‘Becoming the Monster’ Outline (Part 3): Story 1 Outline

  • Point of View: Character Beta
  • What is this Story in the context of the series as a whole?
    • A prelude to the serialized fiction series.
    • From the point of view of Beta. Beta’s mentor Epsilon is the character who upsets the status quo. The purpose of this short story is to
      • Introduce Beta and Epsilon.
      • Provide motivation for Epsilon to betray Faction A in favor of Faction B. Why does he want the word to change? Why does he want to switch sides
      • Show the status quo before the story begins, before Epsilon disrupts it.
      • Provide motivation for Beta to be in conflict with his elder brother and his father, as well as in alliance with his older sister.
    • Details to introduce:
      • The names of the gods. Do NOT mention the fact they are dead. Their death is a secret we learn later.
      • The duel between beta and someone else
      • The tension between the Paladins, the Church, and the vampiric aristocracy.
      • The tension in Beta’s family, between him, his father and his older brother. Also sister Alpha, if she’s in the scene.
      • Have father ORDER Beta to fight and kill. The demon within embraces the order, but Beta’s strong willed enough to defy the order.
      • Vampire biology(don’t go overboard)
      • Allied and competing factions against Beta’s family. Explain how father is angling to become the next emperor.
        • Beta wants to win and NOT vamp-drain his opponent, because doing so will enable him to lose his vampire demon.
        • Father wants Beta to win the fight and kill his opponent, because vampire Beta will bring the claimed lands under Father’s vampiric influence.
        • Brother wants Beta to lose the fight, and be killed by his opponent. This is because Beta is a rival to brother’s power.
      • Beta wants to win this duel for multiple reasons.
        • If he wins and spares his opponent, the Paladin Order will remove his vampire symbiote.
        • If he wins, he’ll become Lord of his ancestral lands (whether or not he spares his opponent).
          • And if he’s no longer a vamp, as a lord he’ll be able to spare his peasants from being eaten by vamp aristocrats.
          • If he wins and becomes a lord, then he’ll be able to destroy a foie gras factory on his ancestral lands
        • If he loses, someone with a rival claim to the lands will retain the title, he’ll lose his claim to the title, and the peasants on his ancestral lands will still be controlled by evil vamps.
      • Beta is grievously injured, but as he’s a vamp he heals fast.
      • Beta wins the battle, but loses his ultimate goal of no longer being a vamp, because he loses control and takes a bite out of his enemy.
        • Remember the order his father gave him? That comes back at the moment of most dire need, giving him the strength to succeed.
  • What is this story in the context of THIS STORY?
    • Begin with Beta in an overnight vigil. This is his moment of truth: either he saves his family
    • A duel between Beta and someone else, for the right of ownership of ancestral lands.
    • Beta discovers that EVERYONE is rooting against him. His father, his brother, his sister… except his mentor Epsilon. Epsilon wants him to win wholeheartedly. Epsilon is the only healthy influence in his life. (In a later story, Epsilon becomes the enemy.)
    • Beta ultimately fails, disappointing Epsilon but pleasing his father. He fails because of his brother’s meddling. Have the two of them get in a fight, and Beta is nearly killed before father orders them to stop. Have father’s orders BARELY restrain him, just as they Barely controlled Beta a moment earlier into killing his opponent.
  • Plot: Epsilon and Beta go on an adventure. Perhaps they engage in a single-combat duel against (Faction C), to introduce the primacy of single-combat which is important throughout the setting. Perhaps they’re fighting over a contested bit of territory.
    • Maybe they’re not fighting over territory. Maybe they’re fighting over an assassination?
    • So the fight is between the champions of (Faction A) and (Faction D) against (Faction C).
    • Maybe have Faction B in secret throw the match to Epsilon and Beta, as part of a deal. ‘Sweetening the pot,’ to get Epsilon on their side. (Faction B and C are on the same side as one another, so B can sweeten the deal.)
    • Here’s how it’s goes:
      • A duel between the two sides champions. Namely the First and Second. If the First champion backs out last minute, it’s up to the Second to step up and fight.
      • Begin with Beta and Epsilon meditating in the prelude to battle. They are Paladins- cleric warriors who pick up the sword with reluctance.
        • Or rather Epsilon is a Paladin, and Beta his Squire. And Beta is flunking his Paladin training. Simply put he’s not in strong enough control of his emotions to pass.
      • Before the fight, a Knight-Templar from the Paladin Order approaches Epsilon, saying he’s here to appraise Beta, see if he’s ready to continue his training. If Beta doesn’t have strong enough control of his emotions, he’ll flunk out of the Paladin Order. Epsilon and Beta protest, to no avail.
        • We now have stakes. Beta will lose something very important to him if he loses the fight.
        • Beta must not only win the fight, but also win it with tranquility. Paladins fight with peace in their hearts, never rage.
        • (NOTE: At this point, Beta doesn’t know yet he’s going to fight. He thinks he’s going to be a Second. Phrase this comment to take that into account.)
        • MAYBE have the Knight-Templar be watching in from the rafters, and not introduce himself? Have the scene start with Beta brooding, knowing that he’s in trouble, struggling for calm in the face of this great trial.
        • This plotpoint is how you rapidly make Beta (and therefore Epsilon) more empathizeable by the reader. Beta REALLY wants to pass this test. The reader must want him to succeed too.
          • What will he do if he becomes a Paladin? This is the key. Will Beta be given a healing artifact, which he can use to heal someone dear to him? Maybe his mother?
          • Meet his mother early on in this scene (or whoever it is he’s healing). Nice, but not to the point of being sickly sweet. Maybe sitting in the crowd, waving a flag, small speaking role. Dying of cancer?
          • NOTE: He’s healing himself! He is a vampire, and to cure himself he must win this duel to the death and NOT kill his opponent. Instead he must conquor his vampire bloodlust, defeat his enemy, and spare his enemy.
          • The reason why it’s important to have a purpose behind his desire to succeed, is because it allows the reader to connect with Beta. The reader (probably) cant empathize with a guy who’s about to engage in single magical combat with a guy, for the fate of whether or not he gets to join the Paladin Order. But they CAN empathize with a guy who’s struggling to save his mother’s life.
          • So when he is kicked out of the Order, thanks to his brother’s interferance (brother from another mother), it REALLY stings. He swears revenge.
      • They are fighting over Faction D’s ‘Harvesting Rights’ over land controlled by Faction C. The First is Faction D’s main champion- Alpha’s future husband/fiance. The Second is Beta, who’s from Faction A and is supporting their ally Faction D.
        • “Harvesting Rights” is the right for a vampire aristocrat to drink the blood- and take the lives- of the peasantry who lives in an area.
        • NOTE: Epsilon and Beta VIOLENTLY object to even the concept of ‘Harvesting Rights.’ They are both vamps(I think? Think it over), so even among vampires this concept is controvertial.
          • If they are vamps, they’re non-blood drinkers. Abstainers.
      • Unexpectedly, Faction D’s champion is a no-show. Beta was the Second, but then becomes the First. Beta’s a scrub, so he feels terrified. Beta was made the Second because this is a chance for him to earn some Cred (Knights earn Cred as a part of their system of single-combat duels). Now Epsilon (Beta’s mentor) is the new Second.
      • Alpha and leaders of Faction A and Faction B come down, asking where her fiance is. She came to the duel to support him and see him fight. He’s a no-show. She comes down with her Handmaiden, Epsilon’s daughter. Epsilon sends Alpha and Handmaiden to go find Fiance.
        • At this point, Faction B are allies of Faction A.
        • Leaders from include Faction A: Beta’s Father, and his elder brother (who is in line for the throne.) NOTE: Elder brother wants to kill Beta, and Beta knows it. Inheritance is on the line, and Father’s getting old.
        • Make it clear that Elder Brother is the one who is setting Beta up to die.
      • Epsilon begs Faction A and Faction B leaders to let him replace Beta. They refuse. Not only do they refuse, but they outright insult Epsilon while they’re at it.
        • Epsilon and Beta are pissed about the fact that they’re having to do this fight. Not only because they’re risking their lives when D’s champion skipped town (really he was assassinated), but also they’re pissed that they’re risking their lives to earn territory for a faction of serf-slavers/vampires. Both Epsilon and Beta are anti serf-slavery/aristocrats killing serfs.
        • Make it clear that elder brother is setting Beta up to die.
        • Further, Epsilon is serf-born. They insult Epsilon’s serf heritage
        • NOTE: Faction A leader is trying to get his rebellious son killed. He even bribed the enemy champion to do the killing.
      • OPTION 2: Instead of Beta being a second, his OPPONENT is a second. He was expecting to have an easy battle, but unexpectedly his opponent is a no show (same reason as before, his brother killed his opponent). Now Beta must fight a MUCH more powerful warrior. Brother is trying to kill Beta.
      • After Faction A leaders leave, Faction B leaders talks to Epsilon in private.
        • Says “Listen, I hear you’re not happy with Faction A’s treatment of you. If you want, I’m willing to hire you. You’re a great duelist; I’m willing to pay double what Faction A is offering you.”
        • “Tempting, but no. I’m loyal Faction A.”
        • “Just keep Faction B in mind if you want a new employer. The world’s changing, and sometimes the strong thing to do is support people who treat you right. Together we can free the serfs.” He turns to Beta. “Good luck.”
        • “Thank you, sir,” Beta says as Faction B leaves. Beta says to Epsilon, “You should take him up on the job. If I wasn’t related to Faction A, I would leave Faction A in a heartbeat. We’re scum.”
        • “Don’t even think that. Faction A- your family-has treated me well over the years. I won’t have anyone speak badly of them to me- even you.”
        • NOTE: in the next chapter Faction A REALLY wrongs Epsilon, causing him to switch sides.
      • Beta begs Epsilon to take over for him. Epsilon calms Beta down. “Don’t panic. Remember your fundamentals. I believe in you. However, if things go sour, just try to survive and shout at the judges that you surrender. But you won’t lose because I believe in you.” Beta then doublechecks his gear, to make sure it’s all in peak condition.
        • Epsilon is the villain of this story. At this point we demonstrate that he’s a nice person.
      • There’s a fight. Beta does surprisingly well. Make the battle stylish. Beta is TERRIFIED the entire time.
        • The fight begins with the enemy champion admitting that Faction A leader (Beta’s Father) bribed him to kill Beta.
        • At first Beta doesn’t believe this. But then he puts together the pieces.
          • Father forced Beta to be the Second.
          • Father (probably) bribed the First to be a no-show, forcing Beta to fight.
          • Father runs a serf-auction shop (basically a slave-trade shop for ‘tasty’ serfs/serf bloodlines). Beta DETESTS this fact about his father, and has made repeated (embarrasing) protests against this practice.
          • Beta was always dead-weight. According to the system of inheritance, Beta would inherit territory that would otherwise go to his elder brother, and both father and brother were looking for plausible deniablility in eliminating Beta
        • Beta triumphs in the end, by relying on his rage. To survive the battle, he must kill his enemy… or very nearly kill him. (Think over which.) Because he uses his rage, he flunks out of the Paladin Order.
        • The purpose of this fight is to prove that Beta is no slouch. However when he fights Epsilon in chapter 3 we see that Beta loses HARDCORE. The reason for this is to show that Beta is good, but Epsilon is BETTER.
      • The Knight-Templar of the Paladin Order steps forward and strips Beta of his squireship, because Beta killed/nearly killed his opponent on the battlefield. A paladin fights with tranquility, not rage.
      • After having won the fight but lost his lifelong dream of becoming a Paladin, Beta goes up to confront his eldest brother. Elder brother set up the situation, putting Beta in a no-win situation: either Beta kill his opponent, or Beta dies. Eldest brother just laughs. Father doesn’t care (senile? actively malicious? he’s not physically present? Or maybe they’re all vampires, so sibling murder is just sort of a thing they do.)
        • Beta swears revenge. Joining the order was his chance to save his mother’s life, a chance which is now lost.
      • Epsilon comforts Beta, promises to approach the Knight-Templar and try to get Beta a second chance. “Your heart is in the right place, for all the fact that you aren’t very talented. I’ve still not given up on you.”
      • Beta is also angry because he had to defend the institution of serf-slavery on behalf of Faction A. He HATES that fact. (Elder bro is pro serfdom)
      • Epsilon then finished the chapter by trying to track down Alpha and Handmaiden.
  • Beginning: Establish characters, stakes
    • Characters
      • Epsilon: kind to Beta, loyal to Faction A, to his daughter, to Alpha
      • Beta: Angry at the treatment of peasants, idolizing Epsilon
    • Plot
  • Middle:
    • Characters
      • Epsilon:
        • Treated poorly by Beta/Alpha’s relatives/the powerful people in faction A.
        • Forced to risk his life for something he doesn’t believe in because Faction A demands it.
      • Beta:
        • Forced to risk his life for something he doesn’t believe in.
        • He’s a rebel, but he’s forced to protect an institution he hates because Faction A demands it.
    • Plot
  • End:
    • Characters
      • Epsilon
        • He wins the battle, but winds up having doubts about Faction A because they forced him to do something he never wanted to do.
      • Beta
        • Same with Beta. They won a battle, and now he’s furious at his relatives for forcing him to defend an institution he hates.
    • Plot

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