PDA

View Full Version : Street Fights & 12 year olds



Rufus Coppertop
10-02-2009, 08:43 PM
In my steampunk WIP, the MC's, a couple of 12 year olds at an elite school, encounter a gang of kids the same age, in a rougher part of town.

The leader of the gang challenges them to a one on one fight each and says that they don't have to win, but if they refuse to fight at all, he's going to take their school ties.

The gang leader wants to show off his fighting skill and has a sense of chivalry instilled in him by his father. Hence, it's not a gang bashing but a fair fight.

Is it unrealistic to have him going easy on them when he realizes they wouldn't really have a clue how to fight?

Is it unrealistic to have him deciding that they're pretty cool for standing up to him anyway, and befriending them?

Rufus Coppertop
10-03-2009, 09:43 AM
Obviously it depends on the character.

Wiskel
10-03-2009, 11:33 AM
I think this depends on your point of view character for the scene.

If your point of view is one of the boys from the elite school, then you'll have a hard time showing us that the gang leader randomly stops them, fights them and is generally a bully (from their point of view) but is actually an ok guy. Your MCs have no way of knowing about his sense of chivalry. If they can't fight how will they know he went easy on them

You might have an easier time doing this if you were using third person omniscient, I think you'd have a hard time doing it in third person limited or first person.

It's not unrealistic from the point of view of the gang leader for the challange to be the way he decides if someone is "alright" or not and for him to become friendly if they impress him.

It's difficult to see how your MCs, having been stopped, threatened, made to fight and possibly humiliated by losing would be open to any offer of friendship from someone they probably view as a bully.

Craig

Rufus Coppertop
10-03-2009, 02:42 PM
You've made some points that have bothered me, hence this thread in the first place.

I am using 3rd person limited but by counterpointing the fight scene with other stuff going on nearby and friendly interaction between the older brother/cousin of the MC's and the gang leader's father who know each other, I can break the sequence into scenes and show some of it from the gang leader's POV and some of it from the MCs' POV's.

I've also worked out a way for them to know that he went easy on them and I think he can tell them directly or indirectly that they've got balls, even if they don't have experience.

Basically, he's not going to hurt them badly and while they have no illusions about being competent at fighting, they'll know themselves that they've shown courage.

Basically, I'm going to make this work because there's so much plot mileage and adventure that can arise from it. It's literally a case of the backstory hijacking the plot and I can see myself ending up with two novels of about 100,000 words instead of one massive one which no one will publish from a first timer.

This is so much fun!

RJK
10-03-2009, 05:16 PM
Where and when does this take place?
If this were an urban setting in the U.S. today, The gang leader probably wouldn't have any idea who his father was. May allow a one-on-one fight, but his first, and most important goal would be to maintain his leadership position in the gang. He could not show any form of weakness aka compassion.
God forbid the schoolboy get the best of the gang leader, even momentarily, it would probably result in a severe beating. If the schoolboy does a good job of defending himself, he MAY not get the boots put to him when he's down.
American gang members are usually older than 12. They allow younger boys to hang with them to run errands, hold weapons and drugs, and other things that juveniles can get away with. A formal gang of 12-year-olds would be unusual, but it wouldn't be unusual for a group that age to congregate.

Rufus Coppertop
10-03-2009, 07:01 PM
Where and when does this take place?
If this were an urban setting in the U.S. today, The gang leader probably wouldn't have any idea who his father was. May allow a one-on-one fight, but his first, and most important goal would be to maintain his leadership position in the gang. He could not show any form of weakness aka compassion.
God forbid the schoolboy get the best of the gang leader, even momentarily, it would probably result in a severe beating. If the schoolboy does a good job of defending himself, he MAY not get the boots put to him when he's down.
American gang members are usually older than 12. They allow younger boys to hang with them to run errands, hold weapons and drugs, and other things that juveniles can get away with. A formal gang of 12-year-olds would be unusual, but it wouldn't be unusual for a group that age to congregate.

This is an extension of the Visigothic Empire centred on Rome but with steampunk technology, polytheism and magic. The gang is not formal and they don't carry weapons. Once the rules are agreed on, e.g. - first to draw blood, or make a bruise, or knock the wind out of the opponent wins and the fight stops - the rest of the gang would despise their leader if he didn't stick to that. They would prefer a leader to lose honourably than to win contemptibly.

Smiling Ted
10-03-2009, 07:32 PM
The leader of the gang challenges them to a one on one fight each and says that they don't have to win, but if they refuse to fight at all, he's going to take their school ties.


Just a personal reaction - I didn't believe this at all. Way too on the nose and way too gallant.

When I was a kid, it wasn't about rules, it was about power and humiliation.
If the kid fought while getting beaten up, they might not beat him up again; but they certainly wouldn't lay out rules like that ahead of time.

Rufus Coppertop
10-03-2009, 08:11 PM
Just a personal reaction - I didn't believe this at all. Way too on the nose and way too gallant.

When I was a kid, it wasn't about rules, it was about power and humiliation.
If the kid fought while getting beaten up, they might not beat him up again; but they certainly wouldn't lay out rules like that ahead of time.

I have to make it work or find some other way of getting them together as friends.

This sort of thing would depend heavily on the prevailing culture. The gang leader himself goes to a private school. Not as exclusive as the MCs' school, but he does go. The other kids are at cheaper private schools or government schools until year 10 at least. These kids read books about zeppelin pilots with names like Captain Calixtus, flying about being frightfully chivalrous and rescuing damsels and orphans from the dreaded Judaean Bush Zombies.

Boys will be boys of course, but they will be boys within their culture.

Wiskel
10-04-2009, 02:42 AM
The steps still don't quite work for me. There is no way I'd walk away from this situation feeling anything but humiliated and angry with the gang.

Perhaps you should throw around a few other ideas for making them meet.

What if a junior member of the gang was being given a hard time by two people from another gang and your two MCs help him out by standing up to them. Your gang leader can then posture all he wants when they do meet and the gang member they helped can stop the fight by sticking up for them and telling the leader they're alright. Then he can respect their courage and demonstrate that he's a reasonable human being. If he must, he can then come up with some other initiation that leaves them feeling part of the gang rather than humilated.