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When you've put yourself in corner with your story

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by srebak, May 31, 2014.

  1. srebak

    srebak Troubadour

    As i've mentioned many times, i'm writing a fanfiction where the main antagonist wants the protagonist to see things his way and is willing to try and sever all of the protagonist's ties to do it. Now, in any other story, this plot would be resolved by the "hero/heroine" pointing out/proving certain aspects that make him/her nothing like the villain/villainess, and thus find a reason to do the "right" thing. But in my visualizing of my story, i keep finding reasons why the "hero/heroine" should take the villain/villainess up on their offer.

    I keep imagining the antagonist offering the protagonist a chance for a life of freedom and respect, a life where they no longer have to play by someone else's rules, and a chance to get revenge against the people who did them wrong. Considering that those are the things i want, i can't think of a single reason why the protagonist would say no. Especially considering what the main character has been through already in the show that i'm writing this fanfic for.
  2. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    2+2 will always equal 4. If you want a different result, like 5, you have to change the components of the equation. What components get added or subtracted depends entirely on your story elements and your character's background.

    If you want a character to do something, anything, you have to understand what makes them tick. Go back to the character and study them more. It's not always about the best objective argument that makes a character do something. It's sometimes about an argument that appeals to something specific in the character, their past, and their personality, that will make them do one thing or another.
  3. psychotick

    psychotick Auror


    Look at it as a pro's and cons thing. You've given three good pro's for why the MC would want to go with the bad guy, freedom, respect, and revenge. Now what are the things that would outweigh these incentives? My guess, your number one is always a moral centre - is my freedom worth someone else's life etc? All those questions he might ask himself. Then there's faith. Obediance to the law. Distrust of the bad guy and his offer. Emotional attachment to someone or a group of someones who won't leave and join up.

    Define your MC and what's important to him and you'll find your answer.

    Cheers, Greg.
  4. thefeyfox

    thefeyfox Dreamer

    I actually really like the idea of the protagonist taking up the offer of the antagonist. I wonder if there is a way to pit "society" against the antagonist making them seem the bad guy (to both the audience + the hero) and then tossing in a curve ball at the end that creates a gigantic perspective shift, maybe even leading into a sequel where we see things from the antagonists perspective?

    The only thing that seems to me like it would be pointless would be remembering that you can't force anyone to do anything - there would have to be a very significant reason why the antagonist would continue to pursue the perspective shift in the protagonist throughout the story, instead of just giving up, physically attempting to force them, or killing them if they can't achieve the results they (the antagonist) are looking for.
  5. PaulineMRoss

    PaulineMRoss Inkling

    I love a story where the characters *don't* do the expected or right thing. Sometimes it's fun to see an otherwise good person turn to the dark side. It's fiction, it doesn't have to follow a formula absolutely. More to the point, it's *your* fiction. You can tell whatever story you want.

    Listen to the characters; they're never wrong.
  6. Terry Greer

    Terry Greer Sage

    It's a hard thing to understand sometimes, but the character isn't you, and doesn't have your moral attitudes and opinions.
    This is especially true for established characters in an existing IP.
    The questions should never be what would I do - but what would the character do. The two are very different, and if you force a character to do something 'out of character' then you're asking for trouble.

    Most established IPs have extensive bibles that define what a character will or won't do.

    Having said that getting a character to step outside their normal behavior just a little and then feel remorse/guilt/shame at having broken (or almost broken) their internal code can be very effective.
    Even just being tempted for a moment or considering breaking their normal code can be enough for this to be effective.

    But I'd be very wary at having a character step well outside their normal code - it always feels so wrong.
  7. KMR

    KMR Acolyte

    I agree with Terry. Whatever you do make sure you do not break your character. When their actions are forced and not a natural result it is obvious. Every other aspect of your story could be executed masterfully, but a broken character at the center will ruin everything.

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