As I said before, the reality that all of our universes exist in is contained inside another, larger reality. Our universe is inside this reality, as are many others. These universes, as well as our own, exist inside a self contained reality, floating inside a beautiful abyss called the Aether. The Aether is the space between a universe and another extra-celestial body. Other than universes, there are also micro verses, voids, and a few other superstructures within the Aether. a micro-verse is a universe that was just born, while a void is a universe that failed to begin. It had all the right materials, but never actually went anywhere. These are commonly mistaken for “black-holes”, though the two are very different. Unlike a black hole, a void can still contain a certain amount of life within itself, albeit on dark and cold worlds where there would be no hope of ever escaping.
Other than the generic superstructures, there are a few unique ones inside our reality as well. The Ark is a massive rectangular structure that accumulates all DNA of evolutionary progress of every species in every universe that ever existed. It does this so that in the common event of a Super-Crush Event, the reality does not have to start life from square one. A “Super-Crush” event is any point in the history of reality where the walls holding the universes apart from the Aether (the Mendelian Membrane) begin to break down, causing a catastrophic deconstruction of all of reality. It was the duty of the “Prime One” to prevent this, but after his passing, this calling was passed down to his creations. As the reality degrades itself, all specie must collaborate to find a way to “reset” the timeline, until a permanent solution can be found.
For this, the “Origin-Reality” created a council of 13 of the best and brightest of all specie to watch over the construction and use of the Ark. Aside from the genetic base code of all living things, the Ark also includes Eden. Eden is the most basic layout of of how any kind of system in the reality would look. It includes calculations for everything ranging from voids to star-systems to galaxies.
This “Council” would be the only surviving members from their reality, and would oversee the next reality until their tie came for the same purpose. The Council constructed a tower within the Aether that would allow them to interface with a device called the Smoking Mirror, and be capable of viewing all events happening everywhere within all realities. Using this device, they would find possible candidates to become the next members of the Council, and bring them to the Tower to educate all of them on everything that had been, and would be.
Alright. In my primary universe, events shift slightly at about the year 1947, and begin a major change in the year 1970. In 1947, a man is visited by the last remaining remnants of one of the few peaceful races of aliens in this universe. Now, the pilot meant to land in Washington DC, but ran into a major lightning storm that caused him to miss his target and crash in the middle of a small town in New-Mexico. It immediately found the first living being it could, as the crash left it bleeding to death, and transferred all of his knowledge into the man. And so Alphonse Redwall slowly became what others saw as delusional, though he was only trying to cope with a horrible gift of knowledge.
Alphonse began compiling all of his new-found ideas into a rather large set of journals, while the US government investigated the crash site, expecting to find some evidence of a weapon that some homegrown enemy might have tested. Instead, they found a small space pod, and after reporting that the Russians had far more advance technology than they did, they searched the nearby town of Roswell for the Russian.
They did not find him, but continuously heard stories of a crazy old man that said he had come up with the idea of a weapon so powerful it could destroy entire cities without hurting any plants or destroying buildings. The government, fearing that their extension of the MANHATTAN PROJECT had somehow been discovered and leaked, found him and attempted to arrest him. He fled, and before they could find him, he mailed out his notes to random locations all over the world, hoping to avert the governments getting the schematics he had created. Soon after, he was killed, and the agents managed to retrieve a few pages of his journals, which proved to have details on the construction of atomic weapons.
The president made an official order that a group be created to attempt to locate the Alphonse Journals before they got into the hands of America’s enemies. Thus the Association was born.
The second event that skewed the timeline even further from our own was caused by the murder of several protesters against the Vietnam War in 1970 by the National Guard. This sparked an uproar on the home front, and several groups formed against the “growing arm of the government”. This quickly escalated until, in 1984, a radical group by the name of FORGE used a bomb built (sub-par) based of of one of the pages of the Alphonse Journals. The ensuing blast killed everyone within a square mile or so, save the people within a few feet of the blast.
Fallout spread for nearly 30 miles, and the government was quick to react by creating a quarantine around the city of Louisville (in KY) as well as a reservoir cutting off all irradiated water. The Association was quickly announced as a group dedicated to finding a way to better treat radiation sickness, and to try to get rid of the radiation altogether. They were also secretly tasked to find out what caused the damage, and how the radiation would affect the wildlife.
The Association dedicated itself to all of its endeavors, and had soon found a temporary cure for RS. Soon, most people in the city were allowed to go so long as they agreed to take regimented doses of Panacea, the miracle drug that cured RS. Soon, after secret breakthrough discoveries, the Association found that those exposed to limited doses of Alphonse Radiation gained certain “abilities”. The defense department quickly tasked the Association with finding a way to weaponize AR, and so project ALPHA began.
Hmm, yeah. I think it’d recommend to start with main characters, their goals/motivations/obstacles, and then draw in the backstory as necessary to explain the characters and what they’re doing. For example, if you were pitching Heroes to a Hollywood executive or prospective viewer, I’d highly recommend starting with something along the lines of “Several mostly-regular people with superpowers have to save the world by saving a cheerleader from a superpowered serial killer” rather than, say, anything about the backstory of the Company or the Agency’s internal disputes or Petrelli family politics. If I could offer an analogy, it’s hard to interest someone in a journey if they don’t care about the person taking the journey. The more interesting the characters are, the more prospective readers will be receptive to learning more about the backstory.
As a writing exercise, I think it’d be helpful to try writing a few paragraphs for prospective readers summarizing one of your favorite books or movies or TV shows, preferably something with a fairly involved backstory and/or a lot of things going on in the background (e.g. Star Wars, Harry Potter, The Matrix, Hunger Games, Bob Moore: No Hero, The Godfather, Catch 22, Slaughterhouse 5, whatever). In particular, how do you use the characters to interest readers in the story? Then I’d recommend taking another look at how you’re laying out your story.
Thanks B. Mac. This is defiantly going to be one of my problems when I decide to write/finish my book. I know my back-story, and it is, rather unfortunately, a lot. I have history back to the 50’s planned out, as well as each characters personal history (about 7-8+, depending on if I actually peruse this as a series) and the history of those who lived on Luculenus. I just need to find a way to introduce it gradually and meaningfully, such as through deep conversations between main characters.
But I will post the premise soon, and then expand on it with my characters, then onto the plot!
Short Plot Synopsis: As the secluded Legion investigates a mysterious signal originating in the UK, they must also protect their only home from the misguided government group known as the Association.
Setting: Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, Mid-Atlantic Ocean in an alternate version of 2010.
Character Synopsis (Order of Appearance):
Alfred Winslow: A man of about 20 years who only wants to find a way to balance taking care of his alcoholic father and making a life for himself.
Wilbur Mudd: A kind man of about 22 who wants to find a way to get those who he betrayed in years past to realize that he is better than they know.
Martin Harris: An older man of nearly 45 years who wants only to deter people from whatever paths he sees as self-destructive.
Matthew Norton: A bitter man of about 30 who only wants to keep the few he cares about safe, including finding his lost love, Sandra Bishop.
(These characters appearances depend on how exactly I structure the book)
Juniper Locus: A younger woman of about 21 years who wants to make the world as safe as she can for her parents and those she cares about.
Jason Vernes: A man of about 40 years or so who wants to keep his nation safe from those who he believes nearly destroyed it on several occasions, who he also blames for indoctrinating his son and taking him away.
I feel like the character synopses could probably tie together more smoothly/coherently with the short plot synopsis. For example, the main character “only wants to find a way to balance taking care of his alcoholic father and making a life for himself.” I’m not quite seeing how he (or most of the other characters) would fit into a story along the lines of “As the secluded Legion investigates a mysterious signal originating in the UK, they must also protect their only home from the misguided government group known as the Association.”
Okay, i’m not sure how to make this shorter, so I’m going to post the synopsis act by act… its a little long…
The story begins with Alfred rushing home in hopes of getting there before his father wakes up, to avoid any kind of confrontation with him. He is too slow, however, and when he tries to sneak in, he is found by his father, and an argument ensues. They end up fighting, and Alfred uses his ability to put his father to sleep. He returns to his room, where he prepares for the final exam of the “Ability-Control-Course” that is prerequisite to becoming a Guardian. At the same time, Wilbur is just leaving a meeting with the Council, who have decided to allow him a probationary term as a Guardian for the next six months, assuming he does nothing to jeopardize this. He decides to go to a celebratory breakfast, and there, learns, from the news channel, that the western nations have lost contact with almost all other countries on other continent’s. The only people still in comm. are the Australians, the Filipino’s, and the Japanese, along with some along the Chinese coast. Afterwards, Wilbur goes to the top of the caldera, and begins absorbing solar energy as well as reminiscing over the events of the past year, namely his betrayal of the Legion, and contemplates if it was the correct decision at the time.
The story continues a few hours later, with Alfred returning to the centerpiece of the largest city in the caldera (Salbro), the Arena. There, he finds his classes teacher, Martin Harris, and speaks to hi before the class begins, asking if certain decisions would be OK to make, such as abandoning a hopeless endeavor. They talk for a while about it before the rest of the class shows up, and they take their seats. The class begins with Alfred demonstrating his control of his ability by constructing a makeshift dove from heat and light energies that he has a fellow classmate use against him. Meanwhile, Matthew Norton returns to the city, and is brought before the Council to be debriefed on his current mission. At the same time, Wilbur awakes, and realizes that he is late to the class, and attempts to get there before it is over. He fails at doing so, and after speaking with Martin, he is scheduled to take the same test the next day. After moseying trough a nearby park, and attempting to play with some of the children there, he goes to his place of work, Daniel Artificial Crab Shack.
That night, Wilbur goes to Martins house (Martin, aside from Daniel, is one of Wilbur’s only friends) and they eat dinner together, whilst conversing about Wilbur’s still wanting to join the Guardians, as well as both of their back stories. During their meal, Matthew knocks on the door and joins them after having been introduced to Wilbur, whom he detests as a traitor and a liar. As they have their awkward meal, Alfred enjoys his, a dinner date with the love of his life, Juniper Locus. They continue to flirt with the far off idea of marriage (which Juniper sees as being far too soon for comfort) , and during this, we get to see a softer, happier side of Alfred. When he attempts to return her home, however, he is met again by her single father, who hates his very presence. After a few minutes of arguing about just why it is that Carson hates him, they nearly get into a fight. This is stopped by Juniper, who quickly sends Alfred away, and says that they need some time away from each other. As both parties continue on through the night, a “storm” begins to brew inside the caldera, and all power is ousted. Every monitor in the city begins to display a formless looking entity that cryptically warns of an impending attack, and a need to band together to save themselves.
The next day, the Council holds a meeting with the public in Salbro and then in Visha. There, they confirmed that the event of the night prior had indeed happened, and that the Council was inclined to believe it, as Association activity in the surrounding area had intensified. They also stated that because of the message, they were going to be far easier to find, as whoever sent it had left an enormous energy trail above the caldera, where the “Scaffolding” had no effect. Thus, thy have concluded to have the majority of the populace prepare to evacuate the caldera, and leave behind a certain number of Guardians to defend them from the rear. Thus, preparations for said plan begin. The Council also announces that they will be sending a two man team to investigate the origin of the message, in hopes of finding a new ally, or group of allies, in Europe. At the same time, Wilbur attempts to go to Martin to finish his class, but is told that he cannot, because there are more important things at hand. Matthew requests for the Council to send him specifically and alone on the mission, in hopes of discovering whether or not the sender was his lost love, Sandra (who he was lead to believe had escaped the US Association and fled to Europe, where the Association’s file on her ended). The Council initially rejected him, but the Head-Councilor decided that if he wanted to continue his self-destructive search, then so be it. He was told that he would, however, be in the company of another, whom they identified only as one of the lower ranked Guardians (Matthew was of nearly the highest rank, one of the twelve “Premier’s”). The Council was left to decide between three of their best Guardians and one budding prodigy, Alfred Winslow.
A few hours later, the Council contacted the four, and called them to the Arena, where they would have them test their ability to fight, and ultimately to persevere. Alfred faced off against the three, and after a fairly long and brutal fight, he had barely managed to survive. He was then brought before the council, who told him of what they had planned for a mission, and that he would be accompanying a fairly accomplished Premier. Alfred and Matthew were allowed to meet a few minutes later, and Matthew tested Alfred’s ability to fight, which he classed as subpar. After disgruntledly stating that he would be better alone, he and Alfred parted ways. Meanwhile, Wilbur was on the way back from his day job as a fry-cook, and was encountered by a specter of someone he had been forced to kill when they were both seventeen. He followed what he had deemed a hallucination and was unwittingly led towards Alfred’s home on the outskirts of Salbro. There, the image of Isaac solidified itself, and attacked him. Wilbur defended himself, and in doing so, destroyed part of the neighborhood he was in, including setting fire to Michael’s (Alfred’s father) home. Realizing that it had indeed been a hallucination, and that he was trying to justify Isaac’s murder, as well as his own betrayal, Wilbur was ready to turn tail and leave. He realized that someone was inside the house, and quickly acted to save Michael. As he attempted to resuscitate him, an alerted group of nearby Guardians arrested Wilbur, and brought Michael to the closest hospital.
Alfred was on his way to try to talk to Juniper, as well as to deliver the news, when he received the call that his father had been put in the hospital. He tried to find Juniper quickly before being told by an old clairvoyant that it would be better for him to face the pressing matters now, and that the other ones would reveal their own solutions in time. Alfred accepted a gift from her, and went to the hospital where his father was being kept. There, he saw the horrible state his father was in, and decided that he would stay by his bedside until he was better, after going to see the person that had done this to him. Alfred appeared before the Council, and requested to stay behind, that they send someone else in his stead. They allowed him to abandon the mission but decided to let Matthew go on it alone. He left the building and went to the prison where Wilbur was being kept, and requested to be let some time alone. There, he beat him, and continued doing so until Wilbur explained that he deserved it, that he deserved all of it, and that he wanted it, for all of the things he’ done. At this, Alfred left, feeling disgusted with both himself and his father’s assailant. As Alfred made his way back to the hospital, Matthew passed through some of the other parts of the city, searching for whatever supplies he would need for the journey he would be taking shortly. During his shopping trip, he was attacked by a crazed clairvoyant, whose wife attempted to restrain him. After being stabbed in the shoulder, Matthew knocked the man out with a punch, and called a nearby group of Guardians to arrest him. After being accused of things yet to come, things Matthew would hate to come to pass, he went to visit Martin in lieu of going to the hospital (Martin was a medic in the military before his involvement with the Legion).
“Wilbur Mudd: A kind man of about 22 who wants to find a way to get those who he betrayed in years past to realize that he is better than they know.”
Honestly not trolling here.
How much bad stuff could a 22 year old have done? Unless he was like Billy the Kid who was shooting people in the back at age 14 during the Range Wars. Being so young and having a dark past comes off a bit angsty and unbelievable. I’m in my 30s and laugh at teenagers and 20 year olds who think they’ve have a hard life.
Oh, I see what you are saying. And I dont think you are trolling, I accept all criticism as just that. The “bad stuff” he did…
To avoid going into a long backstory, He basically betrayed thusands of people and got them killed or captrued to be used as experiments. He also exposed the, until then, secret society of people with abilities that had tried to live inseclusion. They ae the very same ones that took him in and gave him a home when he had none, as well as those that he had betrayed.
Also, to avoid him angsting out, I have made it so that he is one of those people that holds it all inside until, at one point, they let it all go in a strange psychotic rage.
I partially agree with cresc. But I disagree about the whole “I’m in my 30s, so I scoff at those in there 20s who claim to have a hard life” thing, since there are obvious examples of 20-somethings out there whose lives have been much worse than mine (I’m also in my 30s). To say otherwise is ageist and presumptuous. 30 ain’t that much older than 20, and the mere fact that someone is in their 20s doesn’t mean they can’t have a dark past that they regret.
That said, while not impossible, it is unlikely and implausible that someone could have betrayed thousands of people at age 22 and already be seeking redemption for it. If you want to have a character who’s that young and who has that kind of baggage, you’ve got to make it clear to the audience how they could have reached this point at such a young age. Usually, in a story about someone who wants atonement for all the betrayals they made in the past, the lead is at least in his/her 40s, and often in his/her 50s or 60s. Atonement for a life of betrayal is more a story for older characters who regret the mistakes of their youth.
It’s not so much that 22 year olds can’t have hard lives (they can, and in real life often do), it’s that 22 is so young that the whole “I want to atone for the betrayals I made in my past” storyline sounds implausible. That’s a storyline that’s associated with sober reflection in maturity, not with the exuberance of youth. If a 22 year old has betrayed people in his (brief) past, it might be better to approach it as a kind of misunderstanding or misrepresentation that lead to betrayal and mistrust, rather than “I need to win back the trust of those I betrayed.”
That doesn’t mean that such a story CAN’T be told of a 22 year old. It’s just that if you want to tell such a story of someone so young, you’re gonna have to work much harder to sell it. Your current synopsis doesn’t really address why someone so young would be in such a position or feel the way you say he feels. It might be helpful to evaluate how important the “atonement for past sins” storyline for this character is for your overall story. If it’s not very important, it might be better just to drop it. If it’s very crucial, then even if it’s a difficult story to tell you should find a way. But if you do so, you should be aware of the difficulty and find a convincing way to convey to your audience why a character so young is in such an implausible position.
Thanks for the advice/critiques guys! That being said, I understand it is going to be pretty hard to work with, but I am trying to find a way, because that instance is a very important part of his back story. I guess I should elaborate on it a little bit so that it is clearer. If it sounds more like I am not willing to give up on an idea, and less like a fair median, then please, let me know.
OK, to start, I WILL TRY to avoid posting the character synopsis… don’t want to torture you all having to read through it. Basically, after he is liberated from a facility run by the Association, he is taken in by the Legion. They help him grow and understand himself and his abilities better, and eventually, he decides he wants to help them the way they had helped him. So he joins their “militia” called the Guardians.
So basically what happens after that point is that Wilbur begins to realize a very malicious threat is rising to not just the civilian populous, but to themselves as well. He tries to voice his concerns, but is not heard out due to the Legion’s government having reports that that threat is being dealt with by the Association. After threats to go and do something himself. The Legion, fearing the exposure of their kind, lock him away. After attempting escape twice, they lock him a chamber he cannot escape. Instead of trying to escape, and thinking that the people in the subterranean city would have time to evacuate, he activated a nearly destroyed tracker inside himself.
When the Association came, it took barely 30 minutes to get to the city below, and then the attack began. Soon after, power to the city was gone, and Wilbur was able to escape, but not before seeing all the mayhem and destruction he had caused. (changed from dead and captured to just captured) Wilbur, still thinking his cause was just, followed a string of random-seeming murders across the state of KY, and soon found Issac. They talked about morals and the need to keep their kind a secret before Issac began attacking Wilbur. They ended up having a super-brawl in the middle of Lexington (KY) and very quickly revealed the existence of supers to the world.
Now, I definitely understand where you are coming from with the “redemption is an older mans game.” I posted what I said thinking of the far future of this character. Wilbur, at least initially, just felt bad about what he’d done. He never really connected that to how much he wanted to “just help out” (or whatever you want to call being a really nice guy to almost everyone) and get out of peoples bad side. While at this stage of his life, he just sees everyone as blunt, and unable to see what he was really trying to accomplish. Sure, he feels bad for it, but he still believes it was a just cause.
I was looking at a few relocation scenarios. Some observations: Long-distance moves are helluva expensive. FedEx quoted me $500 to move a 40 lb box from Chicago to Tokyo. That’s around 10x per pound-mile what NASA would pay for a trip to the moon. Also, FedEx insurance is extra, and you’re definitely not getting any […]
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We read a book to experience the journey a hero takes and to relate to the person they once were. However, a hero’s journey runs stagnant without a villain capable of proving their worth. Without a cunning villain, you have a hero basking in his awesomeness. Without a memorable villain, you have a hero walking […]
Are there any circumstances under which a highly inactive protagonist would be more promising dramatically than a more active protagonist? E.g. a main character that is weakly unenthusiastic about participating in the plot*, or opts to do nothing in situations where almost every protagonist in the genre would have taken some sort of move (like […]
Under what circumstances (if any) would it be possible to make a grossly incompetent main character likable and engaging? Are there any cases where making the main character consistently incompetent would make a story more interesting?