Day 9 of writing my novel in public
I’ve started something scary here on Medium. It’s something I’ve done before, but never in public. I have a process that I’m going to follow, and I’d like to share it with you.
If you want to follow the journey from the start, go here.
If you missed yesterday’s, you can find it here.
Day 9 — Antagonist’s Plan
Yesterday I came up with an ally for the main character. Charlie Quick now has a sister Sandy, two years younger than him, who will give him the push he needs to change. At the start of the story, he will dismiss her, not wanting to take responsibility and look after her. By the end he will realise how lucky he is to have a little sister, someone who looks up to him and will love him whatever.
Today I’m going to look at the story from the point of view of the antagonist. On Day 5, I came up with Miasmus, the antagonist who loves to eat smelly foods, and as a result has his own malodour. He has become a perfumer and uses his signature scent, Petal, to cover up his stink. I know he is out for revenge, possibly against Mr Quick, the children’s father. I’m going to work out what his plan is. The mission for Charlie is to defeat Miasmus, so the antagonist’s plan will form the spine of the story as Charlie tries to work out what he is up to.
Guidebook antagonist’s plan
As usual, I’ll start by examining the two guidebooks that I’ve been referring to. The two books that are like the parents of the book I’m writing are The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis and Gangsta Granny by David Walliams. I’ll look at their antagonist’s plans.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The White Witch is the antagonist, and her aim is to maintain her power over Narnia, ensuring that it remains forever winter and never Christmas. Looking at the scenes in which reveal her plan:
Chapter 2 What Lucy Found There — Tumnus the fawn reveals he has taken service under the White Witch and has kidnapped Lucy. The witch’s plan was to make him bring any Son of Adam or Daughter of Eve to her. He lets Lucy go.
Chapter 3/4 Edmund and the Wardrobe/Turkish Delight — Edmund follows Lucy into the wardrobe and meets the White Witch. She bribes him with Turkish Delight and the promise of ruling over his siblings to bring them to her.
Chapter 6 Into the Forest — the children discover Tunmus is on trial for High Treason. She has enchanted the country to be always winter and never Christmas.
Chapter 8 What Happened After Dinner — the witch has turned anyone who disobeys her to stone. An old rhyme says Aslan will undo the witch’s enchantment. Also, a prophecy says that two Daughters of Eve and two Sons of Adam will sit on four thrones and it will be the end of the Witch’s life. Edmund goes to the White Witch to betray them.
Chapter 9 In the Witch’s House — the witch learns of Aslan’s return and is angry with Edmund for returning alone.
Chapter 11 Aslan is Nearer — the witch treats Edmund badly. She learns of Father Christmas’ visit and turns a party of creatures to stone. Her spell breaks and the snow melts.
Chapter 13 Deep Magic from the Dawn of Time — the witch summons her army to the stone table. Aslan and friends rescue Edmund. The witch disguises herself and the dwarf to escape capture. The witch demands Edmund, but comes to an agreement with Aslan for him instead.
Chapter 14 The Triumph of the Witch — the witch humiliates and kills Aslan.
Chapter 16/17 What Happened About the Statues/The Hunting of the White Stag — after Aslan comes back to life and ransacks the witch’s home, the witch is battling with her army against Aslan’s, turning creatures to stone with her wand. Edmund disarms her, and Aslan kills her.
I’ve identified Mr Parker as the antagonist. He is far less prominent than the White Witch above. There are only 3 scenes in which he appears.
Chapter 14 Nosy Neighbour — Mr Parker peers in Granny’s window. He has been spying on her under the excuse of being Head of Neighbourhood Watch. He bullies his way inside because he says Ben appeared suspicious. Granny’s naked yoga scares him off, but he says they haven’t heard the last of him.
Chapter 20 Boom, Boom, Boom — Mr Parker spies on Granny in the hospital and overhears them plotting to steal the crown jewels. Granny calls Matron to have him thrown out.
Chapter 29/30 Armed Police/A Packet of Sugar — Mr Parker has called the police to Granny’s home. He demands they search their belongings, and then Granny’s house, then tries to get them to dig up the garden. Finally, he demands they have an alibi for the evening which PC Fudge supplies. He loses his hat and Granny tells him not to call again.
The role of the antagonist’s plan is much more pronounced in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe than in Gangsta Granny. This reflects the missions involved. Edmund is helping Aslan to defeat the witch, so the story focuses on her. Ben is helping his Granny to steal the crown jewels, and Mr Parker is a follower here, not the driver of the story.
My antagonist’s plan
The mission in my book is for Charlie to defeat Miasmus, and so he will be a big driver of the story. Charlie is going to be working out what his plan is and how to stop him.
So I’m going to set a time limit of 30 minutes to come up with my antagonist’s plan.
They taunted Miasmus as a child because of his smell. He loved eating foods that stink and, as a result, he himself had a foul odour. They excluded him from his peer group and had to sit on his own because nobody wanted to be near him. When he grows up, he becomes obsessed with smells and develops a perfume company. His signature scent is Petal, which sells very well. On himself, he uses a very concentrated form that has a hypnotic effect of making people like him.
All the time he is planning to get his revenge on the friends that excluded him as a child, and in particular Francis Quick. He was the leader of the group that made him feel lesser because of his odour. He discovers his child Charlie has entered a local cake competition at the bakery (how?). From this, he creates a plan to get his revenge. Whilst he is judging the cake competition, he uses a minor stink bomb to evacuate the bakery and steal both the golden whisk and tries to take the recipe for Charlie’s cupcakes, but fails?
Miasmus plans to make everyone stink as much as he does. He is developing a weapon of mass olfaction, WMO. Inside The Smell Tower, he has a laboratory devoted to it. Part of that is extracting the scent from the smelliest things in the universe — old socks and underwear, rotten fruit, manure of all kinds. He also has a zoo with the stinkiest animals, like skunks and stink bugs.
Charlie and his sister try to warn their father about what Miasmus is planning, but he tells them to stay out of it.
Charlie works to bake the cupcakes for a big event. Miasmus has planted his stink bomb somewhere on the grounds and left a series of clues to where it is located. Charlie and Sandy solve the clues and find the stink bomb, alerting the authorities to the problem, but are too late to stop it from going off. It is actually a flower bomb and covers the stadium with a shower of petals.
Charlie doesn’t trust Miasmus, but now nobody wants to listen to him. Whilst everyone was hunting for the stink bomb, Miasmus was lacing Charlie’s cupcake mixture with a secret ingredient to make everyone into a walking fart bomb. As they eat the cupcakes, everyone creates a mass stink that clings to everyone.
Day 9 is over, and I have the start of the antagonist’s plan. It doesn’t all make complete sense. There are definitely some gaps and plenty to fill in so that there is the powerful cause and effect that is necessary for a story, but there is also something to work with.
Tomorrow I’ll look at creating the story spine, also known as the Pixar Storytelling Formula.
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