Ustron and the Plot

Over the last four chapters of writing Tarus Space, drafting the plot mostly began as a series of “interesting points” that sat in a bag and woven into a coherent plot and is now moving much more toward a traditional sort of writing. For Battle of Ustron, it has an intro, rising action, an obstacle, a climax and then a conclusion. What hasn’t changed, is pulling from that bag of interesting points for the humour that’s thrown into the comic. After all, a lot of jokes are just jabs at military sci-fi and hard sci-fi.

What I felt was missing in the other chapters was better and more solid writing; a well crafted plot to give structure to the jokes I was trying to deliver. It’s one thing to laugh at a funny tidbit here and there, but like a nicer wine, you don’t just want some upfront flavours, you want that backing too. Tarus Space always had a long term plot but ideas are less important than the actual execution. For a while, it didn’t sit that well with me, as the writer, for the plot to feel under-delivered either because the pacing was off, the structure was wonky or there’s just so much to the world of Tarus Space and I’m showing too little and too much with every turn of the page.

So, for Battle of Ustron, I focused it down a lot more. The plot is centrally themed around a single part of the war, with everything else probably unfairly accelerated around it so that it doesn’t matter as much to the reader. There’s just one battle, whose importance is stated upfront and with some flashback, while everything else going on in the war is vague and unimportant. You know it’s going on, you know it’s happening but you don’t need to know any of the specifics. It’s my take on Tolkein’s grand ability to craft thousands of years of history, show you a scant few months of it in an adventure by a hobbit, and you simultaneously feel the world building that’s going on without being overly concerned with the details.

As for why a place called Ustron? I did what any great sci-fi author does when they need names… I went to a map and then went to an area of non-English speakers and then chose names from their country. I mean, obviously the theme for Tarus Space is the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (it was obvious right?), so I chose some smaller towns in Poland and surrounding countries for place names.

For chapter 5, hopefully it’ll feel more solid. A deep dive into a single battle, with the knowledge of the rest of the war going on, and a proper amount of attention to the characters. I want the chapter to help expand them in a way that’s more about reading an interesting plot than singular gags. Of course, the story is still light-hearted, so it won’t feel “heavy”.

Anyway, that’s all for now.

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