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What token might a stalker leave? : Writers' Block Party • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

What token might a stalker leave?

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LMarriver
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What token might a stalker leave?

Postby LMarriver » Wed May 11, 2016 7:35 pm

I'm new here and am not sure that this is the correct place for this type of question. Please let me know if I need to move it.

My main character is a young woman that was kidnapped as a ten-year-old. She has no memory of the event, and her kidnapper is in jail...so she thought. Actually, there were two men involved in the kidnapping and the real kidnapper has recently discovered her whereabouts.

I really want to have the stalker leave tokens for her, and as her memories start coming back she (and the audience) will start to put together that he has been following her. He has left tokens in her house, her work, her car. Her favorite places.

Here is the tough part. It needs to be something that is noticed but ignored as inconsequential by the readers and the main characters. I have thought of maybe objects placed in a very simple symbol, maybe a pile of salt or sand, or ground up crystals of some sort. Flowers or leaves maybe? Something signifying ownership or possession would be great.

Any ideas or thoughts about my ideas?

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Loren Killdeer
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Re: What token might a stalker leave?

Postby Loren Killdeer » Thu May 12, 2016 7:15 am

I think that usually stalkers that TAKE tokens from their vicitims is something that its related of the victim.

Maybe, I don't know if your character has a child, but he could leave her old doll in the child room, or a shoe, or a sock (like, clothing that was from her when the kidnapping happened). Or any old draw, but something related to her or to the crime escene.

I hope I helped!
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LMarriver
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Re: What token might a stalker leave?

Postby LMarriver » Thu May 12, 2016 8:53 am

Thanks, that might work. She doesn't have a child, though and so those items would be out of place. She'd notice right away. Maybe pieces of the place, bits of barn wood, concrete, rocks? hmmmmm

ShortyMe
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Re: What token might a stalker leave?

Postby ShortyMe » Thu May 12, 2016 11:42 am

How about: she's always left a certain picture face down on the top right end of her tv in the living room. it's a 3x5 photo of whatever/who(m)ever inside a 4x6 rectangular frame (length-side going left to right, not top to bottom), and one day she returns home from work with a friend for coffee/catching up to find the picture set upright amidst the dust...

This similar to something that happened in my home in October 2014 (related to an ongoing not-fully-worked-out-yet situation), but it was my 14.5 year old walking in the door just after me, when I'd noticed, "Mom, that wasn't like that." pointing to what I was staring at: the picture standing up.

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Crono91
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Re: What token might a stalker leave?

Postby Crono91 » Thu May 12, 2016 11:44 am

How about a particular dead insect?

You can look up the symbolic meaning of various insects to find one that sort of fits your killer or his motives. But one of the symbolic meanings of a wasp is order, so could be like a controlling aspect of the killer. So leaving around dead wasps could be easily glossed over by the reader and person.

A dead insect is so common that you could even have the killer leave the insect on objects or clues that the person slowly pieces together. :D
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pls
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Re: What token might a stalker leave?

Postby pls » Thu May 12, 2016 1:58 pm

I would think the stalker would take something away, rather than leave an object.

In my case, I might not notice for months if he removed one of the inconsequential decorative objects I have in my living room, like the cups or vases I dragged back from Mexico years ago, since I have several of them.
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LMarriver
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Re: What token might a stalker leave?

Postby LMarriver » Thu May 12, 2016 3:37 pm


TCCollins
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Re: What token might a stalker leave?

Postby TCCollins » Fri May 13, 2016 8:21 am

The only problem I see is that ten years old seems a little old to have memories go missing from, it is more likely to happen to memories from 7 years and under, even then, the stronger memories are usually the very bad or very good stuff. However, unless the event was extremely traumatic mentally or physically (or both) and it was blocked out by the subconscious, I would suggest lowering the age.

Please note, I only say this from personal experience. I still remember quite clearly what I was like at that age, randoim events, etc. My earliest memory however (I'm guessing), was when I was still a toddler and I remember lying on my back getting my bottom changed by my dad and getting a wee smack too. I remember crying. I even remember thinking, wondering what on earth I had done wrong. I found out a few years ago that he'd only just changed me and I soiled practically straight away so he had to change me again. My mother was stunned I had even remembered it as I was so young!

Of course, everyone's different, so you don't have to go by what I say :)

As for your actual question, I gather the stalker has a vendetta against her for putting him behind bars? You could start him using gaslighting at first, so she questions her reality; maybe she thinks she's being haunted or something, because that's something a sociopath would more likely do- mess with their victim before the big reveal, turning her world upside down when she realises.

LMarriver
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Re: What token might a stalker leave?

Postby LMarriver » Fri May 13, 2016 8:48 am

Thanks TCCollins

The kidnapping was extremely traumatic, but I think you are right about the age. It would help explain her confusion about things when she does start remembering, and it makes it more believable that she completely lost her memory. I appreciate the comments so much. This is exactly the type of help I need to tighten up the plot.

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nhope
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Re: What token might a stalker leave?

Postby nhope » Fri May 13, 2016 3:09 pm

You say she now is a young woman, but what age is that - 19? 24? 32? That may make a difference as to what she remembers or whether or not she even chooses to remember or has the desire to figure out what the symbolism is. You would have to choose something she couldn't deny.

Such as:
Did he make her eat something she hated, like PBJ's? Readers won't think much of that but she may have had a reaction to pb and he used it as punishment. For example, she's at work and he delivers to her a pbj. She knows the only time she ate them was with him.

Did he take her someplace she was afraid of? A haunted house (if it takes place in autumn), a clown show (kids hate clowns). He mails her a clown figurine.

That type of thing.

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