1. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Using an object to continue the plot

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Lea`Brooks, Mar 4, 2016.

    Hola!

    So in my current WIP, my MC Seren is an orphan. Her mom died when she was around seven, and her dad died when she was fourteen. She lives with some guardians for a few years, then sets off on her own. At some point during the story, she and some friends explore an old compound that a (now missing) society used to live in, to look for information on magic and such. While there, I have Seren finding a journal -- written by her mother. This causes some distress in Seren. She believes this society to have dark and cruel intentions. But after finding the book, she realizes her parents were part of that group. So either the society wasn't bad, or her parents were.

    Anyway. They don't find anything at the compound, so they leave. Seren reads the journal a bit, and eventually comes across a statement about a basement in the compound -- something they didn't find while exploring it. This causes Seren to go back there, find the basement, and discover heaps of information.

    ....but then I never mention the journal again. At least, not in this book. It'll become more of a focus in the second book, because there's a lot of hidden information in it. But after first finding it, it's only read twice before it disappears.

    I know a lot of people frown upon using an object to move the plot along. It just seems too easy and convenient for some readers. And I definitely don't want this to be an issue. Should I scrap the journal and bring it back when it's relevant? Or should I just not worry about it? In any case, I'm sure I could find an alternative way to have Seren find out her parents were members and that there was a secret basement.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2016
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I think the use of the journal in this manner is fine. You wouldn't have to add a lot to provide the reader with some reason why Seren doesn't consult it again in this story. If it just disappears from the story, readers might question, and ask things like "what happened to the journal," or "why doesn't Seren see if the journal says anything," but those kinds of objections are usually easily dealt with. As long as you acknowledge them by providing some rationale to the reader, I think most readers will see that this wasn't an oversight or lazy writing. Many issues like this can be resolve with a simple tip of the hat to the reader to let them know you haven't forgotten about it.
     
  3. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Are you writing character-centered? I am asking because for me it would be odd to find such an, in terms of personal history, important writing and then the character never thinks about it? Never takes it out to just look at the handwriting? For me that would feel really inconsistent.

    Your character was severly distressed by this journal. I don't know what she discovers in this basement, but either it points to her parents being bad people (and then it would make sense for her to bury the journal deep to not think about it again), or the society was (and then it would make sense for her to cherish it).
     
  4. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, it's character centered.

    After she first discovers it, she tucks it away for a while. She doesn't know the involvement of her parents, she doesn't know if they were pure or corrupt or what. Part of her is afraid of what she'll learn if she reads it. When she finally does, though, she finds it's mostly full of sentimental memories. Stories about her parents and how happy they were, etc. And at that point in her life, she's still so bitter about their absence (long story) that she isn't ready to learn more. It's just too personal, and she isn't at that point yet. Deep down, she loves them and misses them. But she's a very angry person, and she isn't ready to forgive them yet.

    The second time she opens, it is purely for information. It's all she has to work with, so she flips through looking for anything that could help, while skipping all personal accounts. That's how she finds the bit about the basement, but she doesn't look at it again for the rest of the book.

    She doesn't really find out the truth about her parents or the society until the second book, which is when the journal comes into play more.
     
  5. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Then you have given yourself the answer :D just let her tuck it away. For me as a reader it would be enough to have on-and-off reference in her thoughts whenever she happens to be reminded or memories intrude. Just don't never mention it again, that would be inconsistent.
     
  6. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Got it. :D I can do that. Thanks so much!
     
    Lifeline likes this.

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