Top Ten (Okay Eleven) Things You Should Know About Your Own Book, Part Five

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Before I get started, I have ConCarolinas news.

Calling all attendees to ConCarolinas! People are arriving at the airport in Charlotte on Thursday and Friday, and they need rides to the hotel. (It’s $80 by cab.) If you need a ride or can be available to give a lift for gas money, to take people to and fro, or want to share a cab, here is your chance to network. Email me personally and I will coordinate. faith@faithhunter.net.  So far we have two arrivals handled, thanks to John Hartness. Wayne McCalla is willing to help too.

The MW lunch will be Saturday. Come by the signing tables and ask us for the definite time and place, but it will likely be at the same place, same time as last year.

I have an aside that I am editing in. I will be on a tweetchat tonight for readers and writer of fantasy at #sffwrtcht. Come ask me anything – in 140 charaters or less.

Onwards to the post. Today I am one post away from wrapping up the series on knowing our books, covering questions we writers can ask ourselves about our own work to understand it better, spot weaknesses, and make our books tighter. (These are things we can do before we write a book and during the writing of a book, but mostly, it’s things we can ask ourselves after we finish that first draft and we are getting ready for the first major rewrite, yada yada…)

Disclaimer: All of us go through certain procedures and the Q&A I’ve been writing about are just one writer’s methodology. Not all. 😎

03. Protagonist: Who and what stand in the way of your protagonist(s)?

02. What is your protagonist’s(s’) plan of action to get what he/they want?

These questions are tied in with motivation, (see last week’s post) but also stand alone. Unfortunately, many fantasy writers put little thought into the protag’s motivation. We end up with a BBU (Big Bad Ugly, AKA the book’s antagonist) who wants to kill the hero, blow up the world, destroy all life as we know it, whatever, yada yada. The motivations are not always clear and easily understood. And frankly, I think they should be for one simple reason—the book is a better read if they are. The tension level is higher, the MC (main character) has a harder fight to reach his goals, and in today’s market, bestsellers are made by the level of tension as much as by any other factor.

One easy way to develop that tension is to understand your BBU’s motives, what his plan of action is to get what he wants, and what and who stands in his way. When you know that, the book develops an entirely new and dramatic dimension.

As some of you know, I have my writing roots in the mystery/thriller/medical-thriller/police-procedural genre, and in that genre, the BBU has to have a motive, a reason for doing what he does. He (using universal pronoun in this post for ease of writing) has to have a plan of action to get his evil deeds done, and he has to have things that interfere with and negatively affect carrying out his plans. To help talk about that, I am going to take off my fantasy-writer hat and put on my medical thriller-writer hat.

Over the course of the four book, Rhea Lynch, MD medical thriller series, my MC, fights (has conflict with) many different things and characters:

  1. A person who wants the family money and has no moral problem with lobotomizing family members to get it.
  2. A pandemic with origins in a terrorist plot.
  3. A voodoo practitioner and a faith healer in town at the same time.
  4. A serial killer.

Each BBU had to be realistic in a real-world way, a medical way, and had to be things that a doctor would see in a small-town rural ER. In other words, things I’ve actually seen in the ER in the rural the hospital where I work. I built a world around one I was familiar with—though with distinct differences to avoid pesky lawsuit problems—and I had to be true to that world just as much as I have to be true to the fantasy worlds I build.

In the first book of the series, Delayed Diagnosis, by Gwen Hunter (my AKA), Rhea (pronounced Ray) comes home from vacation to hear that in her absence, her best friend (BFF) has had a stroke. Both characters are 29-ish and in good physical shape, so the stroke is unexpected.

First let’s look at the Main Character’s motivation, plan of action, and obstacles.

Motivation – Save her friend.
Plan of Action – Get in to see her friend, diagnosis her, even if those two things violate medical ethics.
Obstacles – The first obstacle the MC has to overcome is getting in to see her friend who is now recuperating at home. Her friend’s husband has refused all visitors and the friend is in a type of isolation. The obvious BBU is the husband, and Rhea’s goal of diagnosing and treating her friend are stymied by him. The real BBU, who wants to control the family money, never intended murder—that would be wrong—but with the secondary character, Rhea’s BFF, now totally dependent and isolated, as well as kept away from proper medical care and rehab, the BBU has what he wants.

Now let’s look at the BBU’s motivation, plan of action and obstacles.

BBU’s Motivation – Control of family money. BBU has a secret gambling problem and has lost everything.

BBU’s Plan of Action – Find a way to take over the family finances to pay off gambling debts and buy back the family property. If a murder was involved, police would be involved too, so a little accidental brain injury works a lot better—if a method can be found to accomplish that, in such a way as to avoid death and be undetectable.

BBU’s Obstacles – What stands in the BBU’s way: Does not know how (yet) to cause the injury without being caught. Then, Rhea Lynch MD and the medical and legal system stand in the way. Over and over again.

To show the changing plot arcs I’ll offer the BBU’s Macro Plan of Action and the way the MC’s plan intersects it:

  1. BBU practices brain injury methodology on one man, and the man dies.
  2. BBU hides the body and tries again.
  3. On this attempt, BBU is happy with the results, and now only needs Rhea out of the way and the husband out of the way.
  4. BBU pays cohorts to assist, assaults Rhea’s friend. Friend is misdiagnosed with a stroke and her husband quickly takes her home to recuperate.
  5. Book starts. Rhea comes home and starts to investigate. (Violating her medical ethics in the process, but being banned from practicing medicine is a small price to pay to save her friend.)
  6. Rhea finds injuries and lab tests not consistent with stroke.
  7. BBU has to deflect her and so encourages Rhea to discover the husband’s infidelity and the BFF’s visit to a divorce lawyer.
  8. Rhea discovers that a CT-scan’s final result is missing from the patient’s file. When she finds it and gets her hands on the ER chart (violating her medical ethics) it shows the first clue, an abnormal pattern of heartbeat and bleeding in      the brain. Rhea starts to request what appear to be peculiar tests on victims. Now the BBU is in danger of possible discovery.
  9. The BBU’s cohorts have to silenced.
  10. Unfortunatelyfor BBU, Rhea sees that the cohorts are have the same symptoms that her friend had when she came to the ER.
  11. Rhea is in the way and has to be stopped.
  12. BBU attacks Rhea and tries to kill her. Rhea saves the day and gets her friend into rehab, thus thwarting the BBU’s plan of action and accomplishing her own.

As you see the BBU’s plan of action is best thwarted by the MC. The tension ratchets up if the MC and his friends and loved ones will/do suffer.

So—number 3 and number 2 from your book. Keep it short and sweet.

Faith
www.faithhunter.net

 

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27 comments to Top Ten (Okay Eleven) Things You Should Know About Your Own Book, Part Five

  • sagablessed

    Here I’ll talk about my YA book (which friends say is so much better than my other WIPs:
    MC (Seth) motivation: Atone for accidentally killing a highschool bully usuing the lesser fairy-folk by entering the Twilight (Fairy Realm) forever, or commit suicide in reparation.
    Plan of action: Contact his sperm donor (absentee father), a big hitter in the Twilight to take him away
    Obstacles: He has no way to contact father. He cannot let the human world know he is a half-breed. His BFF (son of the Lorelei, and another half breed) thinks both POAa are bad ideas, so sabotages his efforts. Deceased’s GF, a psychic teenager, knows MC did it and wants him to pay.

    BBU (Angela) motivation: Make Seth pay
    Plan of action: either prove he did it or drive him into the open as a non-human, and damn the cost.
    Obstacles: She cannot prove the existence of fairy-folk without loosing her status in Highschool, or getting fitted for a jacket with really long arms. She cannot prove MC did anything wrong any other way. She is a social climber in the town, so she must control her image. She is already under psychiatric care for depression and possible psychosis (she’s not psychotic, she is just psychic).

  • sagablessed

    Also cannot get to the Con, so please say “HI” to David and Lucienne for me. 🙂

  • Saga, I ’bout did at spit-take with my morng tea at the *really long arms* comment. This sounds like it has an element of humor, which I bet plays nicely along with the difficulty of the emotional turmoil. You did a good job with this, with putting together the interweaving plan of actions. 🙂

    I have an aside. I will be on a tweetchat tonight for readers and writer of fantasy at #sffwrtcht. Come ask me anything – in 140 charaters or less.

  • Deor wants to find her faerie father and have him acknowledge here so she can get her magic back (w/o it, she loses her magic forever). So she has to go to the Winter Court and find him.

    Stuff in her way:
    1. She doesn’t know who he is. Her mom is dead, left a diary, but her father lied to her mother about his identity–even to the point of concealing his appearance–and gave her a false name.

    2. She has to learn to negotiate the Winter court itself, and being half-human the magic there is especially dangerous to her.

    3. The other protagonist, Rafe, is trying to keep the king safe as he (Rafe) is being magically adopted by the king (i.e. changing his genetics to be the king’s son). [He doesn’t want this, but he’s doing it for the love of the king, his foster father.] He is also trying to solve a series of attacks on changeling women in the area. He’s very suspicious of Deor just showing up right at the time of the final adoption ceremonies, a changeling who doesn’t know her father. So he does things like only give her a 1 week visa and insist she find family or a means of support (a job) or he’ll kick her out. He snoops.

    4. BBU: There are a few people who know the king had a daughter and that she wasn’t killed (a lie the king was told). They know that now the king is making a false oath (he’s got to declare he has no children for the adoption to work) and it is killing him. They want Deor in their hands. They can’t kill her until after the adoption is complete ’cause then the king won’t be making a false oath. They really don’t want Rafe to figure out who she is. So they are quietly trying to thwart her. [The head BBU is Rafe’s brother, and his family has had bad relationships with the king–lots of personal stuff I won’t go into here–and think it is time the king’s reign ends–they feel like they’d do a better job.]

    Deor’s plan:
    1. Talk to police about missing children cases (there were none that fit her)
    2. Take the only piece of her father she has–a magic rattle she was given as a baby–and find the maker, hoping to work her way back to her father. (The guy’s memory of making it has been wiped out)
    3. Study the peerage to see if she can figure it out that way (that’s a pretty big haystack)possibly simply knock on doors.
    4. Get help from folks she meets there (asking others for help is at the bottom of her list most of the time). She meets Geoff, a goblin prince, and he agrees to help her as much as he can–suggesting candidtates, introducting her to folks, etc. Problem is, that he’s part of the BBU group (though she obviously doesn’t know it).

  • sagablessed

    Faith, could you please explain ‘tweetchat’. Is that twitter? I ask as I am technologicaly impared, darn it.

  • Again, most helpful, Faith. Thanks. I continue to wrestle with all this in the WIP and it’s good to be reminded.

  • I’ve sent you an email, Faith, and thank you for your offer of coordination services!

    MC motivation: Healer priestess who want to survive and protect her family/friends from a temple coup engineered by a rival priesthood (and the supernat goodies they have up their sleeves).

    MC plan of action: 1. Discover any info regarding the coup – plans, time tables, etc. 2. Find an ancient ritual tablet her goddess said would help. 3. Her partner (priestess from rival priesthood) agrees to join the coup to get info. 4. Figure out what to do to stop the coup.

    MC obstacles: 1. As part of the “enemy” priesthood, she’s left listening around corners and watching behavior of those around her. 2. Her prejudice makes her distrust her partner and they start out badly. 3. Her pride in her own abilities pulls her up short when things don’t work out right.

    BBU motivation: Temple Overseer who wants control of the temple and city and revenge against all who’ve tried to hold him back.

    BBU plan of action: 1. Systematically over many years install allies in key positions in the temple and city who will do what he wants. 2. Pretend to be a peacemaker while actually promoting and encouraging the rift between the 2 priesthoods. 3. Plan and execute the overthrow of the primary priesthood in a temple coup.

    BBU obstacles: 1. An observant temple guard. 2. High Priest with a conscience. 3. A demon with a will of its own. 4. Two unknown priestesses guided by a goddess.

    I love this series!

  • Motivation: Keely, a former Killer, wants to start a new life

    Plan of Action: She intends to become an Enforcer serving under Captain Laris, who can teach her how to investigate and negotiate rather than just kill. She also intends to learn how to live among non-Killers by observing the Captain (whom she admires) and others under the Captain’s command.

    Obstacles: Captain Laris doesn’t want a Killer on her squad and suspects Keely is really working for someone else, so she doesn’t trust her. The others in the squad fear her. Because her life is all classified, and because she has no experience with normal social interaction, Keely has to figure out how to win everyone over. The BBUs (a conspiracy of three) are trying to frame Keely for the crimes they commit. One BBU plans to kill Keely as revenge for her role in downfall of the Killers (which the “good guys” know nothing about).

    BBU motivation: 3 conspirators (First Advisor, Admiral, former Killer). Two want to take control of the planet to eliminate the rising crime rate caused by the recent influx of refugees and keep the scientific and tourism economy strong; one wants to destroy Keely, and is helping the other two so he gets to kill Keely as his reward.

    BBU Plan of Action: The former Killer murders two men, and they will continue to escalate crimes and increase tension in order to justify establishing martial law and taking control of the planet. The Admiral, one of the conspirators, approved Keely’s transfer despite the captain’s objections and continues to undermine the captain every chance he gets to lessen her popularity and effectiveness. They leak details about Keely’s past and hide the second Killer to make Keely look guilty of the crimes.

    BBU Obstacles: The Admiral and First Advisor overestimate their ability to manipulate Keely and Captain Laris. They don’t understand how different Keely is from other Killers, so she doesn’t always respond the way they think she will. Captain Laris is suspicious of Keely, but she is also a fair person who starts to see good in Keely. The admiral is not good with or happy with subterfuge and frequently overplays his hand. The other Killer is a wildcard who sometimes goes off the plan as he impatiently waits to kill Keely.

  • ajp88

    Once again, I’ll go with my thief character and the BBU of his story in the first book especially since I’m just about finished writing his arc.

    MC motivation: Jaycen Tallart needs just one more year of thieving so that he can uproot the family he supports (ailing, vegetative mother and his little sister/petty theft sidekick, Ana) from the cruel city slums and into a simpler country life.

    MC plan of action: By day, he and his sister steal the food they’ll eat and the minor necessities needed to take care of their mother. By night, he goes out alone and robs the vaults of the wealthy. He uses part of this coin to buy the building plans for more mansions to case and stashes the rest to buy passage and a new farmhouse when they finally get away.

    MC obstacles: 1. He is a skilled thief but unaware of the notice his talents have garnered. He doesn’t count on any of the wealthy planning for when their own mansions might be robbed even though he steals from secret rooms only those with blueprints would have knowledge of. He narrowly escapes capture during one such theft. 2. The crime lord who nearly caught him discovers his identity and kidnaps his sister after they have laid their mother to rest. 3. Now Jaycen is desperate to rescue his last loved one but there is no way to free her. He must go along with the crime lord’s peculiar ransom demands if he ever wants to see her again. 4. Finally, after a number of odd jobs, the crime lord promises to return Ana if Jaycen will steal a crown from the royal palace (a feat never before achieved and a dream target of Jaycen’s). He somehow manages to pull it off only to thanked with Ana’s lifeless body.

    BBU motivation: Dihlon Parrin is a wealthy crime lord descended from an ancient royal house. Such customs have gone from the world but he still conducts his operations as though he were a king full of pride. His family’s old crown was taken from them when they were subdued and stripped of their titles several hundred years ago and he wants it back.

    BBU plan of action: Find some way to retrieve the crown from the city palace. At first, he toys with the idea of battle, hiring enough thugs to storm the gates and take it by force. That would be costly though. When chance puts him in contact with a notorious thief, he devises a new plan and kidnaps Jaycen’s sister in order to coerce him into the eventual robbery.

    BBU obstacles: 1. A large sum of the treasure set aside to fund his forceful operation is stolen even though he had prepared for the possible intrusion of the Prince of Thieves. 2. A self-righteous merchant refuses to pay his goodwill tax at the docks, so he sends Jaycen to rob him and leave a message (this is also a test of the thief’s abilities). 3. A rival drug cartel uses a cheaper, more deadly product and has stolen his customers, so he sends Jaycen to destroy their lab and burn their stock. 4. The crown is kept on display in a grand showroom within the heavily guarded palace. He tasks Jaycen with retrieving it and then he will finally give him back his little sister…only Dihlon will be no man’s fool so he has the girl killed before giving her back.

    I also really love these articles. Such a wonderful help understanding whether or not the ideas in our stories make sense. I think this segment of my story works pretty well.

  • Pea/Emily, I love the fact that the king is dying because he is living a lie. Lovely. The interweaving of the plans of action feel perfect. Good work.

    Saga, yes, Tweetchat is twitter. You can sign up here: http://tweetchat.com/ and it soooo easy that I did it on the first try — and you cannot be a bigger compu-dunce than I. No way. Anyway, then you type in the hashtag #sffwrtcht and voila, you are in.

    AJ, you are too kind. I’ve read your work. You may wrestle (after all what good is writing if it isn’t also wrestling with angels) but you always succeed.

  • EKC, I’ve put out a request to one person, and will also pass your arival time on to another person. I feel good about getting you a ride!
    You have done a good job on the BBU’s and the MC’s plans of action. You clearly know this plot and have done a lot of work on interweaving it. Good work!

    SiSi, this is the first time I’ve seen this part of the story. I like very much. One thing that needs to be clearer to a casual reader (because I feel it’s clear in your mind) is to state *why* one part of the Plan of Action is so, and state it instantly after this sentence: “The BBUs (a conspiracy of three) are trying to frame Keely for the crimes they commit.” My first thought is, *Why?* and though it is explained later on, it might help to explain instantly, so it dosen’t seem to come out of left field. Because to me, this is the most personal part of the BBUs’ plan of action and the one that will cause the MC the most trouble.

  • AJP, my pleasure. It’s always fun to do writing-exercise posts!
    Over all, this is a really tight set of plans fo action. There is only one part that gives me pause, and you probably have this part worked out for the second book, but I thought I’d mention it. If Dilhon knows how talented the MC is, why would he kill the sister, knowing that she was the only hold he had over the theif? Now the MC is free and clear to kill him. Think abouta way to deal with this question if you haven’t.

  • sagablessed

    Thanks, Faith. Got it and done. btw, glad I could make you laugh.

  • I *MAY* be able to do a pick up run, depending on the time. I’m getting there earlyish on Friday.

  • ajp88

    Oh, Jaycen’s a young man from a fractured family who just did what he had to in order to help out. He’s no killer. He’s rarely done anyone harm during his robberies aside from stuffing a drugged rag under their noses so they’ll pass out for awhile. When he narrowly escapes from Dihlon’s mansion, he is chased through the forest by one of his guards. They come to blows and Jaycen, always thorough, uses a knife to keep him at bay. When the guard comes on and he has to cut him, he pleads with him to just let him go even as he stabs him once. Dihlon knows that unlike he and his henchmen, Jaycen is not a ruthless person.

  • I feel like I’ve mostly covered this in my responses to previous entries in this series. The short version is that the my MC wants 3 things: (1) justice for her father’s death for his alleged breaching of a sacred law, (2) to avoid an unwanted forced marriage, and (3) to protect her younger siblings from the tyranny of her brother, who has become the head of the family after her father’s death. Her plan of action, initially, is to break that same sacred law herself in order to better understand the truth behind it. She doesn’t really have a plan for #s 2 and 3… and the two goals are somewhat conflicting because the easiest way to protect her younger siblings is to accede to the forced marriage. Standing in her way are the oppressive hyper-religious and patriarchal order of her society and her relative naivete of the larger world beyond her village – the village being physically isolated in a post-apocalyptic landscape and no contact with any other survivors. But that only gets through the first act of a 5-ish act story. After that, her world is turned upside down (due in large measure to her acting on her plan for #1), and she is forcibly divorced of her naivete. That’s when things get really interesting, and her hero’s journey begins.

  • Lauren, I will put you in contact with someone. If you guys can make it work, great. Let me know!
    And let me say — It will be good to see all you guys!!!

    AJP — good! I like.

    Stephen, this one was looking at the BBU’s plan of action and how the MC stands in his way.

  • I just have to share a SQUEEEEE!!!!!
    A woman writer I have mentored for something like 6 years just got an agent!
    Squeeeeee!!!!!
    I will soon ask her to post on how she got where she is.
    Squeeeee!!!!!

  • I rewrote the sentence you mentioned to clarify why the BBUs are framing Keely: When Keely requested a transfer to the planet’s Enforcer Squad, she became the perfect scapegoat for the BBUs (a conspiracy of three) who decide to frame Keely for the crimes they’re planning in order to create a need for martial law on the planet.

    Thanks again for the thought-provoking posts and your responses. And congratulations on your mentee!

  • I, too, feel like this has basically been covered. But I also feel like I’ve been refining things over the course of this series. Case in point: thanks for your suggestions last week, Faith. I’ve found more ways for Henchminion to be present in the first half. 🙂

    MC’s Motivation: Freedom – Janni wants to be a Landmaiden, not a princess, and she wants to refuse her throne to the magical PTB (the Land) when she comes of age.
    MC’s Plan of Action: She embarks on her required year-long journey to become a Landmaiden, and tries her best to keep a low profile.
    MC’s Obstacles:
    1. Brennant, the male protagonist (to borrow Emily’s turn of phrase) that she’s forced to travel with, who is seeking the princess to restore her to her throne because the Ultimate BBU took it by murder and has been a horrible king of late.
    2. The people and creatures she meets that know who Janni really is, and urge her to take the throne.
    3. Ultimate-BBU, who wants Janni dead so he can keep his throne.
    4. Henchminion, a nobleman who wants to find Janni for Ultimate-BBU so he can gain the hand of U-BBU’s daughter and eventually the throne.
    5. Herself, as she finds herself conflicted about her desires the farther she goes.

    Henchminion’s Motivation: Power, i.e. the throne.
    Henchminion: Find Janni. Separately, find Brennant, who *was* engaged to U-BBU’s daughter until he learned U-BBU’s secret and set off in search for Janni, even though U-BBU wants him back alive for face-saving reasons. Kill both Janni and Brennant when he finds each of them.
    Henchminion’s Obstacles:
    1. No one has a clue where Janni’s been living this past twelve years, they just have theories.
    2. His own impatience. U-BBU has admitted to Henchminion that Brennant knows the truth and is most likely searching for Janni himself, so finding Brennant may lead to finding Janni. Henchminion wants to kill Brennant as soon as he can, but he needs to kill both of them, so he hedges his bets and sends a subminion after Brennant.
    3. This one’s OBV, but he has to do this all without getting publicly caught, especially during his diplomatic mission to the country where it’s incorrectly theorized that Janni’s been raised.
    4. The other nobleman that Henchminion’s been sent with, who he learns has been a friend of Janni’s from where she was secretly raised. The other nobleman is also a relative of Janni’s and believes the king wants to find her to restore her to her throne.
    5. The captain of the royal guard, an ally of Janni’s who also wants her on the throne. He believes the diplomatic mission won’t work because Janni’s safely elsewhere, with Brennant.
    6. When Janni and Brennant’s path takes them to that same place, Janni’s presence and meddling, however unconscious some of it is, is both an opportunity and a threat.

  • SiSi – Ah! Much better. 🙂 Excellent.

    Laura, You have done so great with this set of exercises. This is a much clearer representation of your novel than what we started out with. I am so pleased! I fully believe that if you are asked questions about your novel now (say in an elevator with the agent of your dreams) you will be able to answer without a hitch. And I am glad you have kept with it. When I work privately with a writer, I make them go over and over things, so that there are no surprises. The better you know yoru work, the better prepared you are for the BIG MOMENT.

  • Razziecat

    I think my post contains both my MC Thorne’s motivations & opposition, and those of the BBU:

    Motivation: Stop the dark god Keshal from returning to the mortal world.
    Plan of action: Partner with his mentor, his protégé Cullen, and two other mages to recreate the ancient ritual that once defeated Keshal. To accomplish this each mage must claim a replica of the magical artifacts used in the original ritual. Thorne also must teach his student to master his own magic first.
    Opposition:
    The Herald, a mage who wants to bring the god back, has claimed the power of the original artifacts and destroyed them, making it necessary for the good guys to create new ones.
    There is a deadly disease spreading across the land, and Thorne & company must either avoid it or survive a bout with it. The Herald uses his greater magic to heal people, who then become his loyal followers out of gratitude. He is also systematically claiming the land’s centers of magic, drawing their power to himself & Keshal.
    The item Thorne has to claim will test his control of magic & his tendency toward violent use of it.
    The item his protégé needs to claim is held by a group of mages who swore to kill Thorne for a past offense, but he can’t let Cullen go there alone.
    Thorne doesn’t trust himself with his own magic, so every magical effort he makes is hampered by his doubts. Cullen needs his guidance, and Thorne has to play a central part in the ritual, but to do these things he has to both control his magic and let it go “full force.

  • Aw, thanks, Faith! And thanks for pushing me. Lately during revisions I’ve learned *nothing* is sacred. Nothing. And that’s turning out to be a good thing. 🙂

  • Razzie, this is excellent. And the use of a disease is a powerful BBU in and of itself, like a living thing with no logic or rationality. Lovely!

    Laura, it’s a joy to see a writer buckle down and just do the work. I see that a lot here at MW and it really warms my heart.

  • lillian

    Hi Gang. I am a chronic lurker, but Faith has flushed me out of the shadows. Thanks for the shout out, Faith:)

  • Ah, I had it backwards. Oops. Okay, so, yeah, the BBU’s goals and action plan? Goal 1: Wipe out an ethnic minority, becuase he holds the entire group responsible for the death of his girlfriend years and years ago. Goal 2: Attain immortality, armageddon-be-damned. His action plan is to assume control of the ruling council of his city (which has ties to leaders of the ethnic minority community) and build a secret police force of magic-users to target and eliminate them from his city. Next he intends to reconstruct a massive war machine (from the ancient war which precipitated the previous apocalypse) to attack outlying communities of those minorities (not in the city proper) and massacre them wholesale. The immortality question only becomes feasible after he meets the MC, which leads him down a rabbit-hole and the discovery of an even more ancient magic that might grant him immortality but unleash something awful in the process.

    Initially he is opposed by other members of the city’s ruling council – one of whom takes the MC under his wing. The MC takes up the cause against him – and she poses a significant threat because although he has greater resources at his disposal she has a new and more powerful variant of magic. But her real advantage is that he doesn’t realize the threat she poses to his plans until it’s too late.

  • Stephen, that is a very full fledged BBU. Go you! I like.