StuckishI've been mulling it over for a long time now. How long, I won't say because

MistingWolf

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I've been mulling it over for a long time now. How long, I won't say because it's embarrassing. But I'm having loads of trouble trying to figure out the scene of when my book characters finally make it home.
Here's the lowdown:

Iris is a pretty normal teen, does the school thing and participates in gymnastics. After some particular falls, she finds that what she had thought to be a disfigurement in her back are actually wings. They grow, and in time, she starts finding it awfully difficult to hide them.

Then she gets into a car accident and her secret's ripped away, along with her right arm. She decides to go for an advanced prosthetic, which is covered in skin to hide it. She learns how to control it.

If that weren't enough, after a long recovery and some down time, Iris is to bring her stepbrother, Terry, to summer camp, a sort of "bring your kid to work day", only it's a sibling. For a month. On the way, Terry is kidnapped and Iris goes with them.


But during all this, on a different planet, Keiro, a prince, is trying to find a way to keep a war out of his country. Some maniac is wiping out everyone that isn't human, and there's lots of Iedmesil (anthros/furs whatevers) in his country, along with a couple of other races. A meeting with his councilors reveals a rare item that allows for world-to-world travel. Guess who kidnapped Terry. Yeah, Keiro does, thinking that the boy will have some kind of knowledge on the advanced tech of Earth that could help him.

The item used to transport them is destroyed by accident, which makes the three of them journey together to find another one, through lots of other more awesome events.

And when they finally do get one, this is where I'm stuck. How should the parents react? I've never been good at these kinds of emotional scenes. I need some advice, please!
 

dustinzgirl

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Re: StuckishI've been mulling it over for a long time now. How long, I won't say beca

MistyWolf, I think you should slow down, and think about who the people are and more importantly, why they are doing the things they are doing. Cuz I'm really confused, too.
 

Mouse

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Re: StuckishI've been mulling it over for a long time now. How long, I won't say beca

How should the parents react to what? To them coming home? Just think about how your parents would react if you'd been missing. Do the parents even know they've been anywhere?
 

The Judge

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Re: StuckishI've been mulling it over for a long time now. How long, I won't say beca

Doesn't the reaction of the parents rather depend on their relationship to begin with, how long they have been away and how Iris and her brother have changed in the meantime?

A loving mother whose child has been missing for 10 years will react differently from a distant father who never really liked the child anyway, and after 10 years the father has made a new family and just isn't interested, except so far as the publicity and money arising from it is concerned. And the reactions of the first few days from anyone is likely to be very different from how they all interact thereafter -- imagine losing a sweet innocent 11 year old and being confronted by a traumatised hulking great teen who isn't going to want to do "normal" things after being independent for so long.

Get inside the characters -- all of them, not simply Iris -- and imagine going through the reunion and its aftermath. If you have dificulty doing this, read a lot of biographies/memoirs of people who have suffered in this way eg families separated by war (I'm particularly thinking of the Kindertransport parents and children).

Good luck with it
 

Karn Maeshalanadae

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Re: StuckishI've been mulling it over for a long time now. How long, I won't say beca

Or, you can completely ditch how you might believe a normal, real world person would react and completely go against what modern psychologists might believe. The trouble with the public, though, is that even in their fiction they want more and more reality. I simply don't understand that. If I wanted to read something that's never happened, then I would want it so it couldn't ever actually happen, or at least be astronomically unlikely of ever happening. (Which is why I choose fantasy over science fiction, actually...)


You could have parents be glad but wary of a reunion, or possibly be as cold and callous as possible, believing that it's a missing child. I believe TJ said something about the latter already.


Your own imagination is the only limitation to this, Misting. Use it well. Balance is, unfortunately, a necessary evil for writing, but don't ever be afraid of pushing it as far as you dare to. Let editors worry about that. :D
 

MistingWolf

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Re: StuckishI've been mulling it over for a long time now. How long, I won't say beca

Teach me to post in haste while I'm tired. ^^; I'm sorry for the confusion.

Whenever I try to play the scene in my head it all feels too fast somehow.

Iris' father, Kris, is an astronomer and is away a lot of the time. Terry's mother is also gone a lot due to her job. Both parents love both children as any parent can. When their kids are to go to this camp thing, they're like normal parents; expect a call when they get there, an update every day or every couple of days, the norm. The first phone call is missed and they figure, well, they're probably busy with the introductions, the unpacking and all that. But there's no call the next day either, and they start to worry a bit. Camping is fun, but a phone call takes a minute. No call the next couple of days and now you're getting pretty worried. A few days don't seem like much to anyone else, but when your normally responsible kids aren't calling, then there's a problem. So they call up the camp only to find out that their children didn't even make roll call on the bus. You call the police and get them involved, A couple of months pass with not even a hint of where they've gone and both parents are worried sick. Then all of a sudden, out of the blue, you're at home and you hear the door open, a voice. It's the kids! They rush out, hugs and tears all around. * And then when you calm down, you notice they look a little different; the clothes they're wearing are definitely not ones you've seen on them before and your daughter has a sword on her hips, and her once-covered prosthetic is now out in the open. The boy looks a little older, too and is a bit more mellowed out. They ask where they've been and all that.


But after the asterisk, it feels rushed. Is it? There'd probably be a call to the police that they've been found somewhere along the line, but is that necessary to be shown too?
 

Mouse

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Re: StuckishI've been mulling it over for a long time now. How long, I won't say beca

It doesn't sound particularly rushed to me. But is that where it ends? With them asking where the kids have been?

If so, why don't you end it a little earlier, just as the parents notice the sword...

My second novel ends with the hero seeing her mum for the first time in ages. She (the hero) has just been in a battle so she's utterly exhausted. The mum hugs her, the hero collapses into her arms. End of book.
 

Vertigo

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Re: StuckishI've been mulling it over for a long time now. How long, I won't say beca

Lord knows I'm no writer but I do read quite a lot :) So here's my thought. Assuming this is the end of the book, is the actual reunion a necessary story to tell. Might it not be better to end with them walking up the garden path or whatever and leave the rest to the reader's imagination. Dwelling on the actual reunion can make the end of the story just kind of fizzle out and be an anti-climax. Many argue that was a mistake made in Lord of the Rings.

Edit: hmmm Mouse kind of beat me to a similar conclusion :)
 

Precise Calibre

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Re: StuckishI've been mulling it over for a long time now. How long, I won't say beca

Stunned silence -> momentary observation of details -> short tearful embrace with no dialogue -> end of book.
 

The Judge

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Re: StuckishI've been mulling it over for a long time now. How long, I won't say beca

If this is indeed the end of the book, then I agree with everyone -- you can leave most of it to the readers' imagination. Whether you stop at the children walking up the path or having the first hugs is up to you, but I don't think I'd go as far as the parents noticing the strange clothes etc -- after all, your readers have been with the children all this while, so know what they're wearing.

If it all seems too fast in your head, try writing it down and see how fast it reads on paper -- you can always slow it down with a bit of description if it is too rushed (eg if in Iris's POV, she could notice the big "Missing Children" posters all over the windows).
 

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Re: StuckishI've been mulling it over for a long time now. How long, I won't say beca

Watch 'Big' with Tom Hanks... ok it's off-screen, but listen to the Mother's reaction when he returns...

What did you decide to do about her arm? I thought you were going to consider the morphing into a creature that regrows limbs, so she gets a proper arm back? Go on, you know she deserves it!!!

Just imagine how you'd feel if a loved one returned after years absence. Maybe write it in 1st person, as though it were you describing it, and see what your emotions are.
 

MistingWolf

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Re: StuckishI've been mulling it over for a long time now. How long, I won't say beca

Mouse, Vertigo, Precise: Well, it's certainly not the end of my book yet (though I do like some of the endings mentioned). I have a couple of things yet left unfinished. A couple of secrets to reveal and all that (this is where the clothes thing comes in. Highlight for the reason; it's a spoiler, though.

The clothes are from Canaes, where Iris' family originates. If anyone remembers the trunk and its contents from the first chapter I posted a long time ago, that was the first clue. Another clue I added in after that posting a little while ago. But to be blunt, her father is from Canaes. He would recognize the clothing and the sword

Judge: I think I'll try that, though my first person POV skills are pretty poor. I was trying to think of how my mom would react if I had gone missing.... But then I find the gaps and I wonder, and when I ask her, she tells me what I already know and nothing I don't.

Boneman: I found (rather Iris decided for me) that Iris has become a bit too attached to that prosthetic; it gets her out of more than one scrape and indeed saves her life on one occasion. Think of it kind of like how some blind people embrace their handicap, not thinking of it as a problem at all. "Big" is it? I'll have to remember to find it. The only problem with me imagining a loved one gone is that I'm a pretty big loner, and I'm fairly happy not seeing family for long periods of time....

"The Fizzle Ending" is, in my opinion, one of the most antagonizing of all endings (aside from the all out cliff hangers! >~<#. They drive me up the wall!), though admittedly, some of them are done satisfyingly well. So no, my book will have a nice solid ending, of which I do have a general idea of, but like the rest of my book (aside from this particular complaint) will just kind of work itself in.
 

The Judge

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Re: StuckishI've been mulling it over for a long time now. How long, I won't say beca

How far from the end of the book is it? Could the reunion be the end of a chapter? Then again you could still have the emotion and drama happening off-screen as it were, if you feel you can't write it. Then any wrapping up bits could come in the final chapter** which will occur slightly later in time once the initial euphoria and catching up has been done, eg Iris can't sleep in her tiny bedroom and goes out to look at the stars and her dad comes out to her there and tells her all the secrets.

**Even if there isn't enough action for a whole new chapter, I think I'd still go this route, as you could have these secrets revealed in an epilogue of a few paragraphs or so.
 

MistingWolf

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Re: StuckishI've been mulling it over for a long time now. How long, I won't say beca

It's nearing it's end, but having it the end of a chapter sounds good. I don't usually think about ends of chapters; as said, the writing usually takes care of that kind of thing for me. I like the idea of a delayed wrap-up. Maybe that's the key to it is to not have it all squished together..... I feel cogs turning :}
 

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