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  1. Ashley Watters

    Ashley Watters Member

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    Rumours from the teenage mind

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Ashley Watters, Sep 17, 2018.

    I am writing a young adult romance (m/f) novel where her 'best friend' wants to destroy her. She has decided to take her (MCf) boyfriend (MCm) before she kills her. She has tried to set MCm up so MCf would think he is cheating on her. When this does not work, the antagonist tries to embarrass him at school. She releases multiple rumours about the pair. She even tries to convince people he has assaulted her.

    The problem is I cannot imagine what other rumours she might use. Oh, did I forget to say she is not mentally stable. :confused:
     
  2. Irina Samarskaya

    Irina Samarskaya Senior Member

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    Well, in modern culture, accusations of rape, racism, and sexism come to mind. If the male main character is white, these would be especially realistic false rumors to have spread. At least in the West.

    In the East, it's a bit more traditional (rumors of sexual promiscuity, sexual deviancy, lack of virginity, etc). However I'd assume this takes place in either America or England in which case Rape, Racism, and Sexism are really the go-to accusations to destroy a white male's life. There are very few standards or moral expectations beyond not being a rapist, racist, or sexist anymore. Sexual impotence could also be a thing, especially since promiscuity is outrageously high in the West that it's rather believable for underage high schoolers to be living like rabbits.

    ADDED: Now that I think about it, rumors of being a Conservative or Trump supporter would be especially bad rumors in some schools (especially ones in big cities).
     
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  3. Ashley Watters

    Ashley Watters Member

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    I should add, the scene is set in a fictional small New Brunswick town in Canada during the mid to late eighties. The MC couple are in their last year of high school never having "gone all the way". She is the head cheerleader who lost her boyfriend to a car accident. Her boyfriend was the well loved football hero and best friend to MC. The male MC is a former player who can no longer play due to an injury.

    The antagonist has often teased MCf that she is still a virgin. The antagonist sees men as an accessory to be tossed aside when no longer useful.

    Nice joke you added. :p
     
  4. Irina Samarskaya

    Irina Samarskaya Senior Member

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    Well, then rape accusations would still work. I assume Canada is somewhere in the middle between England and America culturally, so the period-equivalent of unpopularly popular politicians would work (assuming Canada has had any noteworthy politicians at this time. America had Reagan, England had the Iron Lady, so Canada might be a bit small compared to these famous leaders).

    It's sad how being a virgin is actually shameful in some cultures in the West, especially among high schoolers. In the East it's the exact opposite (at least for women, not so much for men). Given the main male is a sportsman he is probably familiar with lots of the school's clubs and characters, thus it'd be very difficult to damage his reputation as most rumors could be easily disproven or argued against due to so many people knowing him. A rape accusation would be the only thing that could work just because it's something of a cliche that drunken football teams rape nearby girls (and while this is obviously terrible, I could imagine an evil woman purposely setting up a bunch of guys to look bad by making them think raped some girl and ensuring they don't actually know/remember through excessive alcohol or drugs).

    And I wasn't really joking; everything I mentioned would me modern-day reputation destroyers. Political tension is seldom moderate, but being a known Trump supporter can result in being subject to political violence or terrorism depending on the area and culture. In some places violence isn't common but ostracism would be; and in others someone could be literally murdered for openly supporting (or being suspected of supporting) Trump.

    It's as if Americans hadn't learned from the German 30's that political violence is a viscous downward cycle that usually ends with some irrevocably terrible.

    Of course you don't have to use politically charged rumors, but if you wanted modern reputation-destroyers then I would look to whatever is currently arousing anger and fervor on the news. Alternatively, as I mentioned above, the bad girl could rely on alcohol and drugs to wipe the memories of a group of footballers (including the Male Main) and then put them in a situation where it is believable (for them especially) to have raped a woman (and theoretically the bad girl could blackmail another girl to play the part of the victim, or do it herself if she's credible). If you think that's too extreme though, then I'm not sure what to suggest as there isn't much in terms of awful and terrible rumors that people my age take seriously outside race, sex, and politics.

    EDIT: Of course, if you make the rumors this serious, I think it'd be nice to compensate by having the Main Female trust the Main Male and therefore support him in spite of the overwhelming heat. It'd also explain any romantic connection since mutual loyalty and support--especially under such scary circumstances--would without a doubt bring couples together.
     
  5. LordWarGod

    LordWarGod Banned

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    Do the rumors have to be about the pair specifically or just about the guy? Incest is a taboo subject that your character could use to her advantage, pedophilia even more so. Perhaps you could have your character imply that the guy has sexually molested a very young girl in his family and if you want to make it sound worse; include other families as well. Have her say that he touched her younger sister, if you really want her to be as horrible as possible, include homosexuality as well. He didn't just molest girls, he also molested boys as well, he's a "faggot pedo" stuck in the closet. Homosexuality is pretty taboo in school today, imagine what it was like in the 1980's, it was unforgiving.

    Perhaps you could go the extra mile and have her imply that he "forced" himself onto her younger sister as well, go for the rape route. You want the rumors to sound authentic and not made up, so you don't want your character to give a 30 point list of all the terrible things he's done. You could go for really subtle stuff to bring up in a conversation and have the rumors brought up at the very last minute.

    "So, X came over to a pool party a week ago, I saw my younger sister with him and she looked really uncomfortable with him."

    Something like that.

    I don't know if that was what you had in mind, perhaps this is too extreme and you had something more innocuous in mind like joking about penis size or perhaps having STD's or something. But what I suggested above will really hurt your main character's target and give you a lot of emotion/turmoil to work with as you write your story.
     
  6. Ashley Watters

    Ashley Watters Member

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    Around this time, Brian Mulroney was Prime Minister of Canada. He and Reagan had a great bromance. They even sang "When Irish Eyes are Smiling" together at some public event.
    I did not want to get into the Trump thing so I passed him it off as a joke. Politics was not a violent issue here in the 80's. Even now people will argue about Trump but usually will not be violent.

    I think I underestimated the deviousness of my antagonist. There are some good ideas here. Drugs sound like a possible issue or STDs. I am not sure how low I can go. The 11 yo little sister of the departed hero was molested by their uncle. This is important to my story but I am uncertain of the impact on the reader.

    Thank you both.
     

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