Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Day 20: Plot Hooks

Today is going to be a very difficult day to write and share with you all, especially anyone who's interested in playing in this campaign setting. I've got rough outlines of who the overall villain as well as the villain of the first "arc" will be, but divulging that now really gives away the story.  It's a side effect of sharing this process that I was aware of when I started.  Still, let's see if I can get through to day without giving away the homeworld...

Bryant does a good job setting up today's exersice from the standpoint of "what question are you trying to answer with your novel?"
If you don't have a plot, that's fine. At the very least, though, perhaps you have a question? A conflict that keeps resurfacing in your novel preparation? No? Go back to your previous plot hook lists from last week and the week before. What do you see? Do certain conflicts keep coming up? At the most basic level, what do you see as the primary conflict, the #1 question you have to answer in your novel?
So, what question are you asking in your novel? Are you setting up a conflict between a Big Bad Guy and your Hero? Perhaps your question is as simple as "who will win?" Have you established a man-against-society conflict, in which your Hero struggles against the restrictions of his oppressive futuristic dystopia (a la 1984)?

If you really have no plot, and all you have is a string of plot hooks that I asked you to write, go ahead and write down the ones you want to use, and put them in their most logical order. When it comes time to actually write the novel, you can skip from plot hook to plot hook, and your story will be less like a single narrative and more like a collection of moments from your characters' lives. This is okay, too-- many novels work best as a series of interrelated adventures (and it's within the NaNo guidelines, too!)
I have to re-frame this in the contest of a campiagn story, and not a novel; but what is my question? What is my conflict? I've got a lot of stuff about Jump Gates from last week, but there are two other stories to be told around all this; the Bathal Invasion and the Magic Awakening. The Invasion and the Awakening are tied directly to each other, but how do the Jump Gates work into it?  How are they involved?

I'm going to look at what plot points from last week I REALLY like. I'm also going to give them a "title" to help organize them better.
  • Attacking to control a gate is a valid and accepted tactic of war. Intentional destruction of a gate is considered a war crime due to how vital they are for interstellar stability. Even the Drachon Clans shun such a tactic. Title: Gate Control
  • Theoretically, a gate could be made in a uninhabited star system and used to send ships to an unknown arrival point in another system. Title: Secret Gate
  • Jump gates are necessary for interstellar communication. One-way messages between systems are possible only through the jump gate stations and jump gate buoys; which are placed at arrival points within star systems. Without the buoys at the arrival points, messages sent to the system from another jump gate could not be received.  This would allow the possibility of someone destroying or moving a buoy and parking a communications ship in it's place to intercept incoming transmissions. Title: Communication Disruption
  • Jump gates are necessary for interstellar trade. Many colonies on many worlds would fail without a constant supply of some needed resource (food, water, consumables, materials), while other planet's economies would fail without the income generated by those exports.Some scientists have theorized alterations to the space-time equations that govern Jump technology. They theorize that by changing the space or time constant, the other variable would be affected; meaning by changing how long a jump takes, the distance jump could be affected (a ship jumps farther in a single jump, but it takes minutes, hours, or days before it arrives at the arrival point). Alternately, time could be folded more than space, and a jump through time could be possible. Research on the "long jump drive" is underway by a few corporations for the Union military, but all research on "temporal jump theory" is in a theoretical stage only (no practical temporal jump drives or gates are in development). Title: System Isolation 
  • Mine or ambush of a known arrival point is a questionable and dishonorable tactic, but it is still used during times of war. Title: System Blockade
...I'm starting to see a pattern and flow here...
  1. Gate Control
  2. Communication Disruption
  3. System Blockade
  4. System Isolation
  5. Secret Gate
The first four points become a tactic, a method of conflict. The fifth point becomes a way around it.  The Secret Gate becomes a method to strike back against the forces defending a system, especially if the gate can deploy forces to an arrival point not known by the invaders.

This works out the mechanical conflict, and likely will evolve into how the Bathal will operate once they reach the Garden. Another possibility is that this will be how the Union will respond, and when they try to utilize the Secret Gate to send a counter-invasion force to a Bathal controlled system, it will go horribly awry because the Bathal have the power of God on their side. Which would reveal a need for magic to be utilized to counter the Bathal superiority.

I like where this is all going...I really do.

Tomorrow we get a little weird talking about Flora and Fauna. I'm up for a deep challenge because I've got a wide variety of planets to work on.  Should be fun!

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