1. MoonWriter67
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    MoonWriter67 Member

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    What is my apocalyptic hitmans purpose?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by MoonWriter67, Nov 12, 2012.

    So, I've been toying around with this new twist on a common (and not extremely original) idea. Basically, it is set 20 years after a series of massive, catastrophic earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis pretty much ended the world as we know it. New corrupted societies and dictatorships have risen, mostly containing only the hardest and most brutal people who have managed to survive through the natural disasters. The basic outline of my potential story takes place in a battered, dusty New York, in which skyscrapers have fallen and parts of it are either flooded or destroyed. My main character (here's the twist) is a hard as nails but slightly mentally unstable Hitman who works for food and other supplies to survive. He is a lone wolf in every sense.

    This is my problem. Why would these corrupted organizations want him to kill key figures in the other organizations? I'm trying to think of assassination strategies they could use to weaken the opposing organizations, but I'm stuck and could use some ideas. There are two rival "governments", one controlling uptown and one controlling midtown, while downtown is mostly flooded and destroyed. Think of these organizations as gangs but on an incredibly larger scale. Keep in mind that the hitman isn't only able to just kill people, he can blow up a building or two.

    Replys and opinions would be really helpful! Cheers :)
     
  2. muscle979
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    muscle979 Member

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    Survival sounds like your hitman's purpose. These organizations could have a number of purposes. If they're like large scale gangs then they could be killing for any number of reasons that gangs kill. They could want to eliminate a threat, gain a competitive advantage, revenge, the possibilities are endless.
     
  3. Fife
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    Fife Senior Member

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    When the big players throw rocks at each other, it's usually because of resource or pride. Maybe the downtown folks discovered a resource that is useful. Maybe, through the rubble, a technology from the old-world was recovered that could turn the tables on their relationship. Maybe it's drugs--the downtown folks have a drug trade that the uptown folks have become addicted to. Maybe it's women. You can't have a future if you can't bear children. Maybe it's water. Maybe water has become a rare resource and the downtown government discovered--whatever it's called: an underground water resource (perhaps something that is more pure than the potentially toxic/diseased water above ground). Maybe everybody is diseased and there is a possible cure? All these would classify as resources.

    You also have to ask yourself why the uptown government has not conquered the downtown government. Is it a stalemate? Does the downtown government have weapons, arsenal, and infrastructure that threatens the uptown government?
     
  4. steve119
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    steve119 Senior Member

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    Hitmen are usually driven by one thing. Money. The reason corrupt corporations and or governments would hire a hitman is money and power
     
  5. Fife
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    Fife Senior Member

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    I think the challenge here is that in a post-apocalytpic scenario, money does not have the same backing. In a modern-world setting, you can buy practically anything you want with money. In a post-apocalyptic world, I think the basic items of value (for groups and governments) would be arms, food, and infrastructure.

    The items of value for a wandering hitman? My opinion is prestige, vengeance, and/or principle. Obviously, if he needed food or arms, he presumably already has the skills and capacity to obtain it on his own. Is there a reason why he's not affiliated?
     
  6. robertpri007
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    robertpri007 Member

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    My knee jerk reaction is both gov'ts want him for their own reasons, power, etc., but he is very independent. Since all the usual rewards no longer exist, like money, they have to find something he wants. Seeing that both sides want his services, he's in the great position of making demands, but that would perhaps be the story--what does he really want?
     
  7. Nick Kilcoyne
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    Nick Kilcoyne Member

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    Sounds like you can draw from drug trafficking movies and such. Say One organization has a monopoly on selling oranges but another group has found a way to grow oranges. So what do you do? You destroy competition. The bounty hunter can be hired by one of the organizations to kill the leader or the deliverers of the other

    Also

    Not a twist at all if you ask me. I though you were going to say he was a gay hitman of maybe disabled or something. Saying your hitman is hard as nails and mentally unstable is what anyone would expect. I'm not saying that's bad just that if you want a twist, that isn't it.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    This is your story. Motivations are an important element of any story, so coming up with them is really your responsibility, and yours alone. Don't cheat yourself out of the creative rush!

    All the usual motives may apply, and the motivations may differ for every contract. As for the hit man, his motives are obvious. It's what he (or she) does to earn a buck.
     
  9. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    So far, the story does not sound so interesting. You need to ask yourself, what are the key ingredients in your story (anarchy, devastation, a hardened protagonist whose only care is his own survival) and what potential themes (rebirth, redemption, the cost of freedom) could result from them. Then you can connect the dots.

    Maybe two factions (the powerful ones) want to form an alliance between each other and take complete control over the city. Any number of factions could be calling the hitman to try and eliminate the key players in this alliance, or the key players involved in the alliance may be calling the hitman in to prevent other key players from trying to stop it.

    At first, this is just a job to the MC, but as the story progresses, the stakes of New New York become clear to him. He realizes his job is more than just a paycheck, it affects the entire future of NY society. Then you have to ask yourself, the MC, and the readers, which is better? A chaotic, dangerous, NY where freedom runs rampant, or a potentially despotic government that may or may not make life safer for everyone.

    That's my two cents. If you don't have a concrete plot line, you might consider making the reasons for hiring a hitman specific, and use that to carve out a plot, but if you already have your story, then probably you can come up with any generic reason.
     
  10. Fivvle
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    Fivvle Contributing Member

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    Watch some crime movies, dawg.
     
  11. Michael Collins
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    Michael Collins Contributing Member

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    The "three Bs" always work fine in post-apocalytpic settings.

    Beans, bullets, bandages.

    I think that food, weapons and medical supplies are the most common things people would argue over.

    Maybe your hit man just woke the wrong dog while minding his own business.

    I's up to you.
     
  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Why would these organisations want to kill the key figures in the opposing group? Why, I have no idea but this is just a wild guess - perhaps because, er, they're the KEY FIGURES to the opposing group? Considering they're enemies, I don't see what's so confusing..... o_O

    And having a hitman as an MC is a very nice idea, but not a twist by any means, especially as the readers will know from the very beginning that the MC they're reading about is a hitman. His being a lone wolf and slightly unstable is a cliche, not a twist - it can be an excellent cliche, it could make a superb anti-hero - but it is not a twist. A twist is something that you surprise your readers with - it's not a surprise anymore if the readers knew from the very beginning. What you've described is characterisation, and there's nothing wrong with that, but it is not something you can keep from the readers til the very end.

    What you have to figure out is WHY these opposing groups want the same thing. What do they want, and why? How do they stand in each other's way? And then you'll have your motive for killing off members of each group.
     
  13. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    I just got finished playing Assassin's Creed 3, and perhaps you can borrow from a common theme from those games. Which is... you have two opposing groups, and they both have their goals and presumably their goals conflict with the other group's goals and that's what leads to conflict between the two. You see this all the time in movies/TV shows about gangs, war (in this case the two groups would be the nations involved), even politics. Now... I can't tell you specifically what the groups want or what the conflict is, because something that specific you should probably come up with on your own. But it could literally be almost anything. And perhaps finding out what these groups want could be part of the plot in and of itself.
     
  14. ithestargazer
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    ithestargazer Active Member

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    There are so many books/movies/TV shows that deal with hit men and deal with corrupt organisations - everything from secret agents like Bond (who do it for their country) and hit men like the creepy Joseph Gordon Levitt-Bruce Willis character in Looper (who does it for the money... this film is also set in the future and involves a corrupt organisation). The organisation's motivations could simply come down to wanting power, money, influence, resources, respect, or on a personal level the leaders could want revenge.

    You have an infinite choice of motivations for your characters/organisations and their decisions and desires. There doesn't have to be just one either. Some of the best characters have conflicting motivations and often have to make decisions that lead them down paths where they question their existence.

    I can't offer any advice on strategy as my assassin skills are a little rusty.
     
  15. Chris H
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    Chris H New Member

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    Maybe he kills out of self interest. If the organisations ever agree on anything he's out of work. (Keep one eye on the arms industry which may or may not lobby governments to fuel regional conflicts in order to keep them in business. Without conflict terrorists would have to go back to being bakers and roadsweepers; they lose the 'prestige' of wielding power over people.)

    You've said your hitman is unstable, that could be your twist; it's not the organisations manipulating him to serve their own ends but the other way round; he's manipulating them to stay in work.
     
  16. DDNeal
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    DDNeal Member

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    Maybe he doesn't know and doesn't care. Maybe it's just life for him. He kills to survive, like his ancestors befor him. Just the beasts he hunts are men not animals. That or maybe he slowly finds out why and there's no clear motive for it at the start.
     
  17. FictionAsVeneer
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    FictionAsVeneer Member

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    DDNeal's idea, and those who've posted similar concepts, would take my vote.

    But, one problem I'd have with the concept: your world was destroyed by floods, and hurricanes and etc, would New York really be a viable setting? It is along the shore, and well I think storms as disastrous as you've described (enough to annihilate the majority of Earth's populations) would tear more than just skyscrapers down. Just a thought (but it'd sell many books because New Yorkers love books, lol).

    Post up the first chapter and get on with it! You're the story teller, tell the story.
     
  18. Krazyskooter
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    Krazyskooter New Member

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    Maybe he has a split personality. Maybe he is a priest/preacher focused on helping his community survive, but he turns into the hit man when things threaten his work. But the reader doesn't know they are the same until the end of the book
     
  19. WoodenPaw
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    WoodenPaw Member

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    First- Ask yourself why your Main character who is a Hitman, became a hitman. where did he learned all the arms and ammunition usage? did he had a family before? If he was all alone from childhood then still a child points his finger towards someone who he can considered his family or friends. what was his emotions towards the place he grew up? any deep reason he killed someone for money for the first time in his life or was it for some other reason? These questions you need to ask yourself. It may be that you do not want to fill your story with your Hitman past but you need an idea about your character everything he does, will do or did in past. If we forum members answer all these questions for you then it will not be your own story.

    Second- Book of ELI.

    Third- (If I write this story then this will be my reason.) May be due to earthquakes and floods most of the water is radioactive and our Hitman is somewhat mutant from brain so common Human values does not bother him and he loves killing people, mutation has enhanced the Human animalistic feature in him and he likes that. He is really good at killing but in past he was chased by powerful groups or other bounty hunters & hitmans and he nearly died. But he discovered something which gave him some purpose other than enjoying killing others. Now he is on a mission which he has created for himself and he does not share this with others and he is also doing Hitman job to fulfill his secret mission.
     
  20. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    To answer why key figures are killed , i would say territory and/ or collection of food banks they may have amassed over the years. I think its fair to say that no matter what happens to the earth, someone will always want to be top dog.
     

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