This is how my brain works. It’s not pretty.
Post #41 of the Dubrillion Burning series
I promised myself that after the battle of Cainar spaceport was over, I’d try mapping out the story, just to see if I could do it. It’s far harder than I thought it would be.
I’ll start from here and see how far I can go. I’m going to keep it high-level because the first time I tried I got bogged down in the weeds.
The team has to go after the plasma bombs. That’s what kicked off the story and it needs resolution. In fact, I’m going to say that if the story was a five-act play, the end of act one has to be getting rid of the plasma bombs. Our heroes start out as newcomers, at least to this game. By the end the good guys, the bad guys, and the common people have all taken notice of who they are and what they’re trying to do.
So in act two, we raise the stakes.
Jeez. What’s higher than nukes?
Fate of the planet. People’s souls. Hearts and minds.
Got it. They’re driving on Ro’s forces. At the same time, Risha gets to use her diplomatic skills and her smarts to drive wedges between Ro and his allies. (I get to challenge my creativity to figure out what the ever-living gesundheit that would look like.) People are noticing Risha and getting drawn to her as a force to be reckoned with. Meanwhile, the Republic and the Empire both start taking steps to intercede in their own interest. There are a multitude of smaller threads that involve the other characters, but this is all about Risha.
And then, turning point. Risha has gotten too good too fast and people in power are threatened. Assassination attempt? Betrayal? Powers that be setting her up? Something like that. Nemesis? Maybe but I can’t see one for her. There’s no one like her—that’s what makes her so dangerous as an enemy, in the field and politically. Enemy gets smart and she suffers a crushing defeat? Or they go after her friends. Or a friend betrays her.
Hmm. Lots of good (awful) opportunities here. I’m imagining Risha’s sitting on the other side of the room saying, “I’m glad you’re enjoying this.”
Focus on Risha.
It’s her rise to power that threatens everyone. Ro, the Empire, the Republic, and the established nobles. They begin taking aim at her and her friends, chopping her legs out from under her. They may discredit her, have it so that she’s blamed for a defeat, something like that. She may even get word from someone: play nice, or lose it all.
I like it, but I feel like… a normal person would write that. It makes sense. What would I do?
Still going after Risha, but it’s Jedi. Sith. Something mind-blowing happens. Someone under mind control does something unthinkable. Someone is captured and cracks under interrogation. The spacer fleet gets bought off and betrays them, leaving them in the field surrounded by foes. It doesn’t have to be grotesque, but I want the reader’s jaw to drop. Hard.
That’s more like it. I don’t know which one it’ll be, but it’s something like this. What would Risha do?
She’s smiling now, by the way.
She would outsmart them. Risha is a younger, prettier Danny Ocean. She would anticipate their moves and be ready. Hmm. Thinking about it… tearing her down only makes her stronger. It puts her back in the shadows where she’s untouchable. It’s probably the worst thing they could do. On a side note, Risha would also see very clearly who her real friends are, because the fair-weather ones would leave.
I want to see her stage a victory with the common people of Dubrillion, with local partisans or someone like that. By the time it’s all over, everyone knows that she spins straw into gold. This girl is magic. She’s also not going away, like the naysayers said she would.
Meanwhile, the Rebels have lost multiple battles and are about to settle for a negotiated peace. With her underground contacts, Risha finds out that Ro, or the Empire, or even the Republic plan to slaughter everyone at the meeting. She’s the only one who can save the day, along with our heroes.
Hmm. Snazzy. I was really looking forward to writing about Risha leading from the top, though, not the bottom. I’ll think about that, see if there’s a way to throw everything into doubt and keep her in charge.