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Massive Re-write

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Garren Jacobsen, Apr 22, 2015.

  1. Alright ladies, gents, and mythical creatures I have a major question that, if answered in the affirmative, will require a major rewrite. I actually really like the idea I am about to propose but I want to hear your great input.

    To get a proper understanding of my idea I am going to propose I am going to give a skeleton structure of each.

    ---current version---

    In this version Jude, my MC, is a good individual. He has a magical disease that makes him underclass and part of a repressed group. There is a terrorist organization that is trying to rectify this situation but through violent means. Jude is accepted to a good university, but has to join an underground fight league to pay for housing, books, tuition etc. (His parents refuse to pay for him.) That league turns out to be a recruiting organization for the terrorists. He gets propositioned a couple of times but refuses to join each time. These advances culminate in Jude uncovering a plot to infect thousands of people with the Disease.

    ---proposed version---

    In this version the only thing that changes is that Jude does start down the path to joining the terrorist organization. This requires a proper set up of course so some important background stuff will need to change.

    What do you all think?
  2. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    I believe you could write a great story following either path. The new proposal has the potential to be more powerful, because of the conflict that must exist within the character, and the compelling character arc that could result from his initially starting down the road to joining the terrorist group, only to later transform in a way that leads him to reject them.
    Garren Jacobsen likes this.
  3. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

    I agree. One thing I've noticed is that plot is secondary to character. If your character as you see him is good and wouldn't do that thing, don't have him do it. Or, give him a reason to go against his nature. Either can be compelling, but I'm not sure the way he gets involved is as important as how you tell his story, with great character development.
  4. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    I agree with Steerpike too. Either is very workable. It all depends on the story you want to tell.

    Here's how I'm seeing things.

    The current version your MC is a stand up guy that's tempted but has the moral fortitude to resist. The main conflict seems to be external, discovering the terrorist plot and stopping it. The character doesn't go through a change, but instead, their morals are confronted and in the end their moral stance is proven to be correct.

    The proposed version seems like he falls into temptation, and must come out of it. There's more internal conflict as he struggles with what he's doing. And unlike the current version, when he discovers the plot, there will be a dilemma between stopping it and letting it proceed.

    Again, it all depends on what you want to focus on. The current version focuses more on the external conflict, and the proposed version seems to be more inclined to delve more into the internal conflict of the character. Another way to say it is in the current version the character isn't conflicted internally, and in the proposed version, they are conflicted in a significant way.

    Any way that's how I see it.
  5. KC Trae Becker

    KC Trae Becker Troubadour

    I think the proposed version sounds more dynamic and visceral, but you need a compelling reason for a such a good character to get caught up in all that ugliness.
    Garren Jacobsen likes this.
  6. X Equestris

    X Equestris Maester

    With the proposed version, it might be easier to have your character uncover the plot as part of the organization than it would be in your current state.
    Garren Jacobsen likes this.
  7. BronzeOracle

    BronzeOracle Sage

    Redemption and change of perception/heart are very powerful themes and I think your proposed change to the story would be a great opportunity to explore them. I remember this theme from American History X - it had its flaws but I thought it was a good film.

    There are so many very real human reasons why Jude could go down a dark path initially. For inspiration you could read some accounts of people who have gotten out of hateful organisations and how they described their thoughts/motives for joining at the time.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2015
    Garren Jacobsen and Russ like this.
  8. X Equestris

    X Equestris Maester

    One thing to think about with groups like this is that they often operate in cells, with only their leader being connected to the larger organization. So you might get one cell that operates in a very specific way, and another in a different part of the country that acts the exact opposite.

    So here's what I'm thinking: maybe where Jude is from, this group operates in a more professional way, and tries to avoid civilian casualties. That would make them sympathetic to the underclass they're fighting for. So when he goes to a university in a different part of the country, he has a positive view of this organization. Whatever stories there are about the local cell of this region being utterly ruthless he dismisses as propaganda.

    When he gets propositioned, he joins thinking of how this group is in his home region, not how it is here. And then it's not until he goes on a couple of operations with this group that he finds out the stories about them are completely true.
    Garren Jacobsen likes this.
  9. TheCatholicCrow

    TheCatholicCrow Inkling

    Either one has the potential to be powerful. It depends on the personality and nature of your character - passive or flexible? the 2nd version. If he's more independent he might be willing to fight like hell and hold to his convictions.
    Garren Jacobsen likes this.
  10. AndrewMelvin

    AndrewMelvin Scribe

    For me, the second option is more interesting - it opens up the possibility of more conflict between Jude's desire to (I assume) stop being oppressed versus the damage/deaths that might be caused by the group.

    I'm sure no member of a terrorist cell actually thinks they are in a terrorist group - they are freedom fighters, rebels, the righteous, etc. Balancing the group's fervour against their deeds, which could leave innocent people dead, might create broadly sympathetic characters who see themselves as being forced to do terrible things.
    Garren Jacobsen likes this.
  11. These are all interesting thoughts. So I've been thinking about this concept for some time now. Here is how he would join. Fight league recruitment but not part of the operational aspects. He joins a masked protest and a riot breaks out. He carries himself well, doesn't get caught, and starts to become part of the operational squad. He's still an inductee and so not really a part of the full body of the organization. After a couple of successful missions, small stuff like vandalizing protests things of that nature, where he pulls a couple of guys bacon out of the fire by beating a few police officers the main body of the organization wants to induct him into the group. To be inducted he has to infect a person with the Disease. This is done by blood contact. They produce a person who they have magically and temporarily blinded and deafened. I think this person would be either his sister or his budding love interest. This is when he stops to really consider what he's doing here in this group. He refuses because he doesn't want to give anyone the Disease. A fight breaks out, he escapes with the help of some non-magic anti-terror units from another country investigating an explosion in the area that killed a few of their people. For the last third of the book he is dodging assassination attempts, uncovers someone he knows is secretly a big-wig in the terrorist organization, uncovers the details of a plot, tells the police (who think he's drunk at the time he tells them), confronts the guy himself, love interest shows up and pulls is butt out of the fire, plot stopped, terrorists rebuffed and have a grudge against Jude.

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