Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Fork in the Road

After taking a brief break from the post it's time to dive back in to the history of the Mage Star Universe and into the planning of the plot.  First, after conferring with a few trusted confidants, the working title for this year's novel is "The Girl Who Blinked." The actual meaning of the title is something I'm not prepared to go into at this moment, but just know that it is relevant and important to the plot and the protagonist.

Now on to the actual prep. We are just about done with the universe building phase, which is a good thing since we are already into October and I think I just saw November peaking out from around the corner. Pretty sure I am about to get jumped. With that in mind, let's hammer a few last setting bits into place so I can move on to using them to make our main character.

Last we looked at humanity going out into the stars they had actually been split into two larger factions, those who wandered off on their own and those who were able to be integrated into the greater galactic society. I don't want those to be two huge actual groups, instead any smaller human based factions would have their outlook shaped by which of these two pseudo groups they formed out of. The Wanderers will tend toward more human exceptionalism and isolation, while the Integrated will tend toward transhumanism and favor diverse local cultures.

The Wanderers belief in human exceptionalism is not baseless. One thing they discovered fairly early in their travel among the stars is that human's tend to be a hardier lot than most other sentient species. They tend to need less sleep, recover from injuries quicker, and can deal with a greater number of toxins more efficiently. This toughness combined with our natural adrenal response means that most societies respect humans as natural warriors and capable of dealing with adverse conditions.

The transhumanist tendencies of the Integrated stems from a desire to move beyond some of the negative connotations associated with humans as one of the younger galactic species. It is not uncommon for members of more established species to view humans as dumb thugs blindly wandering through the galaxy. Through technological and biological enhancements, many Integrated strive to come closer to these elder species or perhaps even greater than all species.

If you remember back to my earlier posts I am trying to write this for my daughter, so that means the story itself is going to start in an area that seems familiar before transitioning into the weirder stuff as we go. What this means for our main character is that she will be from a Wanderer based world. It will be somewhere that is still clinging to the legacy of earth, with a mostly human population.

While we are looking at her home world, there is some groundwork I need to lay for the story to progress properly. I want to ease the reader into the weirdness of the universe, but not do massive info dumping.  To accomplish this there are two things that easily come to mind is that the world is remote by galactic standards, and that the human population has a dogmatic or prejudice view toward magic.

What this means for out protagonist is that she can still serve as the reader's window into the stranger aspects of the universe. By being from a remote location she won't know the nuts and bolts of magic and tech, but by have her being in her very early teens I can still have her be curious and if I end up having to do a little info dumping it will still feel natural to the story. In addition, the society that she is in leads to a more restricted view on magic at the offset. Of course our young heroine will not subscribe to such limiting views, but why? Maybe one of her parents/guardian is a Talent or a Mage.

So to sum up the main protagonist we have an approximately thirteen year old girl from a more fundamentalist human centric planet where she is a bit of an outsider due to her open mindedness toward magic. Since this will crib a bit for the Hero's Journey, part of the story will be discovering that she is a Talent. To give a counter point to that and to explain her open nature, she was raised by a Mage of relatively minor skill. Still trying to decide if this is a parent or a guardian, but I am leaning more toward parent.

Personality wise, this girl is an explorer. She knows enough about space to know she wants to get out there and discover new things, even if most people seem convinced she is going nowhere except the next closest settlement. She is clever, a little stubborn, and has confidence issues. When faced with a problem she is hype focused and able to last it out until she finds a solution, but often doubts herself and is afraid to assert herself or act on her plans. This gives her an area where she can grow and mature over the course of the story.

With those broad strokes out of the way, all I need is a name to start cementing her in mind and for my subconscious to fill in some of the finer details. There is someone I respect greatly, and to honor her and all she has been through this little firecracker is going to be named Adora.

Moving forward, we will start looking more at the supporting characters and antagonists that Adora will face. I'm also playing with the idea of doing some posts as unrelated short fiction in the Mage Star Universe. The idea here is to do some actual story writing exercises in addition to the note gathering in warm up for NaNoWriMo. These micro fiction pieces will also allow me to do some of my more typical seat of my pants planning. Hopefully it works. You guys will just have to check back in later and let me know what you think.