Anyone help me with this, please?
I'm very new to writing and wanted to ask how to about something in a chapter.
So my MC is very dedicated to his job as a therapist, but in this session he's trying to get to know a new client who is rather reluctant. At the same time he has a personal worry on his mind that I don't want to be specific about. Basically, he's just received a letter from his dying father that he wants to see him after 15 years. His father was a drunk and abusive and my MC never intended to have anything to do with him or expected to hear from him again. It's shaken him back, brought back awful memories, fears and insecurities of his childhood. Then he had to go to work and act calm and confident.
I don't want to give away his entire history in the first chapter. This issue with his father is a sub-plot so how much should I give away? Should I mention the letter but never explain it in that chapter? Something has to explain his mood. How can I show his feelings without telling?
I don't know how to go about showing something is bothering him.
- SpeedLv 71 month agoFavourite answer
So is the main plot about the therapist reconnecting with his father, or attempting to? Then a teaser in the first chapter is sufficient.
I assume the therapist is the point of view character, through whose eyes and ears the reader gets the story. That means you can also share his thoughts, memories, concerns, and whatever else is going on in his head.
If I were writing this, I'd probably introduce that he's received a letter from his father and that its contents are preventing him from giving his patient the professional attention he deserves. I'd end the chapter or section with his decision to act on the letter, whatever that decision is (burn it, ignore it, call him, go see him, whatever) or with a further layer of reveal as to the nature of why they're estranged in the first place.
If you're in his POV, you show something is bothering him by sharing his thoughts, intercut with this new patient he's trying to draw out of his shell.
- VoelvenLv 71 month ago
Well, you probably should give a reason for his distracted mood. How much you reveal is up to you, though. You don't need to go into detail and tell the reader your character's whole life story in one go. You could even just have him receive the letter, decide not to read it before the therapy session, but show how it still rattles him.
How to show feelings without telling could be:
MC paused mid-sentence when he saw the envelope on his desk, his name and address written in his father's bold handwriting. "When did this come?" he asked, amazed at the steadiness of his own voice.
Fifteen years, fifteen years of no contact, and now the old man wanted to see him? MC's hands shook as he read the letter one more time.
MC threw the letter on the table in disgust. If the old drunk thought he was going to come running just because he was dying, he was as delusional as he always had been.
These are obviously just examples of different approaches, the writing should be yours, not mine.
- AndrewLv 71 month ago
So you're writing a story about a character who is licensed to assist people in dealing with their issues and feelings and you don't have any idea how to write about him dealing with his own issues and feelings. Good thing you're not writing about a story about a guy who teaches a writing class.