1. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Motives for my Outlaw V 2.0

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Link the Writer, Feb 7, 2011.

    Sorry about that. Don't know how the hell I managed to post this without writing the message. Anyone see the last one, just delete or ignore.

    Anyway, I've decided to write a Western about an outlaw named Mike Wolfletter and its set in the late 1880s/early 1890s Arizona. Basically, he's doing outlaw things (stealing, robbing, fighting other gangs, etc) until one day he and his gang spot a little kid lying face-down by a shubbery. Mike sees that the boy has a leg problem because to the side is a makeshift crutch. The plot is basically them taking the boy back home. (Of course, for this to last more than a chapter, they'll probably have to be across Arizona or something.)

    The boy's name is Timothy Gordon, an Irish who's parents live on a farm. How Timothy got there is revealed when the boy tells them he was kidnapped by a rival gang and barely escaped with his life. (This happens in a later scene, when the Wolfletter Gang settles in their hideout and he wakes up.)

    I just want to get your ideas of why my notorious outlaw, who's a cross between Billy the Kid and Jessie James, would take young Timothy with him. Here are some of mine:

    #1- Mike is reminded of how he used to be as a young boy and believes that because the boy was kidnapped, his parents and farm are probably long gone and wants to train him in being an outlaw.

    #2- Mike wants to hold the kid hostage.
     
  2. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would build a motivation in many layers like:
    • How he motivate his actions to others: He says he want to hold the kid hostage if things turn dirty.
    • How he motivates the actions to his boy: He want to make him his apprentice, and the hostage thing is a hoax.
    • How he motivates the thing to himself: Because he recognize himself in the boy.
    • The thing gnawing at the back of his head: Because doing one good deed might save his soul from hell.
    • The reason he won't admit to himself: He is lonely.

    Etc. A bunch of different reasons, on different levels that all might have some truth to them. And during you can out the reasons at odds against each other. And have them change during the coarse of the story.
     
  3. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    w176 has suggested a lot of good reasons. I'll add a few minor (secondary) reasons:
    • Mike hates the rival gang so he takes the boy.
    • He's curious how a kid on a crutch managed to escape a gang of bandits.
     
  4. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Perhaps he is a outlaw with a code of honor? I have always enjoyed when bad guys, people often viewed as nothing more then scum, actually have some sort of code they live by.

    Perhaps with some motivation part of his code is to do no harm towards children. As ruthless as Mike is, its the one thing he refuses to do. So on seeing this kid he follows this code and brings the kid back so that the kid has a chance at surviving.

    The motivations as to why this part of his code has come about could be because of his own childhood or to make things interesting not his own childhood, but a best friend when he was growing up with was treated terribly. So in honor of that childhood friend Mike makes this part of his code.

    Just some suggestions.

    sorry for the terribly worded post. Sorta tired and itchy which makes for some unclear writing. :D
     
  5. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Ellipse and Unit- Mind if I take those suggestions? They're perfect for my dear outlaw. :D

    Now another question: How would Timothy feel that he's with an outlaw and his gang? Mike would have to do a lot of assurance to the boy. Also, what's stopping Mike from taking Timothy on a horse and riding him back to the farm once the location has been revealed?
     
  6. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Go ahead. :)

    I think Timothy's reaction would depend on how Mike treats him. If the original group of bandits treated him like dirt, Mike taking him away may be an improvement.

    For example, if Tim is starving when he is found and Mike feeds him, that would be a positive start to their relationship.

    The simplest answer would be, what would stop the bandits from going back to Tim's farm and kidnapping him again? Or if not kidnapping, then killing Tim's entire family out of spite? This could even be a problem Mike foresees.:)
     
  7. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Ah! Very good points again, Elipse. :)

    No doubt Mike would assume Timothy's farm/family is gone and destroyed and is trying to find a better place for him.

    Then here's another thing as well. Is he on the run? Or perhaps he made a deal with Marshall Faust that he'd help the law stop the ruthless gang and his name will be cleared. Pardoned and absolved of his sin. So Mike is more of a bounty hunter?

    Or maybe Mike used to be a member of that ruthless gang so he knows how they operate, know their handywork so well that all he has to do is examine Timothy.
     
  8. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    As a cripple, sårbar and probably picked on for most of he life, being a outlaw might make him feel empowered. Having a bad leg don't make you any less capable of shooting someones brains out.
     
  9. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    True. I plan to have young Timothy learn to fight with a gun (under Mike's supervision) and the boy will participate in gunfights.

    Really, the only issue I could see here is Timothy accepting the fact he just ended someone's life with a gun.

    This story is both intriguing and interesting! :D

    Historical question: Were there still settlers going west in the 1880s/90s? Would it be likely for them to relax in a fort? Would the settlers on the travel appreciate that unknown riders (that appeared peaceful) approached them and traveled along on horseback and offer good advice?
     
  10. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yea, there were settlers heading out that way. The wild west basically lasted from 1890-1920 at the end of the Mexican Revolution.

    Be sure you know your gun history for that period of time because revolvers then were quite a bit different than they were today. :)

    You have a lot of things you could explore with this story so good luck. :D
     
  11. muscle979
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    muscle979 Member

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    I imagine it would be a powerful experience for a child to kill a person. I know grown men who have been affected from shooting enemy combatants. [I'm a former soldier]

    I think it's highly likely settlers were able to seek shelter at forts during that time period. Maybe even common depending on when the US Cavalry finished up all of their fighting with Indian tribes. Whether the settlers would appreciate company would probably depend on their own personal experiences and their attitudes toward strangers in general. Are they struggling or is their move going fairly well?
     
  12. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    ^ Wow. Didn't know that. What wars did you fight in?

    And I imagine the settlers are just moving along with ease until they spot a man and his kid (Mike and Tim) riding alongside them. He warns them that this is bandit country and offers to lead them to a nearby fort he knows, having once been stationed there as a soldier before the American Civil War. (He fought in the war as well for the state of Georgia. That is...he left the US army to fight for his homestate.)
     
  13. muscle979
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    muscle979 Member

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    I'm a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I spent my entire 2005 living on a small base in east Baghdad. Fortunately I can say I never had to shoot anybody. If you're in Alabama I think I'm likely from fairly close to your neck of the woods. I grew up down in Panama City, FL and left when I was 21 for the Army.

    Assuming Mike is a wanted outlaw he's only going to show them where the fort is right? He's not actually going to go too close to it? And if so does that cause the settlers to realize that he's probably an outlaw? Just some thoughts that popped into my head.
     
  14. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Good point.

    I guess he'll just show them the way, not actually go to the fort himself.

    Unless, of course, the soldiers there do not know he's a wanted outlaw. If they don't know him from Adam, then he could just waltz in pretending he's...Robert Harrington (who only looks like outlaw Mike Wolfletter).
     
  15. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    He'll need some proof he is Robert Harrington (who only looks like outlaw Mike Wolfletter). :)
     

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