1. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Character motivation

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Chinspinner, Feb 11, 2015.

    I have put this into the plot forum because it is fundamentally a plot issue rather than a character issue.

    My question is, why has someone who has never seen Earth (or has any tangible links to Earth), care about Earth getting attacked?
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2015
  2. Ben414
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    Ben414 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sympathy seems like an obvious choice.
     
  3. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I might sympathise with Crimea, but (outside of the wider political eye-balling between the West and Russia) it isn't going to compel me to act on it.
     
  4. Ben414
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    Ben414 Contributing Member Contributor

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    You probably don't have the means to make any significant difference in Ukraine. If this character did, the decision making process would be different. If I personally had the ability to end the conflict in Crimea, I would feel compelled to act on it to help the millions of people who live in or have been displaced from the area.
     
  5. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    But it is still rather a loose motivation in terms of a novel. If I could do something, I would, to help people.
     
  6. Ben414
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    Ben414 Contributing Member Contributor

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    True, but you haven't given us any specific details to work with. If you provided more details, I think the community might be able to help more.
     
  7. nastyjman
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    nastyjman Contributing Member

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    Might be something in the alien's history that triggers this sympathy.

    Or has heard of Earth and thinks it's beautiful from the pictures and videos the alien has seen in the universal-wide-web so he backpacks and hitchhikes for Earth only to find it is condemned for demolition, which prompts the alien to head to the Commission of Intergalactic Epsilon Housing Services, only to be turned back around since it was the wrong commission and it was a Sunday, but the receptionist was good enough to give the alien the address for the Commission of Intergalactic Pest Control located in the Gamma-Theta Quadrant about four planets away from the purple sun.
     
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  8. Lancie
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    Lancie Contributing Member

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    Whoever it is could care more about the attackers- either because they've suffered a similar fate or have something against them. The fact they're attacking Earth is irrelevant, could have been any planet.
     
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  9. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I think this is the road I'm going down. I sort of answered my own question when mentioning Crimea regarding the wider political eye-balling between the West and Russia
     
  10. Michael Pless
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    Michael Pless Active Member

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    This is a very common device, and it appears on Bear's Anvil of Stars/Forge of the Gods duology, and is also in the TV show Falling Skies.

    Though it's been used before, it is nonetheless quite valid.

    From time to time, I wonder about motivations - both good and bad. I wonder how it is so uniquely human to wave to passing travellers whether they are known to you or not, and also the desire to feed an animal. I also wonder why anyone would even consider they have the right to another person’s property let alone forcibly take it from them.

    Perhaps things like morality are a part of any civilization - alien or not - and for a weaker culture to be preyed-upon by a stronger one could be deemed sufficiently abhorrent that any perceived attack (of Earth) would cause an alien to have an interest in events to the point of wanting to prevent it.

    And I'm sure it has been used before, but I can't recall where, but an attacking force might be doing so to gain access to some resource that Earth has a lot of, and the alien might see this as providing an unfair or unwanted advantage to a competitor.
     
  11. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    Maybe they have a personal connection to the ones who are about to destroy Earth. They find out the plan and feel they need to stop it even if it means ruining the relationship with the destroyers.
     
  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I guess it's the same reason why people care for a cause they're otherwise unrelated to. Doctors without borders going into Ebola areas. Missionaries trying to spread the Gospel in China. Various volunteers helping in the aftermath of the Tsunami, of 9/11, of any other natural disaster you can think of. Animal rights activists, pro-choice or pro-life protesters, people who advocate for various species of animals or the rainforest. Why care when you have a comfortable home and a stable job somewhere in a developed country?

    So I think it boils down to your character - what are his moral values? What does he care about and why? And how does Earth being attack somehow affect these things that are close to his heart? The fact that he cares says something about him as a person - so who is he? For example, a doctor would save a dying man, because he's a doctor. An off-duty policeman might still step in to stop a brawl because he's a policeman, whether he's currently on the job or not. What sorts of duties does he feel is his to carry? What place does he have in this world, what responsibilities - whether practical or moral?
     
  13. Some_Bloke
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    As I'm assuming that this character is some kind of alien, it could be possible that his/her own species suffered a similar fate. They were either enslaved/wiped out or they won the war but the war changed them. The invading species could be the species responsible for the attacks against his/her own people, making revenge a possible motivation
     
  14. Boger
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    Boger Contributing Member

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    It makes me think of a rapper who made a song implying he was an Annunaki from a depleted planet and crashed on earth; his fleet thought he was dead and since earth was not suitable for resources he could not escape he had to roam the planet as one of us in different bodies such as Tutankhamen, Leonardo da Vinci, becoming more and more skeptical seeing how humanity uses his knowledge but also feeling more at home because of the resemblance with his childhood and current situation; as he choose the body of a rapper he educates the people intellectually, as society scanders it's criticism like him using graffiti, rap etc, the circle was full from where he came from and he could soon leave if the next age allowed for further technological advancement; but of course he would guide us all through it.

    His motivations however were not further specified, but coming from an accident he just wanted to go home ever since (to his own people like ET).
     

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