1. Jak of Hearts

    Jak of Hearts Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    76
    Location:
    Topeka, Kansas

    Help me brainstorm a plot problem

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Jak of Hearts, Dec 1, 2017.

    Ok, so there is a pivotal scene in my WIP that I'm having trouble figuring out so I thought I'd turn to you creative minded people to help give me ideas and maybe stir my creative juices. Here's the sich:

    MC Jak is on a prison transport train going across the desert. MC Zelda (along with a few friends) comes to rescue him. During this sequence, the pivotal moment that has to happen is MC Zelda chooses to save MC Jak instead of the rest of the prisoners. I am debating possibly adding enemy attack helicopter in and/or city ruins if needed. Other tweaks can be made if an idea is good enough. MC Zelda's powers include healing and creating small protective shields (big enough for her and maybe 1-2 people). I'm trying to avoid cliche events like "oh, no, the train is careening out of control towards a canyon!" and also avoid the spider-man trope of "Badguy is going to make you choose if he kills Jak or these other people." It has feel realistic and organic. Thoughts, comments, ideas?
     
  2. jmh105

    jmh105 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2015
    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    United States
    I am not sure about specific action sequences, but I don't think there is a whole lot of tension when Zelda chooses Jak--especially since it's apparent from the beginning that that was the plan.

    As far as emotional tension, I would have at least some of the other prisoners be people Jak and Zelda know. :)
     
  3. mashers

    mashers Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2016
    Messages:
    2,369
    Likes Received:
    3,075
    Not sure I fully understand the scenario. Jak is on a prison transport train, and Zelda goes with the intention of rescuing him. The issue as you describe it is in having her decide to rescue him. It seems that if she does this, then she has done what she set out to do, and I'm not sure what the problem is.

    If the issue is of creating motivation for her to save him, then that is a matter of the relationship between these two characters, and we wouldn't be able to advise you without more information about them.

    If the issue is in her decision to save only him and not the rest of the prisoners, then there are any number of reasons why she might choose this. The other prisoners are, presumably, imprisoned for a reason. Perhaps she doesn't want the responsibility of releasing a load of prisoners who might go off and commit further crimes. Or perhaps she doesn't have the resources available to transport them all elsewhere, so releasing them from the train would mean stranding them in the desert in which they would die, so better to leave them on the train. Or maybe she just doesn't care about the other people on the train.

    It's hard to give concrete advice without knowing more about the characters and what specifically you are trying to have them accomplish. Perhaps post some more detail if you can.
     
  4. Jak of Hearts

    Jak of Hearts Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    76
    Location:
    Topeka, Kansas
    jmh105, Yes, the original plan is to rescue him, but not at the cost of the lives of others. The problem is that when the rescue plan goes off the rails she chooses Jak instead of several other people. I'm not so much worried about the writing to make the scene impactful because given the story and her character it will be fine I have faith in that. I'm more so just worried how to organically set up the situation. Because everything I come up with in my head just seems hokey or contrived.

    mashers, yes they are on a prison transport but more background info that I didn't think to include: the prisoners are the good guys. She does not know them personally, but they are generally just everyday people with families and jobs or possibly resistance fighters.
     
  5. mashers

    mashers Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2016
    Messages:
    2,369
    Likes Received:
    3,075
    Then there seems no moral reason not to rescue the others. To be honest, I would question her motives if she just left all those other people there to rot. Why can't she help the others? Or at least, if she can't physically take them all with her, why can't she kill the people holding them prisoner so they can make their own way out? If there's a reason why these people need to remain on the train for some later plot point, then I think it would be better for her to be unable, rather then unwilling, to save them. As I said before, I think the fact that they would die in the desert would be a good enough reason.
     
  6. orangefire

    orangefire Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2017
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    118
    The protective shields could lend some interesting ideas, though I'm not sure of a few things, like how powerful they are and if you need the other people to survive for later on the story.

    I like what your going for. The other issue I'm running into is that everything I'm coming up with would be more "she can only save one person". That in turn pretty much becomes "she's here for Jak. Of course she'd save him if she can only save one."

    Would it work for the story to have a second person to rescue, possibly even a "more important" target than Jak, according to her mission. No clue if that would work with the narrative or not, but it might be easier to set up Jak vs Other Person over Jak vs Everyone Else.
     
  7. Jak of Hearts

    Jak of Hearts Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    76
    Location:
    Topeka, Kansas
    Again, I don't need help with WHY she does it. The character building moment though is that she is faced with a choice that she only has a few moments to make, and she chooses to save Jak instead of the couple dozen others. It think being "unable" to make the choice strips her of the defining moment because the purpose behind it is that it is a conscious choice she makes.

    What i've kind of gotten so far is that she gets on the train, gets him free, but before she can free any of the others they are attacked... and I just can't seem to find a way to get the scene from there to the choice she has to make.
     
  8. mashers

    mashers Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2016
    Messages:
    2,369
    Likes Received:
    3,075
    Then I am confused about what you are asking. What exactly is it you are uncertain about? It seems that you are looking for a reason for her not to save the other people on the train, but then say you don’t need help with why she does it.
     
  9. orangefire

    orangefire Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2017
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    118
    If he's already free that gets hard. I hate to say to delete something, but in this case I'd suggest backtracking to before she frees him.

    My other thought is if Jak is a higher priority to the antagonists as well. If so, is it possible he'd be somewhere in the back? That might also make the scenario easier to set up.

    My current thought is basically that there are two people on the train who are under orders to execute the prisoners in the event it is boarded. Zelda comes on, gets noticed, and now her choices are:

    1.) Beat the first executioner, rescue the other prisoners, knowing that Jak in the back cell will be killed by the other executioner during that time.

    2.) Race to the back, leaving the first executioner to murder everyone else, but instead stopping the second from killing Jak.

    Obviously we already know she chooses option 2. I have no clue if this would work with the story or not, but I hope it at least helps.

    I was going to say the other idea would be to have him be injured so she has to help him off, which means freeing the others -and- walking injured Jak off would take too long and they'd be deep in enemy territory, but then I remembered her healing powers. Still mentioning it in case it could help with ideas at all.
     
    Jak of Hearts likes this.
  10. Jak of Hearts

    Jak of Hearts Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    76
    Location:
    Topeka, Kansas
    Orangefire, the executioners idea is exactly the kind of brainstorming I was looking for. You're right, being injured wouldn't work out to we'l for that idea, but then again even the idea of having to spend an extra 5 seconds healing can make all the difference. Both of those ideas help me a lot.
     
  11. raine_d

    raine_d Active Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2011
    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    133
    You probably need to think about why Jak is willing to be rescued at the cost of those other lives too...
     
  12. Jak of Hearts

    Jak of Hearts Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    76
    Location:
    Topeka, Kansas
    Well... He's not. But she don't care, she's doing it anyway.
     
  13. MilatheRose

    MilatheRose New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2017
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    11
    This would probably be easier to decipher if we knew who was imprisoning him, why he was so important, and what the rescue force entails. For example, if it was an armed group fighting to rescue him then they could be separated or pinned with the rest of the prisoners, and Jak only got away because he was leading the group. Alternatively if this is a solo rescue and they are trapped in a dead end and a guard or two are coming, she need only step into their view and be captured without warning him to secure his escape. If she was hiding with the rest of the prisoners and he was hiding in a separate location closer to the guards then she would also be sacrificing them.

    Anyways, I feel like crafting something specific would require more specific information.
     

Share This Page