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  1. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Making lone heroes help people

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by MilesTro, Aug 29, 2015.

    How do you make a typical sword and sorcery hero or heroine help people when they are busy on a personal quest? I have a lone character who wants to kill a warmonger who murdered his barbaric tribe. But I can't figure out why he should help other people along his quest, who have nothing to do with his personal goal. How would you solve this in order to add subplots?
     
  2. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well this varies a lot the person but since you make it sound like well harden anti-hero type my suggestion is a button.

    By which I mean something that angers them. We all have a past. As writers we often only focus on the big important moments and forget that characters might have moments they don't show every moment that does effect them.

    I have an example in my own work I think illustrates what I mean. I short story I plan to write. The girl is an assassin. A man calls her basically begging for help. Her first response is very much;

    "This seem like it is none of my business. Why do I care?"

    He mentions that his wife has been kidnapped. Again The assassin doesn't care. He mentions how is he supposed to explain something like to his daughter. A cord has been hit. The assassin recently lost her mother. She loved her mother very much. Though she is still secretive person. She doesn't admit this is why she is doing it. She may say something like;

    "Well I hate hearing grown men cry. So don't cry. It is the weekend so I am charging double! But. I am on my way."

    Your character and situation are different but what about him makes him stop and care? That would be my question.
     
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  3. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    What if he helps because he doesn't like to see innocent people get hurt the same way it happened to his tribe.
     
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  4. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sounds fine. I mean he is your character more than mine. I don't know his quest or his quirks but if his tribe was murdered in cold blood unfairly and he sees that getting ready to happen to someone else. It sounds like a believable soft spot. If you like that reason then why not?
     
  5. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    It depends on whether or not it is something simple and trivial and if it appeals to the character. A tough character in a tough world is simply not going to care about the personal issues of a beggar or a thief trying to rob him. Give the situation and maybe we can help you gauge the likelihood of "help" being received.
     
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  6. Capricorn42
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    Capricorn42 Member

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    I like the idea of the 'button'. We all have moments in our past which are still raw and which force us to react if they are hit. Therefore, anyone, no matter how single minded, could be distracted if the circumstances were right. A woman who lost her children might pause to help someone else's children. A man who lost a fortune might help out another who is about to lose his own money, etc etc. If, in the process, this person achieves something else then that's even better, EG in helping someone out maybe they achieve some peace of mind because they have atoned for some sin, or perhaps in helping someone they piss off an enemy. The possibilities are endless!
     
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  7. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Unlike modern soldiers who are trained to follow orders above everything, warriors of the past relied greatly upon their sense of honour to guide their actions. For people who walked around with a sword on their hip this was vital. Warriors without honour were despised and normally exterminated as a menace.

    Therefore an appeal to the MCs honour is not something he could easily ignore.
     
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  8. Hamish246
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    Hamish246 New Member

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    It sounds like a fairly simple reason straight up to be honest. If someone murdered my family I wouldn't stop til they were destroyed. If you wanted to add more subplots, or major plot points, make the warmonger the chiefs brother or make it as if they were taking orders from someone high up or from another tribe.

    Could also make it that he took prisoners of war, like the MC's girl or sister or something (or guy). You've got more than enough of a reason built in IMO it's just some extra plot if you get more in depth.
     
  9. nippy818
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    nippy818 Active Member

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    "For God and Country." My MC is motivated to reluctantly help because the lord is always watching lol.
     
  10. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    This is a great opportunity for you to show a flaw in your MC. Sure, there's an epic quest but this is a [instert hot girl / amazing bottle of scotch / 4th edition, rare copy / feast] we're talking about! the quest will be there tomorrow.
     
  11. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    A hot girl does join him because the warmonger killed her tribe too. And they encounter other villains along their quest.
     
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  12. Capricorn42
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    Capricorn42 Member

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    Bingo. I'd buy it :D
     
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  13. ToeKneeBlack
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    ToeKneeBlack Contributing Member Contributor

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    Another reason they might help a stranger could be down to the person attacking the stranger - it could be an old friend of the MC who has lost their way for various reasons, or an ally of the MC's sworn enemy.

    The friend could be sought out and brought to his senses, while the foe would be interrogated and / or slain.
     
  14. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Would he seem like a jerk if he doesn't help unless the person offers him some money or food?
     
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  15. MikeyC
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    MikeyC Member

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    Create a separate document and flesh out your character traits; including what they have done so far. Then their motivations will write themselves. You may even decide they won't help people for various reasons.

    The key, I believe, is let the character do the work.

    For example; you decide in his past that he was betrayed by a mother figure. He would then automatically be wary of any similar types on his/her travels.

    I hope my post makes, at least, some sense? At least that is how I write my characters' reactions.

    Regards

    Mike
     
  16. wellthatsnice
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    wellthatsnice Active Member

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    I think you just have to work on your "why". Harry Potter's main personal quest was to defeat Voldemort, but he still had motivation for participating in the tri-wizard tournament.

    Also, your story has a hero who is trying to hunt down and kill a warmonger warlord. Warmongering Warlord's don't just stop pillaging villages and killing innocents. Have it so in your hero's hunt for the Warlord, his clues keep leading him to areas that have been conquered or effected negatively by said warlord. The people he finds along his way not only share a common enemy with him, but they have information that may get him one step closer to his end goal. Solving these "side quests" therefor becomes very relevant to his end goal, because they are all about eliminating spheres of the warlords influence throughout the land.

    Also, Stephen Kings "Dark Tower Series" Starts with a MC that is chasing an evil wizard. In the beginning the MC is willing to sacrifice people at the drop of the hate to reach his end goal. As the story progresses though and the character grows as a person he begins to become more effected by the needs of the other people he meets along the way. The journey changes him.
     
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  17. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    Would it be wrong if he meets a girl who offers her virginity to him if he helps her kill the warmonger? I thought about that once, but I think it would piss off a lot of women.
     
  18. Red Herring
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    Does he accept? If he does, you risk your reader not liking him very much, unless he's on a redemption arch. Personally, if he does accept, virginity might be a bit much; make her a semi-experienced prostitute and I think readers (well, me mostly) will dislike him less since it's 2 amoral people making a deal. If he doesn't accept the virginity offer but still accepts her original demand, then that would make him more likeable. Virginity screams innocence, and you don't want your protagonist taking advantage of innocent people; or maybe you do and that's his character, I don't know; and in that case never mind.

    Also, as for pissing off a lot of woman; personally, I don't think it's bad. In this day and age people will get pissed off of anything sometimes. Hell; feminists and anti-feminists were pissed off about Black Widow (age of ultron) and Furiosa (Mad Max) respectively. Personally, as long as you don't brush all your characters (particularly females) with the same brush stroke, you'll be fine.

    As for your original concern about making him do quest to help others; simply appeal to his inner nature. Is he an anti-hero who doesn't really care for helping people; than appeal to his selfishness or his emotional turmoil of his past (I like your idea of using his tragic past as a motivator). If he's an honourable warrior; than appeal to his sense of duty (as someone mentioned). Or the simplest most innate inner nature; appeal to his altruism; he simply wants him people because it's the right thing to do, because innocent people will be hurt if he doesn't do something about.
     
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  19. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    Their was this TV show called The Lone Ranger that was on between 1949-1957 and their was a movie remake in 2013. What about that type of character the lead character's main goal is their personal quest, but during the process of completing the quest the character helps people along the way.
     
  20. hilal
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    hilal Active Member

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    It has to appeal to your main hero's self interest. Your hero would want something from this man but in order to give it to you he says you have to do this certain task.
     
  21. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    I would understand if he accepts because he is a man. I would the same thing. Plus it's not like he is going to take her to anything. If the girl let's him after he does a job for her, then he would do it.
     

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