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dirtsider
09-10-2008, 10:02 PM
I have my MC freak out a bit in the beginning of my story over the death of the local homeless guy. Part of it is because the homeless guy was a bit of a mascot where my MCs work but the main reason my MC freaks is because there's a lot of similarities between the HG's death and the death of his roommate years before.

Then later, the same MC is relatively calm when dealing with a young woman who has just wandered into the bar where he works. She's blood splattered and in shock as she's just murdered her boyfriend (due to supernatural reasons as this is an urban fantasy, and which are explained later).

Would the MC's initial reaction to the HG's death a bit over the top? I don't think the death itself was the main reason why he freaked as he did although he did witness the HG's death. I think the similarities were what really pushed him over the edge a bit. But this first scene sort of gets the ball rolling and is where he tells the other MC his big "secret" - that he's a mage.

Or is his calmness in dealing the later situation too strange given his earlier reaction?

Higgins
09-10-2008, 10:25 PM
I have my MC freak out a bit in the beginning of my story over the death of the local homeless guy. Part of it is because the homeless guy was a bit of a mascot where my MCs work but the main reason my MC freaks is because there's a lot of similarities between the HG's death and the death of his roommate years before.

Then later, the same MC is relatively calm when dealing with a young woman who has just wandered into the bar where he works. She's blood splattered and in shock as she's just murdered her boyfriend (due to supernatural reasons as this is an urban fantasy, and which are explained later).

Would the MC's initial reaction to the HG's death a bit over the top? I don't think the death itself was the main reason why he freaked as he did although he did witness the HG's death. I think the similarities were what really pushed him over the edge a bit. But this first scene sort of gets the ball rolling and is where he tells the other MC his big "secret" - that he's a mage.

Or is his calmness in dealing the later situation too strange given his earlier reaction?

No. I think you have the psychology right there. I once intervened in a young-woman-covered-in-blood style situation and I was very calm at the time despite some wierd "psychological" events before and after. Having an immediate thing to react to directly was a welcome distraction from my own "psychology". The really wierd psychological reactions often come later assuming you don't faint right away, I guess.

dirtsider
09-10-2008, 11:23 PM
Ok, thanks.

Oh, and just for clarification, these two situations happen on different "days". They're not right after each other.

Rabe
09-11-2008, 07:15 AM
It's also possible that the woman in blood situation triggers a different reaction because it's a chance to get in there and do something about it. With the HG (and presumably his roommate years before) the events happened so quickly that the MC is unable to do anything about it and therefore feels lost, helpless and useless.

So the WiB situation doesn't have the same subconscious triggers as the other events did. The guy freaks out - of course - not because he's close to the HG but because it brings back the repression of the roommates death. When he's not able to deal with it directly he shoves it down and then with the death of the HG he feels he's in two places at once -or more correctly two times at once - and all the promises he made himself about being able to go back and do *something* to change what happened with his roommate is shown as being nothing more than just soothing, useless talk.

Rabe...

Carmy
09-11-2008, 08:25 AM
It sound like your MC is a professional, trained to deal with blood-covered people. I think his training would take over.

Having said that--when Princess Di was killed, a Canadian I know, who had never met any of the Royals in his life, went to pieces and blubbered about it for weeks. Now that's over the top.

dirtsider
09-11-2008, 04:21 PM
Actually, Carmy, both the MC's at this point are just bartenders when the WiB wanders into the bar. He's not trained in dealing with stuff like that other than the aftermath of a bar brawl. While he may have some first aid skills (not written into his character at this point but you never know), he's not a medic, cop, or doctor or anything of that sort. Now if it were my third MC, then I would say yes, she would be used to handling a WiB situation. But the MC in question is really a good guy who does want to help people.

On the other hand, he is a mage and has dealt with weird dren in the past but it's been a while. Part of the problem is he's more or less got scared by his roommate's death back in college and said "enough is enough" by the time he graduated. So when the HG dies in the beginning in a similar manner to his roommate, he's been hiding from himself, more or less. He's been sensing things just prior to the HG since his abilities haven't gone away but he's in denial. The second MC has pretty much been nagging him about things once she knows what he can do, forcing him to acknowledge his abilities, when the WiB shows in the bar.

Troo
09-11-2008, 05:20 PM
I concur with Rabe - in people who desire to help others, their desire to help others will kick in and ease them through a potentially traumatic situation while the opportunity to help exists. Once it's too late to help, it's "safe" to have whatever reaction comes naturally, because nobody's going to get hurt if you stop and have a bit of a freak-out.

Similarly what may happen after the calm is the adrenaline crash. He might be cool and collected while dealing with the blood-soaked lady, but the moment she's out of his presence he may start displaying mild shock symptoms - shaky, sweaty, cool skin, pale, etc.

If a hobo's death reminds him acutely of the death of a close friend from years ago, there's absolutely no reason for him not to bug out :)

dirtsider
09-11-2008, 05:50 PM
Cool, thanks, folks. This helps a lot with the WiB scene. I haven't had a chance to entirely finish it but I feel better about what I'm doing with it. And this is where he really begins stepping up to the plate and having to deal with his abilities. I mean, he's done reading and dealing with a few people he trusts but he hasn't actively engaged his abilities due to being traumatized by his roomie's death. (Essentially, the roomie went over the edge due to what appeared to be mental illness - delusions - but was actually external things that the MC couldn't see, i.e. spirits that literally got inside the roomie's head.)