NaNoWriMo 2018 Prep : Plotting

So I’ve redone the plot I was working on. It’s still on the same world, but I’ve made the story more focused, more character driven, hopefully with compelling characters in the heroes and villains. The over arcing plot of the series I’m anticipating is still the same, a multi world conquest story, but we’re starting off small, and building out.

Going through a standard three act set up, with a major point in the middle of the novel, and a climatic battle at the end, so everything builds becomes bigger from start to finish, as there’s a couple of smaller conflicts earlier on. Nothing really innovative there, but I’m not going for innovative, I’m going for character moments.

Five talkie bits are planned, which hopefully I can keep quite snappy and not exposition heavy, (something I’m quite prone to), outside of those moments dialogue will be functional “Go here,” “Go there,” “Phew! that was close”, with actions and behaviours used to tell those parts of the stories. By no means is this the best way to write, it’s more if I do it, I can avoid a lot of pitfalls I fall into, (like circular dialogue that fails to end at a natural point).

So character wise on the good guy side (nominally the overall plot blurs who’s good and bad, but for the first novel it’ll be quite clear), we have a young character, an innocent caught up in something greater, and destined for something massive, then there’s the wise mentor, and a roguish mentor and defender, alongside a cast of supporting roles like military leaders, politicians, traders, and general people. A goal will be to have more dynamic and engaging secondary and tertiary characters.

On the bad guys, there’ll be a couple of military leaders who have the same goal, but sit in opposition to each other on methods, with one aiming for a domination victory, and the other a very targeted crafty plot.  I want them to be compelling, and to sew the seeds that they are the villains of the piece, but there’s a broader ethics involved which would allow for that obfuscation of heroes and villains later in the over arcing plot.

So –  a lot of work to do to make all that a reality, but at least most of the planning I’d done to this point is still valid and very useful. The history of the world still applies, though I’ve realised if I want to rely less on exposition, I might struggle to get some of it in, there’s only really one point in my plot where I can, (and must), show the history of the world. So, some block breakers are going to be experiments in historical exposition, and exposition generally.

Block breakers are now definitely going to be part of my prep after the recent trouble of number three, I might also do an out right short story as world setup for the NaNoWriMo novel, focusing on one character’s earlier life before the planned story takes place.

Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 19: Banquet for the Lost

This is the 19th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing from 2nd December 2012 until the 1st December 2013. It’s intent is to keep me writing throughout the year, and not just in November. you can find out more about the challenge here.

Banquet for the Lost, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 20th December 2012

Word count: 977

Theme: drama, families, atonement, reunion, discovery, history

The story:

Katherine smoothed off her red dress, though the material was sheer and seemed immune to creasing, it was a self concious act. Katherine felt seriously out of her depth right now.

“Relax, you’ll be fine I promise,” Luther said with that overly warm smile. He was a middle aged man with a German accent, he looked swathe in his perfectly fitted tuxedo, gold cuff links  and just the barest hint of cologne. He was also a bloody good salesman, and Katherine would know she considered herself as a pretty good one, yet he’d been able to convince her, a perfect stranger to come to this fancy dinner party.

“Maybe I should go, I don’t fit in here,” she said, and it was true. As people filed in they wore the expensive clothes and jewellery with ease, most seemed middle aged, and well preserved.

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Primrose Valley, Leeds – My Childhood Playground

I’ve just been on a glorious walk, went on to Primrose Valley in Leeds. Ever since I was a child, it’s been a magical place. Even now, despite the efforts of the council to tame it – it’s still magical.

That said, I was puzzled to find: Primrose Valley with Bailey May 09 00040.jpg

Now, I’ve lived in this area (on one side of Primrose Valley or t’other), for about twenty years. In all that time there were rumours about the council wanting to build houses on there, however there has always been strong local opposition to this.

The council went as far as to stop maintaining it (or so it seemed, I’m sure they would say otherwise).

So when I saw that sign, what first came to mind was bulldozers raking over my childhood memories, memories of football, rugby, laser tag, even school (I went to Crossgates Primary School – for my sins), and other childhood hi jinx. It’s a terrifying thought.

You may be asking what’s this got to do with poetry, or literature, technically it doesn’t much. It’s one of the places I used to write though,  and a place I’ve written about plenty of times. It’s somewhere special to me. I’m going to re-post one of those special stories at the end of this post.

Anyway, back to the point (yes I digressed, and that’s the subject of my latest poem), it turns out, I don’t need to be worried.  I put on my detective’s hat, and tracked down what was going on – despite English Partnerships being co-opted by Homes & Communities Agency, they appear to planning some kind of restoration and care work on the fields. Okay, yes I spent about three hours working all this out, but most of the documentation is from 2006, it’s just taken that long for bureaucracy to kick in and do something.

There’s very little on the Leeds City Council website about it – but I guess it’s been so long since it was announced it’s just slipped well down the relevant  results.

It makes me happy that it’s safe, makes me happy that one of my childhood memories remains intact, even as others vanish and warp out of recognition.

I mentioned before that I have an idea for a new poem – I’m going to be writing it there, in good old fashioned ink and paper. Though, as a matter of respect  for the maintenance and improvement of my beloved valley, I’m going to obey that sign (if I’d found out  that they building on there, I would have happily risked being arrested in protest).

If you’d like to see some more photo’s of my walk out across Primrose Valley, follow this link to more, including Bailey, our three year Yorkshire Terrier, oh and me (I’m the one with the ginger goatee, and bandana on – he’s the silver haired little dog, trust me)  – Primrose valley with Bailey – May 09

Anyway, as promised here’s one of my old stories, written back in December 2003 (I’d like to think I’ve improved as a writer since then – however it’s a story that means something, so I don’t mind exposing it):

Oh and I won’t bore you with the real history of Primrose Valley just yet – I’ll save that for another time.

A Journey into an Old Land

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