1. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Potatoes again? Supporter Contributor

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    Thoughts needed on induced amnesia

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Iain Aschendale, Dec 15, 2018.

    I'm looking for opinions here. First person POV, comic urban fantasy, noir-ish voice. My character has been flatlined once before and has only hazy recollections of what happened when he was dead, and all of that will be exposed in conversation, flat-out exposition, or whatever, not experienced "on-camera." However, towards the climax of the book, he's going to have to commit suicide with the aim of being sent to Hell to rescue a girl who shouldn't be there. While there, he'll meet a demon who will tell him some Truths about the Way Things Run.

    Now, since he doesn't remember the details of his first trip to the afterlife, I'm thinking that this means that there's a sort of protective barrier, either automatic or induced, to prevent people from bringing back accurate memories of what happens after death (it's pretty comically fucked-up), which means that the demon could say something along the lines of "But it looks like the CPR is working. Don't worry, you won't remember any of this," and the MC comes back to life with a fleeting impression like when you wake from a vivid dream which is gone before you make it to a pen or the toilet or whatever.

    The question is, would you find it unsatisfactory or irksome to know details of the character's (after)life that he is no longer in possession of, or do you think it could be pulled off? I can think of one example from a commercially successful book where it happened, but it was A) Close third, and B) right before the character "rode off into the sunset." Since the author is now deceased, there won't be any sequel to have problems with.

    Any and all input is appreciated.
     
    Iain Sparrow likes this.
  2. LoaDyron

    LoaDyron Contributor Contributor

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    Hello my friend :superhello:

    I believe the problem isn't if it is unsatisfactory to know your MC's detail of his afterlife, but how do you present it. The first thing I will suggest is to not put in conversation exposition. Put your character with challenges that will make him remember of what happened, and with that memories, he will with time remember the events of his trip on the afterlife. If not in dialogue, short flashbacks. Little hints. Make the barrier not magical but more of a psychological thing your MC cratered. Maybe this barrier is his broken mental health, and because the demon knows what happened and saw his strong will to forget, saw this an oporyinity to show him the Truths about the Way Things Run, as you mentioned on your post. I hope this helps. Keep on good work; you have a good idea to work. And always remember, have fun :superagree:
     
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  3. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society Contributor

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    Why do you wanna know, huh?
    I think the main thing that could make it unsatisfactory- or more to the point, frustrating- is if the character forgets before resolving the main plot points relevant to their memories. It would be annoying for a character to be chasing some goal, fighting through every obstacle, only to forget key information. throwing a massive spanner in the works and upsetting the whole thing. It sounds like a very unfulfilling way of doing things. Not, at the very least, unless they smoothly transition back into it.
    If instead there's only secondary things that get thrown off by it, I think the audience can accept that. It might be interesting to dangle a little reminder of what they've forgotten near the end and the question of whether somehow they might come to know.
     
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  4. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Banned Contributor

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    Just a thought... in my story anyone sent to Heaven or Hell is there to stay. The few characters who return to the natural world are conjured back from purgatory, or as I prefer, Limbo. They have a last chance, as it were, to make amends for a misspent life and move on to their final reward, or eternal damnation as the case may be. But they remember fine where it is they dwell. The reason I like using purgatory is that the characters aren't beholden to God or the Devil, not yet anyhow. To my thinking, purgatory is a more fertile playground than Heaven and Hell. I can keep those two showboats, God and the Devil at arms-length and let the characters do as they will.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2018
  5. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Potatoes again? Supporter Contributor

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    My initial reaction was "Yeah, but..."

    Then I thought about it a bit more and realized "Spot on, thanks!" Not Purgatory, but in-processing. Perfect. Problem stands, but it's a great adjustment.
     

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