1. Superbean
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    Superbean Member

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    YA about figuring out who you are and who you want to be.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Superbean, Aug 25, 2014.

    I am currently writing a YA novel about figuring out who you are and who you want to be. Set in the distant future our MC wakes up with most of his memory gone, to find a world that has mostly gone to shit. Most of the earths population is killed by these monsters that are roaming around. Behind large walls the cities are safe and the inhabitants live in peace and harmony. The MC starts of as a character that does not care about other than himself. He misses most of the empathy that most people have, and he hates almost everything. (Perhaps not the best way to start of a character and make the audience like him, I know, but that is some of the point. The audience is not supposed to like him from the start.)
    He doesn't remember much from before, and what he does remember is not good stuff. That is some of the reason that he doesn't care much. During the novel however, he turns to become more of a good guy and start caring for other people than himself. He still is no knight in shining armor at the end, but without spoiling to much, he is going through quite the change during the course of the story.

    This way to approach the theme, is it overused? I just read the maze runner, and it starts of quite similar. Though the overall plot is nothing like it, I can't help to see some of the same elements in play. Other stories that start with the MC having memory loss and have to figure out who he/she is: Jason Bourne, The maze runner, The lost hero, The son of Neptune.
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Can't tell if it's overdone until we see how you write it. Do you have some ideas how you will make your story unique?

    Welcome to the forum.
     
  3. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Here's something I need to start saying more: If you're worried that a certain theme/plot/idea is overused, and if it coincidentally resembles things you've just read, then you need to need to expand your reading.
     
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  4. Superbean
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    Superbean Member

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    First off I plan to skip the whole romance and love triangle. I will try to make some chemistry between the leads, so the reader hopefully roots for them to be together. Dropping the whole romance is not unique in any way, but I think far to many YA stories these days have to much romance in them. Romance is not necessarily bad, but it has no part of the story I want to tell. Not in the first chapter anyway. I plan to include it later on in whats hopefully will be a series, because the MC doesn't believe in love now, but its part of who I want him to become later on.

    It is common that you root for the MC from the start. Most of the books I have read in the genre almost drown you in reasons to like the MC from the start. Loosing 1 or more of his/her family, living in poverty, usually bullied or falling outside the society in some way etc.
    Though I have 2 leads, one male and one female, I plan to tell the story from his point of view. I want the reader to like her bubbling optimism, and dislike him for his negativity. It's understandable that he is mad for waking up without memory, and finding out you are far in the future could ruin the day for everybody. MC however is just plain negative to everything. I have also given him positive traits, but I want the reader to dislike him from the start, because I think it will make it even stronger the moment the reader realizes he/she actually come to root for MC.

    Usually in this kind of stories it's the government or some faceless corporation who are the bad guys. This is no exception. I have played with the thought of having a crazy scientist, or group of them, take control over the world and hold the government hostages. Anyway I am planing to find a good motive. Usually its greed or power thats the reason when government, but I want to find something else.

    That are just a short review of my thoughts this far.

    Thanks for the welcome.
     
  5. Superbean
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    Superbean Member

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    I do read a lot of books, though mostly mainstream like Stephen King, Dan Brown, Rick Riordan, etc. It is still a good advice though.
    I don't know if you have read the books I listed, but the one thing they have in common with the story I plan to write is that they start of with MC waking up without memories. After that it is totally different stories. And my story is going to go in yet another direction.
    I started working on the idea to this story about a year ago, and a week ago I started reading the maze runner. It begins a lot like the way my story is going to start. MC wakes up without memories and find himself in a new society, but thats when the similarities stop.
    My initial question still stands, if the whole memory loss thing is a little overused approach to the whole "finding yourself" theme.
     
  6. Ben414
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    Ben414 Contributing Member Contributor

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    We can't answer that until it's written, as GingerCoffee already said. The originality of something cannot be derived from whether a specific plot device such as memory loss is present. It all depends on how you use the plot device. The way that the Bourne series uses memory loss is quite different from the way that a stereotypical soap opera uses memory loss. What you need to ask yourself is: 1) Does the memory loss fit into the story and not feel forced? 2) Does the memory loss serve some function in telling the story better than the other alternatives? To me, it seems like not having one of these serves as a proxy for being overused. For example, I don't dislike the use of a parent dying because it is used often, but because it feels forced to make the reader like a character and doesn't fit into the story well.
     
  7. Superbean
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    Superbean Member

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    Thank you for the insight and sorry if I came of a little douche, I am still new to the whole writing your own story stuff. Like you say, there is no way to know if it will feel forced until the book is written. The point of the memory loss, besides making the reader curious about the MC, is that he gets the chance to start up fresh. He was not a bad or shitty person before, but he was sure as hell not likable. Of course he could changed and maybe even ended up in the same place if he had all his memory, but as I said, the idea is that he starts with fresh sheets. He gets the second chance that many people wish they could have. I plan to reveal parts of his past, and have him face some of the same challenges that he has already faced. He doesn't know that ofc, but the reader will know this, and thus see how he changes over time.

    I think I will have to just write the story and see how it all pans out. Maybe share a chapter or two here for feedback.
     
  8. PensiveQuill
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    PensiveQuill Contributing Member

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    My thought on the matter is, does it have to be memory loss necessarily? This device might not even be needed. Adolescence is actually when we make our first major life decisions. Prior to that everything was mapped out for us by our parents. So in fact, that awkward time is one giant trying to find out who the hell you are, scenario without a huge concept of self to begin with. It is in itself already a fresh start.
     
  9. Empty Bird
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    I'm echoing the majority here:

    Write!

    Plots are done over and over- it doesn't stop readers from searching for books that have similar plot lines. The reason books sell is because they tick certain boxes that are popular today. It takes a one in a billion person to suddenly drag out something completely new and completely untouched for people to suddenly take to it.

    Young Adult is, of course, all about finding yourself and who you are. It's why young adults love to read them! Don't worry too much about everything until you've written it. Your character sounds very interesting, just be careful that you make him a character your readers love to dislike. Remember, if you don't want your readers to like him, you'll need to make something about him interesting enough to keep reading on.

    If the main character of a book was someone who I hated (had this before) I'd lose all interest in his plight. But, if you make him unlikable- but darn, I just love not loving this character- then great! Read on!

    Best of luck!
     

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