The assignment is done. I definitely had to do some thinking. I’ve learned that what I read doesn’t neccessarily stick with me. I tend to recall more stories I’ve critiqued than published novels I’ve read. (Hmm maybe that means I should slow down when I read?)
Here’s the assignment, and it did help me sort through something I was dealing with on my MC.
- Who is the character whose actions and decisions most drive your novel? Kelyn
- Describe your hero in five words or less. Faith in self, protective, cunning.
- What has to happen for your audience to know that the novel is over? (We will call this the goal.) Kelyn needs to free not only himself, but his people.
- Describe this goal in ten words or less. Kelyn must remove his people’s fear of their masters.
- What is the one most profound or pervasive reason that your hero cannot accomplish the goal right away? (We will call this the primary obstacle.) Slavery is enforced through magic, their past is kept from them.
- Describe the primary obstacle in ten words or less. Magic, which is unlawful, guards them closely.
- What person most clearly drives, creates, or causes the primary obstacle? (We will call this person the antagonist.) Torace the Whip, the Master Discipliner
- Describe your antagonist in five words or less. Hostile, controlling, well-versed in magic
- Look at the answer to question 2, and find three other sf&f novels whose hero could also be described in these exact or very similar words.* Stardoc (series), Game of Thrones, Moon Called, Golden Compass
- Look at the answer to question 4, and find three other sf&f novels whose conflict could be described thus. (Kelyn must remove his people’s fear of their masters.) Stargate SG1 novels, Two Towers
- Look at the answer to question 6, and find three other sf&f novels with the same basic primary obstacle. (Magic, which is unlawful, guards them closely.) Valdemar series, Deverry series, Jane Lindskold’s wolf books, Diplomacy of Wolves (Lisle), Golden Compass, Stargate
- Look at the answer to question 8, and find three other sf&f novels whose antagonist meets this description. (Hostile, controlling, well-versed in magic) Shanara series, E. Haydon’s Symphony books, Great Book of Amber, Star Wars, Secret Texts (Holly Lisle)
- Which novels appear more than once in your answers to questions 9-12? List them here by name. Holly Lisle’s Secret Texts, Stargate SG1
- List the ways in which your novel stands in stark contrast to each of the novels listed in question 13.
Stargate: my novel is different in that the man who seeks to free the slaves is a slaved himself where the Stargate characters are from a world which had once been enslaved; their travels bring them to enslaved societies whom they wish to free from the tyranny of the Gou’uld.
The Secret Texts series begins with a character who is well situated and runs into trouble by being who she is, unable to hide her magic. Kelyn is a slave who fights to break out of his confinement, but the part of him that is magic holds him back rather than forces him out. His enemy is one he knows, rather than Secret Text’s character is trying to discover.
Bottom line: I think I still need to read more, especially current material.