He may not go quietly
ROW80-3 - 10/09/17 - A Theme

ROW80-3 - 07/09 - Late to the party

I guess it's better late than never to join this round. There are still a few weeks left. Summer has/had been full of all sorts of things - gardening, visits with my girlfriend, reading, news (fake or otherwise), Netflix, video games, walks in the park, kibitzing with friends in bars and cafes, visits with kids and grandkids, showings of this triplex by the landlord, etc.

Not a lot of editing or writing, but maybe it's time to commit to another reset. I did get a lot of good feedback on the novel I was editing, and I do have an idea for NaNoWriMo. Sort of. 

It's based on a Flash Fiction I did last year called The Game. Typical coming of age story, with the character also a writer (it was a NaNo related topic). I looked at it again, with my Three Act/Turning Points structure, and there might be enough for a novel. Here are my first thoughts. Comments welcome! 

TP1 - A young boy is dumped on the street when his dad (space explorer, PTSD) dies, but manages to survive with the help of his wits and a resourceful teacher. He even amasses a small street gang. 

TP2 - She manages to get him into The Game, a series of competitions (puzzles, tests, paint-ball-like battles) to determine future career choices. Good jobs are scarce, and not really needed, in the bland and predictable future. But these jobs mean more of a challenge and great wealth - for some, even working off-planet in the far colonies. Thanks to his street smarts, he does quite well in the competitions, scoring at the top of his class and becomes a great leader. When he's given the chance to stay on, for Elite Level, he readily agrees.  

TP3 - His first battle, in a new area, with even fancier fake guns, goes well. Until he realizes the guns are real now, and he's managed to get two of his team members killed. The true nature of The Game is revealed, it's a selection and training ground for soldiers to fight in an upcoming alien invasion. Filled with disgust, he quits and tries to disappear. 

TP4 - His old teacher (who might be a plant, an ex-soldier) tracks him down and convinces him to return, his team members (and humanity) needs his expertise. He returns and throws himself back into training, trying to balance battle success and body count. 

TP5 - Battle. They meet the aliens, face to face, and discover they have been lied to - it's humans from a long lost colony, infected by some 'aggression' virus, bent on invading Earth. Ended there.

So, this is a good start, but as I work on the outline I'm having trouble seeing it as 50k words (or more) and 50 or so scenes. Even with some good side-kicks and a bit of romance. And it looks too much like another Hunger Games/Ender's Game/InsurDivergent/Last Starfighter. 

Plan B - add a new twist.

TP1 - Initially he's troubled by frequent and vivid dreams, full of wild imagery. Perhaps due to his rough life. His teacher encourages him to keep a dream journal. Before The Game, he's always had hunches about leading his gang that were often correct. 

TP2 - Once he 'enlists', these dreams become more vivid - either from puberty or drugs they are given. And the dreams become more specific, the images more of his immediate world. Eventually, he sees that he is dreaming the future - maybe only a few days, and only as it affects him. Did he get this from his father? And still with added images of battles he knows nothing about. He keeps this ability a secret but tries to apply it to The Game.

TP3 - He realizes that the deaths he saw were, in fact, his own men, and he could have avoided it. And the battles he is seeing are real battles. He confesses to his ability, and leaves, but the dreams continue. Still without aliens. When his mentor tracks him down, he learns the army is trying to get others to develop this ability. They have his younger brother and are pumping him full of drugs to try to force this. Unless he returns. 

TP4 - Returns, trains, hones his dreaming accuracy. Maybe he encourages the gov't to look for pre-game kids with vivid imaginations, for latent future dreamers. Maybe he discovers aliens have a dreamer like him. 

TP5 - Big battle. His fears are confirmed, he never did really see aliens in the battles. Just humans. 

Definitely more potential with Plan B. I'm working with both. 


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Beth Camp

Nice to see you back, Mike. Both possible story lines ring with an interesting plot, and I like to see how you're developing each story with summaries as I'm doing pretty much the same with a "magnet" story (between final revisions of my current wip). Sometimes I only post ROW80 progress once a week, as too much is going on, but the underlying pattern of set goals, report progress, and persevere keeps me focused. And, yes, NaNo is closer. Have a good week.

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