I’ve been wrestling with a rewrite I want to start on a novel I wrote several years ago, working title Break
, third in the Canum series in which I’ve also recently rewritten books one (Shape
) and two (Kith
). I’m working out (again) who the antag is and how his goals clash with Canum's and what theme(s) I’m exploring and how those things all fit in with the plot.
Ah, yes, the plot.
The thing about plot is that I’m tired of Protag Saves the World fantasy plots. I want my stories to be about the small sacrifices, the little disasters that are the protag’s whole world but don’t risk the collapse of nations. I want a more personal level of conflict.
says to me, offhand, in discussing the antag, that X is the antag because the external plot is that X wants to take the throne. I balked - though, of course, she was right, both about who the antag currently is set to be and what his goal is. There had to be a way to get the smaller external plot I wanted, to make it more personal. I knew it had been done before – that *I* had done it before. Bells of Leon y Cantara
has a protagonist with a very personal goal on which no nation's fate hangs and, in a lot of respects, I think is the one novel I've written in which I came close to writing a coherent external plot on my first attempt.
And then, in thinking about Bells
and how I had gotten that smaller, more personal level of conflict right, I realized where I’d gone wrong in Break
. It wasn’t that I lacked an antag (I have a veritable crop of potential antags, all with their own goals that intersect at right angles with the protag). It was that my protag lacked an external goal.
Bingo! To bring the external plot down to the personal level, what I needed was a personal-level external goal. I still need to figure out what that goal is, and then match it up with the appropriate antag, but I’m one step closer to making this rewrite work.
Thus endeth the lesson. *g* Hopefully, it will prove helpful to someone other than me.