oh boy this is gonna be really long and angsty, fair warning
lance starts remembering things in dreams
the first time he has one of these dreams, it’s really just this vague image of his mother, and all he can recall from it when he wakes, sweaty and confused, is her kind, soft eyes. lance doesn’t really know how he gets there, but pidge finds him on the observation deck, shivering and half asleep against the control panel
by the time morning wake-up time comes, the previous night is a blur
So, instead of resorting to “Amnesia!”, do you have a different suggestion if a story requires a character to forget about most of their life while retaining some, if not all, of their necessary skills so that the plot keeps moving?
Write a better story.
Or at least examine the one you have and examine why you feel like this is your only choice.
Ask yourself this: why does that need to happen? What plot hole have you dug yourself into that makes you think this is the only way out? Trace that plot hole back. How did it happen? What were the choices you made to get your story to that point?
Invariably I find Amnesia! is used to cover up bad writing. It’s used to divert characters who “need” to be sidelined to make a plot advance.
But that need is artificial. That need exists because the writer typically has some event they think HAS to happen, or HAS to happen a certain way. It’s what happens when writers forget that characters drive the plot. The plot shouldn’t be driving the characters.
Amnesia! is a bad patch on a plot hole you could drive an ambulance through.
It destroys a character’s agency. It’s the deus ex machina to end all dei’s exes.
If you didn’t use this trope, and your story falls apart because of it, it’s not falling apart because the trope is clutch to your story. It falls apart because you’re trying to drive the plot somewhere it shouldn’t be going.
Character arcs depend on development, which is built on a foundation of their past experiences and the perspectives they’ve built because of those experiences. A character with Amnesia! can’t grow. They become themselves a tool, rather than a person with desires and wants and needs and preferences. They become putty for the writer to mold, not their own person.
I want to come back to that word, agency. People matter in stories when their choices have consequences. To be important, a character has to have a shot at significantly altering their own life and that of those around them. Otherwise they’re a puppet, a shadow of a person. Real people have consequences.
Amnesia! takes that away. It says that someone’s choices ultimately don’t matter. It says that their value to the story isn’t in who they are, because you literally choose to throw who they are away.
Amnesia! is convenient. It seems like a great fix for when you’ve written yourself into a corner. But all it does is detract from your own effort, your own characters. It devalues them. It tells your reader “hey, I can break the rules, I can take someone out of the picture because it’s convenient to the plot”.
I implore you, write a better story. Don’t demean your characters, and your readers, with this garbage trope. You’re a better writer than that.
I honestly have no memory of having written this (or: Aaron Sorkin and Julian Fellowes are BOTH going to kill me)
I was Googling around among the old posts for something that needs to go into a reply to an ask when I stumbled across this. Now I’m wondering what I was smoking. Because it’s fun, if I do say so myself.
So I just heard that Michelle Obama is such a hardcore Sherlockian She actually called BBC and asked for season three And they gave her the sloppily put together tapes of season three Michelle Obama literally called BBC for season three and they gave it to her
And my reply:
This would be wonderful if there was any way it could be true, as none of S3 has even been shot yet. Shooting starts in March.
to they best of my knowledge the production company does not do the
kind of “storyboard video” that a major film might do. So, nothing like
that would be making its way to the White House either.
…Sorry. (But what was the source of this rumor, I wonder?“