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Reasonable Assumptions

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Ireth, Jun 23, 2013.

  1. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Having a slight issue with a scene in my latest WIP. The MC has just woken up in a dungeon cell in the villain's lair. The one who locked him in there is a disguised henchman (henceforth DH), who had earlier fooled the MC by pretending to be a prisoner, and luring the MC into "rescuing" him, then bringing him to a safe place, which the DH proceeded to snoop and spy through for the main villain (MV). Others at the safe place have already learned the DH is an evil spy, but they didn't have the chance to tell the MC that before DH got his hands on him.

    I'm wondering specifically what would be reasonable assumptions for the MC to make before he realizes what's really going on. The last thing he remembers is seeing the DH running full-tilt away from the safe place, then crossing paths with him and being magically knocked unconscious. He has no inkling of the MV or her motives yet (he'll meet her later in the chapter), though he does know that hordes of evil mooks are likely to come from somewhere and invade his home (that somewhere being the MC's current location). So what might the MC's thought process look like? Here's a rudimentary outline of what I've got so far:

    "Ugh, I'm uncomfortable. Huh, I'm tied up? And there's iron close by, not good! Where am I? It's dark in here... nothing much to see. Floor, walls, door. Iron's in and around the door, blast it.

    "Okay, so what happened? I saw Jarl in the woods, running away from the mortals' settlement... why would he run? Did they throw him out? What did he do to deserve that? And why did he smile right before he touched me between the eyes...?

    "Oh, shit, he must have knocked me out somehow and kidnapped me. After I saved him from those black elves! Ungrateful b*stard! But maybe that was part of his ploy... and I fell for it. Stupid! And I took him to the mortals... shit, how much did they tell him about Faerie and my people? He must have been running back to the rift with all the information he needed, and thought I'd be a nice bit of proof. But who is he reporting to? And how can I get out of here?"

    Etc., etc. ^^ So, yeah, does that all sound reasonable? No weird leaps? (In case the first bit is confusing, the MC knows there's iron around even before he sees it because he's a Fae, and they're very sensitive to it at close range.)
     
  2. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    I think this works, but if you wanted I think you could even make quicker jump. You could have MC wake up and just know Jarl knocked him out, and say, "Jarl knocked me out. Why did knock me out?" And then have him make the assumptions of who he really is.
     
  3. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    What do you want him to think? When you know that you can go back and work out what he saw / experienced.

    My thought would be that if you want him to know DH betrayed him you either need a very clear memory of him being betrayed by him - something that I'm not sure being magically knocked out would provide. Or a less clear memory and some supporting evidence. Perhaps he was suspicious about the man's motives etc before things went sideways. Maybe the manner of his being captured and imprisone is enough to tell him that only someone like the DH could have given the enemies that knowledge.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  4. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Possibly, but the nature of how the MC was knocked out involves magic unknown to the MC, and not as immediately obvious as a physical knockout. Jarl simply touches the MC on the forehead to send him to sleep; it's not as if Jarl punches him in the jaw. So I don't think a quicker jump would be too logical in this case.

    Well, Jarl didn't do anything to merit immediate suspicion in the MC's eyes. There is another character who does immediately mistrust him, and he's magically stricken blind not long before the MC is kidnapped. Sadly, there's not enough time for them to send out a warning about Jarl between the two events, so Jarl's betrayal naturally comes as a shock to the MC.
     
  5. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

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    It sounds like you want to make this a leap for him, that he doesn't have clear reasons for suspecting the DH but he comes to that point anyway. Sounds like one of the better ways this can go, from confusion and doubt to intuitive but real certainty.

    You may want to play on how he doesn't have any clear way to guess what happened-- except for the way Jarl's acted. He doesn't know what happened or why or how, but he knows he doesn't like that smile, and the rest is just the most likely answer for why he'd smile that way.

    In fact, I think you might want to tone down the evil in the smile, and say Jarl got in that touch from behind the MC's back so he's not positive Jarl's hand was the last thing that touched him; the moment could be stronger if the clues aren't as clear and it's sheer suspicion sorting it out rather than anything as obvious.
     
  6. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    It's a good idea, but it won't really work with how the kidnapping scene is set up. The way it happens, the MC is on his way to the human settlement to give a report from his Queen, and Jarl is headed away from the settlement toward the portal that will take him to Svartalfheimr and the MV. They meet in the middle, and Jarl promptly knocks the MC out, slings him over his shoulder and carries right on to the portal. They each see each other coming from a long way off, so there's no chance of a stealthy approach from either end. Jarl doesn't plan on taking anyone else back with him as he first flees the humans, but he knows that the opportunity, when it presents itself via the MC, is too perfect to pass up.
     
  7. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

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    You could have DH refer to him as an idiot or foolish right before touching him to knock him out if you want to cast more doubt on the DH's character
     
  8. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    That might be hard, since the two don't speak the same language. The MC knows barely enough of the DH's language to be able to say he's a friend, but barely a few words more. The kidnap scene is from the DH's POV, so it would be obvious there what he's saying, but not when the MC wakes up and thinks about it.
     
  9. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    In the dungeon could your MC overhear the guards laughing about how easily he was caught / set up?

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  10. Truepinkas

    Truepinkas Dreamer

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    I think seeing someone smiling at me and reaching for my forehead before I blackout and wake up in a dungeon is grounds for suspicion in it's own right and at least should illicit a 'What did he do to me?' response.

    Might be fun to play it a bit more casual at first, like a sleepy person just waking up, maybe his nose itches and when he goes to scratch it he finds his arms tied, which is when he takes a better survey of his surroundings, and then remembers the smiley touch and gets pissed.

    I'm sure everyone says this but do your best to get out of the author fitting together the puzzle mindset and try to get into the role of the MC. What does he know, how is he feeling? He's probably not going to have a super detailed inner dialog right away, just what he's immediately noticing and wondering.

    Anyhow, just my thoughts on it, carry on. :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2013
  11. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    I don't think that'd work, unfortunately. The guards (not that there are any at the moment aside from the DH) would speak the same language as the DH, not the MC, and nobody else knows how he got there anyway.

    Good points. I'll keep tinkering with this. ^^ Thanks!
     
  12. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    Then maybe the knock out magic blow didn't work completely at first. Maybe it left him too woozy to do anything but still awake enough to sneak a peak at the DH or hear him as he set about binding him etc. Before he passed out completely.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  13. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    The MC isn't bound properly until he's brought into the MV's lair, before he wakes up. There are a few reasons for this -- one, the knockout spell works completely and instantly, meaning there's no need for further restraint; two, Jarl has nothing with him when he flees that would work to bind the MC with anyway. Also there's the language issue again (re: your hearing comment), and Jarl isn't the type to gloat about his victories in any case. I'm also not sure what "sneaking a peek at the DH" would accomplish, since the disguise would still be in place, and the MC saw him coming from a long way off anyway.
     

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