As it happened before, I have a repeated card (honestly, I’m surprised that didn’t happen more).
Card # 15, Secret Society, was the second card I drew, which is the reason I went deeper into the idea of a group of drug pushing mob-types. Since this scene pulls the narrative back to the current timeline, where the trio is in the crossfire between said mob and the biker gang, it seems the mob itself will play a bigger role in this one.
Considering that the second card is #06, Every Villain Is A Hero, that picture begins to come clear.
Let’s back up a little, though.
Previously, we ended the past timeline with Nathan rescuing his step-sister, and together they crashed car, blending the narrative into the first scene (and current timeline). This scene will also be for Nathan (as seen in the act 2 outline). For a brief moment, he would reflect on saving Sarah, which then left him behind and ran off with the drugs, just to then get shot at in the motel. Chances are that he’ll now leave her behind if he can.
I have titles the scene already “Nathan Switches Sides” which is nice contrast from the previous scene’s title “Nathan Comes Through”, meaning that, together with he cards, there’s a good chance Nathan might join the mob, convinced that they’re the good guys in this situation. That fits into his character, the fact that he wants to make something bigger off himself, as well as it fits with the cards.
Card # 15 — Secret Society
Your hero has stumbled upon a dark conspiracy — or perhaps he’s been part of it all along.
We already know that the “secret society” is the mob. The first time I drew two cards, I had the option to change the context of the repeat card (see here), but this time around, I’m quite happy with leaving it as it is.
Secret Societies aren’t just for thrillers. From Alcoholics Anonymous to Girl Scouts, every group has goals, rituals and inside knowledge.
Is your hero trying yo get in — or get out?
Whether it’s an ancient fraternity, a midnight bowling league, or that house down the street with the strange noises, secret societies provide your hero a chance to enter a hidden world, or escape a nightmare.
The first time around, Nathan “joined” the mob by taking on a job as drug-runner. This time around, he’s either part of it already, or on the run from it. Throughout the story, I’ve made a point of showing that he wants to make up with the mob, retrieve the drugs, and do what’s in their best interest. As far as Nathan is concerned, he truly is part of the organization.
Card # 06 — Every Villain Is A Hero
Your antagonist probably thinks he’s the good guy. Imagine the story from his perspective.
With Nathan thinking he’s part of the mob, seeing them as the good guys will be easy for him, however complicated that might make other things.
What is the villain trying got do? Beyond the hero, what other obstacles are in his way?
Don’t stop at the villain’s motivation (e.g. revenge, greed, survival). Rather, look for what the journey is. We might only see a small part of it form the hero’s perspective, but knowing the whole arc gives us more to push against.
Let your villain struggle and win a few times along the way. After all, he doesn’t know he’s the bad guy.
The question is: why wouldn’t the mob simply put a bullet in Nathan’s head, instead of letting him redeem himself? What’s it about this flavour of gangsters that they would recruit Nathan after everything that happened?
Card # 15 — Secret Society
Not a-whole-lot of new things on this card. The mob is still the mob. Let’s try to expand on them a little with the questions.
Who runs the group? Is your hero vying for leadership, or is he a threat in some other way?
- In true gangster fashion, the leader (The Knuckle) will show up with his men at the shootout, but hidden in the sedan until the dust settles.
How do group members identify each other? List some gestures, clothing or signals they might use. If your hero tried to fake it, what could go wrong?
- If Nathan tried to act as if he was part of the mob, but crosses them… well, then we’re back to the bullet in the head.
List rituals or practices that are special to the group.
- Ruthless. They don’t play with their victims (like the bikers would). It’s all about the business. Maybe if Nathan can show that he’s just as ruthless, he can win their trust. Or at least they won’t kill him right away, The mob would sell out their own mothers if it’s best for business. If Nathan was willing to kill his friends to get back the drugs, the mob might be reconsider the mentioned head-bullet.
Is the group trying to expand, or remain exclusive. What might they do to protect their secrets?
- Kill the intruders. Pay off the cops. Bribe the people the in charge.
Card # 06 — Every Villain Is A Hero
As ruthless as the mob is, maybe they have motivations and reasonings beyond selfish gain.
Plot out what would happen if your hero never showed up. What would the villain/antagonist do? Would a different hero rise up?
- They needed a new runner for the case of cocaine. Without Nathan, they would have to figure out a different way to get the drugs. Why do they need a runner? Maybe they’re under surveillance by the cops. Using a dupe like Nathan might have been their only option. Without him, they would run the risk of one of their men being captured. Now… that being said, the mob showing up after all–and starting a shootout!–might bring the cops into the story, too.
What is your villain’s greatest fear? Who does he love? Can either of these cause him to take action in your story?
- Going with the idea with the police watching the mob, getting captured and raided by the cops would be about the worst thing. That, and the possibility that they’re also working for someone even higher, more ruthless, than themselves. What if their bosses catch wind of what happened? The mob needs to get back to drugs, since the clients are dead. Much like Nathan, they need to fix what broke, and the drugs seem to be the key.
Brainstorm three moments in which your villain could be surprisingly heroic.
- They would reduce the trio from the bikers to get back their drugs. If the trio somehow manages to hide the drugs, but gets arrested right after, the mob might do whatever it takes to bail them out of prison to get the drugs back. Not sure if there could be a third moment. After all, they’re drug-lords. Not much heroic going on in that business. Unless one of them is an undercover agent stepping in to save the day at the eleventh hour, of course.
I want Nathan to “switch sides” in this scene. Either, he joins the mob and turns against his family, or he considers himself part of the mob, but now defies them to save Mitch and Sarah. Both ideas are nice. But since the second card wants me to show the mob as a self-perceived good guy, I might go with the first option. Nathan will turn against Sarah and Mitch, try to get the drugs back to the mob to earn their trust. He might even go as far as threatening Sarah’s life to show the mob just how far he’s willing to go.
Any ideas, thoughts, comments? Would you have done anything differently?