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DonnaDuck
05-13-2008, 08:34 PM
I'm at a point in my WIP where the MC's parents have to explain to her that, for the good of the kingdom, she, in essence, needs to be sacrificed (it's not ritualistic or because of religion, it's out of greed on the part of the ruler because these children have something they want). If the parents try to save/hide her, they, the rest of their children and countless others will get sick and eventually die thanks to a vengeful sickness that the ruler unleashes, essentially sparing no one but the child in question so they'll get the kid anyway in the end. However it's never come down to anihilating the kingdom to get them (and won't). This is something they've known from birth and, to preserve her youth, have put off telling her about it until the time came.

From where I stand, I felt it better to let the child be a child than live in fear until they're eventually snatched up (highly likely but in some cases not always). So, they've put it off and put it off and bam, letter comes and the little girl (roughly 10) is about to get handed off to the ruler (stick with me, I'm just trying to give the pertinent necessary details).

So if the parents try to help her, they die and she ends up in the bad hands anyway. They hand her off they know they're sending their daughter off to a life of torture. It's a double-edged sword and they've been sliced with both sides. As a parent, how would you convey this information to your 10 year old child? Would you?

Think along the lines of Sophie's choice except the decision is already made. How would you reason with your child, or is that an oxymoron in and of itself? Are there words to explain something like this?

Right now my literary mouth is gaping like a fish out of water. I have the parents explaining why and the daughter knows what's going on but doesn't believe it. I don't know what these parents would say, especially since I'm not a parent and my reasoning and gut can only go so far. I know many parents would die to save their children. Unfortunately, in this situation, the parental death wouldn't mean a damn thing since the child would just get handed off to the conquering party anyway. The death would have been in vain and everyone involved knows this.

I know this isn't a nice thing to think about but I would appreciate the help with the hypothetical. Substituting my dog for a kid just isn't enough in this case. The enormity of the despair on both sides resulting from this is damn near incomprehensible but the story follows the girl so the aftermath of the parents, while creating a fleshier piece, at this point aren't pivitol to the plot, just how they'd act, speak, whathaveyou while sitting at the table talking to their daughter about this.

Lyra Jean
05-13-2008, 08:43 PM
Since it is for the good of the kingdom or so they think could you rewrite it some so that the girl has known but only because parents have told her about it before hand to get her used to the idea. In such a way where she is special and chosen so that instead of being afraid it is something to look forward to in a way.

Something along the lines of yes there will be pain and sadness and I won't be able to see my family again (if that is the case) but I'll be saving my country and my people from (insert threat here). So the sacrifice is worth it because I am the only one who can do it.

I'm not a parent so take my suggestions for what it's worth. Hope it helps.

dolores haze
05-13-2008, 08:50 PM
I would rather kill my own child (painlessly, humanely) than hand her over to be tortured and killed.

dirtsider
05-13-2008, 08:52 PM
Terminator II did a good job of it. Sarah Connor essentially went (or was thought to be)insane under the pressure of knowing the future. (I personally think she did go a little nuts but not to the extent that the world thought she was.) Ok, not entirely similar but still a good example of how a kid (and his mother) might react to being told he was the saviour of humanity. Course that was with John Connor knowing the future as well. Then again, it was in his best interest to have him as trained as possible before the Computers took over.

I think they'd be freaking out but hiding it as best as possible. They wouldn't sit calmly while doing it either. Think of how you would tell a loved one they have an incurable disease.

JoNightshade
05-13-2008, 09:02 PM
If I were a parent, I'd pack up all of my children and leave the kingdom. I just don't think that is a rational choice I could make as a parent. I'd be thinking, maybe if we go far, far away, this will go away and my family will be fine. I'd do whatever it took.

Of course for the sake of the story, the king's men are immediately going to ride us down and rip the kid from our arms, but there you go. :)

DonnaDuck
05-14-2008, 02:46 AM
Since it is for the good of the kingdom or so they think could you rewrite it some so that the girl has known but only because parents have told her about it before hand to get her used to the idea. In such a way where she is special and chosen so that instead of being afraid it is something to look forward to in a way.

Something along the lines of yes there will be pain and sadness and I won't be able to see my family again (if that is the case) but I'll be saving my country and my people from (insert threat here). So the sacrifice is worth it because I am the only one who can do it.

I'm not a parent so take my suggestions for what it's worth. Hope it helps.

Thanks for your input! It's a means to keep the kingdom from being annihilated so parents hand off their kids but doing it this way would take the story into a much lighter (for lack of better words) route than it should go. She's ten. For the good or not, I don't think she's going to be too forgiving of getting passed off so her parents can save their own asses.

I'm actually pulling off of what's happening with my uncle and his psycho ex-wife. He's seriously considering forfeiting parental rights in order to get her off his back but at the same time he's leaving behind a 12 year old and a 10 year old with this woman whom he knows is bat shit insane and the youngest at least (the older quite literally has Stockholm) will be fully aware of being abandoned and left to the devices of this mad woman. No amount of reasoning or logic will make this little girl understand what her father is doing and how "good" it is and he risks losing her forever, regardless of the fact that he can see her once she turns 18. That's more of the tone of my story, this bitter resentment and the fact that this little girl doesn't have the "chosen one" complex that exists in many fantasies and that's god damn pissed off that her parents are feeding her to the wolves, damn their explanations of why. There are no explanations.


Terminator II did a good job of it. Sarah Connor essentially went (or was thought to be)insane under the pressure of knowing the future. (I personally think she did go a little nuts but not to the extent that the world thought she was.) Ok, not entirely similar but still a good example of how a kid (and his mother) might react to being told he was the saviour of humanity. Course that was with John Connor knowing the future as well. Then again, it was in his best interest to have him as trained as possible before the Computers took over.

I think they'd be freaking out but hiding it as best as possible. They wouldn't sit calmly while doing it either. Think of how you would tell a loved one they have an incurable disease.

Well she's not saving humanity per se, just sating a beast until he gets hungry again, in so many words. In the story, her brothers know and they're the ones flipping out about it but the parents' composure is much calmer in comparison in that they're not ranting and raving. I know if I were to tell someone they were dying, freaking out wouldn't do any good. The mother's a mess. She's essentially inconsolable throughout the entire thing, the father's a little steadier.


If I were a parent, I'd pack up all of my children and leave the kingdom. I just don't think that is a rational choice I could make as a parent. I'd be thinking, maybe if we go far, far away, this will go away and my family will be fine. I'd do whatever it took.

Of course for the sake of the story, the king's men are immediately going to ride us down and rip the kid from our arms, but there you go. :)

The thing is, and I'm so damn sadistic for this, the people of the kingdom, not just the henchmen would seek out the family and drag the daughter in to save their own families. If that were to happen, Sickness it is and it affects everyone except the Crier so everyone is suffering and people, especially those without Criers in their families, aren't going to appreciate that. We're talking fire and pitchforks to hunt Criers down for this so their families don't die off. It turns people on each other when that happens.


I would rather kill my own child (painlessly, humanely) than hand her over to be tortured and killed.

I'm sure many parents would but that would also resort to the deaths of everyone else in the family, in this case both parents and the remaining 3 children. Everyone would be dead together although the remaining kids wouldn't die peacefully, the rulers would make sure of that.

I am so sick with it comes to this. The more torture for my characters, the better. Thanks for your replies, everyone! I really appreciate you taking the time!

sheadakota
05-14-2008, 02:56 AM
I'm with Dolores Haze- when it comes to the life (or death) of my child- they would have to kill me to get to her/him- I don't care who else would die or suffer in the end- that sounds horrable, but it's the truth. Prophecy be damned- No parent is going to hand over their child to a life of torture- no way- no how

Yeah, I have kids- can you tell?

CDarklock
05-14-2008, 03:06 AM
I would rather kill my own child (painlessly, humanely) than hand her over to be tortured and killed.

+1.

I can handle the death of my child a lot better than the torture and suffering of my child.

GeorgeK
05-14-2008, 03:27 AM
I'd contact the enemies of the kingdom and let them in

mikeland
05-14-2008, 03:50 AM
The real question as I see it is how do you want the reader to view the parents? Are they heroic or cowardly? Regardless of how hopeless the situation, they will be viewed one way if they try to protect their daughter and the other if they give her up easily.

Which way they go will depend on how you have drawn them as characters. And where you want to go with the story.

Am I correct to assume that this is the beginning of your story and that the girl survives to become the hero/MC of the novel? She will start from one place if her parents make a last ditch effort to save her and possibly sacrifice themselves in the process. She will start from a far different place if they appear to give her up without a fight. (Either one, btw, can result in a psychologically complex MC.)

One thing I would probably avoid is getting into a scene where the parents explain themselves to the girl. There are countless active ways to let this very powerful situation play out. Try to avoid a static conversation that lays everyone's cards on the table.

Just my 2 cents.

DonnaDuck
05-15-2008, 03:03 AM
As it stands, if the parents were to kill the child, not only would they be condemning themselves to die but their other children as well. The fruitless effort to save one would result in the unnecessary deaths of three others, on top of however many others that would be innocently roped into the situation. It's lose/lose no matter how it's chopped and if I were to kill my MC, well, I wouldn't have much of a story.

Yes, the girl in question is the MC, she does survive (again, re: short story otherwise) and while she's not the hero per se, she certainly has a hand in helping him (it's a patriarchal rule so she can't become the next ruler and I'm not one to break rules within my world to "make a difference" which only ends up being cliche).

The only humane thing to do is to have a familial suicide because to kill the daughter would result in the ruthless deaths of the other children, plus the parents. Considering I'm only on chapter three, that would make for a pretty shitty story. There isn't much by the way of explanation because there isn't much by the way of comprehension on the part of the girl. Actually, there isn't any. Her brothers have been telling her stories of men snatching children for years and for years her parents have been lying to tell and telling her she's safe when it's quite the opposite. Slight betrayal.

This is not something she's going to get over, ever. If she comes in contact with her parents again (I don't know if that will happen) there is going to be a lot of resentment, hatred and abandonment. Even as she grows up and realized the brevity of the situation of the kingdom (possibly seeing the Sickness from the other side, not sure yet), there's still going to be that piece that felt betrayed, and rightly so. I want peoples' hearts to tear apart for this girl. I want them to feel for the parents what the little girl feels. There might be understanding there but it's not integral since the parents are seen within the first few chapters only and not again. The important thing is feeling what this little girl feels and sympathizing with her, not with the parents. So a sense of betrayal and resentment in the reader towards the parents is integral in getting inside this girl's head.

More thanks to everyone!

Judg
05-15-2008, 06:53 AM
I am google-eyed that your uncle would consider doing such a thing just to get his crazy wife off his back. Sacrificing his kids for his own comfort? I can't imagine that.

And the parents in your story would be looking for a third option too. If they've known for years, they've had plenty of time to come up with a plan.

For me, as a parent, this just doesn't wash. You've got to come up with some pretty good reasons why every other conceivable option was blocked. We know that Sophie had no other options. Make sure we know the parents in your story don't either.

slcboston
05-15-2008, 06:58 AM
You. Don't. Abandon. Your. Kids. EVER.

You fight for them. You fight to keep them safe. You move Heaven and Earth and everything in between if that's what it takes. Not even the stars are safe.

(Just my two cents.)

Melenka
05-15-2008, 09:32 PM
First off, if I knew there was a reasonable chance that a kid of mine would end up being tortured and killed by my government, and I would be expected to be complicit in that, I would not have children. If I did get pregnant, I would leave the kingdom immediately. Even if the surrounding area was dangerous or wild or barbaric, at least I wouldn't spend the entirety of my child's life knowing when he/she was going to die. The one thing parents try very hard to avoid thinking about is the what if of a child's death. Down that road lies madness.

And anyone who thinks that I would hand my kid over to be tortured and killed for any reason at all is cracked. I have a hard enough time letting my sons ride their bikes around town.

DonnaDuck
05-16-2008, 03:01 AM
Just remember, people, not all parents love their children. I think our child welfare system is a testament to that.

Most level-headed parents would think along the lines of the consensus here but the reality is, not all parents are.

No dice with a third option. They're born and if they have a gift it's automatically registered. No way the rulers would allow a Crier to leave. Try as you might, it won't work. The thing is though, it'd be a huge info dump if I had to explain all of the options that were there, albeit impossible to take. I could also take a slightly sicker route and have the parents raise her in order to ensure the survival of their other children, knowing that the Sickness would be staved off a little longer. It's demented but it's another possible explanation.

With the suggestions here I'm thinking of reworking the dialogue a little to show a touch more effort on the parents part but with a ten year old, she's just going to hear it. I've written myself into a rather difficult and delicate situation. The thing is, there's always going to be a choice. Even with Sophie, she could have said I won't give up any, you'll have to kill all of us and they would have. She chose to give up a child. There's always going to be an alternate choice.

And just take a look at my uncle. His intentions are good (so he thinks) and thinks that by doing that, everything will be ok in the end, that he'll be able to reunite with his children when they're older and rescue them then. Naive? To put it lightly. There are a lot of "shoulds" in parenting but not everything thinks that way, unfortunately.

mikeland
05-16-2008, 04:13 AM
You're totally right. The world is full of people who should never have had children. And there are a lot of examples in literature of parents who abandoned or abused or neglected their kids. Those characters are villains for the most part. It's not clear you want these parents to be one-dimensional villains.

Personally, I like the idea you just threw out. They knew what the girl's fate was when she was born. So they raised her to be sacrificed. Maybe they've tried to keep a distance from her for her entire life and the girl has never understood why. Maybe they always seem to be angry at her. Maybe they treat her like a servant. Maybe they can't ever look her in the eye. Maybe they've told everyone that she's not really their child. There are a lot of ways to go with it.

Another way to go would be to have the girl decide to go with the bad guys to save her family. Maybe she turns herself in to prevent her family from doing something stupid.

Have you read Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro? It's a great read. But it also might help with this situation. In the book, there are children at a boarding school. The adults that teach them employ a variety of coping and distancing methods because they know a secret about the children that the kids can't know. Might be helpful to see how Ishiguro handles it.

Appalachian Writer
05-16-2008, 05:21 AM
You said, not all parents love their children. True. The ability to procreate does not a parent make. The way you've told this story, it seems these parents DO love their child. They have other children and want to save them. This fact contradicts the idea that they'd willingly give up even one to such a circumstance. If you must puruse this plot line, perhaps you could have the parents planning to leave, risking everything. Then the little girl could become heroic and go to the ruler herself, taking the situation into her own hands to save her family. If this happened, it would make things seem more believable. There's my two cents.

DonnaDuck
05-16-2008, 05:41 PM
You said, not all parents love their children. True. The ability to procreate does not a parent make. The way you've told this story, it seems these parents DO love their child. They have other children and want to save them. This fact contradicts the idea that they'd willingly give up even one to such a circumstance. If you must puruse this plot line, perhaps you could have the parents planning to leave, risking everything. Then the little girl could become heroic and go to the ruler herself, taking the situation into her own hands to save her family. If this happened, it would make things seem more believable. There's my two cents.

Honestly, if I saw this in writing, it'd make me want to put my head through a wall. She's 10. I'm trying to keep her actions realistic and turning the hero at such an age, taking action because her parents wouldn't or couldn't I see being much more unrealistic than anything I've come up with. This also isn't a YA book and by the end, she's very much an adult. I'd have a completely different story if I were to write this and one that I wouldn't like.

The thing is, Sophie loved her children too. Is she a bad parent because she sacrificed one to save herself and the other? Should she have said, "it's either all or none"? I'm trying to draw from actual human emotions in dire circumstances, not flights of fancy to have a warm and fuzzy feeling. And it's damn hard mainly because I've never been in that situation so I have to use logic. In my eyes, I don't think parents sacrificing a child contradicts their love for them. And the thing is I'm not delving into the feelings of the parents after my MC leaves. It's not their story and no, they're not supposed to be villians. They're parents at a loss for what to do.

So many things can be said for parents in such a situation. Well, why didn't you try harder? You could have done this. You could have done that. But from the outside looking in, there's no way to know what could and couldn't have been done unless you were on the inside looking out. Someone mentioned previously about not having children and it made me think that procreation should be mandatory. If my rulers are so intent on siphoning these Criers from society, they want as many opportunities to have children to take as they can, thus mandating mandatory procreation for all couples in order to tilt the odds in favor of them for more Criers.

Take my uncle for example. It's not that he doesn't love his children but he's fully convinced that this is the best possible option for everyone. He's convinced that everything will work out for the best years down the line when he can come in cantact with his daughters again. Does it make him a bad person because he's at his wits end with his back against a wall and nowhere else to go? Does it make him a bad person that he thinks everything will be ok in the end if he does this? I don't think so. It makes him naive and at times downright stupid but he's not a bad person. He's desperate and lost. This isn't something that's been thrust on him overnight. This has been going on for years. I don't think good parent/bad parent is black and white. Like I said, there are a lot of "shoulds" in parenting. Should he fight for his daughters? Yes but chances are he'll die before anything can be done to save them (not only mentally but quite literally physically) and then they'll be lost anyway. Or is it better to cut loose, let everyone live and come back to reconcile in the end? Most would say the former but most have never been in such a situation (believe me, I'm not including many, many many details).

Mike, actually I have the parents acting slightly different towards her. They don't punish her when she doesn something wrong like they do their other kids, they're a bit more distant, they're not as hands on as they "should" be because they know what could some of her (there's a 1% chance she won't be snatched). So their relationship is a little bit different, a little more accomodating yet spacious at the same time.

Again, I'm not keen on the "saviour" ten year old. I don't think that's too realistic of a child that age to willingly do something like that and, to be honest, I really like how my MC is reacting to it all. She's reacting how I think a child in that situation would, betrayal being a huge part of it because she was kept in the dark from birth.

That book does sound interesting. I might have to pick it up just to see how the situation is played out, just to get an idea. This is such a small part of the novel but at the same time it is the catalyst. I've written past it, well the initial confrontation anyway just to further the writing but I do think I'll be able to improve what I've written on when I do the initial rewrite.

I really appreciate everyone's thoughts on the matter. Believe it or not, they've helped me to flesh out the piece a little more.

Melenka
05-16-2008, 06:14 PM
Here's where it stops for me: the parents are not just giving the child up for ritual murder. You said they are going to TORTURE her. It's one thing if you have a ritual sacrifice for the good of the tribe, and if the one sacrificed is known, they are treated far better than other people because if their lives are going to be short, they should be good. What you describe is parents who know that their child will be tortured and killed and have done nothing to prepare her for that, nothing to help her understand why. So you'll have a child taken away from parents she thought loved her, who give her up without a fight, and in that process you will shatter everything she has ever believed about them. The torture starts right there, and they will be complicit in it. Sounds to me like they don't love her very much at all.

dolores haze
05-16-2008, 06:19 PM
The "Sophie's Choice" comparison doesn't quite work for me. Poor Sophie had mere seconds to make her terrible choice; these parents have had ten years to make their decisions.

Maybe a better comparison is Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery". It's been a while since I read it, but in that story the whole community knows and accepts that one of them will be sacrificed. In the world you are building, Donna, it seems that your society is equally accepting.

In societies such as this, in which what is good for the nation is more important than any one individual, I would imagine that culture would come up with some kind of ritual/mythos surrounding their sacrificial lambs. Perhaps, the one who is to be sacrificed is an object of awe; perhaps the family is heaped with glory in having one of the Criers as a member of their family. Perhaps the family is respected, honored, and well recompensed for giving up their child for the good of the nation. (Just brainstorming ways in which your readers - many of whom will be parents - will be able to find your set-up more believable.)

I've been trying to think of actual cultures that have practised or do practise a similar tradition. In Ancient Sparta, the boys were raised to be soldiers. Sacrificing their lives for Sparta in battle was a glorious thing. In some cultures, mothers hand over their girl children to have their genitals mutilated. Both these cultures have "believable" explanations for why the parents would permit these things.

In Nazi Germany, however, even as totalitarian a state as that had extreme difficulty in making parents give up their disabled children. They had to lie and say that the children were being taken away for treatment. Eventually they had to abandon their attempts to obliterate their own handicapped children from their society - because the parents would not/could not stomach it, though not before the Nazis had learned some very efficient methods of extermination.

My point is that you're going to have to make your reader believe that these parents would hand their child over to be tortured and murdered. And that means there would need to be an explanation of why they would do so.

It sounds like a cracking good story, Donna. Good luck with it!

johnnysannie
05-16-2008, 06:33 PM
The thing is, Sophie loved her children too. Is she a bad parent because she sacrificed one to save herself and the other? Should she have said, "it's either all or none"?

.

Sophie first said "Ich kann nicht wahlen" or I can't choose! But when forced, she chose the child that she thought had the better chance at living because he was blond and blue-eyed, a child who could be a candidate for Lebensborn. It would be a wrenching and terrible choice to make but her alternative would be that both her children die.

DonnaDuck
05-16-2008, 07:14 PM
I think I've misconstrued my own notion with torture, especially since I've been thinking on this for a few weeks but simply for the sake of the conversation, said that. Here's what I've been mulling over in my head.

When the usurping party first came, they rounded up Criers and extracted their tears through rather painful means and get them in rank conditions. In my little short that's somewhere in SYW, I have the same conditions for this little girl. However, those circumstances would be rather counter productive to the rulers. An adult body is more capable of withstanding such duress, yes, and then there were plenty to replace the dead. Now, however, with much fewer, and the fact they need to take children and have them last because there's so fewer to replace them, they can't treat them like crap. They can have them wallowing in their own feces. They can't be dehydrated or starved because it would all affect tear production. So, much to their chagrin, they had to reform the way they treated their prisoners because they needed something from them and needed it for an extended period of time so the conditions changed. While they're not sleeping on silk beds, they are well fed, bathed, cared for when they're sick, all in the name of tear production. If they don't comply, ie they refuse to cry, well, that's when extraction comes in, which is not nice. The more I think on this, the more it makes sense.

The stories of abject cruelty have lasted although the conditions have changed. However it doesn't excuse the notion that the parents think this is where she's going when, in reality, it's not nearly as bad. In a sense it is ritual sacrifice for the greater good of the kingdom, in order to ensure its survival. That's the view from the people's eyes. From the rulers, they just want their tears but, like I said, they soon found out that treating their Trades like crap worked against them and they had to change.

Mel, the extraction is torture due to the pain but at this point in the kingdom's history, they don't torture for the pleasure of it. They can't. They destroy the body they destroy the tears and they have no other choice but to kick themselves in the butt for doing it. They just want the tears but your take on it all certainly gives me pause, to rethink some of the angles of my story.

Dolores, that's an excellent comparison and much more apt than SC, I very much agree and thank you for making it. You're right. The society is much more accepting of it because they know if they have a child that cries diamonds, they're up a tree about it so they deal the best they can. I have the last set of parents that tried to save their child set about8 or so years prior to the setting of my story. I'm sure not everyone in such a setting is going to be wholeheartedly accepting of it but it's inevitability is there regardless of acceptance.

From the consensus it sounds like I need a slightly less harsh approach to handing over a kid into this life than what I have. I'm thinking of bringing more current "rumors" into the story but I just don't know how I'm going to attack how I want my MC to find out. The thing is, there isn't a set age as to when children are taken so there's no way to know when it's going to happen. And I think it's worse to have the parents lie to her and tell her it's going to be a happy existence when it rightly isn't. That'll just make themselves feel better because the MC will know as soon as she arrives just what it's like. It looks like I need to find a medium somewhere in there. I don't want her treated like an idiot child (you're going to live amongst the stars because of your tears type of fancy) but at the same time, from the overwhelming consensus, I believe the other end, which is where I am, is a touch too extreme. Obviously I need to work on the parental end a little more but I want to work it around what I have happened now which I think it a very powerful moment in the story.

There's got to be some way to have her aware of the situation (she's been completely sheltered and her parents have done everything to keep anything regarding Criers from her ears, as it stands now) but not fully comprehending. Perhaps allowing the parents to tell her that her tears will help the kingdom when she's older but don't go into detail, leaving my MC to think up stories on her own, fantastical of course and nothing relating to what actually happens. They might even tell her she'll get to go to the Giver's castle to do it but considering the distance, she never wanted to. When it's strange men that come to take her away instead of her parents taking her away to help, that's when panic sets in but it would offset what I have now in terms of impact.

Don't mind me. I'm typing out loud. Everyone's given me quite a bit to think about. I really appreciate it. Thanks!

Don Allen
05-16-2008, 07:42 PM
Something that may help you with this historically speaking would be the ancient mayans, i think, (not an expert on this at all, but i find your story interesting) The ancients use to sacrafice girls to the Gods before they menstrated and I believe the girls were chosen at birth and treated like queens during their childhoods, the parents of these children considered it a great honor to be chosen. I don't know enough, or even if it was the mayans for that matter, but a little research might give you some insight that you hadn't thought of... I'm not sure you should use a modern mentality to address a delemma such as this, because we after all wouldn't think the same way.. I do find the question intriguing.....

mikeland
05-16-2008, 08:12 PM
Glad we've been helpful, Donna. One of the dangers of a forum like this is that we don't know the whole story, so when only a small part of the plot is presented, the group has no context to put it in other than the OP. I have the say the more you tell us about the story, the cooler it sounds.

Just a couple more comments from me.

First, don't sell short what the 10 year old can do. It's hard to write kids. It's easy to err on the side of making them sound like toddlers. And it's equally easy to have them end up sounding like adults. Just remember that a 10 year old can be incredibly astute about the emotions of those around her. Kids intuit and sense things about the adults around them in a very mature way at times. I have a six and three year old and I am blown away by some of the statements they make about what other people are feeling or doing. Sometimes it'll come out as a question; other times they'll just bluntly say something. Maybe the key is that they don't equivocate. No dancing around the issue. What comes out is very close to the raw thought they just had in their heads.

Second, I would encourage you not to think about the parents in terms of the plot or what is on the page. Step back and work on them as characters. Flesh out their backgrounds. Sketch out what they think of each other and their kids and the society they live in. Maybe even think about how they feel 5, 10, 15 years after they give up their daughter. Most of this work won't ever be in the book. But if you understand the parents as three-dimensional people, then everything they do in the book, no matter how painful or wrongheaded their actions seem to the reader, will come across as integral to their characters.

You don't need to water down a powerful idea to please the consensus. You just need to make sure that you have done the legwork to make us believe that these parents are doing what they think they need to do. It doesn't matter what generic parents would do. It only matters that the actions of the two parents you are creating are fully fleshed out and consistent with the way you have written them.

Shweta
05-17-2008, 12:24 AM
Now, however, with much fewer, and the fact they need to take children and have them last because there's so fewer to replace them, they can't treat them like crap. They can have them wallowing in their own feces. They can't be dehydrated or starved because it would all affect tear production.

I'm not going to chime in about the parents, Donna, because I think anything I could say has already been said. But you might want to look up Steve Berman's "Tearjerker", in the Paper Cities (http://www.sensesfive.com/books.php) antho. Just to make sure what you're doing isn't too similar (though I don't think it is). Tearjerker is... a promising story that IMO fails to deliver, but that's generally my opinion of Berman's stuff, and clearly other people feel differently.

DonnaDuck
05-17-2008, 02:21 AM
I'll have to check it out, Shweta. Thanks. Considering my total lack of fantasy reading if it is at all similar, it'd be purely coincidental since I've never even heard of the guy before but I'll try to find that story just to make sure.

Eta--I just read a summary of the story and it sounds nothing like what I'm doing. The only correlation would be the significance of tears in its broadest term. Still sounds interesting though and now I think I'm going to have to add this anthology to my reading list. Thanks for making my towering piled of books TBR a little higher Schweta!

Shweta
05-17-2008, 02:25 AM
Oh, I'm sure it's coincidental. Just that your description made me think of it, and I think similar stuff is worth looking at so you know what else is happening in your neck of the woods, is all :)

DonnaDuck
05-17-2008, 02:26 AM
I definitely appreciate the point in the direction, that's for sure!

HeronW
05-26-2008, 08:50 PM
A fav story from a million years back had an evil sorcerer kidnap a princess--he loved her. Her aged father found out and came to affect a rescue by reason, knowing his armies wouldn't be effective. The princess asked for a cup of water. The sorcerer went to the old king and told of all sorts of tortures he had done and would do and the king's tears ran like rain from his beard. Sorcerer collected the tears in a golden cup and brought them to the princess for her to drink. (Salty & warm but I guess she didn't notice).

Laurawrites
05-27-2008, 04:13 AM
Hi!

Wow. What a story. I think the parents should tell her at ten and have a line of defense, so to speak...lol. Speaking as a parent, I would get them as far away from that kingdom as possible(if it had to be done on foot) and find a home for them before that time. Might as well go down in defiance:-)

If no home is available, change the name and identification of the child and place them elsewhere. If the parents knew, it seems they would've been planning for that day from the child's birth.

Hope this helps, but I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for. As a parent, if you know that's your fate, what better way to use your life than to give it for that of your child? I don't think many parents could readily offer their child, even in a situation like that, without disastrous consequences.