1. Shbooblie
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    Shbooblie Contributing Member

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    Character motivation question...

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Shbooblie, Sep 13, 2015.

    Just looking for a bit of guidance with my MC's development.
    So my he is presented as someone who is a suicidal loner, who is inherently selfish. At this point in time the reader doesn't know that this wasn't always the case and he is only this way as he is scared of people getting close enough to find out his big secret.

    One night he ends up saving a homeless woman from some would-be rapists and decides the best thing to do would be to let her stay in his home "just for the night" in case they came back. He ends up taking pity on her when he finds out her story and lets her stay a little longer.

    My Questions are:

    -Would this come off as out of character for him to act in this way?
    -How would I go about "Showing, not telling" a developing friendship between the two (the aim being he lets her stay indefinitely)?
    -Would him wanting to make reparations for his past seem like a good enough excuse for his change of attitude towards helping others?
    -Would it make sense to the reader that he would keep her around despite the risks involved simply because he can't bear the thought of being in his own company any longer?
     
  2. theoriginalmonsterman
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    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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  3. Shbooblie
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    Shbooblie Contributing Member

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    Thanks a lot, its good to see my story through someone else's eyes so I can see what needs worked out.

    For the first part he has been watching the world go by from his window which overlooks an alleyway where the homeless person has been turning in for the night. He kind of feels an affinity for her because in his mind they are 'together in loneliness'. He just happens to witness two men attacking her one night and though he's sick of living his own life he can't bear to witness anyone suffering as he'd seen too much of it in his past so that's why he decides to help. As it's first person I suppose if he was to explain that might it make more sense to the reader? I just can't think of another way that the two could meet.
     
  4. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I have a very similar set up to you. I've got one character with very strong motivation to avoid any friendships or relationships and another character who he has to fall in love with. Like you, the part I struggled most with was how to get them to meet and spend enough time together to form a connection. I finally got it, but it took MANY rewrites. In the end I had to tap into his other motivations, the ones that counter his resistance to relationships. He has a strong protective streak, especially towards vulnerable women, so I made him see her in a vulnerable position and be forced to help. As they spend those first few hours together, she reminds him of the younger sister that he's driven to protect. That's what breaks down his barriers and allows her to get under his skin.

    Obviously you have two different characters so my way won't work for them, but if you keep taking the time to explore their motivations deeper and deeper, you'll find it.

    Would this come off as out of character for him to act in this way?

    Not if we believe he's "inherently selfish." It depends how well we know him by this point. If it's the first couple of chapters, it'll show us that although he might believe he's selfish, or he acts selfishly sometimes, he has a good heart under it all. If this is in the middle of the book and he's been consistently selfish up until now, he will need a reason to help this woman.

    How would I go about "Showing, not telling" a developing friendship between the two (the aim being he lets her stay indefinitely)?
    Don't have your POV thinking "I really like her." ;) Maybe show that his inner thoughts are conflicting with his actions - maybe he's thinking "I wish I'd never let her stay" but he tells her she can stay another night - we can see he's struggling between wanting to carry on being a loner, and wanting to help her because he likes her. He will probably be annoyed at her for bringing him out of his routine and 'comfort zone', but unable to stay angry with her.

    Would him wanting to make reparations for his past seem like a good enough excuse for his change of attitude towards helping others?
    Yes, but it all depends on the execution. There has to be something that happens to change his mood. He can't just wake up one day and decide to be nice.

    Would it make sense to the reader that he would keep her around despite the risks involved simply because he can't bear the thought of being in his own company any longer?
    Yes, that sounds like an excellent reason to me.
     
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  5. Shbooblie
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    Shbooblie Contributing Member

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    Thanks @Tenderiser . That is really helpful for me. You've given me a lot to think about!
     

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