Saturday, September 06, 2008

Technical Topics -- Preliminary thoughts on the Balance of Power

I blog over at the Berkley Jove site.
And I wrote a long and involved post and thought I'd compound the offense by double posting it. To wit:

This is what I'd originally posted:
All-in-all, this was a very useful bit of advice -- the call for a direct hero-and-villain confrontation. Thinkiing about it has helped me tremendously.

Christine Wells said:

That's the kind of thing you know in your gut should happen but sometimes you forget. And then someone reminds you and you say, of course! That's how such stories are usually told.

This discussion made me realize that the book I've just written is mainly my heroine's story and there is a final confrontation. But I'd like my hero to kick some butt at the end, too. I'll have to think about how I might arrange that...

So I said:

Knowing nothing about the story, I'd nonetheless be in favor of bringing the hero in at the cusp of major struggle.

Otherwise you got all that missed an opportunity for H&H to interact and for their relationship to change or consolidate or whatever it is you're doing at that moment.

But that's the trick ... isn't it?
You bring your guy in without lessening the heroine.
You build power in both hero and heroine -- whatever power is appropriate to your characters -- without one power diminishing the other.

I try to do this. I've tried to give the overall story to the heroine. It is her 'quest', if you will.
But I want to keep the hero heroic.
And that means he has to have his own heroic story, not merely heroic attributes.

The way I think of it ... the shape of the plot should be reciprocal.

Even though I am writing 'her' story, I want the totality of the fiction to be such that if we looked at the line of events primarily from hero's Point of View, HE would plausibly be the one moving the plot.
The hero needs his own set of fruitful, effective action and a story that can be followed from beginning to growth to 'black moment' and denoument. His story doesn't have to happen 'on stage', but I feel it has to exist.

Because even where the heroine is primary,
the hero has to be an edgy force with motives of his own.
He has to be big enough to be heroic, here, in the story that's underfoot right now.
Heroism, like heroine-ism, is in the action.

Or, at least, that's what I think. I'm still working out the basics of this writing stuff.

Anyhow ...
what I've done with my villain confrontations, so far --

(Can I say 'so far' with only two books? It seems ... cheeky,)

I've made the true and important and meaty action lie between the HEROINE and the villain,
then I kinda call my hero in at the last moment to do some heavy lifting,
in part because his own 'story' calls for him being there.

This is probably not the best shape to that sort of scene.

This is a danger that the 'heavy lifting' of the scene -- which is apt to be full of bang-pop-slam action -- is so impressive, the reader can miss the quite obvious fact that the heroine -- like your heroine -- was managing nicely on her own.

So if you place your hero in the showdown scene with the villain,
which I think is a good idea,
you may wish to keep a lid on his contribution to the bang-pop-slam.
Which I have failed to do, myself.

The fact that BOTH H&H are winning needs to be, like, obvious.

Maybe you can have the heroine stab somebody or run over them with a truck.
Or something.

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