1. Kroni
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    Kroni New Member

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    Having trouble giving this character motivation

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Kroni, Nov 12, 2010.

    Okay, I have this character who is a part of a resistance team. He's one of the top ranking individuals within the group, due in part to his family being in the resistance for generations. But this character doesn't enjoy being a part of the resistance; he just wants a calm and uneventful life. Though right before the end, the resistance gets cracked down on and I want him to betray the group in exchange for some kind of deal to live peacefully. The problem is, I can't come up with a reason why he would not have done this sooner. Should I show him to have doubts about this action? I want the reader to dislike this character but at the same time understand his motivation for doing this.
     
  2. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    Hmm, I do not believe you will be able to get away with that with only one reason. It would be counter-intuitive for someone who wants a calm and uneventful life to get into some shifty deal. Instead, something like blackmail would work better, and the fact that he wants a calm and uneventful life is the plus he always wanted.

    You can make him act like he did everything just to get out, but further behind that, he is being manipulated by some unknown force. That way, people will hate him when they first read about him, but sympathizes with him when the reveal comes. This also work to explain why he did nothing before. Most people always feel some kind of duty toward something that drives them to act, after all.

    For example, the duty he feels toward the friend that got kidnapped (the blackmail) takes precedence over the duty he feels towards the resistance, thus causing his betrayal.

    The sense of duty is a powerful thing. It would not be believable for someone whose family has been with an organization for generations to betray the organization on a whim. The sense of duty to family alone is enough to move many people. There has to be something that your character feels is more important than family duty.

    It may not be a very original idea, but it is a place to start.

    -Just my opinion.
     
  3. goldhawk
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    goldhawk Senior Member

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    I suggest take someone in his group betrays him. Then, because he feels betrayed, he no longer has any loyalty to the group and possibly the whole resistance. I think you should get multiple factors working on him at the same time: someone in the group betrays him; someone in the opposition makes him an offer; someone else blackmails him into stopping.
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have a similar character - her motivation was fear. Her father had been part of the organisation he was one of the founders. She was threatened with harm to her children if she didn't poison the king who she had looked after like her own son.
     
  5. Kroni
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    Kroni New Member

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    These are all great suggestions, thank you very much!

    Fear is probably his main factor within the story. The entire resistance is subject to severe punishment if they are discovered, and his wanting to live a comfortable life is stifled by that insecurtiy. He doesn't even want to be a part of the group but has been sort of forced into it out of family duty. I would say a part of him does not want to disappoint his family, but another part would do anything to just be let out of the conflict. And I need an event of some sort to act as a catalyst as he chooses one instinct over another.
     
  6. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    Hmm, might I add that betraying the organization his family has served for generations would also mean betraying his family..., that is if they are not already dead or will die. (;
     
  7. Top Cat
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    Top Cat Senior Member

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    Hmm. Maybe he was following the group's ideology - but events have him undergo a reversal - so much so he now opposes their ideals - giving him a vested interest to sabotage them all to hell.

    Does he need to betray the group in exchange for peace? He would need to be he in hell for that to work...and then you need to explain why he is in that hell. :confused:
     
  8. Naiyn
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    Naiyn Contributing Member

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    I think you can make this work and work well. People are complicated, and the decisions we make/things we do are not always carefuly thought out and planned. We are impulsive and can do things that surprise even us, yet at the same time, can sit paralyzed in in-action while screaming with our inner voice to act! And we can't always even tell why we did nothing/something. It just happens. (or doesn't happen, depending on circumstances)

    You could easily write him feeling the stress of not liking his situation, yet not wanting to betray, so he gets "parylized" in in-action. He sits on his hands, he bites his tongue, he maintains the status-quo. All the while, he wants nothing more than to get out of this situation.

    But over time, the stress grows, he does nothing, causing the stress to grow even further, and next thing you know, he "snaps" and the betrayal is on.
     

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