1. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    You Judge: Did she make a good decision?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by DeathandGrim, Oct 16, 2015.

    I was up for hours thinking about this. Throughout my series, my MC Tonya has to come to grips with making hard decisions in a bind. And it usually has a morally ambiguous "lesser of x evils" tone to it. But there's one decision she makes where I'm kinda split.

    At the end of the first book she ends up screwing basically the world... well not intently. So there's a guy, Dread, real name James Bronson, 17, her original secondary antagonist. They're both in the same internment camp for metahumans (Context: A camp where minor metahumans are trained physical and mental discipline before being forced to join the army. Created from a paranoia of their power). He's a dick to her the entire story, picking on her for her timid/fragile personality because she had the audacity to try and be friendly. He's also dating her little sister Sarah, 14. They don't find out their connection to each other til later and that doesn't change their terrible relationship and in some ways makes it worse.

    When they both learn Sarah, who's back in their hometown protesting for metahuman rights (a crucial plot and thematic element),was shot in the chest by a cop during a protest turned riot. Their reactions separate them further. James gets aggressive and tries to make plans to breakout while Tonya becomes more reserved and emotional.

    When things come to a head James is acting out his plan... it's a terrible plan. Tonya only finds him because of his loud screams in the forest stemming from him hacking off his own hand (Context: Stole a knife from cafeteria, got everyone in trouble) to remove his inhibitor bracelet. (Context: Metahuman abilities can be suppressed with a hormone that targets an area of their brain that manages their abilities. Inhibitor bracelets supply a constant amount of this hormone like a nicotine patch to keep them all in line from doing crazy things.) When she discovers James he's armed with a gun that he stole from one of the guard posts (again, that got everyone in serious trouble and security heightened) and he impulsively aims it at her thinking she's a guard and tries to fire but he forgot to steal bullets. He finally realizes it's Tonya and drops the gun and last minute tries to convince her to come along to escape and go visit and then enact some revenge for her sister she hesitates and the two of them argue long enough for one of the guards to find them both. Midway through his call for backup, James uses his scarily powerful abilities of corrosion to kill the guard by melting away half of his skull in a gruesome display. This scares Tonya even further. James tries one more time to recruit Tonya but she's paralyzed by his impulsive and remorseless behavior.

    James tries to leave but is stopped when a gas canister filled with the hormone gas (Context: also mixed with tear gas; it's used to wrangle in aggressive metahumans. This canister was taken from the dead guard.) explodes in front of him and impedes him, thrown by Tonya. This leads to his eventual capture and his promise to take his revenge on her and everyone.

    Her decision seems to haunt me. It's really a character defining moment for her. But because was she even right? Where does right even apply here? A rundown, it's clear James is kind of a monster. He's impulsive and doesn't think things through probably ever. He's also incredibly dangerous and seems to only act in his own interest. He's also 17 dating someone 14 and that person is Tonya's little sister and to put it frankly I wouldn't want him dating of my relatives. But his intentions weren't entirely bad. He wanted to see his girlfriend and try and stand up for her. But he might go about that the wrong way. Plus with the abuse and oppression of metahumans he was acting in a reactionary manner to the status quo.

    It was such a tossup and Tonya had a lot to consider and she acted. But was she right or wrong? The reason I'm asking is because her actions have serious consequences decades later. How would you view her actions?
     
  2. NiallRoach
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    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    I don't think there is a right or wrong thing to do in that situation; there's too much grey.
    The question for me (as a reader) is whether or not I can understand why she did it and I totally can.
     
  3. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    A panic reaction. She felt like she needed to do the "right" thing. And "right" at that moment was preventing people from being killed by Dread. I think.
     
  4. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    Ultimately, I'd have to say she made the best choice possible in a bad situation. James, whatever his motivation, was making the conscious choice to painfully kill people. If he'd been allowed to continue, he would not only have those deaths on his consciencede, which would affect future decisions he made, but his actions would have cemented the negative views people (presumably) have of metas. Treatment of metas would have gotten even worse.
    I doubt any of this would have gone through her mind in that split second, but she might come to this conclusion later on, given time to process everything.
     
  5. seekparadise
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    seekparadise Member

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    I'm not sure but I really want to read this haha!
     
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  6. Starfire Fly
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    Starfire Fly Member

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    Well, first off, I agree that the guy is a monster who needs to be stopped. Actually, he's just the sort of reactionary type of oppressed person who gives a bad name to other oppressed people, and gives the oppressors an excuse to continue and even worsen discrimination. His kind generally make things worse for the oppressed group.

    However, Tonya wouldn't be "in the right" in her action unless he was immediately dangerous to someone at that particular time. In other words, she has to be doing it in defense of other people or herself.

    However, I see an easy way out (for you as a writer, not her as a character, lol), and a moral one which would still be very powerfully defining for her. You could have her realize how dangerous he is and have her tell the authorities that he's planning on doing something violent. Maybe a terrorist attack or something. That way, her conscience would basically force her to take action against him to stop him, but she would not be initiating any aggression. She could also kill him herself, but it has to be done in a moment when he's immediately dangerous to herself or someone else. In other words, for her to be right to do what she does (and I strongly feel he has to be stopped), she has to be acting in defense, not retaliating or assassinating.
     
  7. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    I'm actually working on this book actively :-D

    I'd like to think she made the best decision she could. She was waaay too timid to kill him but she wasn't gonna let him go to her sister. She acted like a big sister there. Later on I'll emphasize how she reflects on this in the year two novel. Because she definitely sees things differently
     

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