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Brainstorming Session... An amnesic main character who operates mostly upon animalistic instincts walks into a port town...


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So, I am about half a chapter away from a point in my book where Abirami comes to a port town on the outskirts of the empire. (as a reminder, Abirami's race is ostracized in this empire's culture, and the emperor himself is chasing Abirami and wants him dead - but Abirami remembers none of this...) Abirami has lost all his memory and is acting on animalistic instincts only. His race, Aygiff's, are able to transform into animals. Abirami lost his memories because his essence (the magical system in my fantasy book) went out of control and has now, for all practical purposes, taken over Abirami's mind (hence the animalistic instincts). He is searching for a place he belongs. he was almost killed by a woodsman protecting his family, and a wolf pack rejects him, and now he approaches the port town. 

Since it's on the outskirts of the empire, abirami won't be identified right off the bat, but eventually, he will get noticed and the town guard chases after him; however, I figured some other things should happen to him in town first, but can't think of anything good... Would appreciate any ideas you could think of. His run-in with the woodsman previously cues Abirami in that bipedal creatures prefer clothes on, so that will not be an issue; however, Abirami will have limited to no recollection of most things. For example, he calls blood "red water" but somehow remembers that the red fruit is called "apples," so there is leeway to play with what he does and does not remember. 

 

So again, here is the brainstorm prompt. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated:

 

An amnesic male teenager, who operates mostly upon animalistic instincts/urges, walks into a port town, and ... ... ... 

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hmm... he knows nothing about culture. He can't understand the language. Think of it this way. For a time, he thought he belonged with a wolf pack. since he can transform into animals, he ran with the pack for some time until an event occurred in which he transformed into something else in front of the pack, and the pack rejects him. He then considers whether he belongs with the bipedal creatures, even though he can't speak their language or understand them. 

 

For instance, one event I'm considering for this section is he takes an apple off a food stand and gets in trouble and has to run because he didn't pay for it. 

 

So, perhaps another way to think of it is.... if a wild animal was put inside a humanoid body and then set free inside the city, (granted the wild animal got used to and learned how to use the humanoid body) what would happen if it got loose inside a port city... 

 

hopefully that makes sense..... in the least, I'm looking for small, one-time events... 

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Makes more sense. (I was picturing animalistic as basic instincts.)

The three things we want the most are food, water, and shelter. 

So which does he need first? Second? Third? 

Wolves are carnivores, so instinct won't go for apple. Maybe bones with meat left on them behind the butcher's shop, or the grocery store. Dog food or cat food left outside. Dumpster diving. (A bit iffy for a wolf just turned into a human. I'm not sure if he has figured out he has new abilities he didn't have before; i.e. can stand upright, and flexible hands instead of paws.)

Water is easy enough, unless this is a desert town. Pet bowls, bird baths, puddles, sprinkler systems.

 

Shelter is an old doghouse, underneath a house, garage, bridge, or tunnel. (We have walking tunnels to help us go under major highways.) Old warehouses or abandon buildings work too, if there is some reason he doesn't have to share it with other humans. (My guys will be needing a new place soon, so I checked around, and found WWII era warehouses down at the Navy Yard. Homeless people wouldn't stay there because they'd have to walk 2-3 miles to get to places where they can get food or beg for money.) And the one place I wanted to use in my story, except for geographical problems -- old ships. But, in your case, again, he'd have to have figured out hands work differently than paws. (Anchor chain is involved.)

 

I'm sure he'll develop into apple eater, but animal instincts will have to dissipate first. (At least, that's how I'm picturing this.) And being a city gal, I'd be more inclined to eat gutter pizza than an apple. 🤭

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Depending on how you want this segment to feel. It could have a humorous feel (him bumping into all kinds of people and getting into weird situations), a threatening feel that foreshadows what's to come (he tries to steal food and gets chased, doesn't care about knocking people down to get what and where he wants), or a lost feel (wandering the streets at night, crying to the moon because he's lost and hurt(?) and totally miserable.)

 

Hope some of this helps!

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I have to agree with @Carolyn W--if he's really acting as an animal, why would he come into a town at all? Unless he's "channeling" some semi-tame creature, a stray cat, say, he'd be far more likely to avoid towns and human habitation, at least until dark.

 

Or are you imaging him sneaking around in the dark? In that case, I'd picture him foraging for scraps or leftovers, and then retreating to an area that feels safe, perhaps back to the forest.

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