1. DNEALREALDEAL

    DNEALREALDEAL New Member

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    Forming empathy for a character with amnesia in Act 1

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by DNEALREALDEAL, May 23, 2018.

    Here is my current dilemma. I came across a video detail mistakes writers make in their first Act. One point that hit home for me was starting your story with the character's day of life, to have the reader relate, or care, about the protagonist before their call to adventure.

    I have finished the first chapter (just with plot progression, still need to add details) but since my protagonists, who I have named Evan, is suffering from amnesia I wanted to have both the reader and Evan to learn about his past self as he progresses through the story.

    Here's the catch, I started the story with Evan waking up in a hospital and proceeding to his home to regain his memories. Does this take away from the opportunity to write a "day-in-life" of Evan to have the reader feel invested in his journey before he begins his adventure?

    I have two options here, I can either rewrite the first chapter to include him living his life PRIOR to losing his memories (which will take away from the mystery), or extend the chapter by including a few distractions for him to react to before having Evan start his journey.

    What would you guys do to maintain that sense of mystery for both Evan and the audience?

    What stories with characters with amnesia have done a great job with getting readers invested in them? I liked Memento but not trying to emulate the way that story is told.

    Thank You
     
  2. Thundair

    Thundair Contributor Contributor

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    It would make a difference to me if you were writing in first or third person.
    In third I would start at losing his/her memory with a clue held back, and progress from there.
    In first I would have a conversation with someone in the know, about the memory loss.
    Where ever you start you would need to set the scene and bait the hook.
     
  3. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Does he have to go home?

    Dead Again (the movie) and Garment of Shadows (a book by Laurie King) had the amnesiac start in a situation away from home, un-identified and lost.
     
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  4. DNEALREALDEAL

    DNEALREALDEAL New Member

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    First person.

    My plan is to use dialog between him and other characters to uncover memories like you mentioned.
     
  5. DNEALREALDEAL

    DNEALREALDEAL New Member

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    No, he returns home early in the story but with missing memories making it hard for him to remember his password to his computer for example. His oc gives him his password hint (nickname+locker#) that then has him asking around what his nickname is and where his locker is, I thought it would create his first clue and journey to learn about his past from others.
     
  6. LastMindToSanity

    LastMindToSanity Contributor Contributor

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    I think you'll find that, as humans are naturally empathetic, a good chunk of your readers will feel an instinctive sense of sadness for your character (even if they don't feel that much empathy, you just need a little bit to kick-start the feels train). Then, once you start putting in more of the distress and helplessness he'll feel at his lack of memories, your audience will start to really feel bad for him.
     
  7. DNEALREALDEAL

    DNEALREALDEAL New Member

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    I get what you're saying. I just want to be able to make sure they feel something towards him before he starts to get into problems.
     

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