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Book: Write Great Fiction – Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell
My dice roll: 39
Lesson: Ways to get plot ideas
This section of the book gives 20 ways to come up with plot ideas. The objective of number four (which is on page 39) is to write a list of issues that fill you with outrage. From this list, a plot can be born! Determine both sides of the issue and have the protagonist and antagonist battle it out.
In my Existence books, Xavier and those of his kind believe that life on Earth is meant to continue, and that it is their duty to see that is does. The Eyes in the Shadows is an ancient sect that believes that Earth is more like a prison and that ending life here will transport souls to the more desirable afterlife. The Eyes in the Shadows have concluded that Xavier and his kind are keeping this from happening. Souls are prevented from reaching the afterlife, instead forcing birth and reincarnation in the prison of Earth where they know pain, suffering, and other terrible life trials. The Eyes in the Shadows sees the apocalypse as the way to free the world. But, unless they can take down Xavier and his kind, they believe they can’t bring the apocalypse. They think any that they kill would just end up reincarnated to here. So they have to first figure out what, exactly, Xavier and his kind are, then how to destroy them, and then end the world. They’ve been at it for thousands of years.
The issue that outrages me, I suppose, is people who think of life as a prison or a pit-stop on the way to an afterlife. I know that their side is that everything is better in that next place. It isn’t hard to see why they’d believe that. I’ve suffered enough to get it. But I don’t look forward to death like they do. As if life is some prison sentence you have to get through to make it somewhere better. I can’t look at a dead baby and think, “Lucky kid, didn’t have to do much time to get to the afterlife.” But I’ve seen people who have. And I suppose I inflated that experience and made them antagonists. I wouldn’t call it anti-religion, but perhaps anti-extremist? Maybe it’s that I don’t view Heaven as being so far away, but rather part of here in a way the living can’t quite grasp.
What issue most outrages you?
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