Novel Update

Restructured Novel Plot – The Hero’s Journey!

So, something I’d thought about when writing and reading (and re-reading) my still untitled novel was that the premise offered more than the story delivered. When I really got into thinking about it, I realized the reason. The story didn’t follow a structure in any sense. It was a chronological telling of events. But that doesn’t necessarily do it in literature. There has to be something leading the reader… something that will make them want to follow the story to it’s conclusion, or at least the next plot point!

Given the nature of the story, I chose to rebuild it directly modeling  The Hero’s Journey. I’ll be writing up on this classical storytelling technique some time next week (and eventually, I’ll even have a regular schedule for posting content!), but in the meantime, I thought I’d give the 12 major arcs of the story as they stand post-plot-revision. The fun part about this is it’s also a practice for me in expressing a full story without spoilers, in such a way that reading the plot doesn’t tell you the story and leaves you intrigued for the details and the world the story inhabits. For example, it’s actually a supernatural tale.

  1. The Ordinary World
    1. James Del is an agent of a Federal Entity, working on cases related to corporate espionage.
      1.  His focus is “paper trails”
    2. His close friends are introduced during this time and demonstrated to be characters who will recur throughout the story.
  2. The Call to Adventure
    1. Ryan (James’ boss and best friend) offers him a seat at the table of Jean Bernier: Founder, President, and CEO of Alltech
    2. James suspects this will lead to field work and the reason he moved to trailing paperwork is revealed.
  3. Refusal of the Call
    1. James has no interest in returning to the field after his prior trauma and instead opts to avoid the possibility altogether by not attending the dinner
    2. Ryan persuades him to come and promises he won’t be seated at Bernier’s table
  4. Meeting With The Mentor
    1. At the event, James learns he was tricked by Ryan. He is, in fact, seated at the host’s table.
    2. After the Soiree is well in motion, Bernier talks to James for a while and convinces him to meet at Alltech’s headquarters. James lets his intrigue get the better of him and accepts the offer.
  5. Crossing the Threshold (to the “Special World” as it is called in The Hero’s Journey)
    1. There is some unexpected commotion at the banquet and things get cray
      1. James follows up during his first trip to Alltech’s Facility/Campus/HQ/Whatever
    2. Bernier begins to drop some of his subtleties, revealing the darker character hidden within
  6. Tests, Allies, and Enemies
    1. James learns that Bernier is beyond his understand. The CEO is shown to be a monster.
    2. Bernier, The DSI, and his friends all test James in various ways
      1. As the story goes on, this serves to both sow seeds of doubt and simultaneously root him in the world as it is
    3. Neutral parties/sub-focus characters are introduced during this segment
      1. Plugs/teases for characters to appear in the second and third novels
    4. First, the betrayal.
  7. Approach
    1. Once the espionage element is sorted out and the true villain is revealed, James and his willing compatriots charge forward into the Special World
    2. The major ordeal of the world is not what the group expected
      1. poor planning in espionage tends to lead to violence
    3. Next, the sacrifice
      1. Depending on the relationship, this could be a reveal or it could be set up or it could be a twist.
  8. The Ordeal
    1. The conflict escalates as the remaining contenders on all sides struggle for control of their situation
    2. Once a sort of balance is reached, the sides conflict directly in their second major bout
      1. The heroes will always win this conflict during The Hero’s Journey.
    3. Third, the fall
  9. The Reward
    1. Things seem to  be sorted out as the dust settles. James makes a hasty retreat with hard evidence of the knowledge he possesses.
    2. There is no celebration as powerful entities close in on all sides, seeking control of the evidence now with James.
  10. The Road Back
    1. James must decide who to trust with his information. In the meantime, he can only run and hide, as there is nothing to be gained from any more conflict.
    2. Once he chooses a side, the remaining sides chase and the chosen side aides his escape.
  11. The Resurrection
    1. At the threshold of returning to normal, one final conflict is faced. James learns from the experience and must choose to either shed his former self and embrace the self that developed throughout the story, or return to the self that was.
      1. The resurrection is where there Hero undergoes a Paradigm Shift from (generally) the naive self to the enlightened self.
    2. In the end, he makes the right choice and the conflict resolves at last
  12. Return with the Elixer
    1. With the irrevocable knowledge he possesses, the world is forever changed for the hero.
    2. Epilogue

So, that’s the spoiler-free-ish version of James Del’s Heroic Journey in a nutshell! Let me know your thoughts! Some time this week I’ll be giving you updates on the YouTube channel and related projects!

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Thanks as always for your continued support as I move forward on my Journey of Creationing!


Another retelling.

Something about the (as-yet-unnamed) novel is that it specifically pays homage to Dracula and his vampirism. Unlike Blade, or he-who-shall-not-be-named-but-is-quite-glittery, Dracula’s powers lie in subtlety and psychology. Even his gross powers like “super strength,” shapeshifting, and gravity defiance/nullification, are used in subtle ways, confusing ways. Dracula doesn’t go out and cause chaos. Rather, like a spider, he lurks in wait and lures you into his web until it is too late to escape. Of course, I made it my own blahblahblah but, the powers and ideology and indeed, some of the character of Dracula made the cut for defining the truly, terrifyingly badass vampire.

The story is, as James Del’s first supernatural interaction, a first-person account. However, in the future, and in the extended version of the novel (about 45 supplemental pages) he will actually be a single character, not the pivotal focus… just one known by the omniscient narrator. Here is a possible retelling of another western myth. If I continued Jim’s adventures with the supernatural, this would be in the second, or the opening of the third book. Just like Bernier is withing spitting distance of being Dracula, this guy would be fairly close, but still my own.

Just some stream-of-consciousness. COMMENT and let me know what you think of this scene!

Note: Those who know this mythic figure will notice I spelled his name “wrong” (counter to common spelling). I don’t care.

“I always forget that you mortals are bound by the confines of time. It must be such a shame to only be able to move in one direction. And when your time runs out, it means you’re dead. As a transcendant of life, time will meet his end before I meet mine. I wonder how humans think. Do you wonder what to do with all the time you have? Or do you find yourself worrying that you have not enough?”

Jim looked at the grey-skinned man, unsure if he truly held an immortal key or had just had one (or ten) too many drinks. Still, this is one of the more interesting conversations you could have with a man sporting yellow eyes. So, he humored the drunk.

“I think knowing that time is fleeting causes most of us to wish we had more. I doubt many people think they have too much time. Of course, those who do will be killing themselves sooner than later anyway, don’t ya think?”

The sharp-dressed man let out a coarse HAH!” and Jim thought his morbid humor might point to vampirism. Then again, there are a lot of twisted mothers out there. I need more.

“So then, Mr. Grey,” Jim began.

The vagrant laughed again and shifted down the bar a few chairs, until they were seated together.

“You can call me Dorian, if that’s your game,” the man smiled.

Jim had been commenting on Mr. Grey’s shade, but he started believing the man may be immortal. Undoubtedly, the man was faced.

“Well, Dorian… What’s it like as an immortal? Do you even take the time to think about time?”

Dorian ordered a couple of beers, stared Jim down, and smiled. ” That would be a waste of time, Sir.”

The bartender set down the beers and Jim took a hearty swig before continuing. “You mean to tell me that with more time than exists, you are still afraid to squander moments?”

“Sir!” The verbose man cried, “My ability to stand outside of time does not preclude its existence. I may have surpassed such silly notions as death but, I still wish to have an impact on the world.”

“But not by coming out as an immortal and being studied? You don’t want to medically help the human species, just play with our history.”

“There are only two reasons to sign a bloodpact for immortality, friend.” Dorian’s eyes narrowed on his mug and he sipped it like a child curiously tasting beer for the first time.

“Care to share, those reasons?”

Dorian had already lost himself in the past. Some transcend and find the key through hardship and asceticism, others through faith and charity. Some, still, simple have enough money to pay for immortality. Dorian, though, was once a plain man who wished to have a bigger say in the world. Hundreds of years ago his ship wrecked in a cove somewhere between England and the New World. His plans to reach the New World and rise to the top as a leader sank with most of the ship’s supplies and crew. One of the devils that claimed his ship offered him eternal life on the single condition that should he manage to lose it, he would spend the remainder of eternity in Hellfire.

That wouldn’t be a problem for an immortal except that devils thrive on sadism and thus sent after the poor tired man, for hundreds of years, ceaseless hauntings, demons, and nethercreatures whose only purpose is to lock the door to immortality and hide it away from humans. Being actively hunted by human organizations is difficult enough… but what chased this tattered soul were far worse creatures with much darker intentions.

“Hellooooo?? Anyone home?” Jim knocked on his head just enough to snap him back to the world. Dorian looked up in a state of mild surprise. It quickly faded to caution as he realized no one in the restaurant spoke. In fact, none of the patrons seemed to move. Only he and his new friend seemed to have any conscience at all.

“What’s going through your mind, pal?”

“Do you notice anything strange about our compatriots around here?”

Jim had already taken note of the oddity himself. After his first supernatural encounter, he learned a thing or two about proper handling of such delicate affairs. Most people think supernaturals are vulgar in their power. Jim had learned the hard way that once a vulgar display of power is made, things have already gotten way out of control.

“For you?” He asked.

Dorian replied, “unless they’re here for you.”


Jim stood up and unholstered his 33-round Glock 18C – a radical machine pistol. Dorian simultaneously stood up, revealing two silver daggers mounted to his forearms and several throwing daggers of the same high polish in his right hand. The two spun back-to-back and immediately made their way towards the door, hoping there would be no incident.

“I’m still somewhat new to this kind of thing,” Jim whispered, “but, if they still aren’t responding, shouldn’t we just bolt right now?”

“No,” Dorian replied, “Devils just value style. They’ll wait for the most cinematic moment to take a shot at me.”

“You’ve gotta be shitting me…”

“Alas, I am not.”

“What odd creatures,” Jim unholstered a matching pistol from his right-side holster and leveled both guns on a pair whose hoods obscured their faces.

Dorian chuckled under his breath. This guy understood more than he ever expected a random barfly would.

“Well, since we might die in the next few minutes, I may as well tell you…” Jim grinned, “I’m with the government. I’m here to–“

“A babysitter. Of course.”

“Hey, if you don’t want my help…”

“No, no, feel free, really.”

Jim laughed as he readied himself to shoot. “You go out first. I’ll follow. My car is in the alley North of the building.”

“I hope you have some magic bullets in those guns.” Dorian tipped his fedora and ran out just as the clan of monsters began to rise. Jim couldn’t help but notice how picture-esque the moment turned out: cinematic indeed.

“Hah! It’s going to be fun working with you, Dorian Grey.”