1. LastMindToSanity

    LastMindToSanity Contributor Contributor

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    Can This Character Logically Continue the Story?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by LastMindToSanity, Jul 21, 2018.

    So, I'm thinking about my latest work in progress, and I realize that one of my characters really has no business being at the end of it. Like, I don't intend to kill her or anything, but there comes a point in the story where she really should have completely given up but, for some reason, I never made that happen.

    Okay, some background. This girl, May, starts the story at 17. She grew up in a place where you either survive on your own, or you die. Because of this, the people of this land are born very physically strong. The problem is that she wasn't born in this land, but was abandoned there as a baby, so she isn't naturally as strong as the others and is considered a "runt." She would have died, but Arc took her in, and they kind of adopted each other. Fast forward to her being 17, and Arc has made friends from another land-they're Sarah, Jack, and JJ- one that's much less harsh than the one she grew up in. These friends are rebels trying to overthrow JJ and Sarah's father, the King, and Arc and May get recruited into their cause, leaving the land and going to a new one. JJ and Jack trained May to fight, and she grew very attached to the both of them, considering them to be siblings. Fast foward again to a few months later, and the King has found out about the rebellion. He goads May into attacking him, as this allows him to kill her without much social backlash. May, however, is horribly outmatched and is about to be killed. JJ steps in, allowing May to run away into the wilderness, but he gets killed himself. Jack is captured and Sarah and Arc are run out of the kingdom. The next part of the story follows May as she tries to get Sarah and Arc to save Jack with her. They refuse for their own reasons, so May goes alone. Jack's about to be executed when May gets there, so she steps in to help. She tries to get Jack to stand up with her, only to find out that Jack herself has given up and has accepted her death. This crushes May, as the work she's put in up until now has gone to waste, and she's beaten by the King now. She gets horribly burned by the King, and actually branded with the mark of the land where May was actually born (May resents the land where she was born, because it's known for how weak the people who come from it are. She resents this because she was raised, by Arc, to be strong and has been trying to prove to her homeland that she is.). This abuse spurs Jack into fighting again, and she manages to kill the King.

    The question is: This young girl (she's 19 by the time she gets maimed) loses one of her closest friends, looks to her other friends for help, only to find that they "betrayed" her (She sees it as a betrayal, but they had good reasons). And, when she finally goes to help the last person she has to turn to, that person has given up as well. Then she's horribly burned and branded and beaten down at the one moment where she needed prove her strength to herself. So, this should make her give up, right? Am I mistaken in thinking that this isn't something that can be bounced back from? (I should mention that the rest of the story only takes place over the time-frame of about two months)

    Edit:
    I should mention that, personality-wise, she's more child-like than she ought to be. Changing moods quickly as well as easily getting addicted to things, like sweets and alcohol. I guess the point is that she's not very mentally strong.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2018
  2. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    People are resilient. I wouldn't find it unbelievable for her to be able to keep going, but I would expect her to be pretty traumatized.
     
  3. Jenissej

    Jenissej Professional Lurker Supporter Contributor

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    Up until there, everything makes sense and this seems to be a climax or a turning point in this character arc. So you can now decide to have her broken or recover. Both would work, I think. But to get over her own mental instabilities she seems to need a very strong incentive. I wouldn't expect her to be able to overcome her physical and mental injuries without an exterior motivation.

    This could be problematic. If you say she's horribly burned it would take this long just to recover from the burning let alone the trauma. We'd be talking years here, if ever, imo.
     
  4. LastMindToSanity

    LastMindToSanity Contributor Contributor

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    She does have one, avenging JJ, who she was closer to than anyone else. I don't think that there are others who similar goal would also result in JJ avenging, and those people are much stronger than herself, so she'd likely decide that she's too weak to do anything and that they'll handle it. You see, May acts tough on the outside, but she's constantly second-guessing herself. All of her actions and strength feels mediocre because she's always been told that she'll always be weak. Actually, I had an interesting thought one this: the way Jack, Arc, and Sarah treat her would accidentally contribute to this. They treat her like a kid that needs protecting, considering that she's the youngest and weakest member of the group, but this only reinforces her own belief that she's too weak to actually be able to help.

    This is actually the main reason why I don't think she'd be able to continue the story. In this world, there exist ways to heal the damage in little more than a week (The scars would still stay, though), but I can't accept that this specific character can move past this emotionally in only a couple of months. The other characters probably could, they have much stronger wills than May does right now, but she herself has no chance of being able to move past this in such a short time frame.
     
  5. Siberian

    Siberian Member

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    I think if you wanted to save this character then this could be her motivation to pick herself up and keep going along with JJ's death. However, if She's constantly treated like a child by Jack, Arc, and Sarah, then this could be seen as a form of a metaphorical emotional/social cage for May because when the people you are surrounded by and look up to (I'm assuming May looks up to Arc?) perceive you to be weak then you're influenced to believe that about yourself. Even more importantly if she's not mentally strong enough and is used to having other people pass her off or take care of things, then it would take a whole hell of a lot to get her back on her feet and motivated to keep fighting considering all the disappointment, loss, and trauma shes been through. And that's not even considering the emotional impact her disfiguring is gonna have on her concerning her severe burns and branding. Our emotions are very much so influenced by the way we look and I think this would send her even deeper into a depression. If she were my character I probably would've killed her but I wouldn't say she's a total loss though because lets say she realizes the motivation to continue on she could have a major character arc. Kinda reminds me of the character Carol in the TV show "The Walking Dead" idk if you've seen it but she's a great example of a major comeback.
     
  6. LastMindToSanity

    LastMindToSanity Contributor Contributor

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    I do have an idea for her re-motivation, but it wouldn't happen in this story. I actually have her serving an important role in a story that takes place about a year after this one ends. So, basically, they end up beating the main villain, but they fail to kill him (The MV isn't King). So, the idea is that no one can help take him down in this second story. Arc loses his strength in the final fight, Sarah has to run her kingdom and can't run off to fight any big villains, and Jack straight up loses her will to fight, due to all of the stress and loss that happened during the story. The point is, this is meant to be the motivator for May's comeback, as she's the only person left to help. She also has some time to heal after these events, so I think she should be sufficiently ready to continue fighting by the time the second story rolls around, especially since she's got what she considers to be a strong motive to.

    Throughout the first two acts of the story, May's constantly trying, and failing, to prove to the others that she isn't just a weak kid. While this doesn't initially bother her, it does start to depress her. Even her major victories are overshadowed by her failures. The sad thing is that, compared to the rest of the world, May is pretty damn strong, but her problems come from the fact that the closest people to her, friends and enemies, are even stronger than that. She just can't see that she's actually strong, just the weakest of the strongest.

    Yeah, she actually looks up to every named character from the original post, for different reasons. Jack's a much better fighter; Sarah's a lot smarter; Arc is easily the most dangerous; and JJ taught her many of the emotions she's never learned, like love and ambition. She actually looks up to the King as well, because he's the ideal of power, as he overpowers literally every other character I've ever thought of, and Jack only managed to beat by taking him by surprise after May managed to weaken him a bit, and there is never a character that gets as strong has he was. Though, this admiration for every character except for JJ wanes quite a bit by the end of the book.

    I've pretty much decided that her scars are gonna be a visual reminder of her biggest failure at what she considers to be the most important moment of her life.

    I think at this point of the conceptual phase, I can decide to let May move on, and have one more active character who, being honest here, isn't needed to finish the story. On the other hand, I can let May fall here, and give her a more satisfying character arc in the next story where she has a much more important role on the outcome of the story. If the former, I do have a couple ideas for some character arcs that she could use. If the latter, than her character arc would be moving on and accepting her past while doing what she can to keep moving forward. I'm pretty okay with either option, but I'm definitely leaning towards the latter.
     
    Siberian likes this.
  7. WaffleWhale

    WaffleWhale Active Member

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    Well, usually when people fail at proving something to themselves, they don't give up, they just keep doing it until it works. If it eventually works, they usually will ignore all previous failures.
     

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