1. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Redundant Chapter Form?

    Discussion in 'Novels' started by Catrin Lewis, Oct 24, 2019.

    I'm developing the first draft of my WIP, refining structure, strengthening character motivations, filling plot holes. That sort of thing.

    The novel has jealousy as a basic theme. It currently includes a chapter where the best friend (and matron of honor) of my female main character talks sense into her after she's begun (falsely) to suspect her fiance of cheating on her. It's all projection--- she's done something earlier in the story that makes her fear she might be capable of cheating on him.

    So now I'm thinking I should have another chapter/scene earlier on to develop this, where the same best friend tells the FMC that what she did/thought/felt earlier on was completely normal, don't hassle it. But the way the new chapter is shaping up in my mind is very much like the chapter already written, and I'm afraid this best friend character is getting stereotyped into The Wise Counsellor, and the two scenes will essentially be the same.

    How have you solved this kind of thing?
     
  2. Lifeline

    Lifeline South. Staff Contributor

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    As far as I see, you've two choices:

    Suppose you let the earlier chapter stand. Disregarding the similarity between earlier and later chapters, what this would mean that you're making your MC's internal conflict different. By letting her friend talk to her, she's getting reassured that she won't ever cheat. So the fault is all her fiancee's, because he might be able to cheat. But she herself is not and will never be. It makes her seem judgemental.

    The other way round (if she doesn't get reassured), you plant more distressing doubts about her own morality and she might be more likely to believe her fiancee will cheat. Because if she can't trust herself, how can she trust another person? When her doubts against her fiancee get resolved, she's also more likely to believe in him more than in herself. Which makes it more likely that she'll be insecure in the long run.

    Both of those outcomes are subject to your writer's softening or strengthening. You could introduce any number of plot points to deal with either judgements or insecurity.

    Choose which :)
     
  3. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    The situation is that, at the start of the story, she finds herself getting turned on--- and momentarily giving in to being turned on-- when an old boyfriend without warning embraces her from behind. She shakes herself out of it and tells him to get lost, but before he leaves he tries to take her by force and she uses her Krav Maga training to get rid of him.

    She tells her fiance about the old boyfriend's visit and he's proud of her for fighting him off, but she keeps quiet about how she felt when the ex first touched her. She feels guilty about not telling him, as easy, open communication is a prime feature of their relationship. Shouldn't she be willing to reveal everything?

    If I insert the scene I'm thinking of (it'd be in Chapter 6 or so), I'd have her confessing her reaction to her married bff/matron of honor, whereupon the bff will assure her that a physiological response like that is totally normal, it's no problem as long as she doesn't act on it, and it's not wise to burden a marriage with things like that. Whereafter she . . . Takes the bff's word for it and goes away happy? Tells herself to take the bff's word for it, but is still bothered?

    Hmmm. Another approach would have her sharing her concerns with another bridesmaid, a woman who is--- ahem! more earthy than the bff. That friend would tell my FMC such feelings are entirely normal, and she should enjoy them to the hilt. After all, her fiance is probably feeling the same way when he sees good-looking women. Which my nice FMC will reject on the surface, but will still be bothered by.

    Problem is, I already have a gripe/advice session between these two, after she and her fiance fight over the ex-boyfriend's wedding gift. But these conversations would escalate, not be two of the same, so it may be better to use the bridesmaid for this role.

    I don't mind my FMC going through a period of judgementalism, but not till after the wedding gift fight. Major forgiveness will be needed on both sides.
     
  4. Lifeline

    Lifeline South. Staff Contributor

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    Just playing devil's advocate here and throwing things around:

    - Why do you want her to talk to someone about it? Be it whoever, what is the benefit for the story of her talking to a friend?
    - You are writing Christian. Why not let her go to a confessional? If I'd planning to marry and have doubts, either about him or me, I'd sure go to a confessional and clear my heart, and not only on the eve of the actual big day. A confessional wouldn't be gripe/advise.
     
  5. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Well, for one thing, Presbyterians don't go to confession. :bigtongue: But we do (or ought to) obey the command to confess our sins to one another, which would account for her discussing it with her bff. If she talks with the other girl, it would be because she knows she'll come out of it feeling justified.

    Hmmm, again. She wouldn't deliberately go into the conversation seeking that. I'll have to rethink this.

    The story function is to make sure this theme of self-doubt stays current, so it's not old news when things blow up later. And it acknowledges that though she initially pledged to tell her fiance how she reacted, the same day it happened, she never actually did.

    The nice thing is that this is a WIP. So I can tinker with it for awhile.

    Thanks to all for letting me think out loud.
     

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