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  1. frigocc

    frigocc Contributor Contributor

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    Help Me Decide WHY My Non-Thief Female Character Was Chosen To Steal An Item

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by frigocc, May 3, 2021.

    Basically, in my post-apocalyptic story, a woman's dog is held ransom by a warlord until she steals an item from another warlord for him. The only problem is, she's not a thief. And she can't be. I need her to be a pretty "normal" person, if you would.

    This item is a very important one. Whoever has it holds all the power in the area. So the warlord wouldn't just choose a random person to secure this item for him. So I need a reason why this woman was chosen.

    Any ideas what a motivation could be? I would make her a thief, but she's already a big part of another character's arc, where she acts as a foil to his selfishness. Her being a thief wouldn't make sense in that case.
     
  2. hyacinthe

    hyacinthe Senior Member

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    is the woman conveniently connected to the warlord she's supposed to burgle?
     
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  3. frigocc

    frigocc Contributor Contributor

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    Nope. Completely anonymous to him. Thought about that, too, but it would mess with the plot. Basically, she steals this item, and a huge bounty is put on her. One of the bounty hunters that goes after her is her ex-husband. They got a good look at one thief, but not of the ex-wife, so he doesn't know it's her he's chasing.
     
  4. hyacinthe

    hyacinthe Senior Member

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    hm. if she's not a thief, and she's not connected, why is she chosen?
     
  5. John McNeil

    John McNeil Member

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    There could be an indirect connection:
    • her aunt is his maid/chef and she can use that connection to get into the building.
    • she is a famous *something" and the warlord's staff need to bring her in for *reason* (wedding, event of some sort).
    • she has a relationship with whoever would be searching for the lost item so they are likely not to search her as thoroughly.
    • she owns a building that abuts the wall of the city/has property overhanging a river so disposing/passing on the item in question would be easy
     
  6. alittlehumbugcalledShe

    alittlehumbugcalledShe Active Member

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    *Bilbo Baggins intensifies*
     
  7. Fervidor

    Fervidor Senior Member

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    Maybe he does this all the time? Whenever he gets the opportunity, he coerces some random schmuck into trying to steal the item in question, not really expecting them to succeed. If they do, awesome! If they don't, eh, maybe the next one will pull it off. Either way he doesn't stand to lose anything, and the fact that they aren't master criminals isn't his problem. Possibly he just does it to amuse himself or to mess with the other warlord.

    Also, that had better be one heck of a dog for her to go through all that. I get that people get attached to their pets, but in the post-apocalypse you're probably going to be a bit more concerned with your own survival. Call me heartless but I would just cut my losses and try to find a new dog.

    For that matter, it occurs to me that simply stealing the dog back isn't likely to be much harder than ganking the regalia of the Wasteland King.
     
  8. FlyingFishPhilosophy

    FlyingFishPhilosophy Member

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    Or the warlord thinks she is his opponents type and that she might seduce and then rob him.
     
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  9. SapereAude

    SapereAude Active Member

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    Because she is so pure and innocent that she's the last person anyone would suspect.
     
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  10. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Active Member

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    But what if it's a telepathic dog with indispensable information?
     
  11. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Funky like your grandpa's drawers.... Staff Contributor

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    Honestly, I'd say your plot is already messed up if you "have" to jam this square peg into a round hole. A plot hole by itself isn't necessarily a terrible thing. It's all the unnecessary concoctions and explanations you throw at it to justify its existence that will stand out.
     
  12. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    I don't know the rules of your world at all, and I haven't read all the responses above, but here's what hit me in the head.

    Maybe there's something like telepathic mind reading, but you don't know a person's full intentions, only their level of general honesty/trustworthiness. Or this particular warlord does, or has a telepath with this ability or whatever (supercomputer, what-have-you). I think the rest writes itself.
     
  13. Fervidor

    Fervidor Senior Member

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    See, now we're getting somewhere.
     
  14. frigocc

    frigocc Contributor Contributor

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    I don't disagree with you at all. That said, there are a few key scenes that I'm just really wanting to keep, and I think they justify figuring a way to warp the plot around it. Even if it takes a ton of time to figure out how to do so without screwing up the plot, it can be done!

    This is what I initially had planned. She does rob him by seducing him, but wasn't sure if her being the warlord's type, and seducing him, was an adequate motivation for holding her dog ransom. Maybe it is. I mean, it is a screenplay, so a lot of this type of stuff goes unsaid and is just meant more for me to help me craft my characters and their backstories.

    It's just hard figuring out the Jack-Zoey (MC and his ex-wife) dynamic in this story. I think I now have Jack figured out, but I'm still working on hers. I was wanting her big motivation to be that she feels helpless and unprepared for the dangers out there in the apocalypse. Doubly-so after she let the warlord kidnap Gunner, their dog. I'm trying to figure out where to start her story. I have an opening scene for her that I think is really a great one, but I'm not sure if it goes against what I'm trying to craft her character to be. It's literally her and her new lover in some ritzy Victorian mansion, fancy bathrobes on, painting and living in relative luxury to everyone else. Initially, this was all fake, and it was sorta like in Zombieland, when they went to Bill Murray's house. But I feel like there must be a way to keep this opening scene, while sprinkling in, and changing, some things to make it tell us something about her.
     
  15. frigocc

    frigocc Contributor Contributor

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    All that said, maybe I can make her a thief, without being selfish. She steals because she has to, not because she wants to.

    I just really want her to be a foil to the MC, Jack, who's character arc is supposed to see him overcome his selfishness with the help of his ex-wife, Zoey. In order for her to be his foil, and then help him overcome his selfishness, she can't be selfish. I just don't know if it'd be believable to have the mansion scene, and have her be a thief, and still be seen as not being selfish. I guess your profession isn't necessarily what makes you selfish. As I said, she steals because she has to. Thoughts on that?
     
  16. Storysmith

    Storysmith Active Member

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    She's not just his type, but in fact a dead-ringer for his beloved dead wife/girlfriend. That's why it has to be her.
     
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  17. frigocc

    frigocc Contributor Contributor

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    This is actually perfect! For numerous reasons. It explains why it has to be her, keeps her from having to be a thief, while also giving the warlord a sympathetic backstory, which I was also looking to do, and gives me an idea for a beef between the warlords, which is something I was working on as well.
     
  18. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Shades of Hitchcock's Vertigo.
     
  19. frigocc

    frigocc Contributor Contributor

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    Never seen it, but that's some like Norman Bates shit right there, lol.

    But, yeah, @Storysmith, I really like that idea! Best of all, I don't really have to completely change my almost-finished screenplay, like I thought I had to!

    I would post it on this site after I finish it, but I doubt people want to read a 110-page screenplay lol.
     
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  20. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 12/210 MP: 0/130 Contributor

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    Maybe she thinks it, whatever it is, is just purty and she really, really must have it.
     
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  21. retardis

    retardis New Member

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    Perhaps he meant to choose somebody else but made a mistake, lol.
    Kind of depends on your genre. If you are writing a post-apocalyptic comedy, you could look for absolutely absurd reasons which you probably couldn't pull off if your story is science fiction or just plain dystopian.
     
  22. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Potatoes again? Supporter Contributor

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    I haven't read all the above, but what do you mean "She's not a thief." Unless we're talking RPG character classes, you could say that she's someone who's never stolen before, or she's not a habitual thief, or not a professional thief, but barring some really hardline religious or ethical considerations anyone could steal something if the stakes were high enough. I don't consider myself a thief, but in my youth I may or may not have exited a convenient store with some gum without stopping by the register. However, even though I currently identify as an English teacher, if Gen. Mattis, His Majesty the Emperor, Ayumi Hamasaki or some other authority figure told me the only way to save us from Kim Jong Un was to lift a stapler from the secretary's desk at work, I'd start plotting out a way.
     
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  23. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 12/210 MP: 0/130 Contributor

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    I notice you don't name Mrs A specifically here...
     
  24. Selbbin

    Selbbin The Moderating Cat Staff Contributor

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    Why do you need to lock into rules of the story that negate an important aspect, being why she's chosen? That should come first and the rest fall into place. The fact that the dog is held ransom, because they want her to steal something, means she must be good at stealing something. That's the critical part, not that she can't be a thief. It's that she needs to be,
     
  25. frigocc

    frigocc Contributor Contributor

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    I know it's kinda a backwards way of building stories, but it's the only way that seems to work for me. I start off with individual scenes, and ideas of what things I want to happen, and then I warp the plot around it to fit it all in.

    I mean, once the missing links in the plot are figured out, you'd never know it, but it just takes some extra work to shoehorn in the scenes/jokes/"things" into the screenplay.

    Again, I know it's a really roundabout and "wrong" way to do it, but I'm pretty stubborn when I find something I like. There are just certain aspects of my story, and certain jokes and lines of dialogue, that I absolutely will not change because I think they're good. Now, that doesn't mean I can't reshuffle stuff, like the order events happen, tweak the phrasing just a bit, or even use it in a different screenplay, but there are definitely things I won't let go.

    In this specific case, I like the idea of two exes running into each other during the zombie apocalypse. I knew I wanted Jack to be a bounty hunter, and I knew that I needed an emotional ending. So I built my ending, figured out how I could get to that ending, and had to come up with a legitimate reason for the ex to get involved. I think the post above, saying she's a dead-ringer to the warlord's dead wife, is one of the missing links that will allow me to do that. No matter how I get there, even if having to adjust the plot a million times, the ultimate goal is to get in all the scenes/jokes/etc. that I want into my screenplay, and find a way to make a genuinely good, coherent, linear plot that meets those needs. I don't mind changing certain aspects of the plot around certain pre-determined, set-in-stone things, but I won't do so at the expense of that plot being genuinely good, coherent, and linear.
     

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