So I know I said I was gonna start on rewrites today, but I was thinking about how the causation of the plot and primary character arc motivation had been getting blurred and… yeah. So. Less than thrilled with the variations on fuzzy feel-good connection-based resolutions and empowerment, and while I’m not opposed to the idea of an open-ended messy ending, it makes for a not-very-tight storyline. I think the right move is to wrap up Cole’s angst about wanting the right thing or not with making it about doing. As in (potentially spoileriffic):
Setup: -Cole tries to always make the smart decision (obey Tower regulation), because she secretly wants things she knows she shouldn’t (obsessed with death). -Cadence is a ghost. She can’t make her own decisions, and is frustrated with Cole for squandering her agency.
Inciting Event: -Broken surveillance point, Cole’s unexpectedly sent on field duty to investigate. Cadence is along for the ride.
Quest: -Cole heads off to do her duty but is interrupted by Ravel (stays on task) and a corpse (caves to her obsession). -Cadence doesn’t understand Cole’s internal turmoil, frustrated and only seeing the outward lack of decisiveness.
Main Conflict: -Cole gets tripped up by wanting one thing (access to the dead) and trying to do another (perform her duties). She loses her home and gets someone else killed (captured). -Cadence’s memories start to return and she gets really driven about trying to steer Cole to fulfill Cadence’s mission, but doesn’t remember enough detail and gets them both in trouble.
Progress: -Cole resolves to do better at suppressing what she wants (access to the dead, to go home) and choosing the smart thing (find a new home & save people from the Tower’s lies). -Her attempts to do the smart thing don’t result in the outcomes she expects (nearly dies following Cadence, dissatisfied with life in Freedom). -She can’t fully suppress her desires, struggles to control the visions. Drawn to the fantasy as if it’s more real than her life (falls for Itri, jealous of Cadence, sad about the deaths). -Starts to question the effectiveness of pursuing the smart thing and ignoring what she wants. -Tries to strengthen her connection to Ravel and replicate the relationship she sees between Itri & Cadence and Angelique & Haynfor by trusting him more & is initially rewarded, then rejected. -Decides she’s just in the wrong place and recommits to doing the smart thing as a way to hide her hurt. -Decides to abandon Ravel & Cadence to go to the Underground to spread the Truth (but really, is just hurt and running away from being rebuffed) -Denying what she wants leads to disconnection with herself and others, dual lives. Cole doesn’t trust Cadence or Ravel, forces herself to perform a role of who she thinks they want, damages her relationship with both, and can’t overcome the trust barrier. -Cadence endangers Cole by trying to lead her, and further alienates her by protesting her decisions. Cadence is sad about not being able to reunite with Itri and refuses to confront reality, acting as if she’s still alive and on mission in the visions. She’s furious when Cole admits that she’s been falling for Itri.
Pt of No Return: -Ravel saves Cole from Tower agents. Haynfor is killed. -Cole admits, learns to acknowledge what she wants. Realizes she has no control over the big things and there’s no overarching truth to inform how smart or not her choices are. Lives for the moment instead of big goals like expose the Truth or find a safe place. -Rekindles trust with Cadence. -Sets out to complete Itri’s mission b/c she wants to make it up to Angelique for taking Haynfor away from him, wants Itri to be pleased with her. -When Cole admits her secret obsession with death to Cadence, Cadence realizes her influence on Cole has been more significant than she thought, and renews her efforts to influence Cole. She schemes to have her help with the mission while putting on an act of kindness and allegiance.
Complications: -Accepting what she wants leads to better connection with others, but doesn’t make everything right. -It’s empowering; her fascination with death turns out to be power over it as she fights back. -But she’s not strong or skilled enough to win on her own and Itri’s angry with her for putting herself at risk. -And her impulsiveness compromises her mission, and then her freedom and Itri’s safety. -Cadence’s jealousy for Cole leads her to push her toward action.
Black Moment: -Cole inadvertently betrays Itri and gets herself captured and drugged. -Pursuing what she wants causes worse damage than doing the smart thing. She has no freedom, no connection, and has lost the person she most wanted to impress. She has no safe place, no allies and no capacity to spread the truth of the Tower’s abuses or help people. -Cadence finally has to accept that she can never be with Itri again, and her actions have only made things worse for him and Cole.
Final Push: -But Itri’s still alive -Wanting things isn’t intrinsically good or bad (but wants are often conflicting); its your actions that matter -Cole manipulates Ravel to escape -Teams up with Angelique to rescue Itri -Tries to run to safety -But loses Angelique -Cadence tries to atone for her actions by convincing Cole to save herself and go be happy with Itri.
Climax: -Cole is caught in conflicting desires and choices; she wants to save Angelique, stop the death, survive, be with Itri, make everything right, run away… -She chooses to sacrifice herself so Itri and Angelique can live. -Chooses between all the things she wants to do the right thing (care about others) instead of the smart thing (take care of herself). -Rewarded and empowered by not making it about herself; Cadence sacrifices her existence and identity to help Cole survive.
Resolution: -Cole is rewarded for sacrificing what she wants and what she thinks she should do by surviving and saving Itri and Angelique. -Cadence is rewarded for sacrificing her existence and attachment to Itri, sustained by Cole.
Well, that’s… probably good, but frustratingly slowing me down from actually doing the writing. Freaking book map…
Start Time: 11 am & 2 pm
Location: Abbotsford; home; couch & bed
Drinking: Yorkshire tea & wine