1. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    What should my villain's plan be in this case for his goal to work?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Ryan Elder, Jan 12, 2016.

    I talked about different parts of my story idea before on here, but after receiving some feedback, I think I should make a change to the overall premise. I wasn't sure whether or not put this in the character or plot development forum since it's both. Sorry if I put it in the wrong one.

    In my story, there is a group of people who are have poor social skills because of their conditions while growing up. Conditions that would prohibit them from developing relationships with people and also romantic relationships of the opposite sex. This causes them to suffer from their involuntary celibacy, and they form a group of crooks who decide to do something about it to teach society a lesson so to speak. However, I am wondering what they could to make society listen.

    My original idea, was to have them kidnap and rape victims of the opposite sex, videotape it, and then broadcast it over the net, for all the public to see while making their demands. The videos would be made to be untraceable by them of course. They could also kill the victims as well, or let them go, without them knowing who kidnapped them, since they were wearing masks and gloves the whole time.

    However I showed an earlier draft to readers before, and they said they did not understand how the villain's way of teaching society a lesson would really work. It's not a solution they said. Basically I was told that they need an M.O., that makes more sense. So I was wondering what could they do instead, that would teach society a lesson, and actually create change?

    One writer I asked about it said that they should threaten to kill one of their hostages or more, unless the government passes certain laws that would meet their demands. However, this didn't really seem like it would to me, as you cannot pass a law that would actually get society to behave a certain way. You can only change society by making them feel a certain way, not by passing laws. Plus I don't think the government would do it, even if people's lives were at steak.

    One idea I have is that maybe the gang should just kidnap victims, but not rape or kill them at all, and maybe just psychologically terrorize them in front of a camera, for the public to see, then they state their demands, and then release the victims. That way they are using a less aggressive approach. Still very aggressive, just not near as, in comparison. This will either get society to listen more, or it will not be enough, and they would still have to take more extreme measures.

    But what do you think? I am curious as to what approach I should take with these types of villains, when it comes to giving them an M.O. that would make more sense in achieving their goals for the reader. What do you think?

    I was told by readers that they cannot get a sense of how the characters were pushed to such an extreme. They said they cannot tell if they are psychopaths or sociopaths, but they do not seem like it. They seem like people who started out normal, that were pushed this far overtime to do monstrous things in the name of the beliefs, which they development from how others treated them.

    However, as the writer, I don't think I should have to give my characters labels such as psychopath or sociopath, etc. I think that it's best to just to write who the character is and what changed him, leading him down a bad path, rather than to assign a psychological label for the reader, when neither I, nor most readers are psychologists.

    What do you think? Do I have to create a character based on a label in this case?
     
  2. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    I think it's most believable to have the leader or inner circle pray on the disaffected, promising them some sort of respect or "retaliation." Believe it or not, compared to the rest of the world, as far as I know, these guys are big in Japan: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/relationships/public-smooching-is-terrorism-antivalentines-day-protesters-take-to-streets/news-story/bc601fac403a4d90430b2ec79b6689a6

    I wouldn't be too serious about a political agenda. It'd be good window dressing, though, just to present action to others. It also ensures reliance on the group once they start pressing for such a ridiculous goal. It's hard to picture it as being done by a leader that is both competent and serious. So if you keep it as sincere, I think he'd have to be severely misguided and there should be no obscurity about that.
     
  3. Matt E
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    Matt E Stormblessed Supporter

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    I don't think society could be changed in that type of way. Particularly in the post-911 world, using terrorist tactics (such as kidnappings, etc) would only result in a harsh crack down and public fear. But I can see characters that have various issues wanting to seek revenge, etc. They could rationalize it through lofty political goals, but at the end of the day, it would just be revenge with some sugar-coating. That's a perfectly fine story, though.
     
  4. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks for the input. I was also told by one reader that the villain did not make sense because his motivations come from how others treated him, which indicates that he is a sociopath, but his evil plans to retaliate, are premeditated, which indicates he is a psychopath. Psychopaths are who they are by nature, as oppose to nurture, like my villains, but psychopaths, premeditate where as sociopaths act out of impulse.

    I was told that I am combining two parts of two conditions and this is why the villains come off as not believable. I am not a psychologist, so I wouldn't know. I just came up with their villains backgrounds and goals and went with that. Am I psychologically incorrect, which is why the characters are not believable to readers so far?

    If society cannot be changed in that way, perhaps a different tactic is in order. What if they kidnapped members of the opposite sex, but even though they blindfolded them, so they cannot see anything, they were very hospitable towards them, and the videotaped it for the public to see, and they then use this to try to create empathy, making the public think that even though they are committing crime, they are lonely, and perhaps their issue should be addressed, to prevent further kidnappings from happening?
     
  5. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    Unless your reader has some sort of education in psych (and even if they do, too), I'd take anything they tell you with a grain a salt due to how much of a public science psych is. These "conditions" for psychopaths and sociopaths mentioned are not true. What are we to make of the workplace/school shooter who blames how others treated him, hmm?

    To me, what sticks like a sore thumb in terms of believability is the idea that terrorists want the government to do something for the socially awkward and diffident to get dates. However, the premise makes more sense if they are targeting what they think prevents them from taking part in relationships, rather than laying it on the government's shoulders to figure out. Have you considered what they're going to demand from the government? The ideal genre for such an idea is dystopian, where you can make a world that exaggerates the social things that dating requires, to make the idea of so many people banding together to be terrorists plausible. Then they can have clearer targets in mind, like a monopolistic dating service that excludes a large portion of the population for their unsuitability.
     
  6. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Absolutely not.

    The nature versus nurture distinction is correct, but 1) both can absolutely be present in the same person, and 2) the premeditation distinction is exactly the opposite of reality: psychopaths tend to be more impulsive than average, while sociopaths are just normal people who were raised to embrace moral compasses that horrify the rest of us.
     
  7. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Well I was told by readers that the villains would not come off as be taken seriously, and that they would looked at as sniveling baby-men for doing such a thing. Does this mean that the villain would have to do something worse, than a couple of dozen of murders per year, and broadcasting it for the public to see, in order for society to listen to them?

    And yes I did not right it so that they go after the government, but rather the society itself. But is that the wrong place to target, and there is still a better place to target that would make more sense?
     
  8. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    The point everyone is trying to share, that I see, is that terrorism does not seem to follow from inability to mate or make friends -- insofar as terrorism is seen as rational. First it has to make sense to themselves that society is to blame. Then it has to make sense to them that terrorism will result in an achievable change. Neither of these things have you explained. Their motivation seems baseless, so it's up to you to make their motivation palpable. There's no target until there's a problem that's linked to others, and that the targeting could result in a change, unless you just want them to be disgruntled actors who are motivated by 'tit for tat' or from the manipulation of the leadership.
     
  9. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Well since they are treated differently from society because of their problems, such as one having a facial disfigurement, one having cerebral palsy, etc... This makes it very difficult for them to achieve relationships, and a result, they become lonely, feel ashamed and then blame society for not accepting, thinking that that is the problem that needs to be changed. Could their shame lead to enough hate, to the world who rejects them, or at least that's how they feel?
     
  10. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    Well, although you're at least getting at the motivation, there's a number of things that people could object to about that. With these kinds of motivations, I think of the Columbine shooters or someone like them since they were mad at the world and just wanted to make a statement rather than achieve something, as I see it. This situation of yours isn't even a matter of civil rights -- which terrorism doesn't have a good track record of achieving -- so why would it work for something personal, like intimate relationships? Also, a big red flag about what you could be inadvertently saying about people with disabilities and their views on social change and understanding of their conditions.
     
  11. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. I as the writer, do not mean to say this about everyone with disabilities, just this particular group in the story. It's kind of like how when a writer writes about the Russian mob, for example, the writer is not saying that all Russians are that way, if that makes sense as an analogy.

    Well I think the problem that readers have is that they motivations would not work they said. Making videos of women being harmed as a threat, would just make everyone hate them, and there is no way to be able to tell if society will obey their demands. In fact society won't cause and will still do their own thing I was told. But maybe I need to take it up a notch and have them commit more serious crimes than what I have so far?

    Or I can take it down, if that's better, but usually people do not listen to criminals unless they are willing to go all the way, in a lot of instances, right?

    I need to change the crime to something that readers will find more plausible. Like I have a premise, which is the who/what/when, etc. But now I need to revise the execution which is the 'how'. If I change the 'how', of how they go about it, then the villain could be taken more seriously I think.

    Unless I am wrong?
     
  12. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    And how, exactly, are they to know that their tactics are working, by the number of phone numbers one of them gets taking the dog for a walk? Contracting a polling firm? It's such a personal thing that it makes more sense for them to just do it out of spite or retaliation rather than expect social change, which brings me back to my 'red flag' point. By wading into such a sensitive matter, and especially by having the people band together, you are unavoidably going to have a subtextual hazard of commenting on how people with disabilities are treated, and more importantly, how, also, some of them view social change. Nobody needs a lecture on what kind of hazard it is to cast any demographic as terrorists, either. You mustn't assume that your intentions as a creator leave you with an immunity to negative interpretation -- and in this case, I think you'd be requesting a less than fair interpretation. So I don't even think you should change it to have them do it out of spite; I only had the motivational thing in mind. A unique premise, but one that I think would be dead on arrival.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016
  13. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. I was also told by others as well that I shouldn't change it to them doing it out of spite, cause that will make it worse. But if spite is the only way that would make sense, since there is no way then can tell if there is change, then what change should I make?

    I thought that the villains could tell from all the media attention. After they make the threat, weeks later, the media will get involved and go around interviewing citizens to see if the threat actually worked. The citizens can then tell the media if it did or not. But this can also be inaccurate. I also thought that the villains themselves, as people could go out and see if it worked, in their own experiences, for themselves, and judge it based on that, whether or not to kill the next hostage.

    Since the story will ensue a negative reaction, how long into the story, should I reveal the villains motivation as to why they are doing what they are doing?

    Since they are making videos explaining themselves, for all the other characters to see, it was going to be revealed right away in the opening, but should I perhaps try to delay it till later, for the reader, so the reader does not get a bad impression right away?

    But when it comes to stories about terrorism, the reader is smart enough to know that not all people of the terrorists background, are terrorists. I used the Russian mob analogy before.

    Or when it comes to a serial killer with identity crisis problems, like some stories have, the reader is smart enough to know that not all people of that similar identity crisis will not turn into serial killers.

    Can the reader be smart enough, to know that not all people with disabilities are being portrayed this way, and it's just this handful of villains? No statement is being made that all those people are psychos or anything, so can I write it, right off the bat so that the reader does not think that is the statement being made?
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016
  14. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    Initially I thought you were talking about generalized "conditions" that they lived through, not disabilities, which would leave them, in my mind at the time, unable to form the relationships. But now I find out you're saying that society rejects them based on their disabilities, not because of their childhoods and environments. To me, that changes everything. I wish I was more clear about thinking that I find it simply unworkable after you made it clear in post #9. But even with that impression I had I had conditional suggestions to make it feasible, as I see it. I have nothing further to add to the plot.
     
  15. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. But wouldn't they be able to form relationships to a degree? That is the point they are trying to make when retaliating against society, trying to get their attention.
     
  16. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    I'm not the one, at all, saying they cannot form relationships, just in case that's what your question implies. Your presentation is clear that they're fighting stereotypes. I'm not sure what your point is.
     
  17. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Well the point is, is that they feel they should not be treated so differently by others, and lumped into a category. They are fighting their discrimination, if that makes sense, but committing evil acts to get people's attention.
     
  18. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    That, as well, has always been clear to me, and I've told you why I don't like that premise. You can take my advice or leave it.
     
  19. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. Is their anything I can do at all, to improve it though? I have gotten the same response from others too. Is the problem with the premise, is that it's TOO controversial, or is it another problem besides controversy, that I can work on or consider?
     
  20. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    As far as I'm concerned, and based on the lack of interest from others here, it's the controversial nature of the premise. It's not everyday I make such a condemning appraisal of someone's ideas here. I sincerely think you should abandon or alter the premise. I've made several suggestions already.
     
  21. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. I reread this post:

    You say the motivation is baseless, but isn't them being treated differently by much of society, enough base to want to retaliate? They have a goal (wanting society to change), but I just need an M.O. on how they are to achieve it. But the motivation and goal is still there, or at least it seems so to me, when coming up with the characters.

    As far as controversy goes, there are several stories that are controversial, so is their anything I can do to make the reader think it's okay, since readers accept all sorts of stories with controversial themes, and characters doing really bad things?

    I can alter the premise, but I'm not sure what to alter it too, since their motivation for doing what they are doing is very unique. I can alter the execution for sure, but is their any changes I can make to the premise itself, that I am not seeing?
     
  22. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    Sorry, but I just don't like the idea of making a screenplay, that I'm fairly certain you're not going to make a drama, that has people with disabilities turn to terrorism as means of achieving social change or revenge. It's not a question of controversy per se, but of at least taste. That's how fundamental I'm getting at in terms of alteration.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016
  23. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    I see what you mean, a lot of other readers have reacted that way as well, but I would like to find some audience. You say that I need to make it palpable though. Do you have any suggestions for that?

    Also, my girlfriend said that I should write it as a satire kind of like the book The Stepford Wives, or the movie Natural Born Killers where they take a dark premise and add satire too it. If I make it a satire, would that make it more plausible, since satires are okay to have premises that can be far fetched, or should I stick to a serious drama style, cause satire could be more offensive to the themes, I am trying to get across?
     
  24. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    Although I, myself, cannot envision it, satire or drama would be the only way, and I say that only because I think it could be true, not out of encouragement. You would still face the challenge of execution. Again, I thought you meant things that leave the people somewhat incapable of relationships by 'conditions,' not disabilities, so making the motivation more palpable is something I no longer see. A person with a disfigured face might have problems with their self-esteem, but in no way does it necessitate relationship problems, unlike what I thought you were describing.

    At this point I wonder why you're so committed to the premise when it might mean an entire overhaul of the treatment, plot, and even genre. Not that that's any of my business, but I feel like I'm being asked how to make something work that is really up to you. To be blunt, if you, yourself, have no idea how to make it work, you shouldn't even be playing with it.
     
  25. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    If you had no natural incline towards satire I would avoid it at all costs. You've either got an ability to sustain humor or you don't. And that should show in your past works. Only you know whether you can handle it.
    The fact that you didn't think of it first though, kinda suggests you watch more satire than write it.

    I also doubt it would make the idea easier as you'd now be trying to force comedy into the preconceived idea rather than it being something that jumped to mind the moment you thought of it.
     

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