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!

Excerpt, Exercise in, flash fiction, Just for fun, Style

Dear Juliette

Dear Juliette,
I’m told this letter will reach your home in six days. While I know it’s idiosyncratic in this day and age to handwrite letters anymore, I fear this is the only way I can reach you now. Our expedition into the Southern Rainforest was a bit more… Well, it was a success!
As it turns out, Sweet Flower, we’ve stumbled upon a species of primate more developed than we have ever dreamed! Oh, the lament! If only you could be with me, to witness this glorious discovery.  They have shed some features of similar sapient bipeds in favor of others, no doubt a simple evolutionary development.
What amazes me (and would stagger you as well, Sweet Flower) is that the species has actually developed rudimentary technology! Imagine this sight… Thinly-furred blue apes and monkeys together, creating semi-complex architectures of mud… a society of gatherers which searches high and low for every possible resource! It’s simply a spectacular view!
Starting next week, we are to begin observing them up close from a camp built to emulate their civilization. The best method of observation is imitation, as you say! It is at times like these that remind me why I opposed your decision to raise our child from a stable position in life. I admit, our lifestyle may make a child stand out in either a positive or negative light… but nonetheless, the thought of a family together reveling in this moment, embarking on the study of a sapient species not yet known to us. The thought is exhilarating.
I hope you’ll reconsider… At your command, Bryan is to take you to an airfield where you can find a pilot who will fly you to our coordinates!  Please, Juliette, gentlest Rose of Eden’s Garden, please bring our son and join me on this world-changing journey.

With insurmountable Passion, on December twelfth, Two Thousand and Sixteen.

Oh Sweetest James, how I’ve cried for your voice!  The postman managed to pull the letter from the sorting cycle perchance and brought it to me. He knows truly the depth of our love and the longing we endure. The moment I received your letter I began my reply! Your journey has taken you far beyond the range of cell towers. I have actually found myself dreaming that you didn’t lose your SAT phone on the waterfall. Though everyone may tell me how corny it is, I cannot help but want for my wandering bear. Our journey together would be immaculate, but you know I have to put our son’s future above all else. Perhaps in his later years, I may once again join you in the field of discovery!
These creatures sound nearly proto-human! You must tell me of any humanistic behaviors they exhibit – as though they haven’t already! I can so clearly visualize the image of a precious pink sunset, overtaking the rainforest as the ambient sounds of creatures settling for the evening imbues the scene with an enchanting – dare I say, haunting – melody of nature. Oh! These blue simians, how do they communicate? Surely they have as basic a language system as they do a tool system.
In fact, the more I think about it, the more I feel I shouldn’t think about it. I shall call Bryan immediately and we will rush to meet you!  James has been calling out for adventure lately, anyway. This decision is the most exciting impulse I’ve ever had, next to the one that led me to you, you most endearing husband! Fear not, for tomorrow I shall be with you!

Lustfully Yearning Your Embrace, December Seventeenth, Twenty-Sixteen.
Juliette Morrison

P.S. Don’t think you’re going to get all the credit for discovering a new species, Mister! I’ve been alongside you in every one of your studies to date, and I don’t plan to miss one! Think of how great it would be to have James as a notable party as well! The Morrison Clan unveiling a new early society to the world! If they are similar enough to us, we could have a whole new model for human evolution in a controlled environment! This could be our seminal work!

Juliette, Sweet Rose of the Garden,
They are not apes… they are… of unknown origin. Our first attempt at direct contact ended in a blood bath! They have a cache of weapons stolen from humans who must have been traveling through this area. Their numbers are far greater than we initially estimated as well… what we thought was a society of only a few hundred, is in fact a number in the thousands. They have a form of communication beyond our grasp. I can only call it telepathy, as they seem to act as a hive.

Please, my Darling, stay as far away from here as possible… I think we have started what may be a devastating conflict. I have given Bryan instructions to take you and James to a Safe-House with a book of contacts within the government. I cannot explain the nature of what has happened except to say that these animals are not as they appear, they are armed, hostile, and quick to aggress.

Do not come to find me, I don’t think I’ll survive the night.

It has been a wild ride, my dearest love, I hope you will survive whatever comes of this. Our time together was the best time of my life.