1. peregrine
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    peregrine New Member

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    Motivation: How Can it be Believable?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by peregrine, Nov 10, 2008.

    The main character in my Warcraft Fanfiction work, To Hunt a Demon, has one motivation: vengeance. Sure, it sounds like a great motivation, something any writer could have a lot of fun with, but the problem comes up with character development. He's supposed to meet a certain woman who, slowly but surely, starts draining his drive for vengeance out of him.

    There are a few problems I am absolutely stuck on:

    1) How can a drive for NOTHING but vengeance be believable?

    2) How can I make it clear that his burning drive for revenge is being cooled by this woman without making it obvious that I'm making it clear?

    3) How could I possibly write the final, deciding moment, where HE understands, and chooses his love for this woman over his drive for revenge? It's not a moment like, "if I get my revenge she dies", it's really a personal moment, a mental moment, and internal conflict moment - there isn't enough room in him for BOTH these strong, powerful emotions, and he needs to choose one. How can I write this moment properly? My first try was waaay too anti-climactic, but my second try was about 500% longer than it should have been.

    Any help? I turn to you, fellow writers.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Vengeance is an obsession. It can drown out all other motivations. It doesn't mean the other motivations are absent, only that all that shows is the lust for vengeance.

    Also, someone who tries to interfere with or talk someone down from an obsession will probably be faced with rage from the obsessed. Obsession is self-sustaining to a huge extent.

    #2 will challenge your writing skills. Perhaps moments of doubt, alternating with encreased rage for having gotten "sidetracked." As the lapses from the obsession become longer and/or more frequent, the reader will be able to see him struggling to keep the fires burning.

    For #3, at the crucial moment he may have to make a choice between following through with his revenge versus walking away from it for the woman. Exactly how you handle that, however, is your challenge as a writer. Just make it clear that he cannot have it both ways. If he chooses vengeance, she will be forever lost to him.

    Make it a hard choice for him too - vengeance just within his grasp, he only needs to choose it and it will be his; and don't make it certain that he CAN win her if he turns aside from his obsession.
     
  3. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    Look at Moby Dick...the need for vengeance encompassed the Good Captain’s entire life. So it’s certainly a viable motivation.

    As for the slow introduction of a waning need for vengeance, I would introduce certain events that show him reacting in descending extremes. This way you maintain the readers interest in his reactions and you still have the contrast of what he once was.

    As an aside, I wholeheartedly agree. The right partner will temper even the most savage of us.
     
  4. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was another good example of what vengeance was like too. That was Khan's entire purpose, to destroy Kirk at all costs...and its considered the best of the Trek movies...
     
  5. CommonGoods
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    CommonGoods Senior Member

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    I concur with Dcoin; Moby Dick is a great book about vengeance. (I just wanted to use the word concur once :D)

    As with most "how do I write this"-books, I suggest you start reading. The more you read, the easier writing will become (in my case anyway).

    Some interesting literature;
    Disgrace - Coetzee. The MC also has some vengeance issues, although it's not the main theme in the book.
    Moby Dick - as named before
     
  6. peregrine
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    peregrine New Member

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    Hehe, I've no lack of reading - in fact, most teachers would prefer I read less =/

    I've always had a vague idea of how to write it... its the nuance that escapes me. I haven't written to that part yet, but I've tried it several times, and each time it seems... contrived. It seems very staged. Is this just something that slowly develops over many tries?
     
  7. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    If it were easy everybody would be an author. Keep at it, learning to write well is a dedication to the process.
     
  8. lipton_lover
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    lipton_lover Contributing Member

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    1) How can a drive for NOTHING but vengeance be believable?
    Easy. Just because it is. Revenge isn't a fictious thing, it exists in real life. And if it's vengeful enough, it consumes the person and grows.

    2) How can I make it clear that his burning drive for revenge is being cooled by this woman without making it obvious that I'm making it clear?
    I liked cogito's idea. Back and forth, between her and revenge. Though, that sounds a little cliche to me.

    3) How could I possibly write the final, deciding moment, where HE understands, and chooses his love for this woman over his drive for revenge? It's not a moment like, "if I get my revenge she dies", it's really a personal moment, a mental moment, and internal conflict moment - there isn't enough room in him for BOTH these strong, powerful emotions, and he needs to choose one. How can I write this moment properly? My first try was waaay too anti-climactic, but my second try was about 500% longer than it should have been.
    First, it has to happen in a church. It just has to. :D
    Second, I don't think he'll be doing too much thinking it through. After all, he's still at the mercy of two strong emotions, love and revenge. And neither give you much room to do straight thinking.
    You could make it a quiet decision instead of a climatic one. I suspect the whole story will be pretty dramatic, so a quiet change could work. He searches for this man his whole life, while of course being in love with X, then, purely by accident, while walking with X, he sees his mortal enemy. He stiffens, and has a quiet little battle. But with trouble, he slowly calms down and the two walk right past each other. Just a thought :)

    Good luck! Nate
     
  9. Vayda
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    Vayda Senior Member

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    1. How can someone with a quote from Illidan in their signature ask that question? It seemed believable enough for Blizzard - and they're making bajillions of dollars now.

    2. that one i don't know. Maybe you can have her try to stop him, and have him blow it off like it doesn't affect him?

    3. again, i don't really know, but i look forward to reading it :)
     
  10. topper
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    Or, if you don't want to do the back and forth thing, you could just quietly and gradually fade out the thoughts of vengeance from the main character's inner monologue. I've seen that done very successfully before.
    But for the end moment, it doesn't have to be anything big like seeing his enemy. It could just be him waking up one morning, thinking of his past and going, hmm.. I'm beyond that now, or someone bringing it up in conversation and he realizes it's no longer part of his life (I realize that this probably goes against the description you put as what you wanted it to be, but I'm too lazy to check :) )
     

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