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How to write redemption? [Sep. 21st, 2006|11:05 pm]
Writing Help


I am cutting this because this deals with such tricky matters as domestic abuse and rape; please excercise caution.

I have a novel that I have been working on for almost two years now, and in this time it has turned from what was supposed to be a romantic comedy - girl meets boy online, girl doesn't know boy is the pop star she fangirls all over, boy falls in love, girl likewise, truth is revealed, there's "Omg you bastard!" and happily ever after - to something much darker - a story of obsession, passion, damaged people, and even redemption namely, the redemption of one jackass of a pop star after he realizes just how much of an asshole he is and how much he has hurt his girlfriend, the fangirl.

the basic storyline is that the guy meets girl online, falls in love, stalks her, practically kidnaps her, ends up raping her, is horrified by what he did because he didn’t get it until afterwards that she was not just playing - a misconception he got due to language barriers and internet chats, not that it makes him any less guilty. But yeah, he’s horrified and wants to make it up to her. Which includes asking her to marry him, which she says yes to – initially. She takes a few weeks to “figure things out” and in the end, says yes – because she’s realized that yes, she does love him, and wants to be with him. (Oh, and is pregnant with his child but she doesn’t think that alone would be enough of a reason to go back to him)

Now, what follows re the trials and tribulations of any pop-star/mundane relationship, with the additional tumults of her relocating into another country. (first Spain, then the US), and the whole media attention concentrating on the fact that she is still 17. (Over the age of consent where she’s born and bred) This is stressful and there is lots of other things –r elated to religion, mostly, because they are of differing ones but she is willing to “go through the hoops” so she can marry him the way he want-. (Neither one of them “feels married” after the quick magistrate ceremony they have to make immigration and so on easier)

The priest who they want to marry them is insistent that the guy should deal with his issues – mostly, the bad things he has done – before he weds them so the guy is under a lot of strain, dealing with almost 15 years of being an asshole – his list of sins includes even murder, and one outright rape. (he ends up having a breakdown at the girl’s grave after finding out she killed herself)

Now, my issue? Well, during all this, he is rather emotionally abusive of the girl – extremely possessive, dangerously devoted, frightening because of his anger issues. And eventually? He hits her, when they are having an argument where he is afraid she’s harboring feelings for another man. (the one she almost cheated on him with, who is now his best friend’s boyfriend)

Now, what happens after this is that she has a very stereotypical response, apologizing, taking the blame – and the guy is horrified. Because he never intended to hurt her, never intended to make her cry – never intended any of it. It hits him how he’s treated her and he ends up taking off, going to his confessor and begging for help – because he needs to change. (for all the wrong reasons, obviously, because he wants to “keep” her). He also makes the guy swear to not to promise her anything along the lines of “I will never hit you again” or “I will never hurt you again” because he knows more than well that any such promise is more than likely to be broken.

Now this encounter results in the priest recommending a good therapist to him, and this is where I find myself stalled; just how to redeem this guy? I know what his issues are – serious inability to respect women due to childhood issues, anger management problem the size of Russia, and a lot of other things he has never dealt with such as his sexuality and the deaths of people very important to him.

I a thinking just talking to a priest and a therapist and being willing as hell to work on it is not going to eb enough. But what experience I have with his sort of a thing is rather non-applicable (I’m Finnish, these events are set in California) and I don’t think hat things that threat of punishment would keep this guy in line. So if anyone has any suggestions on that note, I am more than willing to listen.

I am also thinking that there would be therapy for the girl – she has her own set of issues that contribute to her inability to stand up for herself and willingness to withstand abuse; so therefore, the priest suggests that she, too, will see the same therapist and that they take couples’ counseling – to deal with issues other than the abuse that their relationship is rather rife with.

... I don’t even know what Ii am asking here, tbh. Mostly, I think, it is “Do you think this plotline is in any way feasible?” – the result of all this is that they stay together, get married “properly”, and they will have a happy, if slightly dysfunctional relationship. (With a total of 15 children, 12 biological, one the guy had fathered before they got together and never knew of, and 2 adopted). And the guy will never get completely better – he will always be an ass, with anger issues, but he is going to get a lot better about dealing with them in a healthy way; he will also learn when it is right to apologize. Actually, he gets downgraded from an asshole to a thoughtless jackass. (In other words, when someone points him that he is being a thoughtless jackass, he apologizes, unlike the “Inconsiderate jackass” type)

So, yeah. Does this work at all? Any and all clarifications and so on, am more than willing to provide. And please excuse any wtf-inducing mistakes in this – word’s spellcheck is what it is and my eyes are not much better.

Crossposted to a few places.

[User Picture]From: tamtrible
2006-10-08 11:57 pm (UTC)

I'm inclined to agree...

>He's dangerously devoted to the girl. Is it possible that his redemption must involve letting her go? Accepting that hitting her and being cruel to her won't 'keep' her and when it comes down to it, she doesn't belong to him?

I think, for this to be plausible, I think he'd at least have to... come to the conclusion that he has no right to claim her, and offer to let her go. For me to believe that he truly has changed, in any meaningful way, I think I'd have to see some acknowledgement from him that he's done something that could, and possibly should, be unforgivable.
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