Archive | October 11, 2016

Worldbuilding for Preptober… The Family Answers

First, some other people’s Preptober-related links:

Find Your Story Plot By Asking These 7 Questions
NaNoWriMo Triage Center: Helping You Get To 50K
Some Writing Worksheets
5 Ways to plot your novel


I was all ready to start this post with “Oh bog, I forgot technology”… and then I remembered that I’d covered it in a handwave in the basic questions post.

So, with technology handled, at this point, I look at my story, and see what I need to know to get it started.

My protagonist starts out at home, so, as mentioned in the Family post, I need to figure out what that looks like.

Here’s a bit of my process in picking family type:

I was super tempted to go with line marriage, because I’m a Heinlein fan and because I’ve never played with it before (the basic concept: a group marriage continues to add spouses over time, so that the family never ends as a unit). But the premise of my story is that it’s based on YA tropes, and attempting to find a line marriage to join wouldn’t fit the young-romance sort of thing well (brb, adding that to my what-to-write-later list in my bujo).

On the other hand, I want to play with some non-“traditional” relationship types, so it can’t be just “man/woman all the time,” hetero-monogamy.

The only other thing I know going in is I don’t want a dead/absent/checked out mother. Divergent had its flaws, but I really liked that there was an active, involved mother figure.

I ended up settling on extended family living arrangements with group marriages of three to five being common. This provides more family support, less duplication of both effort and things needed, and the ability to easier cover for a missing family member, should the government or other circumstances call them away.

So that’s her home life. Things I’ve already picked because of the nature of the story fit in here, too.

For instance:

Their government does yearly testing on people, although I haven’t figured out when it stops. Students gifted in a given area are tracked into that field. Schooling is directed by that testing, leading students into very specific areas. There is no opting-out of the testing, or of the directions it sends one.

This gives me: a governmental, nationwide educational system. A testing system, and the authority to carry it out. Adults who have been tracked into fields they are capable in.

It also gives me the question: what happens to people who aren’t skilled in anything? What about people who hate what they’re best at?

Also, what about people who are skilled in several areas? Or people tracked their whole life into something that’s made obsolete?

No answers yet, but I’ve found that often questions (looking at you, [personal profile] kelkyag, [personal profile] inventrix) stretch and build my world the most.

What parts of your world does your story dictate you understand? What parts of the world are themselves dictated by the story?

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We don’t deal with outsiders very well…

This follows You’ll never know the murderer sitting next to you…. in theme and character, but is several years later, very soon after the apocalypse.

This story involves threats of murder, rape, and other violence against women, children, and men. It involves actual murder and violence, mind control, and stone-cold bluffing.

Three people greeted Devin’s gang at the gate: a preteen boy, a twenty-something young man, and a woman not much older than the man.

The woman was carrying a shotgun slung lazily on its strap over her shoulder, a sawed-off baseball bat resting on the other shoulder, and a hunting knife on the other hip. The man was pacing slowly back and forth, clearly itching for a fight.

Devin had twelve fighters, all of them armed to the teeth. There was nothing this rag-tag group could do, and the fence wouldn’t hold for all that long.

The woman raised her eyebrows at him. “Well?”

“Give us your food and blankets and you’ll live.”

“If we give you our food and blankets, we’ll die,” she pointed out calmly. Way too calmly. By this point, she should have been negotiating.

“Not my problem. You fight us, you’ll die.”

That eyebrow quirked. “All of us?”

Oh, she was negotiating. Devin was unimpressed. “You’ve got kids. You cooperate, I’ll leave you enough food for the kids to survive. Otherwise, I’m killing all of you, now.” He could always come back and get the rest of the food when the parents had weakened themselves or starved themselves.

She turned to the man. “Go get the crew. Don’t run.” She turned to the boy. “Get your brother, drill 2. If you find his sister and her kin, tell them the same, but you get your brother and keep him safe.”

The two looked like they wanted to argue. Neither of them did.

The woman turned back to Devin and waited until they were both out of sight. “You threatened my family,” she said, calm and cold. “You’re going to die. If everyone else leaves right now, they might survive.”

She was a single woman, she was barely armed; she was bluffing.

Three of Devin’s crew ran off anyway. He could kill them later.

“You.” She pointed at one of the ones who’d remained; Tabby, a hard-ass fighter, former biker, three-time felon. She said something in some foreign jabber. “You go, and you tell anyone who might be interested, you do not mess with Boom. You do not mess with the Ranch.

She pointed to one more person, Jimmy, a homicidal little shit even at fifteen. She repeated her jabber. “You, go the opposite direction as her, and do the same.”

They weren’t going to leave. They were Devin’s most loyal fighters. Tabby might be a girl, but she was deadly. Jimmy might be a kid, but he was insane.

“Are you done? Because you know we’ll find the kids, wherever they hid. And you know what my men will do with a pretty girl like you. You might ever survive. Put a leash on you and keep you around the camp, might even give you another baby.”

He leered at her, and she smiled. “You know, I was hoping you’d say that. Smile, asshole, you’re on Candid microphone.”

“…What?” He didn’t even notice when Jimmy and Tabby slunk away in opposite directions.

His words repeated back to him from some hidden loudspeaker. ”Put a leash on you and keep you around the camp. Might even give you another baby.

Devin shook his head. “What, you think the police are gonna care? The police are gone, bitch. The law is gone, ain’t no law left but us.”

“You’re mistaken,” she smiled. “The law that’s left is us. Boom. Run, bitches.” Her shotgun swung up. A snarl sounded somewhere to Devin’s left. At the last minute, he realized she’d been stalling.

“You fucking bitch, you were buying time!” He aimed his pistol at her head.

He never got a chance to pull the trigger; he never even saw the horns that gored him.

The bodies of his crew fell, gored, beheaded, shot, turning purple and green and chartreuse. Six people fell while Devin bled out, their glassy eyes staring at him. Nobody had time for accusation. They hardly had time to see the whirlwind that attacked them.

As the ground opened up and swallowed him, Devin saw the woman pick up one more of his fighters — Pete, Pete, who’d been loyal even though he hated violence against women. “You’ll live,” she declared, against all sense. “Go. Tell them. You do not fucking mess with Boom.

The dirt covered Devin, and he died.

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