Novel revision: Structure and conflict


Well, I had my final class session for the Storywonk revision class this afternoon, and overall the class wasn’t really what I was expecting.

I learned quite a lot, but I guess I thought that the manuscripts that I had were ready to the point where they just needed some fairly small changes made to them and they’d be ready to get queried.

Now, I don’t think that anymore. Most of the class wasn’t about the small-changes stuff, though Lani did cover that in ‘The paper edit’, which was today’s topic, actually.

But everything up to this point has been on more fundamental stuff – the structure of the book, the conflict, the relationship between the protagonist and the antagonist, the role of the major supporting characters – and I’ve started to see that I have a lot of work to do here. I think I’m nearly finished rewriting the basic structure of “The way back home” to up the stakes of the conflict between Naveli and Merlik, but I’ll have a lot of rewriting to do to match things up to that structure.

Which in a way, should be exciting. At this point, I’m not sure if I’m terrified or just disappointed.

So, here’s the first part of my structure – what do you think, does it sound like a story that you’d want to read? Are the stakes high from the beginning? Do things keep on getting worse?

Opening scene: While having fun with her friends at the Royal Jubilee, Princess Naveli is taken prisoner by rebel agents, along with her pet ferret Ereyu, her friend and bodyguard Tuma – and her possibly-crush, the Lady Jenna.

Things get worse: At the rebel fortress, Naveli meets Merlik (change name?) the warlock who arranged for her capture. He scoffs at her references to ransom, and tortures Tuma and Jenna in front of her to try and break her spirit. Naveli tries to use magik to escape, but the rebels have taken precautions against the few elementary wind magik spells that she knows.

Accepting call to adventure: Ereyu finds some of Merlik’s magik spells, and Naveli studies them, (with the others covering for her so that the rebels don’t realize,) and uses them to overwhelm a soldier when she’s alone and break the others out.

Things get worse: There’s nowhere safe around the rebel hideout, so Naveli needs to jump down into a steep canyon.

Midpoint: Naveli and Jenna are attacked by hunters in the canyon – Naveli is so distraught that she can’t concentrate on her magik to save herself, but the rebel soldiers find them and drive off the hunters. Then Tuma ambushes the soldiers and they run away, but Naveli has lost her confidence and still can’t control her magik.

Things continue to be bad: Naveli wants to dress up as a commoner, and Tuma steals clothes from a homestead, but they get recognized and called out as thieves at the next farm over. There’s a fight and Tuma hurts his head, though he’s still able to keep going, but they have to cover up his injury.

Point of no return: At the bus station in Dice Rock, Naveli notices that Ereyu ran off and goes to find her, telling Tuma to board the bus with Jenna and stay there. Naveli spots the rebels coming, hides, then uses magik to make a diversion of themselves to keep them from searching the bus before it leaves.

Things get worse: Naveli is captured again and taken, with Ereyu, to a rebel safehouse in town.

Black moment: Merlik proves that Ereyu is intelligent and can talk, and tells Naveli that either she swears to do his will or he’ll kill her. Naveli agrees, and Merlik demands that she teach him the secret wind magik spells that her sister has taught her.

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4 Responses to Novel revision: Structure and conflict

  1. Mike says:

    It’s hard to tell if this works just by reading the synopsis, however, I suspect that the writing is solid. I dunno. It sounds to me like you could use a beta-reader.

  2. LBlankenship says:

    The synopsis is kind of confusing — the Black moment in particular doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the rest of the story. What does whether Ereyu is intelligent or not have to do with the kidnapping?

  3. Stopped by for the Star Trek blogfest.

  4. It’s great taking a class like that! There’s so much to learn and we become better after. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us! :)

    ♥.•*¨Elizabeth¨*•.♥
    Can Alex save Winter from the darkness that hunts her?
    YA Paranormal Romance, Darkspell coming fall of 2011!

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