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The dreaded "waking up" scene...

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Ireth, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Early on in WQ (start of chapter 3, to be exact), I have a scene where the MC wakes up in Faerie after being drugged and carried off by the villain. I hate writing these kinds of scenes because they're usually really hard, but unfortunately it's quite vital to the plot. It carries the weight of the MC's first reaction to Faerie, not to mention being properly introduced to the villain after their first meeting ended with the aforesaid kidnapping. Any advice on how to start it off? I want to include details like the after-effects of the drug the villain used, but I'm afraid of going overboard with it. Then again, maybe I'm just not able to gather my thoughts well because it's past midnight here and I should be in bed... But in any case, advice is appreciated. :)
     
  2. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

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    I'm not sure I understand what the problem is. Could you be more specific about what mistakes you're afraid of making, or what mistakes you've seen other authors make in this kind of scene?
     
  3. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    I too am confused. Is it the fear of a sort of Alice in Wonderland feel? Like you're concerned with info-dumping every single element of the surroundings as she notices the differences from her world?
     
  4. The Dark One

    The Dark One Auror

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    To my mind that's an excellent opportunity to really suck the reader into your world. In normal life, waking up means a transition from one plane of consciousness to another. We all understand that delicious feeling of lingering on the edge of sleep but gradually surrendering to the waking urge. It is a transitional zone of profoundly graphic imagery, so just imagine what you could do with that when a whole new world is involved.

    Enjoy it.
     
  5. GroundedTraveler

    GroundedTraveler Scribe

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    You could do a stream of consciousness passage letting it drift slowly back into normal prose. This might give you the chance to have all of the impressions and emotions then be able to explain them.

    As I was reading your initial post I really thought of the Metamorphosis by Kafka. Man wakes up turning into a cockroach. Probably worth a read. Cool story if nothing else.
     
  6. Hagan

    Hagan Dreamer

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    Having talked with you previously about this story, I think I understand what your asking for.

    First thing you need to get clear before writing the scene is 'how the world looks and reacts' to the mortal form and mind. Is the world 'dreamlike' in a way, does gravity not seem as strong despite being a perfect 1G, does the air taste crisp or sweet somehow? Do the senses not seem as sharp or pick out subtle details as they should do? Does the world, for all intents and purposes, feel like a dream?

    Are berries red, blue, pink? Is the green that perfect shade the character had always envisioned but was never able to replicate? Does everything feel soft? Is the character finding all this hard to process, does they feel like they are drunk despite being quite sober? Are all the worlds rough edges somehow smooth?

    And does all this contrast hugely with the villains personality? Where the world is soft, is he sharp like a barb? Where a human may see perfection he sees the humdrum and the boring? Has this worlds somehow caused him to snap somehow, forcing him to act as an agent of change in a world of 'sameness'?

    And how does this all boil down to those first few minutes when your character wakes up and is confronted by all this? Will it be overwhelming and hard to process, or does the villain snap them out of it with a hammer-blow of bitterness and anger as he launches into a tirade of his own?

    More importantly, if he is taking the latter option, is there a reason for it? Is the world infectious to the imagination somehow? And if so, does he need her intact and focused for now?

    Just a few ideas.
     
  7. Malik

    Malik Auror

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    It depends on how they wake up, too. When I was wounded, it was like I'd blinked my eyes and I'd gone from the situation I was in to a hospital room with my wife and parents standing over me. The shift was so immediate and jarring that I still have nightmares about blinking my eyes and waking up somewhere else.

    EDIT: I should add, too: there was no slow coming-around with things melting into shape around me. It was like changing the channel on the television.

    War War War War War BLINK Hospital. "****."

    The sense of one thing ending and then being overwhelmed by new sensation is overwhelming: fluorescent lighting, machines beeping, the quiet, that smell of a box of band-aids that all hospitals have. I still can't open a band-aid without flashing back to waking up. The brain doesn't like time travel; it spends the rest of your life going over the disconnect trying to sort that moment out.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
    buyjupiter and Caged Maiden like this.
  8. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    I hadn't considered the world being "dreamlike", but it makes perfect sense to feel so to a mortal. I'll keep that in mind. :D

    The MC wakes up inside a building in early winter, so there are no berries or green things to be seen. (Little early to start decorating for Yule the day after Samhain, too.) I do intend for the MC to wake up feeling "hungover" from the sedative, which is what I meant by after-effects: headache, cotton-mouth, etc.

    I think the villain would be as "dreamlike" as Faerie itself, since he is native to that world. He would definitely see the same old boring things, and is working to change things up. His entire motivation for kidnapping the MC rests on it -- he wants to gain a bride so he can overthrow his father, become King and start his own line. (Which would still be his father's line, but don't tell him that!)

    Definitely the former. The villain isn't the type to tirade, especially in this instance. He's going for smooth, suave and seductive, not furious or bitter.

    Given the "hungover" feeling I described above, I would imagine she wakes up slowly and feels fuzzy for the first while. (Never drunk enough to get hungover, so I can't speak from experience.)
     
  9. Malik

    Malik Auror

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    I'm not saying it doesn't happen that way. I just have no experience with it.

    Well, that's not entirely true. There was that time I woke up beside two girls in Racine, Wisconsin when the band's gig the previous night had been in Chicago, effectively time-traveling.
     
  10. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    Thought this was going to be my pet peeve.
    Where the ending is the person wakes up and it was all a dream.
    I hate this ending because it makes the story meaningless, there was no danger, there was no real villain,
    win or lose they wake up and nothing has changed.

    I think you kind of have to make a good description after waking up somewhere new. but it should be limited to what the POV knows. They typically wouldn't know who drugged them, they wouldn't know where they are.

    I think "hung over" would be expected, unless it's magic, its a toxin that overwhelmed the filtration system of the body, much like drinking to much.
     
  11. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Well, the MC would know more or less where she is, because she knows what the villain is. He's a Fae who specifically said he wanted her for a bride, ergo it only makes sense that he would kidnap her to Faerie. She still doesn't know WHO he is, but that will be solved when he comes into the room and finds her awake.

    Re: the drug itself, there might be a magical side to it, since the berry the drug comes from is native to Faerie, and would have different effects on a human than a Fae. I don't want to give the MC too easy a time as far as lack of short-term after-effects goes, though.
     
  12. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    Thanks for posting this. I really like it and it totally spoke to me. Ha! I read your next post. I'm from Racine. Don't recognize you though... so it wasn't me, but ... small world, huh?

    So thanks for posting the thing about waking up. I've had a lot of unusual experiences in my life and it really grates on my nerves when people artistically portray things completely not how they are in real life... I can't think of an example right now, but I can say fear portrayals are a little unrealistic sometimes, like not at all how a person reacts when truly panicking or with their life imminently threatened. Oh, and pain... and wounds, like when people either live through mortal wounds and keep going... or they get a sword stab and fall over immediately dead...

    Anyways, than you from someone who really enjoys to hear about the real experience (on those rare occasions I haven't lived through the exact circumstance myself).
     
  13. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    With hangovers... The headache comes from dehydration.. as do some of the other symptoms. So... does your toxin dehydrate? I'd honestly prefer to see her effects more akin to LSD... so just in case some people here don't know what those effects are, I'll give you a couple suggestions.

    Bad acid is... BAD. Your jaw feels all tight, like you're talking through clenched teeth all the time and you just want to keep stretching your mouth open to make it stop. Things move. On the lighter side of that, it's like driving at night, where you get sort of hypnotized and think every weird shadow is a deer and soon it actually looks like deer are everywhere, waiting to jump in front of your car. On the more intense side, the carpet patterns can literally wind their way forward and it's a little frightening as you're backing away from said entangling vines. Okay, and on the way intense side, you can have inanimate things talking to you, having faces, or maybe even chasing you, etc.

    Feelings... Restlessness. One might drive eighty miles tripping, because they couldn't sit still and kept going from a friend's house to their own, unable to just get comfortable. Also, LSD can create powerful feelings. my friend in high school saw a pile of dirt in his friend's yard and he fell to his knees and wept for about two hours because it was the most beautiful, perfect thing he'd ever seen. I mean, with feelings, you could really get creative.

    So... another thing to consider are the physical effects of toxins, whether alcohol, LSD or a list of others. Stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, shaking, weakness, dizziness, headache, dry mouth, bad taste in your mouth, clumsiness, fogginess, feeling like you're hearing things underwater, it just goes on and on, really. I'd look to the less common or more interesting ones for authenticity, and perhaps choose a type of toxin so your effects are all in line in a way, convincing.
     
  14. Nihal

    Nihal Vala

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    The cause of the loss of consciousness plays a big role on how it'll feel and how one will wake up.

    I experienced a sort of "melting into shape" sensation when I fainted in a room full of gas. Before fainting I felt ridiculously light, my head in particular, but soon my legs were stone. I didn't grasp what was happening, I could only clutch at the sideboard to stay on my feet because for some mysterious reason my legs weren't working right. I never questioned why, there was nothing in my head besides holding onto the sideboard.

    I heard voices in the other room, my family was too noisy this morning, I probably slept in and as still really drowsy. When I managed to understand the talk it didn't sound quite right. I opened my eyes and the people "in the other room" were looming over me. I had no clue of where I was or what happened, it took me a little while to remember everything. I didn't notice how I was laying on the floor, not in my room nor where I've fainted, people holding me or anything, there was only the slow traveling sound at first.

    Sometimes I still dream with this "heavy legs" sensation, often when I'm required to flee for my life. It's horrible haha.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
  15. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    I chose a hangover-ish feeling specifically because the drug in question is a sedative, like alcohol, rather than a hallucinogen like LSD. I don't want to incapacitate her for an extended period of time; she does drink water soon after waking up, which helps her symptoms somewhat. Also I need her to be focused and alert when she meets the villain, and his family soon after.
     
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