1. Cyrano
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    Cyrano Member

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    Convincing Arguement

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Cyrano, Sep 3, 2009.

    In my story, the world is about to end. The main character is offered the chance to be saved from this apocalypse by another character. My problem is: How would one convince the main character to save himself, even though he is leaving everybody that he knows to die?
     
  2. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    You couldn't convince him (assuming he's a good guy) unless saving himself meant saving someone he loves. So for example, the other character could be someone weaker than him who needs his help or someone he loves who needs his help to be saved from the apocalypse.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Convince him that he's the only one who CAN be saved.

    Or lie to him, tell him that if he is saved, there is a chance of saving other people he cares about.
     
  4. Syne
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    Syne Member

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    Have the apocalypse occur after some horrible personal event, such as a great betrayal.

    Maybe the main character doesn't have any loved ones at all. Maybe he's a loner.

    Or maybe he's just not a very good person.
     
  5. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    What would make your particular main character give up everything? I don't know. Ask him.

    Write out a scene after the fact, after he's had a chance to think about things and figure things out. Have a character that he really, deeply trusts ask him why he left everything behind. Then write out a bunch of instant, knee-jerk responses, each one of them different, choose the best one and go with it.
     
  6. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If the world is 'crashing down around' the main character and his death is imminent, it may not take much convincing. He may have regrets later, but in a crisis, self-preservation kicks in, especially if a loved one is not in the vicinity.

    Terry
     
  7. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    You should know your character well enough to know how he would act in any given situation. And you should know how to steer him in the direction you want him to take. If the answer to the question doesn't come to you naturally, there is a good chance that the scene will appear contrived.
    Presumably this is at the end of the book, or at the beginning. It follows then that it is a major part of the plot, and as such it may be that you need to be spending a little more time developing your story and getting acquainted with your characters.
    I don't think you should be looking for answers outside yourself. What you want your book to do should come from within you.
     
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  8. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    I am certain that Marina knows this, but just for consideration, remember: Even a technically 'good' person may still be convinced without chicanery or trickery.
    It depends upon different circumstances which are far too numerous to note, here.
     
  9. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, but I wasn't saying he'd need to be convinced by being tricked.

    I'm saying what would cause a good person to want to save himself while leaving everybody else he knows to die would be his willingness to save himself by default--his main goal would be to help save someone else, which would cause him to be saved as well. Not sure if I made sense there.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    he would do it if he had commited his life to the 'good force' in the universe [doesn't have to be the standard 'god'] and if he was convinced that he and he alone is needed to live, in order to have 'good' prevail over 'evil'...
     
  11. Cyrano
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    Cyrano Member

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    I think the best option would be trickery. When the main character is confronted, there are no signs the world is going to end. He could be told that he will be taken to safety and subsequently released if he cooperates. He agrees, not wanting to cause any trouble (he's being abducted by a military). Once there, he could overhear a conversation, or ask someone, and find out that he's been tricked and the world he knows has been destroyed.

    How does that sound?
     
  12. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    Again, ask him why he did it. Why would he do it? Who is he?

    Right now, all I can see is stage directions. I don't know who the main character is. I suppose you might be able to trick a dumb bruiser into leaving everyone behind, but I doubt you could trick, say, Stephen Hawking. Who is the main character?
     
  13. AmandaC
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    Give that character hope or a reason that would be good enough to abandon everything. Maybe he is protecting someone? Maybe if he doesn't something worse will happen.
     
  14. TheFedoraPirate
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    TheFedoraPirate Contributing Member

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    May have already been said but if there's no way to save anyone else or his dying won't change anything how would opting to live lessen his status as "good"? Doesn't seem it would anymore than if someone you cared about caught a deadly disease and you didn't, you'd still mourn, but you aren't bad for not catching or for going to appropriate lengths to not catch it. Just apply that on a global scale. Although, he may still feel guilty (survivor's guilt and all that).
     

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