Betrayed – Midpoint Review

Well we’ve made it halfway along.

For those who have been reading along, your patience has been very much appreciated.

I wanted to take a moment to yield the floor to your discussion at this halfway point, because at this point, structurally, the book starts to pull together. The first half the book is to setup questions. A few of those may get answered in the process, but for the most part they will be dealt with in the second half.

So that I make sure that I address all of your questions and interests, or at least all those that will be a part of this book, I wanted to ask you to take a moment and list some of the things that you want to see resolved over the next 12 chapters.

I cannot guarantee that I will address all of them as some are specifically setting the stage for book #2 – yes, I am planning on writing a sequel. But I want to incorporate as many of them as I can.

The Russian writer Chekhov is reputed to have said it this way – if you have a loaded gun on the mantle in act 1, by the end of act 3, the gun needs to have been shot.

So, with that said:

  • What character issues do you want to see dealt with?
  • What plot threads do you want answered?
  • What themes do you want to see played out?
  • What conflicts need resolved?
  • What items need to be used?
  • What locations need to be visited?
  • What promises have I made at the beginning that now must be fulfilled?
  • What answers do you need to have a satisfactory ending?

As always, no pressure. This is not a test to see if you were paying attention. It’s just another way for me to make sure I’m not leaving anything out that needs to be there.

7 thoughts on “Betrayed – Midpoint Review

  1. From Anon:
    I had a few for your list, but maybe I need to go read it again.

    I have this joke about I love to go see movies again when they come to the dollar theater because I know if I liked a movie or not- but have forgotten enough that it is fun to go see it, and say Oh Yeah, I remember this now.

    I will give the few here that come to mind and maybe will do it again, as I re-read.

    First things that come to mind are if Trelle is for real or not.
    Of course the obvious: who is Betrayed?
    Do we ever know what happened to his mother?
    If they find out if he can return Petah his power (or if they find some way to restore it to him without Rainen losing it – if they can share it.)
    Does Rainen become a hero or is he just caught up in all this?
    If (or why) the talents are different? Are they, or does it just depend on who is using it?
    The role the Index plays– and why it was so hard on him. (still remember that paralyzed and face-slapping and screaming screaming part.)
    And did Rainen get sick from his arm wound, or the results of using the Index? (Just went back and read that Index part again. SO good. Am looking forward to what that is all about.) 🙂
    Is Aern a major character or just to introduce the University and the Index book?
    Why and how Trelle lost her power.
    What about the Talla leader?
    Can Petah keep living? Does he figure out where Rainen has gone and does he come, or is he just waiting at home worrying?

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  2. Oh, Chekhov…

    I wish I could format this better. Does getting a WordPress account allow you to format comments?

    What character issues do you want to see dealt with? I’m looking forward to Rainen’s development now that he’s away from family and Petah, and I want to see consequences for his leaving so abruptly. I need to see how the relationship between Rainen and Petah is going to change, regardless of who ends up with the power at the end. Since there’s been a set-up of relationship tensions between their father and Aern, I would like to see these addressed further, possibly resolved. Some tidbits about Rolff have been dropped that I’m expecting will tie into future events. I’m curious to see if Trelle will help to change Rainen’s pleaser/appeaser personality. As for Trelle, both she and the reader need to confront her backstory. She’s already become less abrasive and a bit…softer, perhaps?…around Rainen. I suppose she needs to address her social issues, as she claims that she’s been antisocial in the past. I’m sure traveling with Rainen will change that. I also want to know more about Rainen’s family dynamics and history – what happened to his mother, for example.

    What plot threads do you want answered? I want to know more about the history of the Tala and Rainen’s people to better observe how it’s affecting them in the present storyline. What happens to Petah and Petah’s magic would both be resolved in my ideal world. A more complete story of what happened to Trelle would also be welcome. Obviously the big picture questions of the Tala relocating to the capital and the increase in banditry are important to resolve or at least hint at a resolution. Rolff’s been set up as someone with a part to play, so I’m expecting some contribution from him for good or ill. The difference between fey magic and Tala magic is something that I’m assuming is going to continue to be revealed as the plot progresses.

    What themes do you want to see played out? I’m expecting Rainen’s journey to mirror his personal growth (maturation, the journey from childhood to adulthood, basically the root of all YA novels). More personally related to Rainen’s character, I’m curious to see how selfish he is willing to become as he pursues his own interests at the probable expense of his family’s opinion of him. The title has set up a theme of betrayal, so this will obviously have to be played out, hopefully on many different levels, both society-wise and between/within characters (without any meaningful betrayal, the book will need a new title). On a worldwide/setting basis, I would like to see how this peaceful society was forged out of a warlike one and what the consequences and repercussions of that peace happen to be (basically a free will vs. control theme).

    What conflicts need resolved? A short list: Rainen’s internal conflicts (his need to please his family vs. what he wants to do), the probable conflict between Rainen and his family now that he’s run off without telling them, the conflicts between Rainen and Petah over Petah’s magic and Rainen’s running off without him, the conflict between Trelle and whomever stole her magic and between Trelle and Tala society, the conflict between humans and Tala (as some humans seem to be feeling that the Tala have betrayed them by withdrawing to the capital), the appearance and escalation of violence in their otherwise peaceful society, Rolff’s mysterious motives…

    What items need to be used? Since time/page space was spent on it, the sculpture Rainen ordered for Aern should come into play. I’m expecting Rainen to have to use an index again (possibly to learn more about Trelle and/or about the history of both peoples). I suspect continued use of Trelle’s knife, though it’s already been used. The receipt/purse have already played their part unless they have a further role. The book Rainen brought along could prove important…or it could have just been used to demonstrate how much the Tala value books. Honestly, items haven’t really stuck out much as I’ve been reading, which means either I haven’t been playing close enough attention or there haven’t been many important items in play as of yet (probably the former).

    What locations need to be visited? With all this talk about the capital, I suspect we’ll be visiting it (in particular the university). No other locations have really been mentioned to any great extent to make me expect that Rainen will be going there.

    What promises have I made at the beginning that now must be fulfilled?…I’m not exactly sure if there’s anything that would go here that I haven’t put elsewhere. I guess I’m a little confused as to what this question means. If I picked this book up off the shelf, I guess I would say that you’ve promised me a young adult fantasy that is the first in a series, so I’d be expecting something typical (yet new and exciting) of that genre.

    What answers do you need to have a satisfactory ending? I would at least expect the issue with Petah’s magic to be resolved. Trelle’s issues might continue on into the next book. I expect more hints about the larger world and its conflicts, but I’m not expecting them to be resolved in the first book.

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    1. On the comment formatting, I know that I can add some things from within WordPress, but I don’t know if that is because I am marked as an author/admin in the system.

      If you want an easy and system-agnostic method, learn the syntax for Markdown. Markdown in a simple method of adding human readable formatting by use of symbols.

      Some of it stuff we all would recognize, like line numbering and bullets using asterisk. But it can get across headings, bold, underline, italics, tables, inline notes, a whole lot of stuff. There are even online converters that can take things that are written in Markdown and export them to an RTF file that has the formatting correctly applied.

      Now, on to the Midpoint Review:
      AWESOME responses. And I do mean awesome in that I am struck with awe by how much you given me to work with. I can say looking through them that a lot will be answered and a lot only hints will be giving for future books. But the best thing is that you’ve given me some more things, new layers as it were, to add in during rewrites.

      I’m really looking forward to seeing how the second half works for you. Everything from chapter 6 on was writing during NaNo last November and I found myself working overtime to try and connect a lot of the themes that you have mentioned. Some are still very weak and others I may have overplayed.

      I’ve been going back to re-read over all the comments I have gotten (so far up to chapter 4) in prep for this weekend – rewrites start Friday night. I’m heading down to Dallas with a friend for a guys-trip and being away from the family I hope will give me some head-down time at the keyboard to work on this. Looking forward to see what all you come up with.

      The last thing I wanted to mention was you must be a night owl because I’m amazed at how late you stay up working on making comments. I hope you don’t loose any sleep reading through all of this – well, I mean that I do hope you loose some, but only because you get too caught up reading that you can’t put it down. 🙂

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      1. I am also going to be away this weekend as well visiting a college friend, so my commenting might be a bit sparse until Monday. Safe travels, and good luck with your rewrite! I’m still trying to decide if I want to go back to working on the fruits of my last two NaNoWriMos, continue the novel I started in April, or poke at something new…so many stories, so little time. Reading yours is allowing me to procrastinate mine.

        *cough* I am something of a night owl, partly by preference, partly by work schedule, and partly because I have a noisy upstairs neighbor who apparently doesn’t sleep much and likes to play the guitar and sing at random times of day and night. I’m also in the Eastern Time Zone, which might be affecting your perception that I’m up later than I am. (Or would it make it later rather than earlier? I’m awful at time.)

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      2. I am one of those people that often takes advice very literally – one of the podcasts that listened to had someone asking the authors at what point they should give up on a manuscript and move on to something new. And their response was that you should almost never give up on a story. Even when you’re really stuck. They did give sort of an out which was that you could maybe do it after you have finished other stories. The reasoning was that sometimes we get stuck and its just easier to start something new and shiny rather than address the real problems we have with our story.

        I listened to it right when I was struggling with this story and decided that I was not going to give up until I had finished it enough that I was comfortable with other people reading it. And that was the real thing that changed what I was doing. When I made the decision last August to start posting things on the blog to get feedback it was like I had to finally commit to getting the thing done. And it took nearly another 6 months, but I got it done.

        My recommendation would be to take a moments break from it, but don’t give in or give up. Maybe attack it from a different angle. I’m on a huge story structure kick right now and it really helps me to gain some direction if I can deconstruct my story and figure out if the story is right. Maybe that would help you?

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      3. Hmm…it’s hard to explain. I have many, many stories/characters/ideas floating around in my head and changing and shifting all the time, but the one I worked on for the past two November NaNos is the one I really want to tell the most. I decided to try a different work for the April NaNo Camp as something of an experiment – I wanted to try writing something I hadn’t done a lot of background work on, and I wanted to see if I could finish something. I did okay on the first part (though as a librarian, I couldn’t help looking things up and doing a little research), and I failed entirely on the second part, but I still learned a lot. I’d definitely like to come back to my camp novel someday and rework it/finish it, but it needs a structure and more of a goal in mind before I dive back into it. As for other projects…I basically try to record all of the ideas I have on a particular project as they occur so that I can go back to them later. It does take some time away from my main project, but I think it’s worth it. I will probably go back to my “main” novel in July. I really liked the camp structure – being in a cabin was even more inspiring than just seeing my word count increase. Before the next camp, I’m hoping to do some revising on what I wrote the previous two NaNos and tweak some of my ideas for where I’m heading next.

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