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  1. TonyByrd6

    TonyByrd6 New Member

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    Writing a plot about sexual abuse

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by TonyByrd6, May 23, 2020 at 12:16 AM.

    I'm writing a book or fanfic called Creep. My characters' name is Kelsey. She is a young woman who suffered at the hands of her father Frank and her stepfather Johnny. Her father Frank abused when she was a baby until she was four years old. Her stepfather came into her life when she was seven and sexually abused her when she was ten until fourteen. She learns that her father was sexually abused as a child himself by his father who abused every member in his family. She struggles with relationships until someone came in her life called Miles. She knows that everyone in her life has gone through this experience. She wants to write her story to inspire others.
     
  2. ElConesaToLoco

    ElConesaToLoco Active Member

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    I can't help but feel that this thread lacks a purpose, unless I'm missing something here. Are you asking for advice? Opinions? Book recommendations (to get a feel of this kind of story)? Maya Angelou's "I know why the caged bird sings" (first part of her autobiography) has a signifficant section dedicated to her being sexually abused as a kid by her mother's boyfriend, so that's something you could look into for inspiration.
     
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  3. Infel

    Infel Contributor Contributor

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    Hey there Tony! Welcome to the forums! It sounds like a great premise and I'm sure you're eager to get to writing. Typically the best way to reach out to the other members here is to be as specific as possible when seeking advice or asking questions. That way people can more effectively give their thoughts and opinions. Did you have a specific question about your premise, or want feedback on your direction?
     
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  4. TonyByrd6

    TonyByrd6 New Member

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    I wanted feedback.
     
  5. Kallisto

    Kallisto Ruler of the world... somewhere... Contributor

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    You gave very much a quick skim of your book, and doesn't give a lot for people to offer their feedback.

    When writing a bad character, I think the best advise came from Stephen King who stated that, as much as it's hard to believe, even a serial killer might help an old lady cross the street.

    With material like this, it's very easy to fall into the trap of assumptions and making caricatures instead of characters. It's very tempting to try and make perps out as wild eye maniacs because it's hard to believe that someone who could do something so terrible, could actually act quite normal.

    What always shocked me when looking at people who molest children in particular, both male and female perps, is how much they so calmly and casually push the blame on their victims. They way they talk, you would think that they were talking about a horny lover on a honeymoon and they just sort of went along with the ride. But then you realize the age of the victim is 5, 6, or 7.

    For example, I was watching about a teacher who had sex with a student and her words were, "He was just making me feel so secure and he promised me so much." Sounds like she's talking about an adult male who wooed her and then just left her to hang. But then you realize the victim was 15 years old and she was 24. Logically, what the heck would a 15 year old be ever able to promise a 24 year old woman?
     
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  6. TonyByrd6

    TonyByrd6 New Member

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    What should I do?
     
  7. Kallisto

    Kallisto Ruler of the world... somewhere... Contributor

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    I don't know because I don't know what your concerns are. You need to help me help you. Please be more specific. One sentence questions are not helpful.

    Otherwise my suggestion is just not cover the topic at all. You're clearly not comfortable having it. You're not even sure what questions to ask right now.
     
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  8. Oscar Leigh

    Oscar Leigh Contributor Contributor

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    I am concerned by her having two abusers. It seems relatively unlikely, and potentially excessive. You don't want readers to feel like you've written tragedy-porn where over-the-top pain is equated with being "deep".
    I think furthermore you want to consider the basic principle of not blaming the victim, so consider how her feelings and reactions to the situation are portrayed. Children often don't really understand what's happening to them when they are abused, which unfortunately make it easier to do so as they can be coaxed and coerced easily. However, this is not validation of the interactions, even though sexual abusers in particular will appeal to it as an excuse as mentioned above. Furthermore, the father being sexually abused shouldn't engender too much sympathy, because the cycle of abuse is tragic but not an excuse. I am slightly confused why the father, who physically abuses the baby, is the who has the backstory when it sounds like you are going for the cycle of abuse phenomenon. Does the father abuse her sexually as a baby?
    Obvious caveats; I have not been abused in my life and I am not a therapist or something.
     
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  9. Kallisto

    Kallisto Ruler of the world... somewhere... Contributor

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    That's a big thing, particularly with sexual abuse in books. Often the depictions are over the top. The only reason I know anything about this topic is because I had to research it for my own project and I quickly realized how many misconceptions I had about it. I ultimately decided to do the "less is more approach." Basically, not making it over the top. Making it match the descriptions I was reading. Not making it graphic.

    What it did for me was make "room" so to speak in my story, to discuss the mental trauma, because people were not reeling in the shock of the act itself. They were seeing the results.
     
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  10. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Benevolent Ochlocrat Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think (and this is armchair psychology at best) that the idea of her father having abused her and then her stepfather doing the same thing could be plausible. People like her mother (and it's not just women) often are attracted to a certain "type" of romantic partner, even if that type is one who is objectively bad for them and their families. If the MC is being abused by her father, odds are he's abusing her mother in some way as well. You didn't specify why he left the scene, but it's plausible that her mom could then go and fall for the same sort of human disease that she was originally with.

    Also, the fact that she was abused at a very young age might have accustomed her to it. Everyone thinks they grew up in a "normal" family, which would give her a certain, I don't want to say "comfort" level, but familiarity with what was going on when her stepdad started up with her.

    However, there are two key points here that we really need to know more about. You said it was a fanfic. What universe/book/show or whatever is it a fanfic of? I'm not familiar with the rather sparse details you've presented, but if we knew what you were riffing off of it might be easier to help you out.

    Second, who is "Miles" and how is he important to the story? It seems like he might be a sympathetic/non-abusive character who helped her, but there's nothing more to go on. What is the main arc of the story? Her abuse and redemption? Her discovery of her family history of chain abuse? I wrote a story about an abused child once, and I can outline it like this:

    1. Toddler (MC) has a loving father.
    2. Father is sent to Iraq and dies.
    3. Mother gets a new boyfriend.
    4. Boyfriend abuses MC.
    5. Mother refuses to believe MC.
    6. MC gets revenge on abusive "uncle".

    Now that was a short little bit of flash, but can you present your story in a simple outline so that we can see where you want to go with it?
     
  11. TonyByrd6

    TonyByrd6 New Member

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    It's an original fanfic. Actually, he sexualized her as a baby.
     
  12. TonyByrd6

    TonyByrd6 New Member

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    1) Her dad is a drug addict and he died of a drug overdose.
    2) Miles is her boyfriend who also went through sexual abuse by a female babysitter.
     
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  13. Oscar Leigh

    Oscar Leigh Contributor Contributor

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    What is an original fanfic? What can that possibly mean?
     
  14. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, that was my question as well. Fanfic usually implies that you're writing about a character or setting that somebody else has created. You're a fan of that series, or book or movie, and you want to use the characters and settings to create more stories that 'fans' of those series, books or movies would also enjoy.

    I agree with the other responders that it would be helpful if you could focus on what exactly you want from us on this thread. Do you want us to approve your plot summary? Do you want suggestions about what to do next? Do you want other examples of similar stories?

    What has caused you to choose this kind of story to write? Is there some theme or issue you want to explore? If so, what is that theme or issue?

    Give us some more insight into what your goals are for this story, and I'm sure we can give you the kind of feedback you want and need. :)
     
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  15. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    its certainly possible for someone to be abused more than once.. in picking up the pieces by psychologist Paul Brittan he relates a case study of a young girl who was abused by her father, grandfather, and brother, who then went on to enter an abusive relationship/marriage that culminates in her confessing to having harmed her baby when in fact that was done by her abusive husband... Brittan essentially says that the damage done to her psyche by childhood abuse made her easier prey for her husband.

    That said it strikes me that you've possibly got so much abuse here that you are stretching the grounds of credibility.. I mean not only was your Mc abused twice, and her father was abused, but separately her boyfriend was also abused... unless she meets him through a support group or something like that, this feels like a convenient coincidence.

    In terms of the original question about writing a sexually abusive character, it depends on point of view... if you are in Kelsey's head then the readers experience of her abuser will be filtered through her experience of them... which will depend on whether the abuse is openly coercive or through grooming. If you are the omnicient third or writing some chapters from the point of view of the abuser then you have more scope for examining their motivations... the stereotype of the narcistic sociopath abuser who see everyone around him as things put there to make him feel good is only one option, others include the paedophile who genuinely believes that children love him and what he is doing is normal, and the abuse victim who has internalised these behaviours as the way things are and so goes on to become an abuser.

    If you are in kelsey's head it is more acceptable for the abuser to be defined by the abuse, but if you have access to their heads you also need to show them as a rounded characters... purely evil monsters are rare, so what else do they do when they arent abusing kids ?

    Either way you'll need to do a bunch of research in reading the accounts of both victims and perpetrators
     
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  16. TonyByrd6

    TonyByrd6 New Member

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    I just write a fanfic about my character.
     
  17. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    that's not what fanfic means - fan fiction would be if your story was set in, for example, the star wars universe, or the game of thrones world or like that or if your story featured characters from another writers work.. that is you're fan of xyz book/film and you write a story set in that world.. hence the name - the defining characteristic of fan fiction is that it features another creatives copyright work.

    pretty much every book is written about it's character(s)... so you are writing a story, but it's not fan fiction.

    That aside the reason you are struggling to get meaningful response here is because you didn't ask a question... this here is the character development board, so it would follow that you want advice on creating a sexually abusive character ? (that's what I assumed in my response above)

    alternately if you really wanted feedback on the plot/.. e.g is it credible? how could it be improved ? and so forth, then i'm happy to move this into the plot development board for you.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2020 at 3:33 PM
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  18. TonyByrd6

    TonyByrd6 New Member

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    It's a book.
     
  19. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Great, so what do you need help with ? In these boards it goes a lot easier if you ask a specific question rather than making a vague comment and leaving people to guess what you wanted
     
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  20. TonyByrd6

    TonyByrd6 New Member

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    My question is how can break the cycle of abuse?
     
  21. TonyByrd6

    TonyByrd6 New Member

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    The main arc of the story is about her abuse and redemption.
     
  22. Kallisto

    Kallisto Ruler of the world... somewhere... Contributor

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    Well, it's called choice. A lot of people break the cycle of abuse by first realizing they have a problem. While that doesn't mean they have become abusive, they do recognize their potential to become abusive. Then they seek help. People who have the best chance of recovery are those who are willing to open their mouth and speak, especially to a mental health advisor. Then they follow the tools the therapist prescribes. There are a lot of people who do not have success in therapy. Sometimes it could be a bad therapist. I don't deny those exist. But sometimes it's because they just aren't willing to put forth the effort.
     
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  23. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    You break the cycle of abuse as an author by making her have different priorities and choices... also statistically speaking child sexual abuse (as opposed to neglect) by women is significantly rarer than by men.

    also per your plot description she doesn't have kids, so her opportunity to become an abuser is limited

    As i said further up to write convincingly on such a sensitive subject you need to do a lot of research on accounts both of victims and of abusers
     
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  24. TonyByrd6

    TonyByrd6 New Member

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    The questions are
    1) Why would a father would do this to his daughter?
    2) How many people her grandfather abused?
    3) Did she have any siblings that her father and stepfather abused?
     
  25. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    1) do some research - why fathers commit abuse is a massively complex topic.
    2) thats up to you as author - in general id expect it not to be very many but that have been cases of mass abuse, so its a case of how long is a piece of string
    3) that's completely up to you as author and depends on the story you want to tell

    With my moderators hat perched precariously between my antlers I'd point out that while people here can help you develop plot, character etc they can't write your book for you, and you need to make decisions about these sorts of matters yourself, as there isn't a right answer
     
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