1. skulbaka
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    skulbaka New Member

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    How would you react...

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by skulbaka, Jun 3, 2012.

    The main character in my story burns down a whole village. With everyone in it. He has good reason to believe that every person, even the children, in the village are possessed. Those who are possessed can also perform rituals to possess others, so the character burns everyone in the village to death. If you did the same thing, how would you react or be changed? I'm trying to get a realistic response for my character and want to know what others think.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It's YOUR story. Take your best shot at it.

    The closest analogy might be someone who has burned a village in wartime as a terrorist (or Communist) stronghold. Evfen that would be considered a war crime, so if anyonehere has been in that position, they probably won't be talking about it.

    It's your job as a writer to come up with an opinion and offer it up as a story, not to present a consensus. Yes, it takes some cojones. Being a writer means boldly putting it out there.
     
  3. P R Crawford
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    P R Crawford Member

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    Not being your MC I can't answer that for you.

    So who is your MC? Know the answer to that inside and out, and your question's answered....

    EDIT: I realize you may think I'm being flippant. But I'm not. I personally don't burn down villages with children in them. Last time, I made sure all the children had already left for school. (Now, yes, I'm being flippant.... :rolleyes: )

    But seriously, you ask how we would feel. I'm willing to bet none of us have done such a thing. It's likely none of us have even murdered anyone. All we can do is imagine what we would feel like.

    So let's say you get 20 replies ranging from "I'd feel really bad" to "What a gas that would be!" What can you really do with these replies?

    I'd say nothing.

    Because the real story arises out of your MC's own character. What is it that blocks him from doing this onerous duty? What is it that motivates him to do it? How does he get from absolutely not wanting to do it to absolutely having to do it? That is your story. The possessed villagers and the actual burning, those are just plot elements. They are not your story.

    Your story arises because a particular character who has particular motivations and ways of dealing with the world is suddenly confronted with particular plot elements (possessed villagers) that force him to do something he doesn't want to do. The tension that arises during the MC's internal conflict while this change is occurring is what will interest your readers. Not the village burning...

    Well, unless of course your MC is a pyromaniacal murderer... Then it's just another day in the life, I suppose...
     
  4. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    The mcs reasons should be the cornerstones of the entire story, so how can you expect us to tell you that? Your job isn't to make the mcs reactions and choices as reasonable as possible, so that no one will be shocked or surprised, but to make us believe in them, whatever they are. To present them so well that we believe this character had every reason in his own way of looking at it. It doesn't have to corrispond to what everybody else would have done or felt, but they have to be true to the character you're creating.
     
  5. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't think we can tell you. You got so many directions you can take this, any answers we give would just be stifling your creativity. You sound like you got some idea of where you wanna go. See if it works. :)
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Why would you care how we would react? I always get a little leery when people around here ask questions like this. We are not your MC. Our opinions can't inform those of your MC. You're the writer; you tell US how your MC reacts in this situation, and make us believe it. Be creative. Present us your character. Some readers will think he's great and some will think otherwise - that can't be helped. But you, as the writer, have to stick your own neck out and take your lumps if readers don't like the character or his reactions. You can't hide behind the opinions of a quick survey of members of a writing website.

    Writing doesn't just take talent and dedication; it takes courage.
     
  7. Afion
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    Afion Senior Member

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    The others are right, it's your story, so enjoy writing it your way :)
     
  8. skulbaka
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    skulbaka New Member

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    Sorry, guess this was a stupid question for me. I guess I got too worried over suspended disbelief and that readers would find my MC's reaction too unbelievable, but if it is then I'll just work it out.
     
  9. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    Reminds me of the Culling of Stratholme in World of Warcraft. Prince Arthas was fighting the undead, who were steadily taking over his kingdom, and someone started feeding people laced bread that turned them into undead. Shortly after Arthas figured this out, he found that this one entire village had just been fed the laced bread. There was nothing he could do, they'd all turn undead soon. So he just walked in and started slaughtering them. He ends up becoming the Big Bad of one expansion, but there was a lot more to his turning evil than just the Culling of Stratholme.

    Although it's on a much smaller scale, I've heard of real life people getting PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) as a result of committing a murder. It's called offense-related PTSD. Maybe you should try researching that.
     

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