marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

devise incidents

Ah, the muddle in the middle. . . I took up outlining to keep from petering out in the middle of the manuscript.  Not because it does not peter out in the middle of the outline, but because it is less frustrating when it does.

Less is a relative term.

One idea I had for some time -- namely, stealing half of the plot of The Lord of the Rings.  Not the battle half, though I dare say it could be done, but the destroying the evil object half.  Easy enough to wrench apart if you have a character happen on whatever-it-is before its Dark Lord manages to return to try to reclaim it.  The problems of getting rid of it while he's searching are removed, and those of getting rid of it when it's not urgent and so hard to get assistance are replaced.  I have even figured out what it is -- not a ring! -- and who will do it, and how she will do it, in the loosest possible terms.

The muddle lies in the middle.  Because she starts out not knowing how to do it.  Furthermore, it is not just a travelogue.  There are beings in the world that are aware of it, and want to snatch it for themselves.  I have the scene where they are put definitively down as a consequence of her doing it in the end.  The muse loves that scene.  The thing is, I need to introduce them, and let them menace her.  And give her time to find it.  It's not like stumbling across it in the first library she checks would be either plausible or adventurous.

Which means that I have devise incidents, somehow, to bridge the beginning and the ending.  sigh.  At least the next event is clear.  A prince wants to help her.  How helpful it will be is another matter.

Had another idea for a while, about retelling Romeo and Juliet with a happy ending -- which is to say, not tweaking the ending, but establishing throughout that the couple's problem is that they can't break themselves to wrench themselves away into exile, because their city is too toxic for life, by showing the possibility of leaving throughout.  So I filed off enough numbers to get to the basic plot, introduced my two young wizards from rival towers in a rose garden, and had the conflict come to a head at a ball after which they fled.  I even wrote most of it.  And then I looked back and said, "Nah."  The inter-tower conflict was not established well enough, and did not rise to a climax that collided dramatically enough.  And our two young wizards need more time together, not being love-at-first-sight types.  So back to the outline, and got it up to the garden, and the muse is humming rather than answering questions about what happens next. . . .
Tags: conflict, faction, middles, outlining, quest, story structure, world-building: creatures, world-building: magic (objects)

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