutal and the person that is sought usually dies a slow and painful death, which can be fun in the fact that the one taking revenge unleashes the emotional pain in a physical way on the one they are exacting said revenge on. But we don't know how merciful/merciless the one exacting the revenge really is? Once you know that answer then you know how swift or slow the vengeance will be. Though it gives the avenging party room to brood and stew about what they will do to the offending party, and if you are feeling extra evil you can even have them gloat to the offending party on how much the have wanted to deliver their dark justice to them (just a touch of sinister for good measure).

    Revenge has a long history, and the best reference point I can think of is the Hammurabic Code (eye for an eye, etc).
    Also consider the fact that there are plenty of ways to exact revenge without having to kill. There are far worse fates than death. But I will let you consider those and use your own imagination, as it is I could go on at length but to save time I will not.

    Revenge is often sought when there has been an injustice (murder of a loved one or friend), wounded pride or dishonor upon them, or simply they want to be the one to exact the same on those they have been hurt by. Just because it is common doesn't mean abandon it, revenge is a very powerful thing and it rears its ugly head in some pretty cool and unique ways.

    I agree with @Dr. Mambo that you need to make the reader sympathetic/empathetic to toward the slain sister and the one who is seeking vengeance.

    And just for funsies: "Revenge is a dish best served cold."
     
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  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    While I agree with your general principle that the reader doesn't care about drama until they care about the character involved in the drama, I don't agree that the sister can't already be dead. She could be dead for years before the story starts. The "reader needs to care" can be fulfilled by getting to know and care about the main character before they learn the murdered-sister part of that character's history. For example, in the X Files, Mulder's sister had disappeared long before the beginning of the series timeline. We still care, because we hear Mulder's story after we have started to care about Mulder.
     
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  5. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Also there are few flashbacks and comments on her as a person that develop the tragedy.
     
  6. Dr. Mambo
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    Dr. Mambo Active Member

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    I've never found that approach to be as effective in a revenge story. If a story hinges entirely on the MC getting revenge for the "major bad event" (in this case, her sister's murder), I find the idea of including that event as backstory kind of silly. It's counterintuitive. If a writer's goal is to engage the reader emotionally on the side of the MC, and the emotional attachment stems primarily (or at least in large part) from the "major bad event," why would a writer intentionally minimize the impact of that event on the story? It's much more difficult to approach writing it that way. A skilled writer could pull it off, sure, but it isn't the way I'd go.
     
  7. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    Revenge is a dish best served with a big **** off spoon ;)
     
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  8. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    One movie that comes to mind is Law Abiding Citizen. In that movie ---

    SPOILER

    The MC wants revenge for his wife and daughter's murder, and the wife and daughter are murdered right in the opening scene. Death Wish has the murder near the beginning as well. So you could argue that some fiction chooses to be put the murders in the opening, rather than taking more time to build the characters up more.
     

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