The most popular posts on this blog are those that provide useful information on one topic each.
But this isn’t one of those posts. This is yet another catch-up post.
I received notice from L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest director Joni Labaqui more than a month ago that my story is an entry in the fourth quarter (July through September) of 2010. Results for that quarter are expected in December or January.
While I wait, I’m slowly rewriting a fantasy short.
Test readers liked the story but repeatedly pointed out structural problems and distractions from what they saw as the main point of the story.
The readers did not all agree with each other and no one agreed with me on what is the main point of the story, but I eventually conceded that I could write a cleaner version of the story–a version that provides enough details of the world, characters, and action to build the story in readers’ minds and that excludes details relevant only in parallel stories.
My goal is to give the rewritten story to test readers who won’t be then compelled to ask, “Um, did you really want to write a novel?”
Because, no, the fantasy short is supposed to be short. Although, the minor characters do have interesting stories of their own (inside my head) that impact the main character, I want readers to understand this short story without knowing how and why the supporting characters came to be the way they are.
Anyway, I already have two partial novels on my mind.
I’m fortunately able to apply the lessons I’ve learned from the fantasy short to one of my existing novels-in-development: DeCo.
The main conflict of DeCo has been difficult to describe. I plan on simplifying it by making one of the protagonist‘s teammates into the main antagonist. Maybe he was always meant to fill this role.
As I recall, this antagonist interested a couple of a dozen or so test readers of a DeCo-related short story.
I think I now understand why. He’s moody and murderous; but a high level of competence at his job makes him cool. In addition, he’s important to the protagonist. They hate each other, but they also rely on each other for survival.
The first meeting of these two characters is the novel’s current opening, which I wrote many months ago.
Maybe my subconscious already knew what I needed to do.
“The Hero vs. the Main Character” in the Shadows Archives
“The Archetypal Characters: Protagonist and Antagonist” by Melanie Anne Phillips at Storymind.com