Day 4: Raising Public Stakes
Step 1: As briefly as possible, write down your novel’s overt and outward central conflict or problem.
The central problem in the novel is that the city is under attack from the bad guys and they probably won’t realize it until too late.
Step 2: What would make this problem worse? Write down as many reasons as you can.
The bad guys are hiding within the city’s government and suppressing any information about an attack. The unwilling parasite soldiers are unable to speak up. There is a division in the city’s government that has led to tension between supporters. The police/military is gradually being siphoned away from the city in order to help neighboring cities. The parasite soldiers are sabotaging the police/military. The city is having money issues.
Step 3: When you have run out of ideas, ask yourself, “What would make this problem even worse than that?”
The city is rebuilding from a recent attack on its defenses. The parasite soldiers insinuate themselves into positions across the city and are each given a plan of attack. There is one parasite soldier for every four citizens and each soldier has advanced military training. The bad guys within the government are sneaking top of the line firearms into secret storage with enough to arm the parasite soldiers twice over and are providing the parasite soldiers with more than enough devices to sabotage the entryways/exits to the city.
Step 4: When you have run out of steam, ask, “What are the circumstances under which my protagonist would actually fail to solve the problem?”
The city government doesn’t believe Lia when she tells them out the attack and is imprisoned during the attack. The other teens don’t believe her when she tells them she’s innocent even though she’s a parasite soldier. Lia is injured and unable to communicate a warning to the city government. The bad guys in the government remove Lia from the city before she can help the city government. Lia decides to keep her sister safe and return to her home with her sister rather than help the city. Lia’s parasite forces her to participate in the attack on the city. The parasite is removed from Lia, leaving her paralyzed and unable to help.
Step 5: Have your novel conclude with your protagonist’s failure. Can you pull some measure of happiness from this ending?
Lia joins the survivors as they leave the wreckage of the city and vow to help guard other cities from the bad guys. Lia understands how the parasite soldiers operate and so can add a lot to the knowledge base.