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Lidiya
09-29-2012, 12:28 AM
I'm starting my second draft, and the plot in a nutshell is: A man's father is taken hostage by a bunch of men. They ask his son to find an ancient coin.

Yeah, not one of the best summaries I've written but...

Anyway, I've been told that the son's reaction to his father being taken hostage is too cold-blooded and almost careless.

How would a man react to this? I mean, I know he'd be panicking, but I guess I'm not sure exactly how much?

Thanks. :)

Anninyn
09-29-2012, 12:42 AM
Hmm, this is where some deep visualisation/imagination could be required.

How panicky and distressed would you be if a parent or loved one was kidnapped? Now, your MC won't necessarily react the same way, but if you take that feeling and then picture how a person with your MC's traits would react... there you go.

Myself, I'm pretty good in a deep crisis. I would go logical and methodical about it. I'd be deeply, deeply worried, but would do everything I could to fix the situation. Once the situation was fixed, I'd likely spend four days hyperventilating and crying.

But that's me.

Lidiya
09-29-2012, 12:57 AM
Hmm, this is where some deep visualisation/imagination could be required.

How panicky and distressed would you be if a parent or loved one was kidnapped? Now, your MC won't necessarily react the same way, but if you take that feeling and then picture how a person with your MC's traits would react... there you go.

Myself, I'm pretty good in a deep crisis. I would go logical and methodical about it. I'd be deeply, deeply worried, but would do everything I could to fix the situation. Once the situation was fixed, I'd likely spend four days hyperventilating and crying.

But that's me.

I know how I'd feel, but since I'm not an adult and not male like my MC is, I don't know if our reactions would be the same.

MoLoLu
09-29-2012, 01:15 AM
22 year old male here:

I'd have pangs of panic, aggression, maybe a little cry and then kick myself in the ass and get myself in a cold, methodical mindset. In similar situations (though not so grave as a kidnapping, it's usually personal betrayal of some sort), I've always ended on a hard, unforgiving mentality.

For someone who usually avoids conflict and tries to get along with others, adopting a cruel, bloodthirsty feels extremely weird and unpredictable. I honestly don't trust myself. Not sure if I could kill but, well, I'm not about to try.

But that's just me.

Lidiya
09-29-2012, 01:19 AM
22 year old male here:

I'd have pangs of panic, aggression, maybe a little cry and then kick myself in the ass and get myself in a cold, methodical mindset. In similar situations (though not so grave as a kidnapping, it's usually personal betrayal of some sort), I've always ended on a hard, unforgiving mentality.

For someone who usually avoids conflict and tries to get along with others, adopting a cruel, bloodthirsty feels extremely weird and unpredictable. I honestly don't trust myself. Not sure if I could kill but, well, I'm not about to try.

But that's just me.

Thanks, that actually sounds a lot like my character!

DeleyanLee
09-29-2012, 01:21 AM
What's this character's personality? That's the only thing that needs to be considered. If he's not the kind of man who'll fall apart externally but seethe internally, then that's how he'll react. If he's going to cry like a baby and have to be spurred into motion, then that's how he'll react. Who is he as a person--that's how he'll react.

If readers are having problems with how he's reacting then the problem isn't in the reaction itself. The problems are in how you put it into words, and/or the words you chose. Basically, you didn't sell it to the reader, for all that it makes sense to you when you look at it.

There is a possibility that, especially since that is a first draft, that you're writing in personal "shortcuts", where the words gives you the right picture, but no one else gets the same reaction from that set of words. I'd suggest a couple of things: First, talk to those readers who don't see what you intended and ask if they can point out (as specifically as possible) where their disbelief started or increased. Second, read through those sections aloud and listen to the words you actually used and think about the picture they paint. See if you can find where the prose didn't work. Then figure out what words will give that impression and change the text.

Good luck!

Persei
09-29-2012, 01:53 AM
Aaaand the person saying the reaction was cold-blooded would be me :D

But given to what I've seen, I don't think going hysterical and losing his sh*t over the fact would be the ideal either. The MC knows how to deal with a lot of problems and realizes he has been trained for this since he was kid, I think he would be desperate at first, yes. And then he would calm down. See what he's going to do. Slowly realize he has to find the god damned coin and no one else will do it for him.

Something like that. I dunno.

kuwisdelu
09-29-2012, 01:55 AM
I'd call the FBI, do a lot of pacing, and probably forget to breathe.

Lidiya
09-29-2012, 02:02 AM
Aaaand the person saying the reaction was cold-blooded would be me :D

But given to what I've seen, I don't think going hysterical and losing his sh*t over the fact would be the ideal either. The MC knows how to deal with a lot of problems and realizes he has been trained for this since he was kid, I think he would be desperate at first, yes. And then he would calm down. See what he's going to do. Slowly realize he has to find the god damned coin and no one else will do it for him.

Something like that. I dunno.

Yup :D It was a good thing you pointed it out too. I don't think people can relate well to ice-statue like characters :D

kuwisdelu
09-29-2012, 02:17 AM
The MC knows how to deal with a lot of problems and realizes he has been trained for this since he was kid, I think he would be desperate at first, yes.

Training for your father's kidnapping is an oddly specific hobby.

woozy
09-29-2012, 02:27 AM
Also depends on what his relationship with his father is.

I'd actually start by looking at the critique that said he was "too cold-blooded and almost careless" and see if there is justification of that. Then try to figure out why your writing came out that way. Figure out the emotion first and write his reaction to that, rather the other way around.

I don't think anyone can actually predict what reaction anyone would actually have. I think we can only read the reaction and tell you what emotion such a reaction implies.

KTC
09-29-2012, 02:34 AM
I'm starting my second draft, and the plot in a nutshell is: A man's father is taken hostage by a bunch of men. They ask his son to find an ancient coin.

Yeah, not one of the best summaries I've written but...

Anyway, I've been told that the son's reaction to his father being taken hostage is too cold-blooded and almost careless.

How would a man react to this? I mean, I know he'd be panicking, but I guess I'm not sure exactly how much?

Thanks. :)

way too many variables here to answer.

personally, i'd hang up the phone.

Persei
09-29-2012, 02:52 AM
Training for your father's kidnapping is an oddly specific hobby.

Uh... Kinda hard to explain, but it's in the story. His father is -- from what I've understood -- an Indiana Jones-like guy and he's training his son for his job (not actually training, but teaching a few tricks). It felt as if though the father's work was dangerous and the MC knew more or less what his father worked with, and what were the consequences.


I'd actually start by looking at the critique that said he was "too cold-blooded and almost careless" and see if there is justification of that.

The justification is... He merely sighed about not being his friend on the phone and opened a notepad to see what he was going to do. There was an one-liner (or two) about his father being in the danger maybe, then it was no longer mentioned, even though his father was mentioned over and over in the following chapter.

It felt strangely off, and I don't say that because I thought the story sucked or whatever. I liked it quite a lot and volunteered to read the second draft. I am waiting to see how it's going to be :D

woozy
09-29-2012, 05:13 AM
The justification is... He merely sighed about not being his friend on the phone and opened a notepad to see what he was going to do.

Which makes him sound irritated and annoyed as though his father is always doing things like this and the MC resents this temporary inconvenience.

So, what *should* the MC be feeling? Well, that depends on many things but, for sake of argument, let's say he feels stunned, disbelief, desperation and a sense that things are out of control. What reaction would portray *that*?

I don't know, but maybe his hand would be shaking. He'd probably have a shortness of breath. He'd probably say things like "What do you mean my father's been kidnapped? I'm expecting a call from my friend and you're telling me *this*?".

Anyway, I don't think the question should be "what reaction would someone have" but "What emotion does his reaction display" or "What reaction would display the correct emotion".

Persei
09-29-2012, 02:23 PM
Which makes him sound irritated and annoyed as though his father is always doing things like this and the MC resents this temporary inconvenience.

So, what *should* the MC be feeling? Well, that depends on many things but, for sake of argument, let's say he feels stunned, disbelief, desperation and a sense that things are out of control. What reaction would portray *that*?

I don't know, but maybe his hand would be shaking. He'd probably have a shortness of breath. He'd probably say things like "What do you mean my father's been kidnapped? I'm expecting a call from my friend and you're telling me *this*?".


I honestly have no idea what he should be feeling (and what reaction would match this feeling) because another problem I pointed out was that he seemed very, very calm then further on he was on a wreck, very nervous and doing a lot of things wrongly (giving too much money to the taxi driver and such). It was his first time doing it, not an ordinary event...

I said this to author this inconsistency, and wrote down some suggestions to make the story more consistent and one of them was displaying his desperation from the get go, which seems to be the one she picked. The other one was to keep him calm for reals. The third was giving a reason to the change of behavior.

Let's us stay at that: I sense you are having a hard time believing in what I've said about the story... "Cold-blooded" might sound mean, but it did sound that way given the context of the following chapters, which I read before making an observation on it. I have no problems with the reaction itself if turns out the MC is actually calm and in control of himself.

Buffysquirrel
09-29-2012, 03:49 PM
After the initial anger and panic I almost think I'd feel sorry for the kidnappers. They'd be begging me to take him back.

bearilou
09-29-2012, 04:26 PM
Sounds to me like you should have gone back to the person offering that insight and asked them about more specifics.

lbender
09-29-2012, 05:14 PM
Also depends on what his relationship with his father is.

I'd actually start by looking at the critique that said he was "too cold-blooded and almost careless" and see if there is justification of that. Then try to figure out why your writing came out that way. Figure out the emotion first and write his reaction to that, rather the other way around.

I don't think anyone can actually predict what reaction anyone would actually have. I think we can only read the reaction and tell you what emotion such a reaction implies.

This is important. Some people resent their fathers. It sounds like one possible initial reaction would be 'It serves him right'.

There's no reason his feelings can't change. Starting with 'it serves him right' and moving on to 'I'm sure he can get himself out of this - he always has before', then 'damn, I guess I should do something to help'.

davidh219
09-29-2012, 07:11 PM
It depends on the man and his relationship with his father, as I'm sure many others before me have already said. I can tell you that I, personally, would probably react seemingly without emotion even though I love my father very much.

Ever since my mother died of cancer when I was in the 2nd grade I have the overbearing tendency to intellectualize everything. Unless something is actively expected of me, and that something is difficult, I'm not affected by anything very strongly because I can just sit back and watch it happen, and that's easier. I would literally have more of a reaction to a new, high-stress job than I would to my father being kidnapped, is what I'm saying.

quicklime
09-29-2012, 07:18 PM
depends on the individual.....

Parametric
09-29-2012, 07:26 PM
Action movies have taught me that the only possible response to a threat to a relative is to start racking up the body count. :D

BDSEmpire
09-29-2012, 09:46 PM
Action movies have taught me that the only possible response to a threat to a relative is to start racking up the body count. :D

Exactly this.

Then again, there is a bond of redneckery between my dad and I and nothing less than the complete destruction and demoralization of the kidnappers would do. Then again, my dad would probably be pretty pissed if I failed to use my brain and didn't call the FBI. Sadly, the real world isn't forgiving of personal vendettas and lone wolf operations.

Alternately, a buddy of mine wouldn't bother with any government agency. He'd make some phone calls and a small team of ex-military and current police force types would pop out of the woodwork with their trucks full of Second Amendment-protected personal armaments. These dudes are scary as hell, have received real life training on how to deal (violently) with hostage situations and while they're mostly family men and good guys to have at your BBQ, they're even better men to have at your back if something bad happens.

I live in farmland in Idaho so making these connections isn't terribly unusual. Military service is one job opportunity open to a lot of kids that don't want to head right to college. Your MC may be from a city or suburb where they wouldn't have any of those options.


On the emotional level I'd be scared as hell that they'd hurt my dad or something stupid would happen and the Die Hard fantasy of getting him back through superior firepower would just end up with people dead and in jail would make me want to pace around and be extremely short with other people because this is seriously the biggest nightmare I am facing right now. I'd have a hair-trigger on my temper and anyone who was dawdling or not taking the matter seriously enough for my tastes would get a tonguelashing at the very least. I'd probably feel pretty helpless because in the real world the kidnappers aren't likely to leave a GPS map blinking and telling me where to go. I'm not privy to satellite data and I can't "hack the street lights" or some such nonsense to track down the movements of their car. Besides, my dad lives a couple states away. I could gather a posse but where do we charge off to with our guns and ill-formed plans of what to do when we get to wherever he might be?

Confusion, fear, rage, a burning shame at not being able to solve this problem, more fear. That's what would be going through my head and heart. I would have trouble eating, I'd probably smoke a carton of cigarettes in a week out of nervous twitchiness. I'd guzzle coffee and then regret it because my stomach would be cramping from an all-horrible-news diet.


In short - it would be like any normal Monday at work. :)

Lidiya
09-29-2012, 09:56 PM
Alternately, a buddy of mine wouldn't bother with any government agency. He'd make some phone calls and a small team of ex-military and current police force types would pop out of the woodwork with their trucks full of Second Amendment-protected personal armaments. These dudes are scary as hell, have received real life training on how to deal (violently) with hostage situations and while they're mostly family men and good guys to have at your BBQ, they're even better men to have at your back if something bad happens.

My MC doesn't bother with the FBI. They never help anyway. If the government actually paid the criminals to release the person in hostage, then that would lead to more hostage situations since more idiots would realize the government actually gives them money.

L.C. Blackwell
10-04-2012, 04:10 AM
My MC doesn't bother with the FBI. They never help anyway. If the government actually paid the criminals to release the person in hostage, then that would lead to more hostage situations since more idiots would realize the government actually gives them money.

The FBI has excellent teams of hostage negotiators--which may not serve the purposes of your story, but in real life, they are some very good people to call.

As to how a man would react, that entirely depends on the man. A person facing a crisis will take stock of the resources they perceive they have, and act accordingly. Notice I didn't say the resources they actually do have, as critical thinking and evaluation skills tend to go out the window in moments of emergency. A person who is trained to deal with emergencies may be better prepared, but can still have their critical skills affected short term or long term by any number of factors.

Spoiler in light font below:

In Artemis Fowl: the Arctic Incident, we have a very, very cold blooded adolescent facing a situation where his father is hostage. And he's cold enough to still be thinking effectively, but it's hard for him because the ONE thing he truly cares about is his father. So a lot of emotion is surfacing, sometimes when it's inconvenient to deal with.

I highly recommend the book as one example of how this kind of situation can be handled. And it's a quirky, funny read as well.