1. CuChulainn

    CuChulainn New Member

    Mar 28, 2017
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    The Pros and Cons of Emotional Manipulation

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by CuChulainn, Mar 29, 2017.

    Hello, writers!

    I'm considering two different paths for the main plotline of my YA Fantasy story. One is safer; the other is (I think) more emotionally interesting but it's also much more difficult to write. I don't want to let that stop me if it's ultimately the better idea, but I also don't want to make a mess just to wring some emotion out of my reader.

    In the briefest, simplest terms possible, here's what I'm dealing with:

    1) My protagonist grows up with his twin sister, and we meet both characters. They are very, very different from one another. Protag discovers that he is an important figure in a magical world that spans multiple realities, but fails to complete an important task at the midpoint that calls his destiny into question. At the end of the book, he realizes that the task requires both him AND his twin to accomplish it. TWIST: he uses a magic spell that supposedly only works on things from other Universes, and it works on his twin. Is this not HIS universe's sister? (plotline for books two and three)

    2) My protagonist grows up alone - his twin sister died in an accident years ago. They were very different from one another. Protag discovers he's an important figure, blah blah, magical world with mulitple realities, fails to complete task at midpoint and BOOM: his magic mentor PAIRS him with a version of his sister that survived in a different reality. Now they have to work together to do this thing, while figuring out how to deal with one another and all the emotions that come with seeing someone you thought you'd never see again.

    I think #2 creates a lot more emotion for the reader. The siblings'll get along awkwardly at first, there'll be repressed feeling, and the guilt of whether or not it's disrespectful to his ACTUAL sister to treat this one as though she's a replacement. But when they finally pull it together and work as a smoothly-functioning whole, it will be vastly satisfying. The problems with this are:

    1) Introducing a major character at the midpoint in the book, whereas in the first iteration, she's there all along (so when she is needed at the end to 'complete' our protag, she's already developed).

    2) Introducing all sorts of weird emotional messiness that didn't come with the original. It has more heart but also might be a bit manipulative?

    3) Figuring out what to do with her when all is said and done! For a YA novel, the idea of her having to go back to her reality forever once their work together is done might make for a tough read. And if I let her stay with him and his family... how weird is that? Isn't that too much pat Disney-esque wrap-up? (How would I do it? In her reality, the REST of her family died in the crash that only killed her in the readers' reality. Better than foster care!)

    So, question to the crowd: do I go with safe story #1, that has a little bit of intrigue (is this MY sister?) but less emotional impact? Or risky story #2, that's a lot more interesting and emotional, but is a whole helluva lot messier, as well?

    Looking forward to your varied opinions and wisdoms. Wisdii? Let's go with the faux-Greek. Looking forward to your wisdii.

  2. Apollypopping

    Apollypopping Member

    Mar 27, 2017
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    I think you're right, no. 2 could be a horror show. Plopping in a main character like this throws me off, it feels a little like a convenient problem solved. Have you ever watched Buffy the vampire slayer?

    At some point, 4 or 5 seasons in (Don't quote me on the timeline, its been years since I watched it,) The MC, Buffy, gets a magical sister all of the sudden. To me, it was jarring. The whole story arc became like a thorn in my side. Granted the sister was a snot.

    I think you should also consider the level of emotion you could achieve with plot no. 1. It's a much safer option, but that doesn't mean it will have less impact. I think there's still a lot to explore there, without the possibility of jarring the reader.

    I feel like plot point number 2 would be very hard to wrangle into something more than a mess, personally.

    You could write both, so that you can fully develop the sister with option 1 and then go with option 2. I find that developing characters 'Off-screen' can really help when I bring them in. This might help with the starkness of her suddenly being there. You'll have an easier time if shes well developed in your head. It will also give you the opportunity to pick between the two with clearer eyes, but its a lot more work.
  3. Bill Chester

    Bill Chester Active Member

    Dec 11, 2016
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    Nova Scotia, Canada
    I like #2 much more than #1. The sister from the different reality would have a brother, too, wouldn't she? If this different reality brother is currently alive, will the brother from our reality be a copy of the alternate one, or the same but different? What if the different reality brother dies early so that she is in the same boat, emotionally, as the protag? Or is that just too corny? Both realities could be shown from the start so that the new sister is not introduced in the middle of the novel.
  4. ianrose

    ianrose New Member

    Mar 30, 2017
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    Honestly, route #1 sounds like the best option (as long as it's written well and emotional at the write times), but if you're up for an idea:
    The sister is always destined to die in every dimension, no matter what. So, the sister dies like 2-3 times somehow in the story? But if the sister that comes back is different every time, it's never a consistent major character. I'm not sure how the different sisters would be called (as one universally shared name might be confusing), maybe change their names but it's a definite thought I had.
  5. Jane with dyslexic flag

    Jane with dyslexic flag Member

    Apr 2, 2017
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    I like the second plot
    how about you put in two persectives? one as his sister from the other univere her life in her world (only don't explain about her being his sister til later save it as a plot twist) and have some bad guys target her family and she and her universe brother escape and get separated
    And for your main other universe brother lose his sister recently and so while he and her go midway in their lives he fighting and sees her in trouble goes and saves her which causes big trouble and they need to work together to fix it.
    Then that is hard for both characters she wants to go find her version brother but must help this other brother who is kind of like her version brother.
    And he has to deal with the fact she isn't his sister who he was so close too and the desire to protect her not wanting to lose another sister again and then would have to deal with the possible time where they will mostly likely say goodbye and the sister he sort of regain would be lost almost like a second time.
    if you follow both characters at the start you wouldn't be having a character pop up so suddenly.
    All in all though go with what feels the most right.
    hope that helps
  6. Lea`Brooks

    Lea`Brooks Contributor Contributor

    May 11, 2013
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    Virginia, United States
    Not to confuse you more, but I absolutely think option two is the way to go. It opens the door to so many possibilities. The dynamic between the characters could be so interesting, and watching it unfold would be both heartbreaking and warming at the same time. As for how to handle her in the end, I would be happy with either ending: her staying or her going back. It really depends on her character and what her values are though.
  7. QueenOfPlants

    QueenOfPlants Definitely a hominid

    Apr 18, 2017
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    I don't see why we can't have both? ^ ^
    Similar to what ianrose suggested.

    They can grow up together and then the sister dies.
    The brother now goes his own path, discovering he is an important figure bla bla - then realizes he can only fulfill his task together with his sister.
    They find a way to get her from an alternate universe, but to actually function as a team, the siblings need to train together. And get to know each other again - not only to the extend they knew each other before her death, but even further.
    Since their lifes differed from what they knew about each other, they have to bring each other up to date about the time between the accident and today. But while doing so they realize that they already had a lot of conflict in their shared past as a result of their different personalities. They might have to revisit their past and see it in a new light. From each other's perspective.
    They start to understand each other better and better and finally can solve the task.

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