A Plot of Sand

Sand because it’s unstable–because of being a rough draft and all, and it sounds like ‘plot of land’, which is a different kind of plot… look, it makes sense to me!

Anyway, we all write differently, and one of the things I don’t like doing is spending too much time on preparation before I start out, because you can always go back and change your writing later, but it’s not good for me to keep putting off and putting off this stuff to do more planning. Best strike while the iron’s hot. At the same time, it’s important to me to organise my ideas into chapters before I write; as when I didn’t do this back in the old days things tended to get messy.

But you need some idea of at least what the first chapter’s going to be like before you start to write it, so here we go. This was actually scribbled just before I decided on the character’s names so remember–MC=Amy, Lancer=Jericho, Big Guy=Harbinger, Smart Guy=Tessa, Chick=Hannah, Big Bad=Cheviot, Dragon=Adrian, Brute=Winnie, Mad Scientist=Twist, Dark Chick=Mercedes. Refer to TV Tropes for much of the terminology if confused.

Troped 3

So, Chapter 1 and 2 have switched places, making Chapter 1 read: ‘It’s an everyday day at Ordinary High! MC [Main Character] is super-ordinary, and Lancer clashes with Big Guy’. This is a typical opening to any YA Paranormal book; high school kids at high school. It’s used in Evermore, The Wicked Woods, Marked, Hush Hush, and in those it isn’t the high school usually shows up in Chapter 2 or 3, if there’s going to be a high school at all. Starcrossed, for example, (which will be coming to these pages soon enough) should have started there but had a chapter of bullshit padding first, to no purpose but to establish that certain characters existed who we were going to meet in the next chapter anyway.

Actually, I take that back. Starcrossed shouldn’t have started. At all.

This opening lets me introduce Hannah, Mercedes and Cheviot as well, and we’ll get to see some of the latter’s teaching skills. Ironically, Cheviot is one of the best teachers at Ordinary High; so at least his students will die intellectually fulfilled when he murders them. Also he’s British. Because evil. I was thinking that we’d start in his class, talking about books (of course), then have a scene in which Mercedes tries to extort a better grade from him through sex; maybe harrasses Amy and her friends a little before she leaves. Then they’ll run into Harbinger (literally, although in this case he’s the clumsy one) and Jericho will yell at him for a bit.

I decided that Jericho should also have a crush on Amy; maybe not at first, but definitely becoming more apparent as the story develops. As for Chapter 2, I’m not really sure how meeting the Mysterious Stranger is going to go, but I figure it will come to me. As I wrote more down the page, I did decide that ‘epic destiny of destiny’ was more for high fantasy than for Space Opera, so the Mysterious Stranger will likely not be a Mentor or anything. Still, right now Chapter 1 is the more important matter.

As for the other chapters, Chapter 3 will be ‘Doomed Hometown’–this is a trope satire after all, not a YA Romance satire, though YA will influence it heavily, and I say that because you don’t get a lot of ‘Doomed Hometown’ in YA Romance, but you sure as hell get a lot of it elsewhere. Tropes Are Not Bad, by any stretch of the imagination, it’s just that I thought it would be fun to have as many trope cliches as possible.

For instance, we now know that the 5BB are genetic experiments of some sort, which fits the Anti Villain tropes I wanted. All except Winnie, who’s a robot. And Mercedes, who I don’t want to give an angsty backstory to–she’s too much fun for angst! I guess she just kind of showed up and they decided to let her join their evil schemes. I’ve also decided that Cheviot will be with the 5MB in the ship in Chapter 4, wounded by Mercedes as a gambit to gain the heroes’ trust… for… some reason.

In Chapter 5 we get our Villain POV chapter, Chapter 6 we do some worldbuilding, flesh out the cast, probably meet ‘Da Chief’ character, and show off some of Amy’s… skills. Chapter 7 we meet our 5 BB again, Chapter 8, Cheviot is exposed. that was as much as I could bear to plan ahead for now. I do know where the novel will eventually end up, of course, but that’s spoiler territory right now. Anyone interested will have to wait and see how we get there. That’s right, all minus four of you!

Next time, I post the first part of the first chapter. Ooooooooooh…

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