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  1. Mikmaxs

    Mikmaxs Active Member

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    Reasons for a backdoor to lead to a dead end?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Mikmaxs, Jan 29, 2017.

    This is a minor story point, but I'd like there to be a point in my WIP where my main character goes through a back door from a restaurant into an alley and finds herself stuck. The problem is, I can't think of a good reason why both directions would be blocked off - I can put a fence or a wall on one side, but there's no good reason why her way would be blocked on both sides.

    For context, this is (sort of, it works as a basic description,) a city in the old west, and she's trying to hide from the police.
     
  2. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Active Member

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    Obvious answer would be it was an old door they never removed. Maybe it led to an outbuilding that no longer exists. The alley that goes nowhere is more troubling. Not sure how to explain that.
     
  3. Viridian

    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    What about moveable objects at one end blocking her way, something like large rubbish bins or a truck that has blocked the entrance.
     
  4. Mikmaxs

    Mikmaxs Active Member

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    A cart with food and other supplies that got backed into the alley and hasn't been moved could do the trick.
     
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  5. BayView

    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Slapdash construction in a boom town - used to be a one-ended alley, then someone built something right up against the opening, blocking the exit.
     
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  6. psychotick

    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Like the others, I'd go with an urban development snafu. Once it was a dead end alley with one end opening on to a street. However the neighbours got planning permission to extend their building across the open end - possibly because the affected neighbours didn't object. Maybe they got a financial compensation for agreeing.

    The other option is that initially the building was a house in the city with a walled off back garden. At some point it became a commercial premises and the back yard simply became dead space.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
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  7. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Does it have to be an alley? Maybe it's some sort of utility area associated with the building, and it has a locked gate so that someone doesn't steal whatever's there. It could be dog kennels, poultry, the place that they store the firewood, etc.
     
  8. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member Contributor

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    If it's an old building, bars and restaurants often had hidden alleyways during prohibition.
     
  9. Kerilum

    Kerilum Active Member

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    Building off of what ChickenFreak said, perhaps the door was supposed to be locked, but hadn't been when your character opened the door.
     
  10. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Something Wicked this Way Comes. Contributor

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    Maybe they had a break area walled off for staff?

    IDK, the old west doesn't strike me as one to have backdoors to nowhere.
     
  11. iRoppa

    iRoppa Member

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    From my experience with film and literature old west towns didn't use walls for containment purposes; a wall was a side of a building. There were fences but most of those were waist height for aesthetic value only. For an alley as you're describing it, I'd say it would have to be a conjoining of buildings, but - depending on your setting - they had lots of room back then so buildings weren't particularly close together.

    Also, this ^
     
  12. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    But. But. People can store things outdoors. And if they do, they're going to want to enclose them and protect them. So why not a lock?

    I realize I'm repeating my original post, but my point is that I don't see why this is an issue at all.

    She rushed out the back door and found herself in the saloon's fenced storage yard. Thank goodness, no dog. She picked her way between the puddles and the manure toward the gate in the looming fence, then stopped. Dammit. A shiny new lock hung from the hasp--probably the only new thing on the whole property.

    Edited to edit the example, just because.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2017
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  13. Mikmaxs

    Mikmaxs Active Member

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    I ended up writing around this scene entirely. A fenced enclosure was what I was *going* to go with, but I ended up striking on other problems that didn't have as easy of solutions. Thank you for the help, though!
     
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