plot framework trouble!

by Debbie
(India )

Question: I have a plot regarding a protagonist with an abused past. When her mother dies and she is left alone, she takes an exotic vacation as a last resort to mend her life. The story starts on a Mediterranean cruise. It is there that she meets a charismatic stranger. As things get intimate, an ex lover turns up to reveal dark secrets about the stranger-he is more than what meets the eye. However the lover is not a saint-he has his own motive of vengeance.

The ending has to be such that the protagonist becomes stronger in her life and starts a new lease of life with her soul mate.

This story will have frequent juxtapositions between the hero and the anti hero as to who is the real angel and who is the Satan. The plot is twisted as it shows the gray shades of all three characters.

Now the question is how will it mend the protagonist's life? Are there possible situations?

Answer: This is a problem you must work out on your own, but see if this helps...

First, try to define who your main character is when the story begins and the various emotional issues that are holding her back. The pain she has suffered from the abuse and the loss of her mother is a wound that needs to be healed, or a hole that needs to be filled.

Try to work out if she needs to give up her current attitude or approach to life or if she needs to take on a new approach.

It may also help to imagine how you would like her to be at the end of the story. If her life will be better, how will it be better? If you could take a photograph of her that would show how her life has improved, what would be in the picture?

Of the two men, one of them will embody the approach she needs to adopt. The other may fit with her current approach. Or, to put it another way, one man may represent her past, the other will represent her future.

So, in the course of the story, she will be pressured to change, to take on a new approach, while at the same time part of her will want to stay with the old approach because it is familiar. However, you want to put her into a situation at the crisis where she must choose one or the other, where the pressure to make the right choice is so great that she will take a leap of faith and try the new approach. Making the right choice is what will change her life.

Of course, the old way is the wrong way, but neither she nor the reader should know that for certain ahead of time. Your "gray shades" are there to make it hard to see who is the right choice until after the decision has been made.

I hope that helps.

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