1. Other Paw

    Other Paw Member

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    Villainous Father: Good or Bad?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Other Paw, Nov 30, 2016.

    Hey guys, I'm new around these parts. Just thought I'd dive right in and ask you all a question.

    So, I'm writing the third part of my own Space Opera trilogy. My main character (Desmond Reigns) and his crew are being hunted by an organization known as The Guild in revenge for a previous conflict they all had in the first part. I've been torn on whether or not to make their leader (Solomon) Desmond's Father or not.

    13 years prior to the events of the first part of the trilogy, Desmond's Parents' spaceship came under attack by a rogue pirate ship. Desmond's Mom died, but his Father was blown out of the ship and drifted away in space.

    I figured 13 years would ample time for him to be found, meet The Guild, and work his way up the ranks to become their leader. I know it's a cliche, but is it too cliche? I feel like I'm only doing it for a twist and it wouldn't feel organic enough.

    So, good move, or bad move?
     
  2. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Welcome to the site!

    Would it be possible for the main character to find out the connection first so that he's the one surprising the father later instead of the other way around?
     
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  3. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    Welcome to the forum!

    Honestly, it does sound a bit cliche. I'd think of it this way (which you already seem to be doing):
    • Is there a reason for it to happen?
    • Does is add anything (substantial) to the story (ie, is it just a twist for the sake of a twist)?
    • Is it too much of a coincidence to be believable?
    So, what happens if it's his dad? What does that mean for the story? Does he want to redeem his villainous father Luke Skywalker style, does his father become a figure he's afraid of walking in the footsteps of? Or ... is it just the same villain, except now it's his dad? Does having lost his dad mean anything to him at this point, and finding out that the man who's been hunting him propel his development as a character? Does it mean anything to Solomon - does it change his motives, knowing that the man he's been hunting is his kid? Basically, what emotional response - apart from surprise - should the audience have to this revelation? Or does it not really matter and Solomon is still just the villain? A reveal like that means nothing if it doesn't alter the plot.

    Then there's the coincidence thing. I'm working on a space opera myself and the thing is (hold onto something, this might shock you) ... space is really fucking big. Unless there's something specific to bring characters together again, it's just really unlikely that they're going to happen into each other out there. What's the chances that Desmond's dad ended up joining The Guild, the same organization that would end up pursuing him, rather than becoming an asteroid miner in a different galaxy or at least a gun runner in another solar system (all depending on the scale of your project)? It's just very convenient, and when something is just so astronomically (get it) unlikely, it makes the 'twist for twist's sake' seem more obvious.

    Now, if there's something plausible that would've drawn both of them to the sides they end up on, it's not so serendipitous. For example, I wanted these two characters who both had a hate-on for another character to meet, but when it's just a meet-cute that turns into "Wow, you hate that guy? Me too! Let's do it together!" it's too much - but if I put them both on the same trail in tracking the guy and they run into each other, it makes sense. If you can find a way to explain how these two characters ended up where they did, it wouldn't only make the coincidence problem go away, it might strengthen your plot overall. Does Solomon know Desmond is his kid already? Did he have something to do with the initial conflict? Was it all part of some kinda gambit to get closer to his kid that might have gone wrong somehow?

    The coincidence can be written around and fixed fairly easily, most likely, so I'd focus on what sense it makes for that twist to happen at all - does it really do anything for the plot outside of being a twist, etc.
     
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  4. EnginEsq

    EnginEsq Member

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    You haven't given us enough information to determine if it's a cliche or not yet.

    Follow the Luke/Darth model too closely, and maybe it is.
    Do something very different, and maybe it isn't.

    At some level of abstraction, everything's a cliche. Originality is in the details.
     
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  5. Viridian

    Viridian Member Supporter

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    I echo @EnginEsq, coming up with something completely original is difficult and someone is always going to think something is a cliche. If you ask me using the word cliche is becoming a cliche. If you can put your own twist on it then I think it's fine, but if you're only using it to add a twist and it isn't really relevant to the story then I probably wouldn't bother.
     
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  6. Other Paw

    Other Paw Member

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    Thanks!

    I actually have thought about that too. I thought about giving the Father a memory wipe or something so that Desmond recognized him, but Solomon didn't. But that sounded rather silly.

    This was very informative. Thanks a bunch. At the time, I was considering it just to be a twist, but I never went through it because I'm a big plot guy, and I knew it'd be stupid just to toss it in as a, "Hey, the bad guy is his Dad!" But after mulling it over, I can't get the idea out of my head now.

    Either I give Solomon some sort of memory wipe only to have it jogged while fighting his son and his friends (stupid, I know), or he in fact knows Desmond is his kid, but defeating The Guild in the first part made them look weak in the eyes of the other Pirate organizations. And at this point, he cares more about reclaiming his power than he does the safety and well being of his own son. The gambit idea is one I never considered, but it'd make for an interesting plot point.


    How much more info do you need? I'd be happy to provide it.

    I needed to hear this. I'm gonna take some time and seriously think about the decision.
     
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  7. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    That sounds like a pretty interesting character to me, and an interesting thing for your mc to have to deal with.
     
  8. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    You can...

    Have the happy Star Wars ending.
    The MC kills his father and have the dark justice thing.
    Lock em in a hole and leave him to die knowing that he can't fix the damage done,
    left to commiserate on his actions.

    Or they can slowly come to terms with what is and try to bury the hatchet.

    Ultra Twist :p
    They meet up get in a fist fight until somebody concedes. Then they hop in the
    minivan and go out for ice cream.
     

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