29 Oct 2013

NaNo Prep 2013 - The Villain

I have my heroine.  However, the plot can't really start until she has someone to thwart, since Ione is not the one prompting the plot.  Sure, she'll start taking over at some point, but someone else needs to set the story off.

Enter the villain.*

I realize that there are proper terms used by English majors and teachers for the roles: protagonist and antagonist.  I also realize that the protagonist is the one trying to change the status quo while the antagonist is trying to maintain it**.  At the same time, common usage flips the two, so that the protagonist is the hero and the antagonist is the villain, even if the latter is trying to shake things up and the former is trying to prevent it***.  Thus, my usage of hero and villain; the roles are much clearer.  Just don't ask about Jack.

Since my plot is, boiled right down to basics, "rogue angel tries to start the apocalypse while rogue analyst tries to prevent it", it's time to work out the rogue angel.  Angels tend to be on the side of the heroes, so why is my angel rogue?  What gave him**** that push to start the Final War?  How does a writer peer into the mind of a being so elevated and alien to properly figure out a motive?

Arrogance is a starting point.  The angel, for whatever reason, feels that the time is nigh to begin Armageddon and defeat the demonic forces of Lucifer.  No other angel or not enough angels agree, so the next step is to provoke the War.  The rogue wants to anger demons working on Earth into retaliation.  Get the demon angry enough and it may very well lash out, upon which the rogue angel can call foul and say that Armageddon has begun.  This course of action gives me at least two motives for Jack.  The first is that he is the demon being provoked and that he sees through the ruse.  The second is that he doesn't want to see the Final War started yet; he likes his job and has gone slightly native.

Now, I have a motive for the rogue, at least a superficial one where the cause can be looked at deeper in a follow up story.  There is probably a deeper reason, but there may not be time or even a proper point of view to dig into it.  What happens next?  How does the angel provoke?  The main way I can think of is to disrupt a demon's work, preventing the demon from corrupting others.  Easiest way to corrupt others is temptation, and mass temptation comes through a network where once you're in, it's difficult to leave.  A cult won't cut it; sure, it will get a number of people to follow, but outsiders will scoff at the victims' sanity.  Organized crime, though, has a number of tentacles, aided and abetted by governments through Wars Against; War Against Drugs, War Against Alcohol, War Against Terrorism.  From there, organized crime has its tentacles into everything from municipal construction to protection rackets to loansharking to legitimate businesses laundering money.  The rogue angel just needs to ferret out the chain to hit a criminal organization where it hurts.

The next question is where.  The edges of the criminal empire are the street dealers, the human traffickers, the enforcers, but they have to answer to someone above them.  The gang leaders, the barons of crime, are usually isolated from the illegal activity, funding and reaping the benefits through layer after layer of deniable plausibility, at least in fiction.  Power tends to corrupt, so the demons don't have to necessarily be attached to the heads of the crime gangs; they can be a few rungs lower, whispering into lieutenants' ears and providing other funding while skimming off the top.  So, the rogue just needs to work up from the bottom, which will have already been done by the start of the novel.  The story is Ione's, not the angel's.  This leads to a warehouse in Paris.

Going off track a bit, here's where Ione comes in.  Her job, CSIS analyst and decryption expert, means that she uses various methods of intelligence, mainly signals intelligence (SIGINT), to locate threats.  Ione used the tracking of BitCoins to find an arms dealer, made contact over the Internet, and needed to set up the meet with British agents hunting the marketer at the warehouse is Paris.  It's not the same method of tracking that the rogue angel uses, but still effective.

Why Paris?  While working out the details of the spy who carries the story, I thought about the different nationalities possible.  I originally thought to use a British spy as my lead, riffing off 007.  I also considered a CIA agent and dismissed the idea of a Canadian in the same position.  But while I worked it out, I realized an agent out of her depth would work far better than an experienced spy, and the best way to do that would be to use a Canadian.  During all that, though, the opening scene coalesced, leading to the warehouse in Paris.  I thought about moving it.  With a CIA agent, I could move the plot to Montreal, since the CIA isn't officially allowed to work within the US.  A CSIS analyst, though, could just pass along the info to a field agent who could drive to Montreal, leaving Ione out of the plot altogether.  If I moved the plot to the US, the angel starts running into religious issues in the States, a factor that I do not want to touch.  So, Europe it is, and Paris works as a hub of intrigue.

Now, I have a main villain.  There's a small problem.  There's no pressure on Ione to find the rogue angel in a short amount of time.  Sure, Jack will urge her along, but Ione doesn't have a motive to speed things along.  Enter my secondary villain, a British agent who believes that Ione set up the British team at the warehouse.  This agent, who does need a bit of fleshing out but will work on standby for now, wants to know what happened and doesn't believe the official reports.  She thinks that Ione isn't telling everything she knows.  The agent is right, but for the wrong reasons.  So, with the British spy nipping at her heels, Ione has a reason to work with Jack.

That should be enough for me to get going November 1st.  Little details will still need to be worked out.  Some research, such as types of rental cars available both here in Ottawa and in Paris, needs to be dug into.  I should be good to go for November.

* Dun dun DUN!
** Die Hard with the director's commentary on should be required viewing and listening for anyone wanting to film and even write.  I learned far more in those two hours than in four years of high school English.
*** Exceptions abound.  The heist movie genre alone provides the bulk of exceptions.
**** Or her.  There's no decent third person neuter pronoun that doesn't imply non-sentient object.  "It" is a very impersonal word.

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