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  1. GlitterRain7

    GlitterRain7 Galaxy Girl Contributor

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    Ideas about a promise ring

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by GlitterRain7, Feb 12, 2018.

    In this chapter that I'm writing right now, the MC realizes he wants to marry his girlfriend. At this point, she does not have a promise ring, but if she is to receive one, she would get it in the next chapter.
    There is one chapter between the chapter that he would give her the ring and the chapter where he proposes to her, (which is about two months after he would give her this promise ring) so I worry that it'll feel like it was smashed together.
    What do you think? Should I go with letting him give her a promise ring or not?
    Would it be weird for him to even get her a promise ring in the first place when he's starting to seriously want to marry her, because he could just go with the engagement ring?
     
  2. izzybot

    izzybot (unspecified) Contributor

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    This is coming from someone who never really understood the point of promise rings anyway, but I'd just go with the engagement.
     
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  3. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I guess it would depend on promise ring protocol. How does it normally work? How old is your MC? Promise rings are a young adult thing, no? Hard to believe (for me at least) that anyone who can afford an engagement ring would mess around with a promise ring.

    But in general, no. Two chapters can be an eternity in a writing timeline depending on the structure of the book. As long as you have some narrative summary to account for the time differential, it shouldn't be an issue.
     
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  4. Kalisto

    Kalisto Senior Member

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    I would agree with the people who say to just go with the engagement and that's it. And that's because the engagement ring would be redundant.
     
  5. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I too am unclear on the idea of a promise ring. Are you saying that you want one for some plot reason, or are you assuming that most engagements involve a promise ring and trying to figure out how to fit it into the story? I don't think that most engagements involve a promise ring.
     
  6. Kara Gatsby

    Kara Gatsby Member

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    To what degree are your characters defined by their faith in this storyline? Obviously a person's faith is a big deal, but I would expect someone who gives a promise ring to be more wholesome, disciplined, and godly than most--especially if we're talking teens or young adults. If that's how you want to portray this character, I'd definitely keep it. But if the story calls for your character to frequently be the opposite of these things, drop it.

    You could make a casual reference to it in the scene where he proposes, like him sliding the promise ring off her finger and replacing it with an engagement ring. Or he's shopping for a wedding ring and thinking about the day he gave her the promise ring. Something like that.
     
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  7. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    This is how I understand promise rings work. My daughter's boyfriend in high school got her a promise ring when they were both 16 to basically say "It's not socially acceptable to get engaged and start planning a wedding at our age, but when we become adults that's totally what we're going to do."

    Personally I was rolling my eyes like crazy (kid spent $300 for the ring!), and sure enough once they went away to college at different schools the relationship didn't make it past Freshman year.
     
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  8. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Still might be the funniest thing I've ever seen:

     
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  9. graveleye

    graveleye Senior Member

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    maybe not mention that he is going to get the ring.

    I have a similar situation that I just totally rewrote. Originally, I had my MC go out and purchase an engagement ring to his girlfriend. She has no clue is considering proposing to her. I had him with a bunch of money in his pocket, and he goes into a store and buys a ring.

    Then I thought, wait a minute. You just told the whole world that he is buying an engagement ring. The reader knows, yet the girlfriend doesn't. So now the reader is going to know all about the big surprise for a few chapters. That's no fun right?

    Make it a surprise for the reader too! That way they'll cry from happiness when she does.

    So I rewrote the whole thing. I indicated that he has some cash that is burning a hole in his pocket, and that he needed to do some shopping, but never even let on what he's shopping for.
     
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  10. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin A tombstone hand and a graveyard mind Staff Supporter Contributor

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    No, that's a shitload of fun. That's the definition of dramatic irony (the audience knows things the characters don't) and it's one of the most effective tricks in the history of theater, literature, and film:

    https://www.britannica.com/art/dramatic-irony

    Now, it might not work in your particular story depending on the how the information is released and structured, not to mention the characters' needs and expectations, but overall you will never go wrong cluing a reader to something behind the characters' backs. In your case, you have the reader set up for the "big surprise" which leaves them susceptible to all forms of misdirection... you can rope-a-dope a reader all day long if they think they know how a particular situation will resolve itself before it's been presented to the characters. So say your readers are all set up to believe that the boy is about to propose to the girl, but maybe the girl is tired or waiting for her ring, goes out, gets drunk, meets another boy and... no, no, no, no! Don't go home with the bass player! Johnny is going to propose to you at the lake this weekend! Give him another day! Give him another daaaaaaaay!!!!

    But again, that might not be the intention of your story at all. I was just using it as an example... especially if it's a romance where there has to be some conflict in your characters' courtship. But in general, dramatic irony is the strongest backbone of any story that utilizes suspense or misdirection.
     
  11. graveleye

    graveleye Senior Member

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    I completely understand what you're saying and like how you said it as well. The romance is only on the peripheral of my story and is secondary to the plot. My characters are already deeply in love and it's pretty obvious they're going to live happily ever after. I figured that it would be more fun to have a big reveal, plus, it eliminated a scene (shopping for a ring) that really did nothing to advance the overall plot (which is not all about their relationship).

    So yea, I wouldn't treat my contribution to the thread as sound advice, but it seems to be working for me, in my own story. I probably should have reserved comment, but now I've seen another angle on it which is always good for expanding plot devices. Should I find myself writing a story like that, I would totally go for the dramatic irony angle.
     
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  12. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    Think of it this way - at least it was someone else's kid who wasted that money :rofl: It's sweet how idealised their worlds are at that age.

    I dunno though. Sometimes you're still glad you did it to show the person you love how you feel, in that very moment in time, despite having moved on after :bigsmile:

    I'm a bit of a romantic :-D
     
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  13. Kara Gatsby

    Kara Gatsby Member

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    Ah, you're right!

    I'd ditch the promise ring, then.
     

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