1. TheFedoraPirate
    Offline

    TheFedoraPirate Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    205
    Likes Received:
    1

    Character motivation?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by TheFedoraPirate, Nov 10, 2008.

    My main character has none. Or rather it's a really simplistic one in that he doesn't care what happens or what he does as long as he doesn't die from it.

    Which worked wonderfully at making him horribly cowardly and at furthering the ending where due to the fact that throughout the comic his accidental ruining of the main villain's plans lead the villain to believe that my MC knows his plans and is being intentionally subversive and therefore attempts to kill my MC leading to the final confrontation.

    But I don't really have a cause of this extreme cowardice he displays (though that can probably be overlooked as no one wants to die) I'm having more problems with his career choice as a member of a crime syndicate ... why would a coward work a job with such a high risk of dying?

    Nothing I can think of makes it make sense. I tried giving him a "low risk" branch of the syndicate but I still had to have things go wrong often enough to keep things interesting. You'd think he'd quit/retire. Even if I pulled the whole "you can't quit or we'll kill you" card eventually the threat of death on the job would even out with the threat of death from quitting the job.

    I'm currently toying with throwing in a line such as "he never worried about all the times he almost died so long as he didn't actually die, besides he'd heard unnecessary worry was bad for your health" which, despite the comic not having a 100% serious tone comes off as a bit odd to me. So, I dunno, opinions? Suggestions?
     
  2. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Perhaps he got into the syndicate because he made the mistake of owing something to the wrong person.

    Fear can work both ways. The greatest terror is when all your options promise terrible consequences, and you must choose among them.
     
  3. tehuti88
    Offline

    tehuti88 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2008
    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Michigan
    Pretend you're the character for a bit. It's shortly before he joins the crime syndicate. What is he thinking? Going through? What's going on around him? How does he hear of the crime syndicate in the first place? What events lead up to him joining? What happens that is so dramatic (or not) that he feels compelled to work for these guys, despite his cowardice? If necessary, what events that have occurred throughout his whole life have led up to this moment? Something in his childhood? His father's childhood? His ancestors' childhoods?

    Just put yourself in his shoes for a moment, and see what happens when he actually joins this group, to find out WHY he joined it. Don't be afraid to pretend or daydream a little.

    I think you just need to explore your character a bit more.
     
  4. AnonyMouse
    Offline

    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    Messages:
    2,227
    Likes Received:
    337
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Why is he so afraid of death? Most people are, but the reasons for that fear can vary greatly.

    For example, some people don't want to die a painful death; they're afraid of how much it will hurt. Some people don't want to die because it's permanent; they know they won't come back and won't be able to finish whatever they were doing, life ends. Some people are simply afraid of the unknown; Heaven, Hell, Valhalla, rot in the grave... we don't know what happens and that's scary to some people. Others are afraid of what affect it will have on everyone around them; "how will the wife and kids feel when I'm gone," or "will anyone remember me when I'm gone." I'm sure there are dozens of other reasons I haven't even thought of, all worth exploring.

    All I'm trying to say is, fear of death doesn't mean cowardice. Your MC may have a very legitimate reason for wanting to stay alive; a reason worth fighting for and maybe even worth dying for.
     
  5. Rem Nightfall
    Offline

    Rem Nightfall Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    2
    'Ello bare with me, not exactly the best help sometimes. What if his fear of death or his cowardice wasn't enough reason to stop him entering the crime syndicate. What if there was another personal matter wrapped inside there. What if he knows he is a coward and he wants to know that he isn't a coward. Maybe he does the most extreme things in life, just to prove he isn't a coward. What if doing the most dangerous things in the world is his way of denial.
    Hope I helped, hope it wasn't confusing and if so I can clarify.

    Here and Now
    ~Rem Nightfall
     
  6. TheFedoraPirate
    Offline

    TheFedoraPirate Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    205
    Likes Received:
    1
    Well, the whole thing with him is that there is nothing worth dying for to him and those insane, heroic, idealists who think there is are obviously missing some very important facts about death. Firstly, it's permanent and prevents one from engaging in all manner of enjoyable activities. So there can't be anything worth fighting for especially if that fight involves risk of dying for it 'cause if you win it all and you're dead, well, it makes no difference to you does it? So no matter how bad things get, or what the choices are, Life is the better option because there is nothing else.

    So I guess it's not a lack of reason, per se, as lack of defining moment where he sees his parents shot in a back-alley and decides to become Batman an existentialist.


    Getting into the syndicate could go like Cog said where he wound up owing something to the wrong people, or maybe he was low on funds and found less than legal methods the easiest for picking up cash that lead him into that life ... I just can't seem to figure out why he would stay. Threat of death from his superiors is all I'm coming up with but given his job involves constant threat I don't see why he doesn't run, skip town, whatever ... unless he thinks they'd find him. I guess it's just one of those things where I'm wondering, is that enough?
     
  7. lipton_lover
    Offline

    lipton_lover Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Michigan
    He obviously needs a back story. He wants to live at all costs and therefore would of course stay away from danger. Yet he ends up in a dangerous job. So....

    1. Maybe he just got so bored with life, because he had done everything, that he decided to get his thrills doing something dangerous. Danger is something almost everyone gets a thrill out of, it's built into us.
    2. Like Cogito said, maybe he owes a debt to someone.
    3. Money.
    4. Revenge?

    Hope that helps! Nate
     
  8. delhi
    Offline

    delhi Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2008
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    0
    So, you have a character with a job that doesn't fit him. Does he realize it doesn't fit him?
    What if he finds danger in every single job he sees - dying of boredom in certain jobs, for example? Maybe he never saw the danger of joining a crime syndicate, because he thought that the crime-part belonged to others.
    Or else... follow this line of thinking (probably insane): in any work you may die, but criminals are in greater danger - if you imagine two layers (those who do the actual work, and those on the administrative branch), danger passes through the first layer, in closer contact with the world, and then may affect the second layer - if criminals are in greater danger, less danger passes through them: crime administration is safer. Do you follow me? It may sound stupid or insane, but your MC doesn't seem exactly logical. He may notice later that the job is actually really dangerous, but he believes that the rest is worse!
    This way, there is no need of a strong past or motivation, but a line of thinking as simple as his goals in life... something as silly and insane as to define a character that earns the villain's hatred by accident.
    I hope it helps. It's way out of any logics :)
     
  9. TheFedoraPirate
    Offline

    TheFedoraPirate Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2007
    Messages:
    205
    Likes Received:
    1
    ^^That train of thought works. Certainly points me in the right direction and solves my pesky motivation problem. I really need to make myself a note while working on this thing, "Think crazier". Every time I'm stuck that's usually the solution ... Thanks :D
     
  10. topper
    Offline

    topper Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2008
    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    0
    maybe he likes the money and easy ride through life--so it's a battle between his cowardice and his longing for the 'good life' that keeps him in the business..
     

Share This Page