Need assistance.

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Preacher
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Need assistance.

Post by Preacher » January 21st, 2013, 3:39 pm

I have a scene that needs a fix. I need a compelling reason for a supposedly respected physician to sit down and answer questions from someone. The questions are about the physician's partner, who was a fertility banned word who was blown up in his car. The respected physician is the antagonist and the stranger is the protagonist. The antagonist (doctor) knows about the protagonist but the protagonist doesn't really knoew this is the bad guy he is sitting down with. I need my protagonist to have a compelling reason why this doctor would see him and answer questions.

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Hillsy
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Re: Need assistance.

Post by Hillsy » January 22nd, 2013, 5:54 am

1) Classic misdirection: "Hi, I'm Sergeant Mc*cough**cough* from *Cough*PD. We're following up on a case that has similar circustances to your Wife's death....if you have 5 mins.......
2) Classic Misdirection 2: "Hi, I'm John Mc*cough**cough* from *Cough*News. We're running an article about deaths with similar circustances to your Wife's ....if you have 5 mins.......
3) Fletch Misdirection: "Hi there...so I been having this back complaint....yeah it was in an accident....yeah hit by a runaway rickshaw.....I mean what are the chances?....Oh you're wife was killed that way?....I was lucky then...how did that happen?.....
4) Facebook misdirection: Hi there....Mr Kazonowlski?...you don't know me - I'm John Mc*cough**cough*....I'm an old hi-school friend of your wife...I went to hook back up for our 20 year reunion, but found out on facebook she'd died......I know it must be hard but I was wondering if you had 5 mins....
5) No Misdirection: Hi there....Mr Kazonowlski?...you don't know me - I'm John Mc*cough**cough*....I know this may seem a bit crass but I would really appreciate it if I could just have 5 minutes of your time to ask you some questions.....
6) Failed misdirection: Hi there....Mr Kazonowlski?...you don't know me - I'm John Mc*cough**cough*....I know this may seem a bit crass but I would really appreciate it if I could just have 5 minutes of your time to ask you some questions.....NO?. Oh my apologies Thinks: Well I know what hours you work - I'll just break into your house while you're out.

If Protag has no suspicions about antag - it'd be odd for the antag to foster suspicions by refusing to speak to the antag. Most people, when approached in a reasonable, polite way will often go attempt to be curteous in return. Think of all those people with clip-boards on the street. Once they've got you eye-to-eye you don't just give them a piece of your mind. You try to politely say you are busy.

Preacher
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Re: Need assistance.

Post by Preacher » January 22nd, 2013, 10:37 am

Hi Hillsy,

When i wrote the scene that very thing was in my mind -why would the antagonist, who knows who the protagonist is when he sees him, draw any suspicion to himself by refusing to talk to him. My thought process was that the antagonist can use this time to his advantage, to give the protagonist info that leads him down a path away from him, to use misdirection to his advantage. Someone suggested that a compelling reason would be needed -my compelling reason is that the antagonist can use this to his advantage and send the protag in a new direction.

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Quill
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Re: Need assistance.

Post by Quill » January 22nd, 2013, 11:06 am

Hi Preacher,

I find that meditation often helps me divine plot points. I like to go on a walking meditation, especially into nature -- the woods, a ravine, or along a waterway. The walking seems to shake loose the imagination, and by focusing on the scene in question, the answers seem to form themselves in my mind. It's amazing. Another technique is to write it out. I will outline on paper (not the computer screen) a scene or whole plotline, writing all around the knot until it unravels. It sometimes takes more than a day -- it seems the subconscious can require time to chew on it -- but with patience and calmness, it works.

I notice you have posted on the forum several times asking for help with your scenes. I think a writer needs to develop techniques for working these questions out for himself. These exist and they work, and it's very satisfying to employ them. Just trying to be of assistance in a general way.

Cheers!

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polymath
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Re: Need assistance.

Post by polymath » January 22nd, 2013, 7:58 pm

Long time no see, Quill. Back in the running for most posts?

Preacher,

The way I see your dilemma, you've already found a way to make the dialogue scene express your intent. The crisis I see is how to construct the dialogue scene so it informs readers of the scene's intent and meaning relative to the larger work.

The principle of implicature, espoused by linguist H.P. Grice, holds a promising process. People do not say what they mean or mean what they say. Conversation is fraught with hidden agendas and needs to preserve privacy and protect from revealing true agendas and personal vulnerabilities. Yet we all read cues that inform us about what is going on underneath a conversation's literal words.

If the doctor's agenda is misdirection, he wants to confidently make seemingly true claims that the protagonist believes yet readers need to know he is an unreliable reporter. Cues like tone of voice and nonverbal expressions do that all at once. Maybe the doctor uses hesitation to emphasize a lie. Maybe he falters and the protagonist notices and becomes suspicious. Maybe the doctor improves his deception sufficiently to pass the protagonist's muster but readers are yet in the know and the protagonist, while convinced, is nonetheless suspicious. A key here is to keep readers informed and rooting for the protagonist yet doubting outcomes all the while.

Since a subsequent scene might be the protagonist's following the doctor's breadcrumb trail, the dialogue scene might end with the protagonist's uncertainty of the doctor's veracity but being thorough, he follows up anyway and in the process discovers helpful information and encounters a setback reversal.
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