by Shelton Bumgarner
I have a really strong concept and you could even say I have a decent structure slowly beginning to form, but one big issue is the story doesn’t have any heart. I have a rough assessment of the story goals of the Hero, but I don’t really have any personal goal for the Hero.
To put it another way, I have my Luke with the goal of destroying the Death Star, but I don’t haven’t found a personal reason for him to get involved in the first place. I just have the general goal of my Hero without any personal investment on his part. As such, I fear I’m going to have to go back to the drawing board just a little bit.
Not a lot, but a little bit.
I doubt I’m going to have to re-write all that much — I hope — but I definitely need a basic personal reason for my Hero to get involved and stay involved. The only thing I have to work with is my personal saga associated with the magazine I started in Seoul for expatriates about a decade ago. They say write what you know, and that’s what I know.
If I do that, then some basic, fundamental elements of the story have to be changed from the get-go. I’ve been thinking this novel would be constructed like The Girl Who Played With Fire, but I think I need to make it a lot more personal and idiosyncratic than that. The only way this story is going to have heart is if I base it however loosely on my own romantic history. Again, if you look at the really good stories in movies the last few years, both the second Guardian’s of the Galaxy and Mission: Impossible — Fallout have a lot of, well, heart.
So, I’m going to have to rework the context of some pretty basic elements of the story. That’s the only way I can both give some humanity to my Hero as well as give him a pretty major flaw — that the only way he’s motivated to greatness is through the machinations of a woman he has the hots for. So, something like that. The more I think about it, the more my new course of action makes a huge amount of sense.
One thing I really have to give a lot of thought to is how to establish from the very beginning that this is a scifi novel. If I don’t do that properly, when the scifi kicks in, the audience will be left scratching their heads as to what they feel is an abrupt left turn.