Just so there is no confusion, I’m well aware this is now a total rewrite.
What I don’t like in the current manuscript is a short list: Robert’s suicide, it doesn’t make sense where it is and feels like it’s just tacked on to get rid of the character. The family dynamics haven’t developed organically from the background I’ve set up. Anne Rice and Joss Whedon
Characters: I found a few to drop out of the background, a chunk will get name changes, and a few to add. It feels weird with everyone else in the Project discussing how they’re reducing the text and I’m talking about adding. Then I have to remind myself “three keeper scenes out of 144.” That said and minus a little fine-tuning they all need, the cast will transfer to the second draft.
Plot: The main plot has always been a coming of age story for Peg, in which she inherits her father’s superhero mantle and comes to terms with her dhampir nature. Her grandmother’s diary entries were intended to be the explanation for her dhampir nature, but that’s not what I wrote (what the hell was I thinking!). She also finds herself attracted to two young men, Alexander Bittan and David Roger.
Alexander is the antagonist right now, goaded into it by Deats, the man who raised him. His arc or subplot has him denying his dhampir nature and dying to preserve family traditions.
David is a rookie cop who thinks his only connection to the vigilante vampire world is through his profession. Then he and his little sister investigate and find the secret their overprotective mother has kept for years.
Then there’s Robert, who can’t relate to his daughter and kills himself rather than learning how. What the hell is wrong with you! Are you trying to win awful father of the year award?
What’s left is Sally’s career with the Watchers, which is going bye-bye, and how all the characters can play the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon Game with how they are related to each other.
What I’ve got isn’t bad—it’s badly written but that’s a different issue. But it’s got no kick to make me want to write it. Now I can write without the kick, but why make things harder for myself? And Robert needs something to do in the story. Introducing Gil Sagara, Ferris Smith, and Raven Griffen adds that kick.
So now I need a comprehensive concept. It’s related to the throughline that Chuck Wendig defines, but I ran across the comprehensive concept first. Plus the comprehensive concept ends up being a nice summary tag to tease readers with, so I don’t gnash my teeth over that requirement at FanFiction.net now. I’ll probably come back to the throughline with subplot issues, but for now I want to concentrate on genre, opposition, main character, macro setting, and conflict. Conflict is my addition, to help structure the sentence and match it to what the story is about.
Genre: paranormal suspense
Opposition: Gil Sagara
Main character: Peg Ver Hagan
Macro setting: Haganville
Conflict: control of the city
Comprehensive Concept: Haganville is the prize sought by a centuries-old vampire and only an untested dhampir filling her father’s role as protector opposes him in this paranormal suspense.
Now that I have all these elements swirling in my head, it’s time to ask questions and fill out the beat sheet. I’ve tried the scenes on note cards before (when I made this novel into a hypertext story actually), but I’ve never had a plot yet that required me shoving scenes around. So I detail out a beat sheet to put everything in order.
The beat sheet concept I got from Larry Brooks, which helps you build in the storytelling structure. I also throw in details I learned from the Master Story Summary. In hindsight, I probably should have thought of the read-through chart as the master story summary. I might have gotten through it quicker in that format.
That’s all for this post. The next post I should have the beat sheet done and post character cast list.