1. FireWater
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    FireWater Active Member

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    Truth or Dare in the Monster-Infested Woods

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by FireWater, Aug 2, 2016.

    I'm writing a scene where my 4 characters, ranging from mid/late teens to early 20s, are on the run from the Sanctuary (the dystopian silo-like place they've been trapped in until they escape about 20% through the book). They're currently camping out in the woods, which are infested with mutated animals that are basically monsters. Currently they're in a clearing in a somewhat elevated area where they can keep an eye out, and they also have a couple of vicious wolf-like monsters that they've trained as guard dogs, so they aren't in immediate danger - however, they still need to keep their guard up and play things safe.

    To pass the time and bond as a group while stopping for the night, they play a game similar to truth or dare. (Slightly different rules, but the concepts of confessions and dares are the same). I want to use the scene to have the characters interact in ways that push their boundaries, allow them to bond in unlikely ways, and have them learn new things about each other, but not in a way that's breakfast club style corny.

    But I'm feeling a little stuck on the actual dares and questions. I do have the MC get dared to kiss one of the guys in the group, and it's her first kiss ever (she's very sheltered due to being stuck in the Sanctuary for so long and not being able to freely live a normal life). But I don't want to have ALL the dares involve kissing or romantic/sexual stuff, and I also need to keep the dares plausible - due to the nature of the creatures lurking in the depths of the forests, I can't go with dares that would be loud or dangerous or potentially deadly.

    In terms of the "truth" questions, I want to be able to lead in to a conversation where my MC realizes that she's kind of a passive/bland person due to not being free to cultivate her own identity, and where she realizes that she wants to push her boundaries more. But I don't know how to have a question that would lead to something profound like that without it seeming corny. I also would like to use this as an opportunity to delve deeper into the layers of the other characters too ,but am drawing a blank.

    I played a ton of Truth or Dare when I was a teenager, but the dares were always things like prank calls (not applicable to their situation), embarrassingly loud singing (too dangerous when they're laying somewhat low), stripping or sexual stuff (I do have one kiss dare, but don't want to overdo it repeatedly), or dares that actually did involve things like going out deep into the woods into scary caves etc (which would be too dangerous in their situation).

    If it helps, here are my characters in the scene:

    -- My MC girl, 16, has been sheltered in the Sanctuary for a really long time, has always yearned to be free and is very brave, but also hasn't had the ability to cultivate her own sense of self, so isn't that strong with who she is
    --Her friend, the guy she was dared to kiss, who grew up in a village on the outside of the Sanctuary and was able to help guide them away from it after they escaped. He was raised in a way that made him very intuitive, creative, and sort of spiritual but not in a religious way
    --Two slightly older characters (early 20s), a guy and a girl who are romantically together, who my MC knew from the Sanctuary. They were her bullies in the Sanctuary and they initially hated each other, but became allies when they had the opportunity to escape. They're both very tough and dominant types. The guy is more ego-driven and always has a need to be the leader and prove himself, while the girl is very strategical and smart and has sort of a playfully sadistic personality.
     
  2. Sal Boxford
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    Sal Boxford Active Member

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    They could play 'never have I ever' instead? That's basically all 'truth' and I guess would show up the MC's naivety/conformity? Over the course of the game, for her things could boil down to 'never have I ever though for myself/questioned authority/etc.' You might then lose the kiss 'dare', but maybe after the group has found out just how sheltered the MC has been they might, stepping slightly outside the rules of the game, dare her to kiss one of the guys?

    A problem with that I suppose is that she might feel a bit threatened if the game quickly turns into 'Oh my god how weird is [MC]? She's never X, Y, Z... Have you done V? Not even W? Do you want to?'
     
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  3. FireWater
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    FireWater Active Member

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    I like that a lot. Thanks. I'm going to alter the scene to go with that angle instead. :D

    How would things boil down to "never have I ever thought for myself/questioned authority?"? I love love LOVE that idea, but what would be a few questions that would all generally point toward that direction? (My own experience with Never Have I Ever just includes questions like sexual experience, getting in trouble with school/police, embarrassing drunk moments, funny bad date stories, and generally the usual stuff). I can easily come up with questions like those, to show how she's 'naive,' (she totally is), but what are some questions that would help her realize she's never actually thought for herself?

    As far as the feeling threatened part, that actually works 1000%, because her background with the other characters is that they were total jerks and liked to mess with her (in a bullying type of way) all the time before they escaped together. It's the kind of dynamic where they'd never truly leave her for dead or anything, but they totally like to gang up on her and give her a hard time. So having them taunt her for her milquetoast ways would totally be understandable and fitting for the meaner characters (the 2 older ones). The other guy is more quiet and empathetic, and he'd totally not judge her.
     
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  4. Dr. Mambo
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    Dr. Mambo Active Member

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    Never Have I Ever... usually just devolves into storytelling and ribbing the other players about their answers, so why not transition out of the game after a few questions and into dialogue about this answer or that answer? Maybe the MC innocently doesn't understand some slang term used in one of the "never have I evers" or hasn't heard of some forbidden activity/isn't familiar with what that forbidden activity entails (i.e. tagging, car-tipping, getting high--whatever makes sense in your story) which would prompt the older guy character to blatantly call her out as a goody-two-shoes. "You've followed your parents' rules unquestioningly your entire life! What's the worst thing you've ever done? Sneak an extra cookie at dinner?"

    That might sound more natural than trying to find the perfect question.
     
  5. Sal Boxford
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    Sal Boxford Active Member

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    I think there's probably a straight line from these questions to "alright so you've never broken the law, or got drunk but... Never have I ever kept a secret from the guardians (or whatever the authority figures in the Sanctuary are called)... Never have I ever..."

    I like @Dr. Mambo's suggestion better though. It will seem less contrived than trying to get there solely through questions. At some point they'll be too shocked/curious to stick by the rules of the game for their inquisition.

    I suppose how successfully the other people's questions and comments uncover the fact she's never thought for herself will depend on how well they know her background. (If they've all been in the Sanctuary I guess they will know?) Her answers can show how fully she's swallowed what she's been told. "You've never sneaked a cookie?" "No! Sugar is Satan in granulated form - the Book of Whatever is very clear on that." Silly example but... "The Book of...? You really believe that stuff?"
     
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  6. FireWater
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    FireWater Active Member

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    I really like those ideas. Thanks for helping. :D
     
  7. Dr. Mambo
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    Dr. Mambo Active Member

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    What does the Book of Whatever have to say about artificial sweeteners? Because they sound like gateway sugars to me.
     
  8. Sal Boxford
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    Sal Boxford Active Member

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    I feel like you're mocking the Book of Whatever. That's most unwise.
     
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  9. Scot
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    Scot Active Member

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    Perhaps you cover this elsewhere in your book, but rather than Truth or Dare how about 'Confessions'. Why were you banged up in the Silo? Why do you believe you were banged up in the Silo. Who put you there? What did 'they' want from you? ( Dystopian system or one person? Common enemy? Object of revenge?). With right dialogue you can explore and expand on each person's personality, reveal a bit of back story and leave the reader wondering just who is going to make it . . . and who isn't. I see no need for dares in such an obviously dangerous environment.
     
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  10. FireWater
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    FireWater Active Member

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    ^ Thanks. That's what they were getting at with the "Never Have I Ever" replacement, which is similar to your line of thinking as well. i agree.
     
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