Revenge for the Troll

Today has not been the day for this. Grumble. If all I have to stand on for the day is that my Christmas lights are down and I end up with a crummy bit of writing, then I’ll consider the day a success.

Revenge. Revenge I’m told is about getting wronged in the first act, seeking vengeance in the second, then confronting the antagonist in the third.

Theme – Revenge.

Setup – Twins grow up without parents.

Hook – Probably a nightmare or prologue of the troll attack.

Plot Point 1 – A storyteller comes to town and weaves a tale of how a troll laid waste to a village a couple rivers over and the only survivors were a pair of twin boys. One of the two takes it more personal than the other and decides to enlist his brother to find and kill the troll. Their Uncle discourages revenge.

Pinch 1 – Visiting the ruins for the first time, the less aggressive of the two is struck by the horror of it all and collapses (into a coma?).

Mid-point Twist – Gathering information about the possible whereabouts of the troll turns up plenty of unexpected information, but one lead confirms other hints that maybe the village had it coming to them or that maybe the troll was more of a proxy for another man’s will. (The meek twin urges the other to stand-down and he himself leaves the quest).

Pinch 2 – Locating the troll, the boy(s) attack and kill it, but not before it kills the meeker twin. (I don’t know, he came back or something). The survivor finds documents hiring the troll and the penultimate clue to who that person is.

Lull – The surviving twin buries the other. A piteous graveside scene ensues.

Plot Point 2 – survivor learns that the man he’s called Uncle for all these years is the man behind it all. Dun, dun, duuuuuh. And of course why, but I don’t need to tell you that now—and can’t.

Conclusion – Well, survivor gets back home. Fucks Uncle the hell up and has a soul searching time realizing had he not gone out looking for trouble he’d never have found it. Or something karmically circular about revenge obviously hinging on stuff meek twin said earlier.

This turned out faster and better than I thought it would. I like it. Of course, I didn’t come up with a motive for the Uncle, but one will likely arise easily enough. People believe all sorts of shit on flimsy motives.

434 words on day 644

Grumphook and Gertrude

This 20 master plots book is organized rather rhythmically. Thus, following the rescue plot, is the escape plot.

I find it a little frustrating to have these core plots in mind as I compose each point, but not to see the evidence of such in the end. I suspect it’s the manufactured use of the plots from a list combined with my desire to do my own thang that causes the problems, but I ought to be able to adhere to the plan better I think.

The plot book indicates that in the first part our hero should be imprisoned, in the second planning her escape or making failed attempts, and in the third escaping. I’ll try not to make this sound like The Shawshank Redemption.

Theme

Setup – The passage and quartering of the king’s troops in a tiny mountain village leaves Gertrude, our stout matronly Mayor, little choice but to scour into dragon lands for food. A single dragon egg is said to be able to feed a army for months.

Hook

Plot Point 1 – Upset with the villages transgressions, Dragons surround the little mountain village. Grumphook is particularly upset since it’s her egg in question.

Pinch 1 – Grumphook discovers an early effort of some boys to escape and flames the terraced farmland.

Mid-point Twist – Gertrude discovers in an old text that dragons operate by a rigid code of ethics. From this she determines to challenge Grumphook to a dual.

Pinch 2 – Grumphook not only soundly defeats Gertrude but also informs her the book on dragon ethics was historical BS.

Lull – The dragons depart with no explaination. Initially elated the cautious villagers become confused and suspicious. Stockholm syndrome(?). Zoo syndrome(?).

Plot Point 2 – the dragons return with evidence of having slain the kings men, so no army will swoop in to save the village.

Conclusion – as in all great escape stories, they tunnel out. Duh.

348 words on day 643

The Fairy Plot

Rescue plot next. I’m told this requires a protagonist, and antagonist, and a victim. Much of this physical plot should play out in the realm of the antagonist.

Theme

Setup

Hook – Four colorful and great smelling fairies arrive to tell me I’ve got to come away with them to rescue my missing children.

Plot Point 1 – The fairies convince me of their realness and I finally believe my daughters have been abducted.

Pinch 1 – [antagonist] sends a flock of silver shouldered blackbirds to attack our troupe on the way to gain a special sword/shield/whatever.

Mid-point Twist – I discover my fairy traveling companions have been less honest with me than I thought. They abducted my children, but then had them stolen from them by [antagonist].

Pinch 2 – [antagonist] sends a troll to attack us and two of the four fairies are killed. And we lose our ability to track [antagonist’s] travel.

Lull – I’m pissed and drinking at a bar in Faerie.

Plot Point 2 – A patron points out that since I came voluntarily to Faerie I can’t return home with my daughters even if I rescue them.

Conclusion – I discover that none of this sounds like much of a rescue, but I don’t care since my headache is running the show at this point.

232 words on day 642

A Weird Semblance Thereof

I’m adding a ‘Setup’ item since the circumstances at PP1 need to know what came before them in order to make much sense.

Next up from my cheat sheet of master plots is Pursuit

Theme – Lying to your kids never goes well.

Setup – A former royal guard (think Special Forces-type), Conner has retired to the country to farm and raise a family. His meek ways don’t impress his son much at all.

Hook – A beast Conner had put down in his former life arrives at the farm to take its revenge, but Conner slips away with his son via a previously scouted escape route.

Plot Point 1 – Conner’s son is trapped in the narrow tunnel; Conner leaves him behind in expectation the beast will follow the man and not the boy. Of course, the son sees this as cowardice.

Pinch 1 – Having been chased over field and through forest the beast discovers Conner is without his son and leaves to find the son instead.

Mid-point Twist – Trying to find the beast and his son, Conner discovers his late wife was not the plain farmer girl he’d thought her. For some magical reason this makes Conner’s son special.

Pinch 2 – The beast captures Conner’s son but escapes Conner’s attack. Conner is rendered unconscious in the process.

Lull – Conner wakes in the home of the mysterious woman who cared for Conner’s son until his capture by the beast.

Plot Point 2 – The mysterious woman turns out to be Conner’s wife or a weird semblance there of.

Conclusion – The wife goes to save her son, the injured Conner follows her; Conner locates all three, kills the beast, loses his wife, and frees his son back. Despite being saved the son still isn’t much impressed overall.

310 words on day 641

An Unknocked-up Andreina

Ronald B. Tobias tells me the Adventure plot is up next. He informs me the difference between a quest and an adventure resides in the locations both within the character and without. So, this plot should stress physical plotting over mental plotting. And should probably occur in a different country at each point.

Theme – Love is a South American Adventure

Hook – A broken ticket scanner, a dyslexic airline employee, and our smart phone distracted hero, John, join forces to board flight 785 to Caracas, Venezuela instead of flight 758 to Houston, TX during the Christmas holiday.

Plot Point 1 – Once in Venezuela John falls in love with Andreina, the local woman helping him arrange travel back to the states, and decides to stay.

Pinch 1 – Andreina locates John’s ‘stolen’ wallet and ID.

Mid-point Twist – Because of some obscure American/Venezuelan emigration rule (that I’ll have to fabricate or find flimsy legal precedent for) John discovers that he will be forced to live in Venezuela for the rest of his life, never to return to the States.

Pinch 2 – While traveling along the beach and border with his new lover Andreina, John becomes separated and crosses into Guyana where he is arrested and not allowed to return to Venezuela, but may get deported to the States. (dunno)

Lull – Cooling his heels in jail, John accepts his situation and tries to enjoy the recent past as if it were a fleeting dream.

Plot Point 2 – John overhears evil guards joking about Andreina being pregnant.

Conclusion – With a combination of broken Spanish and a smattering of newly learned Portuguese, John convinces the pilot of the plane taking him from Port Kaituma back to a direct flight out of Georgetown to go to Caracas instead. Once on the ground he flees the plane, finds an unknocked-up Andreina, and lives happily ever after.

314 words on day 640

Taking a Stab at This

Let me just start this off with, “Crap!”

In fairness I should share that I’ll be using plot architypes found in my copy of Writer’s Digest Book’s “20 Master Plots” in times of need.

First up, quest plot…

Theme – Doing the right thing.

Hook – Under the bleachers at a HS basketball game our hero, Janet, nabs a rival girl’s cell phone.

Plot Point 1 – Discovering the cell phone didn’t belong to the rival girl, but was stolen by her, Janet figures that an enemy of an enemy is a friend and decides to locate the owner and return the phone.

Pinch 1 – The battery on the phone goes dead or the owner locks it remotely and she’s left only with the few slim clues she gathered exploring the phone.

Mid-point Twist – It turns out that the enemy of the enemy was yet another enemy, so Janet balks at returning the phone after all.

Pinch 2 – The phone is stolen back by the original thief.

Lull – Janet serves detention for the first time in her life. She’s more dejected about getting punished for trying to do the right thing than she is ‘dooing the time’.

Plot Point 2 – Rival girl dupes the original owner into thinking Janet had stolen the phone from the beginning and that rival is in fact doing the right thing.

Conclusion – Janet (some how) convinces the owner of the truth.

Not as questy as I’d originally intended. Not convinced I’ve upped the stakes at each point. Not sure I’ve communicated what the stakes even are though I think they imply fairly well.

283 words on day 639

10 Plots in 10 Days; Twice, at Least

Early in December I suggested I’d start 2011 with 100 plots in 100 days. I’m not going to do that. Devoting that much time to plotting might help me, but it wouldn’t appeal to me. What should I do?

I’m thinking compromise. I need something sustained but not exhausting. Something that requires endurance but doesn’t nag—too much. Something I’m kinda scared to type now because even it will strain me.

Until further notice, I will construct bare bones plots for the first ten days of each month. I promise to pull this off for January and February. I will evaluate my progress next month to determine if I will benefit from continued participation in March and subsequent months.

Strapping some parameters on this plan, let’s say that I follow Storyfixer’s recommendations on novel structure. That is: theme, hook, plot point one, pinch point, mid-point twist, pinch point two, lull, plot point two, conclusion.

Theme – my purpose for telling this story.
Hook – early action to get the story started. I’ll call this one optional.
PP1 – the first action to completely change the hero’s story
Pinch1 – substantial protagonistic influence
Twist – tweaking the story for the reader and hero
Pinch2 – another protagonistic influence
Lull – a down scene to accentuate the importance of PP2
PP2 – the second action to completely change the hero’s story
Conclusion – how it ends

I do realize this is one man’s rigid interpretation of novel structure, but it’s as viable as anyone else’s interpretation. His structure will serve my needs for now.

270 words on day 638