?

Should the character of my story who gets stranded in the wilderness be...

  1. A depressed 30-something who has lost purpose and motivation

    6 vote(s)
    66.7%
  2. A corporate executive who wishes to destroy a national wilderness for his own personal gain

    3 vote(s)
    33.3%
  1. oriolesman232
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    oriolesman232 New Member

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    Stuck deciding between two characters for story. Please help.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by oriolesman232, Jan 9, 2016.

    I am drafting a story about a man who becomes stranded in the wilderness, but am having difficulty in deciding which background I would like to apply to my character. So far, I am mulling two backstories that will impact the overall scope of the story;

    1) depressed man in his early 30s who has no interest in his life. His old passions of sports, movies, and music have waned considerably and it has impacted his social life. His girlfriend of four years left him and he no longer has desire to see old friends. The wilderness would be used to help him rediscover what it means to be alive.

    2) an executive at a corporation looking to carve a portion of national wilderness. He only thinks of the almighty dollar and has lost his ability to appreciate what it means to be alive. I would look to have him become stranded in the exact wilderness which he seeks to destroy to give him appreciation for the land and his life.

    Any advice would be appreciated.
     
  2. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Just start writing the first scene and look how this character responds. You need not use this as the first scene, but look at it as 'informative' for you. I am sure that your own subconscious will be more than willing to help you out ;)
     
  3. oriolesman232
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    oriolesman232 New Member

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    Thanks! I will actually try that. I'm trying to avoid making this too similar to every other survival story, and this might be a great way to create a character that has the best impact on the overall story.
     
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  4. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    I relate to the first so I choose that out of selfish motives :D

    But really, the one with a more powerful potential that you can create is the right choice as far as I'm concerned. Both have risk of falling into cliché, so the one that you think can be executed with more freshness would be best.
     
  5. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    Except true story:
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Jack Lannister
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    Jack Lannister New Member

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    Personally I believe you could merge both backgrounds together, especially if you find it hard to decide on either of them after the discussion has ended.
    But if i had to chose one of them, it would be 1. simply because he has the athleticism to survive.
     
  7. oriolesman232
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    oriolesman232 New Member

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    I agree on the cliché risk. One of my friends even suggested avoiding making it a feel-good-story and just having nature kick the shit out of the executive character. I kind of like that. Like a revenge story. Probably would need to make that a short story, though.
     
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  8. oriolesman232
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    oriolesman232 New Member

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    I actually love that story. I am looking to apply my characters a bit differently, though. I think Supertramp voluntarily exposed himself to the wild and I am looking to have my character have some sort of forced epiphany on what it means to be alive. The high highs and the low lows of the wilderness are such a forgotten element of human emotions, and I'd like to use the story to in some way compare how far removed we are. It's been done, I know, but I still want to try doing it differently.
     
  9. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Could put them both in the woods.
     
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  10. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I slightly prefer 1.
    For me the problem with the executive in the wilderness story, is that I'd expect the change in outlook to happen. It's just so obviously set up.
    While the depressed 30 something will quite likely have a change in life outlook too, I think it'd be easier to fool myself into thinking that it might not happen.

    Just my initial opinion based on not a lot of information. I'm sure it's possible to make a good story (or a bad story) about either.
     
  11. KhalieLa
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    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    I'm going to disagree.
    When I read the options, I thought, not the executive; he'll be miserable. By the end of the first day he'll be covered in poison ivy. By the end of the first night, he'll be covered in mosquito bites.
    He already dislikes nature and being stranded out there with that type of mentality won't lead to any discovery at all; only hatred. By the time he makes it out alive, it will be with the belief that there shouldn't be a tree left standing.
     
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  12. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like @peachalulu's idear. There's opportunity for lots of contrast, perhaps some kind of cross-section where one man is destroyed and the other recreated.
     
  13. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    The two could be a good idea. Strongly reminds me of the The Edge. Might be worth watching the movie just to ensure the tale's differentiated enough.
     
  14. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    The first one is less obvious as a setup, because the second is immediately suspect as a redemption story even without the transformative setting. I would suggest the first, but keep a little of his weakness and/or bitterness to keep him interesting. An interesting alternative would be to reverse it. Do the corporate executive, but make him very happy and convinced of his life's value. And then experience with the wild makes him depressed and he sinks.
     
  15. LinnyV
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    LinnyV Contributing Member

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    Neither for me really...

    Option 1 depressed guy: Why does he have to be stranded in the woods to want to live again, comes across as manufactured to me. I'd be more interested in him getting out of his depression locally by events happening all around him while he feels sorry for himself. Need to get him out the door first before sending him to the woods.

    Option 2 Exec: I feel like this has been done so many times. But if you do send the Exec out, then maybe make him useful, so that he has the skills to survive because he is pragmatic, ruthless and can deal with problems cleverly, even in the wilderness. The antagonist being the woods will not get the better of him etc. But somewhere along the way he realizes there is more to the life than just success and maybe despite how clever he is, he never makes it. Wilderness wins!

    So if I had to choose, I'd choose option 2 but not the usual city slicker who is too stupid to survive in the wilderness story.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2016
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  16. Feo Takahari
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    Feo Takahari Active Member

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    I'm personally biased towards #1. Both approaches assume there's something wrong with the character and they need to be fixed, but depression seems like more of an actual problem. The executive just has a different viewpoint, and he may not be entirely wrong!

    Though come to think of it, I'm currently watching a cartoon where one of the antagonists was involved with a plan to exploit and destroy natural resources. She hasn't changed her base attitudes yet, but she burned bridges with her higher-ups in spectacular fashion after coming to believe that the resources were more valuable intact. I'd be impressed if you could give your executive an arc without changing him completely.
     
  17. karldots92
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    karldots92 Active Member

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    I think this is a great idea - they have to work together to survive and learn to appreciate each others strengths and face up to the faults within themselves. This could be a very powerful story
     

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