1. CGB
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    CGB Active Member

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    Poor to Rich (problem)

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by CGB, Jan 2, 2016.

    So I have multiple POVs... this particular character is a 20 something female who was raised as an orphan. One day, after being unjustly fired from her dead-end job, she is visited upon by a man. Her biological father turns out to be a long-estranged heir who was murdered when she was a child. Result is that she is offered to reconnect with his family, who happen to be the tycoons which own the richest corporation in the human galaxy.

    So ... yeah... that is not an excellent description of the situation, but I think you get the picture. My problem is I'm trying to figure out what story-worthy problems this person would have moving from the slums of one planet to the family-owned space station where 20 million+ live under the corporatocracy run by her uncle.

    This character is set-up this way because she actually will eventually become the CEO of said company, having been selected by the 400-year old artificial intelligence which serves as the secrete board of directors.

    Hard to find actual conflicts and disasters that would occur when a girl goes from rags to riches.
    Some thoughts I've had:
    - her contribution in the main conflict: which is the discovery that her older cousin is stealing resources from the company to conduct an illegal mining operation that could start a war if discovered):

    Minor problems (need help thinking of more):
    - Make her a minority race that is widely discriminated
    - Make the world of dynasty-living and upper-class social functions extremely foreign and foreboding to her
     
  2. Kyle Oram
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    Kyle Oram Member

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    Maybe you could have something go wrong with the AI or maybe her uncle is doing something immoral with the 20 million people in the space station that she can stop. I would say develop the main characters motives and then think of a problem can could go against what she belives
     
  3. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Loss of privacy?
    "Imposter Syndrome" or the feeling that she's not qualified to do what she's being asked to (not just following upper-class social rules, but also running a huge corporation)?
    Resentment/intrigue from rivals for the job she's given, taking advantage of her ignorance/inexperience/naivete?
    Insincerity from new acquaintances who only want to use her; not knowing who to trust?
    Resentment/discomfort from old friends who aren't sure how to handle her wealth?
    Loneliness and a sense of isolation?
    Homesickness? Just because you've moved somewhere fancy doesn't mean you wouldn't miss home
     
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  4. Caeben
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    Caeben Member

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    There's a bunch of videos on YouTube about the "dark side" of winning the lottery, which sounds kinda similar to the idea you're going with. People are going to try to take advantage of her, and because it sounds like she has no experience in the corporate world, things can so sideways pretty quickly. @BayView also has some great ideas.
     
  5. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    The first thing that springs to my mind is jealousy and resentment from one or some of her new found family members. Maybe he/she/they had their eye on the CEO position and seek to discredit her, succeed at it then she has to prove herself in a world foreign to her in her own way rather than just being the daughter of so and so.
     
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  6. GoldenFeather
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    GoldenFeather Active Member

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    Well one conflict could be that in order to raise in status, you have to sacrifice an important part of yourself to do it. For example, in order to hold your end of the bargain for being in such an elite status, you are prohibited from interacting with anyone "beneath" you, and maybe your MC (this young, ambitious female) has fallen in love with a lower class man, thus having to choose between cutting off all contact with him but living securely in this space station of 20+ million, OR, she must risk losing it all in order to stay in touch with the man that she loves. (Throw pregnancy in there, why don't we?)

    It's the classic person-love vs. passion-love story. You have to chose between the two most important things to you.

    Another conflict could be that by becoming CEO, she automatically makes a few enemies. They could be competitors from other family-owned space stations, it could be some kook somewhere who now wants mad revenge because her becoming CEO has started a chain of events that lead to something unfortunate for said character.

    There is plenty of chaos in going from poor to rich. Having more to lose/risk in the game, connections/ties to more powerful or dangerous people...or both. When you're poor no one really knows you, when you're a CEO who was discovered and orphan on planet Earth over here, you're kind of a big deal. She could be kidnapped, tortured for information about the business, it could be a million things.
     
  7. LostThePlot
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    LostThePlot Contributing Member

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    Off the top of my head I'd be thinking about loss of identity to be that characters theme. Suddenly you're in a new life, a better life maybe, but suddenly all the hard work you did, all the loves and struggles and pains that defined you as a person are a million miles away. Maybe you might be happy to be one of the hyper rich, but you still might feel like you're putting on an act to hang out with your new friends and no-one really cares about you as a person, just about your position and money.

    Beyond that there's a bunch of trouble your character can get in to - Making poor decisions about money and spending so much that their fortune dries up. Being taken for a ride by unscrupulous people around them or trusting 'advisers' to run their business. Or maybe the other way; so she's really scrupulous with money and thus discovers the seedy underbelly of bribes and graft that people don't really talk about.
     
  8. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    You could also have her buy things she always admired and thought of as being classy, only to find out her family turns their noses up as such "trashy" things.
     
  9. Anaïs Rose
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    Anaïs Rose Member

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    There are two neat, short articles written by John Cheese on the subject. There are two parts to it, and they discuss weird habits you develop from growing up poor and then as an adult having all the privileges you never had as a child. It's an interesting inside look and I think it would be helpful for you! link1 link2
     
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  10. LostThePlot
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    LostThePlot Contributing Member

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    Oh I absolutely should have thought of that. Those are some of my favorite articles by him.

    Yeah, definitely read those articles. They're funny too but they really do hit at exactly the stuff you're looking for, how being poor warps your perspective. You might have to work a bit to make it fit someone going into a sci-fi environment but the same stuff is still going to be there.
     

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