Making of a Novel, Part 3

[*** DISCLAIMER:  THIS POST HAS SPOILERS FOR MY NEXT NOVEL. STOP READING NOW IF YOU WANT TO BE SURPRISED ***]

This is a continuing series of posts about the writing of my novel, Starveyors. You can start at the beginning and catch up at your own pace, or just read on and try to figure it all out on your own.

Story Structure

Starforgers is the final book in a trilogy. Typically this is where you have to answer all the remaining big questions asked in the first two books. Tie up any plot threads and offer a satisfying end to the whole story. My trilogy is a bit different. Each book has its own cast of characters, level of technology and period in time. The only thread that is in all three novels is the Great War.

In the first book we see how the war is started, in the second book we see how the war is fought about midway through its thousand year history and in the third book we see how the war ends. So the war is the only common element for the reader to identify with all the way through the trilogy. But that does not mean that how the war ends is the only major plot thread to the third book. Far from it.

In the first book we see why the Votainions invaded Alliance space. They were looking for their missing home world. Turns out it’s the same home world where the humans originated. This was not a coincidence. The Votainions are nearly identical to the humans in terms of their DNA. I don’t really delve into this in the first two books, but if the reader is paying attention, I drop hints to it; not only in the Star Trilogy books but also in Tyrmia.

In this third book I had to lay out the facts and disclose why they are so closely related. The ending of this book will be a grand reveal where everything is explained. So when I began plotting Starveyors, I knew exactly where I needed to wind up. I needed a scene or series of scenes that would end the war and explain how the humans and Votainions are related.

So then how do I get to this grand finale?

Plot

The central plot of the book is how the Great War ends. When wars end they usually have  some kind of peace talks. One side usually wins but both sides are interested in ending the conflict and mending relations. So much of this book will focus on the people who negotiate the peace treaty and the commanders who have the courage to stop fighting each other.

As you can imagine, a war that wages for over a thousand years can result in bitter feelings between the combatants. Billions of people have died and many worlds have been negatively affected by the fighting. So tensions will be high and cooler heads will need to prevail in order to ensure a lasting peace.

You can’t really map out your plot without first knowing your main characters. Before I plotted out this novel, I already had a pretty good idea of who the main characters would be. In the next post, I’ll go over these characters and explain how and why I created them.

If we follow the quartine structure that Larry Brooks so eloquently outlines in his book, Story Engineering this is what our structure will look like:

First Part – Set up the stakes. The peace talks are stalled a new team is formed to get the talks going again. We meet the three main players and see the environment they each come from. It ends with the first Plot Point. In this case, the diplomats begin to engage the enemy in peace talks.

Second Part – The talks don’t go so well, the heros are taken to the enemy’s home planet and are out of their element. They have to scramble to make sense of the situation. We meet the Emperor.

Third Part – New information is brought to the talks and the stakes are raised for the diplomats. Things are looking bad as the heros fail in their efforts to secure peace. Second Plot Point happens.

Fourth Part – The hero figures out the the mystery of how they are related and acts to secure peace and end the war. This leads to the resolution.

Of course you can’t go much further until you create your main characters and find out what makes them tick.

In the next post I’ll go over the main characters and how they fit into the plot and the overall theme – Reconciliation.

 

 

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