Thursday, December 23, 2010

Exile Chapter 29 Draft 4

Finished Chapter 29 of the fourth draft of Exile last night but fell asleep on my computer before I could post it, woke up with waffle face and 300 pages of j at 2 AM and said I'll fix it tomorrow and went to bed. Oh how I suffer for my art . . . well, not really, I'm an insomniac, I don't sleep much anyway. Anyway, the un-J'ed version of this chapter can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

Just a few changes to the text here to make things more clear, and to give Silmera more realistic things to say while confronting the being that utterly destroyed her mother and used her to nearly exterminate the human race. I've also put in a few more hints that Silmera may be falling for Mal, and how ridiculous the idea still seems to her.

Anyway, whenever I start putting a story together I always approach it in three parts, like a three act play, because that is a very good model for a story to follow. The first act introduces the characters, the setting, the rules, the conflict and all of that. The second act tests your characters. Everything that can go wrong does, and the bad guy seems on the verge of winning. The third act the good guys overcome their adversity, made stronger by it, and use what they've learned to triumph over the bad guy.

Take, for example, the original star wars trilogy. Star Wars introduced the characters and their conflict, rebels vs. empire. The antagonists Vader and the emperor, and the setting, a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. Empire has our heros fleeing for their lives from the empire out for retribution for the events of star wars. Everythig that can go wrong does. People are captured, luke loses a hand and finds that the man he hates with all his heart for murdering his father actually IS his father. They can do nothing but limp away to safety, leaving a fallen friend behind to his fate. In Jedi, the rebels regroup and gather their strength after licking their wounds for a final offensive against the empire, and Luke comes to terms with the truth, using it against his father to force him to choose redemption and death over remaining a slave to the dark side. The emperor dies, the empire falls, everyone is happy, the end.

In Exile the first act introduces us to our heroes, Silmera and Mal, and the supporting characters, Aaron, Anna, Lilia, Patrick, Weasel, and so on. Our antagonists, Fayt Nightfang, Fayt Stain, the Samirreh as a whole. The setting, the four kingdoms a thousand years after an apochalyptic war. And the conflicts, people of the Four Kingdoms vs the Samirreh, Mal vs. the voice in his head, and Silmera vs. Fayt Stain. The second act sees everything that everything that can possibly go wrong does go wrong. Mal loses control of hte Dark God and destroys his village, killing or maiming many of the people he's grown up with. He and Silmera are badly hurt, and banished from teh Hidden Valley forever. They're attacked by a Fayt and Mal is actually turned into a Samirreh by his dark magic. Patrick is sent to take command of the allied army but is greeted with scorn, apprehension and refusal. Silmera is captured by the enemy and Mal learns that he can either save himself and let the world burn, or save the world and walk the rest of his days as a Heretic for his reward. In the end Patrick gets control of hte army and leads it to victory. Mal rescues Silmera and she defeats Fayt Stain. Mal triumphs over the Dark God, removing the curse from himself forever, defeats Fayt Nightfang and foils his plans. Everyone is happy except for most of the main cast who have either died, given up their lives, or been close to someone who has, the end.

I really like the three act format because it gives a very strong structure to a story, and a bit of a roadmap of how the story is to progress as you're brainstorming and putting things together. It gives everything that you need for a good story, Eposition, Conflict, and Triumph, and in all the right order. As one of my english professors in college liked to say, "That Shakespeare dude really knew what he was doing." He followed the three act format religiously, and most of his work is still considered to be very good even after four hundred years.

P.S. the Tron remake was better than it looked. that is not, to say that it was a great movie, it just wasn't as awful as I thought it would be. Still, if you've got the money to see it in the theater, it was fun to watch at least once, especially if you liked the original.

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