1. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    This feels wrong to me. Opinions?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by GuardianWynn, Jun 29, 2015.

    Maybe I am over thinking it. Maybe not.

    Okay context. Let's see if I can do it on the first try. lol.

    My MC suffered a tragedy; watching her son(age 10) executed. She snapped in response and killed the killers in that moment. She never became well after this. There is a certain transition I am worried about. Because of super natural reasons she has a high life span. I was thinking of her kind of drifting and killing people that reminded her of what she lost. Though I think the beginning of this is in the memory of her son. I think there is a point where that shifts. She stops trying to remember and begins trying to forget.

    The way I am writing the scene now sort of involves her getting progressively angry until reaching a boiling point; at which time she kills someone she was working with. I saw her just laughing after doing this. Like this entire time she was breaking and this was it. The moment she was now officially insane. The moment she forgot her son, the moment she stopped thinking about good or evil. The moment she just became a body in motion seeking instant gratification.

    Does this seem valid? Anything feel wrong here?
    What kind of time jump do you think is valid here? One friend suggested 50 years of it boiling over. Is that too long though?

    Thank you.
     
  2. Masked Mole
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    Masked Mole Contributing Member

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    It seems like a very promising concept, because she starts out as an avenger. Eventually, she becomes the kind of monster that killed her son. As long as you make this aspect prominent in the book, it would be a great revelation to the reader.
    You mean that it would take fifty years since the time of the tragedy for her to mentally snap and begin killing for enjoyment?
    To me, that seems a bit long, but what do I know? My guess is that increased lifespan wouldn't really contribute to how someone would get over a death or when the person would become insane. Plus, fifty years of killing people would be kinda hard and soul-sucking to write. It's obviously fiction though.
     
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  3. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks.
    The darn issue is how to transition just right. I think if I don't do it just so then it will be ruined! lol.
    So you think it should be less time? But you think the idea of the transition currently is good?
    I suppose if it happens sooner it has the advantage of being while she is feeling more raw. Right? I think.
     
  4. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmmm... A couple things seem a little odd to me.

    First, what kind of people would she kill? if she was distraught over losing her son, I don't really understand why she would kill people that remind her of what she lost. For example, if she saw a happy family on the street, would she kill them? That seems like the opposite of what she would want to do. She knows what it's like to lose, so I find it hard to believe she would do that to someone else. Instead, I could see her killing people who take their children for granted or who mistreat their children. Like if a father slaps his son on the street, I could see her killing him.

    Second, I don't think people.. laugh while killing someone, even if they're insane. If anything, I think her turning point would be one of numbness. Her co-worker may upset her, so she kills him just because. And she feels nothing from it. No gratification, no guilt. Just numb.

    I also believe fifty years is too long. This kind of thing happens in the world all the time, and it can take as little as five years to get there.
     
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  5. Masked Mole
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    Masked Mole Contributing Member

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    The transition is by far the most fascinating part of the story to me, so I would certainly keep it. I don't know. I think my personal hang-up just stems from me imagining if I read a book where the MC took fifty years to transition. Personally, I would find that kinda humorous, and I don't think that's what you're looking for.
    I agree. A quicker transition has more advantages.
     
  6. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh yeah. By killing I mean she was targeting people that hurt children. Though I thought a really nice scene would be a cop getting in the way and her trying to be nice. Like her asking him to stop. Her telling him to stop or get out of the way but he didn't listen and she killed him. I thought this would be important in the aspect of it being the first time she killed someone innocent.

    Well I don't mean laughing "while" as much as I mean I see her killing him, then just like sitting in the pool of blood and just spontaniously laughing. Though the word numb! That is a great word here. Thanks.

    Yeah. Good point on time line. Funny enough five years was my original idea. A friend suggested 50.

    Would you be against discussing this in more detail in a PM? Certain context I don't want to dive into here. I can already see it leading to confusion. lol
     
  7. Masked Mole
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    Masked Mole Contributing Member

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    Now comes the part where I admit to you that I have no idea how the PMs work here. Is it the Inbox thing next to the alert feed?
     
  8. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes. I can send the PM. :) I just like to ask before I bother a member with a PM.
    Dont worry I am horrible with computers myself. lol. When I am older I want to write on a type writer! :D
     
  9. Masked Mole
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    Masked Mole Contributing Member

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    Okay. Cool. Fire away.
     
  10. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    You might wanna research psychotic breaks since that seems to be approximately what you're describing her going through, as well as ways people react to ptsd in general to get a realistic idea of what she'd be going through mentally/emotionally. It's definitely not something that'd take fifty years of buildup to get to (though you may consider that she functions differently as a result of whatever causes her longevity?) I'd be wary of identifying her as 'insane' before you have a good idea of what that really means. You should also be aware of her internal motivations - she may well perceive herself as just a 'body in motion' but there is something driving her. Doesn't have to be something that seems logical to the outside world. But on some level she'd most likely still be attempting to protect kids or punish those she processes as threats to kids.

    If she just loses her sense of self after killing an innocent ("I wouldn't kill someone who didn't deserve it ... I must not be me anymore" [see: cognitive dissonance]) and begins seeing herself as some sort of shell/vessel for the ability to protect/avenge children, that would be cool, but at this point I'm just coming up with my own ideas, hahah.
     
  11. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah. I did do some research. For the most part it failed. :cry: which is why I came here.

    Also yeah, the idea is that during this transition she crossed some sort of line. Like, not that she is a body in motion but that her avenger mentality wasn't working. So she abandoned it, she tried to forget her pain and burried herself in everything, from mean or cruel humor, to torturing people, sex, acholol and anything in between. If that gives you a more accurate idea. The trick is that damn transition! lol I think I have decent ideas. They just aren't complete. If that makes sense?
     
  12. Miss Lonelyhearts
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    Miss Lonelyhearts Member

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    It could be possible be her "satori" moment (seeing into one's true nature). In which she felt like there wasn't speck of dust out of place in the whole universe.
     
  13. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not sure I understand what you mean.
     
  14. Miss Lonelyhearts
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    Miss Lonelyhearts Member

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    While one gets to a point of an extreme, like killing and being so angry and mad at everything that eventually they "break" but what they break is the break through to the other side. That is to say they see the light, they see the folly of their ways and a fool who persists in their folly becomes wise. A moment of claim comes over them a state of enlightenment and from that your character changes her position.
     
  15. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah that could happen. Except in my girls case the idea is she snaps from a partial moral code to none at all. Going from killer with purpose to more or less a monster
     
  16. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, you can do anything you want to in this story. You're the writer. However, if you want the reader to follow along, you have to create solid reasons for all the behaviours you portray.

    If you want your character to laugh when they do their (is it final?) kill, then there has to be some reason for the laughter. It's not what we'd usually expect a killer to do, as a few other people on this thread have pointed out. Why does your character laugh? Because she finds something funny? Or is it a maniacal laugh ...which is pretty cliche? If you're in the character's head when this happens, then it should be easy to fill us in on these reasons. What is she thinking about, that makes her laugh? Her reasons don't have to be sane ones, but there does need to be a reason, filtered through her perspective, if she's the Point of View (POV) character.

    At some point, you ought to decide what YOU want to happen in this story, then find a way to make it happen so the reader can get caught up in it, too. If you constantly ask for other people's opinions on your story issues, you're either going to end up being yanked in all directions, or you're going to end up writing somebody else's story. Write your own story, but do it so it makes sense to a reader who isn't able to read your mind, but only what you have written. That way your story will stand out. Create OMIGOD moments, not WTF moments. :)

    Having said, that, I, too, wonder if the extremely extended life span of your character isn't causing more problems than it's solving here. Is there some reason you need this to happen? If so, you need to delve deeply into the effect such an extended lifespan would have on a person. (Other writers have done this ...try Kage Baker's "Company" stories, starting with In the Garden of Iden. Or Lord of the Rings (the book) where Aragorn is a man blessed - or cursed - with an extended lifespan.) Your character will not only have a much longer timespan to do whatever they're doing, but other people will come and go before them. Some of these will be people they love ...and your character will end up grieving and left behind, every time. Other people they don't much like will also get old and die before your character does ...and when these disliked people gone and the character is not, then the character 'wins.'

    Don't just plonk an extended lifespan in front of the reader because the idea is cool, without exploring what that will actually mean to the character and to your story. And if figuring out what your character does over her 'high life span' is a problem, you might want to consider solving it by giving her a much shorter one. Maybe she gets a slightly extended life span, but doesn't ever grow old? Or something like that. If you have an extended lifespan without that particular perk, you may well end up spending 100 years in a nursing home. If that's the way it works, you'll need to fit that concept into your story.
     
  17. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    The extended life is more a fitting assumption based on other story dynamics then a cool random idea. It doesn't have to be 200 though but it seems any problems with 100 would be there for 200. Also I think I am pretty decent at accepting help and keeping my story concept on point. :D Though I won't say I haven't been influenced by people. I think there is a note worthy difference.

    Which is this. When I seek opinions. I am less seeking approval and more curious if my thoughts are achieving the intended result. Because if they are not, then I need to fix them. Though I admit this partcular transition has been giving me a head ache. But it isn't like I need to have the anwser right now. Though I did gain one useful piece of insight. Which is that it ould be a natural assumption that the larger change would happen briefly. Pacing out these events during the 200 years is equally tricky but like I said. I think it is just as tricky if it was 100 years.

    Funny enough, the enhanced life span never caused this girl grieve. By that time she was kind of a psychopathetic killer. So she had no one around her to which she cared about.

    Thanks for the response. Oh with the laugh, it is hard to describe but I saw it not as in response to anything funny but almost sad, like giving up. If that makes any sense?
     
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  18. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, it makes sense to have it as a sad laugh, but you'll need to convey that sadness in your story. I guess that was the point I was trying to make. As long as you convey what you intended, you're fine ...whatever it is. But if she laughs, and you don't give us any insight into why, it might strike readers as a weird response.

    By the way, I don't think you're seeking approval, but you are seeking feedback on what you ought to do BEFORE you've done it (or at least before we've seen it.) Asking folks what they think of every turn and twist you're thinking about is inviting people to influence what you intend to write. I think that's a big mistake.

    That's simply my own opinion, and I'm sure many other people disagree. However, you ARE asking for story ideas. You're saying: "How should I decide what happens next? What should my character be like?"

    That's a lot different from asking people to comment on whether or not you've succeeded with your story AFTER you've written it. Afterwards is when reader comments can be very helpful. If readers didn't 'get' what you intended, or have a problem with parts of your story, then you can use what they said to give you ideas of how to fix it, so the next group of readers won't have that same problem. But asking people what they think your transition should be before you've written it? That's getting them to help write your story for you—and it's robbing you of the joy of creating your own story, and the challenge of solving your own story issues yourself.

    But again, that's only my own personal opinion. You do what works best for you! :)

    I know I would NEVER ask anybody what I should write, or how I should solve a story problem. I would only ask afterward, if what I did actually worked. If so, great. If not, it's back to the drawing board ...for me, not for them.
     
  19. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    The idea of my friends or even you guys influencing my work doesn't bother me in the least. In the sense of inspiring. I am not the type to ask for it handed to me on a plater. Though I think the truest sense of this thread was self doubt. As I had an idea that felt wrong but I couldn't come to any logical conclusion to why it was wrong. So I figured maybe I was wrong about it being bad or maybe someone would shed light on why it was wrong allowing me to learn. :D

    At no point was I here asking people to tell me how my character should be. I have a very good understanding of my character I think. Though granted other people have nice expierences too. If someone hear feels they knew what my character was trying to do. I would want to hear their opinion.

    Maybe I phrased that poorly. Bit tired over here. Point being I wasn't expecting work to be done for me. I was just curious on the insite of other writers. I mean if we all kept our work and ideas secret, why join a forum? lol.

    I do have a strong idea of who she is at both points and even a decent idea at how she changed but transitions in writing is indeed a weak point. Which is why the forum is here right? To learn from each other.

    Or have I missed something?

    Thank you for sharing. :D
     
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  20. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    No problem and I didn't mean to cause offense, or imply that you don't know your character. However, you did ask "does this seem valid?" I assumed you were asking for feedback on what the character should do, in the situation you described. That's how I saw your question. If I was wrong about that, then just forget what I said.

    Please do what works best for you! Everybody works differently. As long as you end up with a story that pleases you, and that the readers enjoy, then that's the thing, isn't it? I'm sure you'll get there.
     
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  21. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah. Always two or more paths to the same end right? Actually my phrasing isn't always top notch. So it is indeed likely or at least possible that your interuptation was more accurate and that I had failed to express the question as I intended. It wouldn't be the first time. Though I did get some useful insight that has given me ideas, even if I haven't fixed the issue in my head yet. Sometimes too. I find asking the question actually helps me even before I get an answer. If that makes any sense. lol
     
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  22. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    It does!
     
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  23. Eliza Rain
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    In one of my unis, madness is the only 'disease' an immortal can get, and i kinda treat it in three different ways that I find are the most consistent with trauma and psychological issues.

    I have two directly insane characters that kinda teeter around yours. One is a mother as well who also lost her child! Only her grief and anger was topped off with others saying her child was meant to die for the greater good. She ends up mad, and kills other children to make others feel her suffering. She does this until others eventually kill her, and its implied that's what she truly wanted. I consider this to be intentional insanity, where the character KNOWS what they're doing is wrong but still craves and proceeds with their undesirable actions.

    The other character's madness is treated more like a psychosis. A trance that has an indirect trigger, like say the mention of your characters son. Very ptsd, and afterwards the character cant even remember what has happened. This is often the scariest for the character them selves, and I'll say most 'real' reaction to traumatic events. I say this only because it is the most common.

    However, I'll leave you with my favorite type of crazy to which my main antagonists are prone to, and that's the unnoticeable insanity. This I find is the most terrifying of them all to the readers when done just right. The character, and the characters around them cant see the wrong in the one that is mad. The character sees their actions as normal, and those close to them are fooled by often what is an attractive or humble nature. This occurs most often with famous serial killers, and is pretty interesting to look into.

    In fiction however, realistic need not reply. Your mother character's laugh sounds naturally cruel and saddening, and I think it fits very well. You don't have to be a psychology major to have an insane character! As long as they are irrational with reason, I think you'll be just fine! :]
     
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  24. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think mine
    is indeed the third one. I don't think it started there though. Because I know her end point I actually wrote a moment where someone says she became a monster because she forget her sons name. So I am trying to think of that exact moment. Do you think killing an ally is a fitting deed to be something that would reflect her losing it and forgetting something like that?

    Also thank you for the lovely response. :)
     
  25. Eliza Rain
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    That maybe enough.

    I personally believe even if someone has an inkling of humanity, they can not be a monster. When someone is at that point of realization, that they've lost what makes them human, their transformation is not only complete but has been for some time. The character has to be the one to realize what they've become, and then accept it. Or even better not care. But that final moment in-between should probably be based on the strongest moral of the character before their traumatic event. If they would not have killed their friend before hand even if it meant the cost of their's or even their childs life, then yes.

    So long response short, think of your characters moral base, and at the point they defile it, that'll be your monster. (In my theory, haha) :]
     

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