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Figuring it Out -- by S.A. Spencer

Building a science fantasy novel with no writing background and learning as I go isn’t easy. “How to Write” books and blogs help, like a paragraph in K.M. Weiland’s blog,

"If the conflict in your story seems a little lackluster, take a look at the relationship between the protagonist and the antagonist. What could you do to make it more personal — and bring the conflict a little closer to home for both of them?"

My first draft, novel, and writing attempt naturally needs more conflict. Not knowing what a protagonist was (minor detail) when I conceived the idea makes considering his relationship with the antagonist difficult. (I won’t mention changing protagonists from Eve to Niro.)

Niro planned to take over the planet from Reks (antagonist) and free the slaves, but the story still didn’t have enough conflict, so I made them adult brothers. Siblings. Built-in rivalry. I happen to have a sibling, but similarity ends there.

Just in time, I discovered it punched up the story to add a second-act conflict between Niro and Reks, once again from K.M. Weiland, who calls it the “1st Pinch Point”. It goes halfway between the end of Act 1 and “The Midpoint” of Act 2. The antagonist shows strength and power and frightens the reader by scaring the protagonist. Since my critiquers had only read up through Chapter 10, I wrote it for Chapter 11. Whew! Close one. Reks discovers where Niro is and goes after him; their goals clash.

I had already set the Midpoint conflict. Niro and Reks face off, resolving nothing and creating more complexities. An idea for the second “Pinch Point,” (another time the antagonist shows his strength) might dawn on me between the midpoint and the climax by the time I’m there. Sometimes outlining is my antagonist.

In the next draft, though, Niro may fall in love with a slave who Reks kills. Then Niro and Eve (Reks wife) will run off together to free the planet. That might make the conflict more personal. I’ll figure it out, eventually.

Posted by S.A. Spencer 13 Jul 2015 at 01:23
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