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Too long time between event and revenge? (1 Viewer)

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SeasideAnna

Senior Member
In my story, I have a woman that was a victim of a terrible rape 30 years ago. Later in the story, it is all about her revenge. I am quite satisfied with the story as such, but my big worry is that it is too long time between the event and the revenge time. Is that really credible?
There are many reasons in the story that prevent me from starting the revenge earlier, but I don't want to make the story completely incredible. Do you have any comments/thoughts/tips on how to bridge the time from 1980 until present time? I realize it is difficult, since you do not know the story, but if you have any general comments that is very much appreciated.
 

Riis Marshall

WF Veterans
Hello Anna

Welcome to the greatest writers' forum in the world.

The time between the outrage and revenge is immaterial so long as you tell a good story. Thirty years isn't much time in the grand scheme of things.

If there are very good, credible reasons why it has taken so long make them central to your story and the problem is solved.

The only example I can think of right now is Agatha Christie's The Mirror Cracked but I'm sure some of our members will come back with others.

All the best with your writing.

Warmest regards
Riis
 

ironpony

Senior Member
I think as long as the reasons have a reason, so to speak, then it can work. Are you worried that readers will not buy that a character would bother to devote that much time in her life to avenge a rape?
 

SeasideAnna

Senior Member
I think as long as the reasons have a reason, so to speak, then it can work. Are you worried that readers will not buy that a character would bother to devote that much time in her life to avenge a rape?

Yes perhaps I am. The victim and the main character that comes in later, live in different countries. That is one explanation to why the revenge hasn't taken place earlier, but I don't want all the actions to feel strained. However, the events that take place later, requires the long time in between, so I have to find a way to explain it. Either by making one or more retrospectives or to "awake" the feelings again when the characters meet.
 

ironpony

Senior Member
Yes perhaps I am. The victim and the main character that comes in later, live in different countries. That is one explanation to why the revenge hasn't taken place earlier, but I don't want all the actions to feel strained. However, the events that take place later, requires the long time in between, so I have to find a way to explain it. Either by making one or more retrospectives or to "awake" the feelings again when the characters meet.

Okay thanks. I think a lot of this would depend on the circumstances of which the characters meet again. Is it by coincidence, or does the protagonist have a certain reason to meet the villain again?
 

Patrick

WF Veterans
You just need to highlight the cruelty of the rape in the way you write it. How you choose to do that is up to you. As a reader I would just have to understand the severity of what happened so as not to question the credibility of a deep-rooted pain that could inspire revenge 30 years after the incident. It all comes down to the way you write it.
 

popsprocket

Retired Chief Media Manager
I'd have no problem with that.

Certainly you find that with traumatic experiences the brain tends to suppress them as best it can and it might be a long time before the full force of the rape comes back to haunt her. If it just so happened that it took 30 years for her to finally end up in a position where it was time for revenge, then that'd be perfectly believable as far as I'm concerned.

Besides, people tend to look at things differently as they get older. Perhaps some who was 30 years younger would blame themselves for the rape for whatever reason, and then it's only as she gets older that her view on the incident shifts to the point where revenge is the order of the day.
 

Bishop

WF Veterans
That kind of assault sticks with you for the rest of your life--I would have no trouble believing this a viable revenge tale.
 

aj47

(he/him)
WF Veterans
What Bish said. Also, remember Inigo Montoya. He took as long as he needed to avenge his father's death.
 

aurora borealis

Senior Member
I think 30 years is a perfectly reasonable time to elapse between event and revenge. Especially since the crime you're writing about is rape - your protagonist might (I don't know what she's like personality-wise) have self-blame (as has already been mentioned), residual fear of her rapist, and potentially rape trauma.

Also, depending on what kind of revenge she has in mind, she might spend some of that time planning what she'd like to do to her rapist, once she knows that she wants revenge.
 

David Gordon Burke

WF Veterans
Revenge is a dish best served cold.

The implication is that the longer it takes you to exact revenge and the less the reciever sees it coming, the better.
The Count of Monte Cristo or Sleepers by Lorenzo Carcaterra illustrate this idea well.
There doesn't even need to be a reason for the long wait in my opinion.

David Gordon Burke
 

Miranda de la Costa

Senior Member
The amount of time between crime and wanting revenge is irrelevant. This can be a great plot device if you show her preparing herself for the confrontation throughout the story (such as she had no prior firearm training so show her learning how to use a firearm). Or it can be a great character trait/ flaw (she transforms from being scared and frightened to becoming a symbol for women who were raped or becoming obsessed with tracking down the culprit which could lead to her demise). It's all up to you how you wrote it or will write it. Good luck!
 

Newman

Senior Member
In my story, I have a woman that was a victim of a terrible rape 30 years ago. Later in the story, it is all about her revenge. I am quite satisfied with the story as such, but my big worry is that it is too long time between the event and the revenge time. Is that really credible?
There are many reasons in the story that prevent me from starting the revenge earlier, but I don't want to make the story completely incredible. Do you have any comments/thoughts/tips on how to bridge the time from 1980 until present time? I realize it is difficult, since you do not know the story, but if you have any general comments that is very much appreciated.

There's a movie DOUBLE JEOPARDY

So, no, never too late.
 

Sam

General
Patron
Without Remorse, in my opinion one of the greatest revenge thrillers ever written, has 900 pages between event and revenge.
 
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