1. MangoTree
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    MangoTree New Member

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    How to make an unwilling/scared character help another?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by MangoTree, Oct 12, 2016.

    Hello. I'm very new to writing. Sadly, I'm currently faring really badly in my English story writing class. Would appreciate any tips or help.
    So my lecturer wants a specific story with all these elements: Exposition, Set-up, catalyst, conflict intro, conflict development, turning point, climax and resolution. But so far, she's been rejecting all my plot (saying its not really relate-able or doesn't make sense) making it hard for me to progress past conflict.
    My current story is of a young boy of 13 who can see ghost, he is terrified of them because of their appearances etc, so he would ignore them all. But one day at the hospital, he chance upon a young girl spirit who was chase by an evil ghost (in the form of a dark shadow) who wants to eat her spirit to become stronger. Whenever the evil ghost comes, the area becomes dark. They manage to get away and she begged him to help, but he is too terrified to help her.
    So my current conflict is whether the boy helps her or ignore her as he did like he always did. But in order to push it along, he must help her...but I can't seem to find a good enough reason for the boy to help her...so...any suggestions?
     
  2. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    Really you lecturer should be helping you develop these points rather than just telling you its crap - next time ask her for some specific action points to help you create something more relateable

    that aside you also have problems with 'they manage to get away' why does the young boy need to get away if he can just ignore the ghosts

    in regasrd of your specific quetion you need a good reason why the boy would not be terrified of her or would empathise with her situation - she could for example remind him of a younger sister or friend (she could even be a younger sister or friend who has died)
     
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  3. Caveriver
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    Caveriver Active Member

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    Agreed. There needs to be something about this little girl that makes her more important to him than the other ghosts he can see... something that would motivate him to help rather than to ignore her like the rest.

    Also, you might explore the differences between the regular ghosts and the "evil" ghost. If they are all scary to him because of the way they look, why is the dark one any different?
     
  4. NoGoodNobu
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    NoGoodNobu Senior Member

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    Agreed with the earlier two posts.

    It could be the first child ghost he happened across, and by nature adult ghosts to a 13 year old child is more threatening. A little girl about his age or even younger might be less frightening by being more relatable.

    Furthermore, you can make her a recently deceased. She might be as equally terrified of her new condition and of all the other older ghosts, evil or indifferent alike. She may have gone to him as he, too, feels relatable as a young boy and being alive, which she still can't come to terms not being herself.

    Personally, I'm a huge coward & scaredy cat. I still have nights I leave the lights on.

    But something comes over me when there are children or peers who are frightened. I become protective. I become brave. I will suddenly stand firm at their side, lead them, reassure them, and throw myself between them & danger.

    It's simply my empathy is stronger than my cowardice, so a stronger & more reliable version of me comes forward. It doesn't happen when I'm with brave individuals. I'm still a sniveling coward. But when I see someone afraid & hurt & sad, I put my fears & feelings aside to make sure they are better.

    Maybe your protagonist is like me. Maybe a sad, scared little girl is all it takes for him to become kind & courageous to a ghost.
     
  5. TheWriteWitch
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    TheWriteWitch Senior Member

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    Maybe the little girl was a close friend of his when he was younger. They bonded over their ability to see ghosts. The only difference is that she was beset by this "dark shadow" and it eventually cost her her life. The little boy has been afraid and ignoring ghosts since her death. Now, he sees her and knows that something has to be done otherwise his fate will mirror hers. ???
     
  6. MangoTree
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    MangoTree New Member

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    Thank you all so much for taking your time to reply me!! Really appreciate it, really gave me some new directions i can work towards to!
     
  7. Nicola
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    Nicola Member

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    Have you seen the movie 'Throw Manna From The Train'? It's basically a spoof of 'Strangers On A Train'. When the tutor in TMFTT goes in to 'kill' the old mamma, he blurts out that her son (who wants her dead) is insane, has already murdered his own wife and wants the mamma dead. He doesn't break character, even when backed into a corner.

    And Hamlet, could he be more thirsty for revenge? But he does absolutely nothing.

    If your character refuses to step in then he probably won't. Whatever the risk. His refusal to act and all the obstacles he throws in the way become the plot.
     

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