Tutorial and thought process
You wondered about the thought process of making stories. Well, let’s think of one. Where do we start? I usually start at the end of the story; maybe just one scene can inspire me into writing the whole thing. Because I am into these military topics, let’s take a clash of two armies. So, why are they fighting about? There must be a reason, right? We need a motive for a clash, something that both of the armies want. So what is that thing that fueled the fight? Maybe it is something ludicrous like an apple. Seems dumb enough. That must be some apple if they are eager to fight over it. Is the apple made of gold? That means they will race for it just to be rich. Hm, not good enough.
There must be some other reason why would they fight for an apple. What if that Apple is THE APPLE? The one that Eve took from the tree of wisdom? Uuu, we are bringing the religion into this. God told them not to eat it and she did. He then boomed from the cloud and told them they have sinned, as they broke the rules. So, armies are racing to get the bigger knowledge, but Eve has already eaten it, thus giving the whole our kind wisdom. This doesn’t add up. What if the wisdom is not what happened, but she only had 0.001% of the Godly wisdom, as she only took one apple? What if we all run on that 0.001 percent, and if the armies get more apples, they get wiser? Wouldn’t that result with the wrath of God and instantaneously we all get wiser if one of us eats the apple?
Apple is a symbol of life. What if the original sin was for Eve to get pregnant after she ate the apple, making us all a product of that sin, so we are all sinful? Could it be that Apple opened Eve’s sight for loving more than one man and that is the sin – wanting more than what you have – greed, power, and life? There is a commandment about that.
But it wasn’t her fault. The heavenly snake told her to do it. Snake is a symbol of evil, but it had wings, so a reptilian with wings – that’s a dragon, a truly ominous creature capable of great terror. Dragons breathe fire, and fire is represented as lust. Could it be that Eve became susceptible to lust when she met the snake, and she lusted for another thing, lustful for life, greedy for knowledge, questioning the existence of her Creator? Don’t doubt God. Love your God. He is the only God. There is a commandment about that too.
We are getting into the realms of conspiracy theory here, but every good story has that, so let us continue down this path. Could it be that if Apple is life, it is also representing death, the knowledge about what happens when we die and that there is no heaven? But they live in heaven, maybe that’s just Earth, our blue marble with green gardens on the continents. Everything rots so do the apple and that could be the sign of the circle of life. So, who masters the power of life, can master who will get to live, he commands death so all of this can be a race for a weapon of great power. Is this all an illusion? It could be just that, we don’t know. We ate only one apple and have 0.001 percent of all knowledge.
And about the main character, the one who is important for the story. Originally that is Eve, but if we use her name, it will become obvious of whom do we speak about. So, our person of importance is a girl. Why not? Women are usually neglected as a powerful creature because of the tropes and stereotypes of heroism. You remember the stories, a great hero saves a damsel in distress. We are just putting it the other way around and create misdirection here. Instantly a better thrill and storyline. She does need a sacred name, something holy. How about we call her Abby? It’s like the noun describing a church, a holy place, a shelter for the lost people, for sinners.
Now we are getting somewhere. So, what are the armies’ nationalities? Do we need a nationality? Hm, how about we take something fictional? We can do that because we aren’t pissing off anyone. So, how do we fabricate a nation? Where do we start? Well, let’s follow the syllables. We need a powerful enemy, so what letters radiate with power? It’s usually the R, K, G, P, F. They are kind of strong. So, bring in the vowels. Fa, Ri, Po, Ge, Fu, Ro, Pe… Now combine a few. Rarop, Furori, Rurop, Krager, Krig, Frape… nope, it sounds like a drink, Rifrak… that sounds dumb. Maybe if we add a bit more letters, it will sound better. Rundrar… no, sounds similar to ‘around’, something else. Randor… ha, ha, ha run the door, no, it’s stupid. Kandor, hmm… did you mean candor? Stupid. Pandor… now that is similar to Pandora and her box. Could we add the Greek mythology to this story, I mean, the apple is a source of all evil in this story, a great weapon, and there are similarities between Abby and Pandora. They both did a great mistake in life and now whole humanity pays for it. It could be a great reference in the story. Uuu, I got the scene. Check this out.
A vehicle is speeding through the air; the pilot is notifying the team leader that they are entering the hostile territory. The team leader passes the note onto others. The operatives are sitting in the back, all geared up and they do a small talk to break the nervousness. One of them is focused on the mission; maybe the woman he tries to save is Abby, his wife. Hm, now we are falling under that cliché with hero saving the damsel. No, we are not telling that story. 0k, what if he hates her guts? He is trying to stop her and she is running away from… Eh, Pandorian… what is the name of their team? Something fearful. How about Argo, shorter from Argonaut? It could be a coined name from Antiterrorist General Operations, and our villain who hunts for Abby is Jason, just like the leader of the sailors from Argos. See, a lot of references. Now we are making something greater in the story. This brings the dept to the plot.
So, they are hasting towards the undisclosed location where this woman of interest is last seen. While she is hiding in the crowded streets, hackers picked up her image from the security cameras and now they are sending a team to retrieve their possession. Seems legit. Abby is wearing shades and a long coat with a scarf around her neck, but not those fashionable or the woolen one, it is a tasteful beige piece of strip she has tucked in her collar. Maybe she is traveling in the mall, taking the escalator to the top floor, she is also hasting, but where? She needs to meet with somebody, a man, an agent from the opposite team. He will take her to safety and everything will be 0K. Well, he tells her that, but he doesn’t see the aircraft hovering above him and black drops shattering the glass ceiling. Boom goes the glass and a lot of smoke bombs, shock grenades disrupt the calmness of the shopping area. Instantly, the hail of bullets starts following these fugitives, but no bullet hits the mark, this agent has a reactive shield installed in his arm that stretches a saucer of plasma around them. Yeah, that’s cool. We can use that.
So, what next? Oh, there are civilian agents there combating the intruders, but they are weak for them. Why? Well, we need to present the size of the enemy. Now we fear she might not make it. Now, we worry about the lovely girl that only wants to live and these bastards want her as a weapon. Now we have a clash of morals into the story, we have sides here neatly presented. Now we know who is a baddie and who is a good guy, or a girl. Hm, that is just an action scene, a culmination, or an opening. We can make a build up to this moment, or use this moment to show the bad, so, later on, we can show the good, or a reaction to this violence, the aftermath and show what this other side is offering to the girl.
What if the other side knows what is she capable to do, so they decide it is better off if they just end her life and that way save humanity? I mean, she is a substitute for the nuclear bomb. What if we add the plot twist here, and say that Argo men know the plan of this other group to kill Abby, so they actually try to save her, but Abby doesn’t know that, so she chooses to go with the enemy. She could be deceived by the enemy, convinced to turn against those who made her that way and run.
How about the second plot twist? It’s only the game of deceptions and Abby is a double agent playing a victim so she can reach someone of importance and unleash the apple? Now we get the second shock, we show the shrewdness of the Pandorians, we see how determined to win they are. Uuu, badass, am I right?
So, the moral of the story? What message do we want to send here? 0k, nobody does support violence, yet if you are defending, you are inside the limits of law and wars are chaotic, thus there are no rules there and everything goes. It could be a call for defending yourself any way you can, stop the enemy at the beginning by causing them critical damage. You sever the head, and the evil SNAKE will perish. You’ve killed a dragon, a Devil’s tool to torture humanity. It is what a hero would do, in this story, what a cunning woman agent would do for her country. Protect it from evil, guard it against potential harm, and inspire hope for peace. Hope? That is interesting. That could be the great power of Pandorians as only hope remained in Pandora’s Box. What if Pandora’s Box is still there, guarding hope and the box is a holy artifact? Interesting. We just found the basic thread for the story. We will use a theory of hope, mention it in a bad connotation and rival that with an example of good. And the good reference is reserved for the heroine. That way we tell the reader who is who, by defending the favorable attitude. So, you don’t specify who is a hero; you just give a glimpse on which he/she might be in the story.
Now what? Well, now we do the basic construction of how we want to set the storyline. First, begin with the mystery. We want our hook on the reader, so we give scant information about the objective the operatives are after. We then show her running, that way we ask ourselves: Why and where is she running?. It builds up the tension and stirs up the story a bit. Second, we give a little more info, but we cut it with an action scene where Pandorians barge in the mall and start wreaking havoc. Then we add the running again, small plot twists, a scene with Pandorians being laconic in speech, the move to find the target, but she is far away. See, I am doing the outline of the story by rapidly noting down what I want to mention and in what order I want the scenes to build a story. Now, we return to Abby and the one who saved her from her kind. They have a brief conversation; she breaks up emotionally and tells everything to this agent, but bear in mind she is laying as she is a double agent herself. Here she is buying the trust of the gullible agent who thinks he is saving humanity. Both of these people have a good cause to fight, but this agent’s Government wants to kill the greatest weapon, weaken the Pandor and then commit a full-on invasion. Uuu, now we see what is Abby fighting against. Nope, we don’t show that. That is a great reveal for the end where Abby had the final last words before she unleashes the dragon. Uuu, the dragons, she has harnessed the power of fire so she can burn everything. See, now we have a complete turn because we thought of her to be Eve, but now we portray her as a villain, a Satan speaking through the snake of Eden. Yin and Yang people. Every good person has a bit evil in them and vice-versa.
That’s so cool, but hey, killing is bad, mass killing is even worse. Something else. Our heroine is not evil, she is good, and so what can she do? How to stop the invasion on your own? People love explosions, the bigger the better. What if Abby is able to get closer to the heavily guarded area where her enemy is preparing a great army for its journey? She could destroy the command center for that army, cause a wildfire to spread and stop the whole thing. And as everything is turning to ashes, she delivers a warning to her enemy General by explaining that war with Pandor is a bad idea as they are not of equal strength. Now her enemy has something to think about and this was a demonstration of destructive powers that Pandor has. One fight can stop the war and meaningless bloodshed.
There you go a complete story. Now, just to write it down and edit it so every part of the story has the desired effect and we are good to go.
Umm, keep scrolling down. There is a story beneath.
Pandorian cruiser evaded the hilltops and broke off to take another route, the one which went below the radar. Pilot leaned over to decipher the incoming message. His visor opened up with an image from the public camera – a woman in a long coat swung her head when the device snapped the picture.
“Sir. We have the update from the HQ. She is in a populated area.” The pilot said, and team leader returned to his seat to check the message. More photos came in with info of the target’s current location.
“Get ready, men. We have her.” Captain’s dim growl spoke of hatred he had for this woman.
“We are entering the hostile airspace. Estimated time of arrival… Twelve minutes.” The pilot added and then the whole squad started checking their gear and loaded the weapons.
Even though the Captain was focused on the mission; he couldn’t help the thought about Abby, a target slipping through his fingers. A traitor, he would name her, only if he wasn’t feeling something for her.
Bumpy ride concealed his hands shaking. He looked out the window, admired nature and life that developed without people noticing how simple life can be – how simple was for Abby to end it. Years of working with her, preparing her to defend the Pandora’s Box, the one artifact his enemy must not reach, and now, she is joining them? Like Prometheus stealing the flames from Olympus, she took something from the realm of Pandora. The bare thought of her doing this was a dagger to his hearth.
And she ran. She ran across the polished floor of the shopping center where only her heels knocked speeding. Swiftly she took the ramp of the escalator and subtly frisked the civilians, oblivious of the danger that could ensue in minutes.
The top floor was almost empty, must be that scaffolding and two working shops gaping empty pushed the customers away. She picked up her steps around the bend and came along the coffee table. Sun illuminated the stretch through the glass ceiling, periodically obstructing her vision with the shades of metal bars that held the roof. The man sat in the chair, while another stood opposite him.
Inhaling a deep breath and looking around to see if someone was following her, she stopped by the chair.
“You can relax now. If the meeting place was jeopardized, I wouldn’t have come. My men guard the object. We are not your enemy.” It sounded as if the man fought the urge to break in laughter.
“Five days ago, you were, but here we are,” Abby said in cold blood, but the man hasn’t reacted. “Shouldn’t we be moving?” She added while tapping her heel against the floor.
The man shifted in his seat and smiled at the bodyguard.
“Not until we are sure that you brought us an apple.” He referred to a custom of his folk to bring apples as a present when Abby turned once more and stepped forward to look him in the eyes.
“You jerk.” She pushed the words through the clutched jaw. “We already negotiated this. Get me to the base and I’ll give it to you. If you think I will just hand it over, you are wrong. Nobody guarantees my safety then. Please help me.” She grabbed his arm and stared at him like a puppy, but he moved it away.
“You are still a Pandoran and we have no reason to believe, you have what we’ve asked. You contacted US, not the other way around!” The shout threatened to echo in the top level. “We need to know where is the thing you spoke of if you want our help. I need to be sure you have it. If you don’t, we have no deal.” His tone radiated with resolve, leaving her to make a decision.
“I can’t.” Tears came running down her cheek and they were about to leave when she said. “I can’t show it to you, because it is in me.” He could barely understand her from the crying.
He looked back from the height of his shoulder, slanted his eyes at her removing the scarf and saw a great scar not fully healed. The line stretched all the way to the back of her head, while the inflamed skin shone bright like it was about to burst.
In two steps he was on his knees, helping her cover-up. They both shook when the bodyguard started consolidating the troops for departure.
“I didn’t know what those monsters were capable of. You didn’t lie. We will help you disappear.” Consulting words finally calmed her, rendering her able to walk again.
A shade clouded the ceiling when transparent top broke in pieces. A rain of shards raced the shock grenades to the floor. It blinded Abby for a second before a high pitch noise swooped in and pushed out the other sounds. Both the agent and Abby collapsed. He saw the smoke bombs, the short and repetitive flashes of light above him and his men falling down like rabbits. He grabbed Abby by the waist and pulled her towards the corner. Somehow, he managed to remove the sleeve in time and raise a plasma Lambda shield. A cacophony of bullets rang over the protective barrier following them down the stairs.
“Get her!” The Captain pointed at them running away and the ARGO team regrouped.
Team advanced in a direction the fugitives escaped, yet they had to stop when a machinegun peppered them back.
Abby and her new friend dashed for the vehicle in the underground garage which assumed a trajectory when the agent started the engine. Spitting bluish flames the aircraft soon met the air and gained velocity when the ARGO team stopped to see them vanish out of sight.
“Call in the HQ. Tell them that the asset has escaped.” The Captain said to the nearest operative.
His deputy came closer; puzzled with the mission’s objective he cleared his throat.
“We’ve got nine bodies for the pyre. Soon they will send reinforcement. What is our next step?” The second in line asked the Captain who absently frowned at the levitating smoke.
“Back to the cruiser. The enemy must not get the EDEN.” The operatives swiftly nodded and went for the exit while the deputy stalled behind the Captain.
“When will you admit she is gone?” The deputy asked and got a Captain’s hand vigorously squeezing his neck.
“If I lose her, I lost the war.” The Captain gnashed at the man whose eyes mapped the face disfigured with anger. “Pandor must not fall into the hands of our enemy, or a far greater evil shall be unleashed.” He added and threw the poor fellow on the floor.
“Get to your senses! She betrayed you! It’s hopeless! Forget about Abby!” He proclaimed trying to prompt himself by the elbows.
“My daughter is not hopeless, you…!” Captain shook his finger at the deputy and stopped, seeing the debate was futile.
Without the word, he went for his men. Deputy rose up and spat on the ground before he begun stomping to catch up.
To retrieve Abby, they had to be quick, as time was of the essence. Every moment wasted was a moment closer to an apocalypse. Once the Pandora’s Box is opened, there is no going back. Abby knew this all along; she even told it to the agent who shielded her.
They flew fast and high above the clouds. The civilian capsule gave a little signal in the radar, so their journey was fairly safe. However, that weapon in Abby wasn’t giving out the same impression.
“Captain Jason, your father, is not a man of reason. He doesn’t understand that both Kingdoms are in grave danger. A team of our finest surgeons is waiting at the base. We will remove that thing.” The agent’s words were served with worry and Abby grabbed him.
“It can’t be taken out. I’ve tried it once with a razor.” Her hair hid the tears. “My Zeus, this shouldn’t be possible. They’ve made me a Titan, a freak!” A bang over the door announced the silence in the cockpit when agent looked at her and started descending to the secretive location.
The landing was gentle and they sat for a minute so she could find courage for the next step. Solving a problem that Kingdoms were facing was a task for the cool heads, but as it appeared, stakes were high and the threat was real. Who knew of what Abby was capable of? In the blink of an eye, she could end the life as we know it, leaving ashes for the next generations to inherit – if there is such a thing – like the next generation.
A General waited for them to step out, his hands behind the back and chin raised high. He looked at the infamous Abby with discontent. No handshake, no welcoming words, just a nod, and the men took her away. With the same expression, the General greeted the agent.
“Do you know what man have you provoked? Jason is a person of a tremendous drive, even far more dangerous if you give him a reason to chase you. He mobilized the whole Antiterrorist General Operations unit to retrieve his daughter. You’ve died when you took… that, in your car.” The agent tried not to stare at the General while he’s being dealt with. “What of her? Where is the EDEN?” Sharp voice and slight jump set the agent straight.
“They’ve put it inside her, General, Sir!” A salute and the General leaned in.
“Get rid of it.” He slithered it through the teeth. “No army should have a weapon like that, certainly not the one we are attempting to conquer. You’ve already placed us in trouble with taking her here.” Whispers and smirks murmured around the agent’s ear striking chill up his spine. “We need to take her out before I issue an order for a complete invasion. Pandor is ripe for the taking. We will pluck them like an apple from a tree, and by the Zeus, I am the first one to take a big bite.”
“Watch out not to choke on it.” It crossed his mind, but the words paused in his throat.
“Permission to speak Sir?” The agent proclaimed and the General nodded. “Abby is emotionally exhausted. She is open for suggestions. We can turn her to our side and hide her. It could set up the time of peace.” Agent pleaded, his eyes glistening with hope, but General frowned at the thought.
“Trust a Pandoran? You must be out of your mind. Dispose of her. I have an invasion to lead.” A wave of a hand left the agent disappointed at the possible solution to find peace.
Abby was already on the operating table surrounded by people in hazard suits when an agent stopped by the window and looked at her with grief. A thought of having her killed would mean he would leave thousands upon thousands of Pandor civilians defenseless. This invasion, the plans around it, the secret project of their own, nobody knew how bad things can turn.
Abby’s shaky hand wanted to reach for him. Her lips shivered as they injected her with the lethal dose. After she is gone, he will be gone too. He will leave the country and find a cottage in the mountains where he will wait for Jason to show up. He won’t say a word to her father. He gave up on hoping that there is anything he could say to save himself from what is coming. A suicide could solve everything, might be even a peaceful way to go, but he didn’t want to rob Jason of a tangible conclusion.
With a corner of the eye, he noticed the doctors jumping for cover before a fiery ball broke the window and threw him at the base of the wall. Thick smoke mixed with the air while pieces of glass rang around his head. A person lit on fire flew out of the room and went for the door. The creature was out in the open.
The cavity in the wall rims covered in smoke as the sides were melting, showed the insight of the room set ablaze. No sign of Abby.
“Oh, my Zeus. We’ve woken up the devil.” Agent touched his lips in horror and swung his head about to follow the scorched Abby’s path.
He only needed to track the destruction, the crackling neon lights, disoriented soldiers tottering from wall to wall seeking help. The alarm blared and cries echoed in the corridor. Disobedient legs brought him to the door where he awed at the sight of wildfire laid over the war engines. He didn’t move when people pushed him to get to the safety. He froze before the General.
“What have you done?!” Hands wrapped around the agent’s neck, shaking him madly.
“You’ve opened the Pandora’s Box when you ordered her death!” Agent punched the General and dashed for the shining orb in the sky.
He evaded the whistling comets crushing down where a piece of a tank’s dome missed him and bent screeching before it exploded. A Pandorian cruiser was zooming for Abby. It took a circular pattern around the target and begun hovering.
“Abby! Stop this for the love of Zeus! Can’t you see what you have become?!” A plea for mercy was too weak for her to register it.
The cruiser door opened and a heavy sniper peeped through. It was aiming at the agent on the move. Shots passed him, but one of them splintered his Lambda shield. A Pandorian dragon monitored the base, picking up the targets, setting them ablaze.
“Abby! Stop it now! Think of what you have done!” A call for a reason made Abby motionless in the air.
She turned and slowly glided down to his level, where the agent could feel her power burning his skin. Her locks of hair resembling the snakes of Medusa, but made of fiery tongues, petrified him.
“I am saving Pandor!” Her voice boomed. “Have you thought we are blind to your plans of invasion?! Have you thought that Eden is made to vanquish your kind?! It is a defensive system! I am a defender of the holy Pandora’s Box! I am the Dragon protecting the treasure!” The heat distorted the air while the agent fought the embers around him.
“And you thought this is made to attack Pandor?! We made this to stop YOU!” Agent punched his chest, which made her freeze.
A realization that both sides were in the arms race and that there is no way to stop the war, but only to stoically observe life passing by, could be the answer to their problems. Both Kingdoms were two sides of an apple, it was clear now. She was a tool aimed to carry out the verdict. She thought she is fighting the monsters and the grim image of the base burning spoke otherwise.
“With you alive, nobody’s safe!” Agent shouted.
“I don’t have a clear shot. She is protecting him.” The shooter said and Captain placed his hand on the man’s shoulder.
“You hurt my daughter, I’ll tap you harder.” The Captain replied and the poor fellow had to look down and realize the fall could kill him.
Abby levitated in the scope, obstructing the clear path for the agent who was panting. Competitive gaze lasted for a while more before Abby extinguished her flames and slid towards her rescuer.
“Your people will seek vengeance. Now I realize the game. I am not leaving Pandor to your Generals and greedy politicians. I am not abandoning my people!”
“Then raise a phoenix above the restrains of nationalism and protect both of the Kingdoms.” The words seemed like a good plan, the only choice to stop the potential disaster.
She raised her hand when agent closed his eyes, waiting for an end. He hasn’t fallen dead, nor did he feel the heat consuming his flesh. She picked him up and carried him away. A fireball slammed against the main rotor of the ARGO cruiser and the aircraft spiraled down. Wonderstruck by everything, the agent held on for her.
In a minute, they were back in a familiar interior of the agents’ car. Speeding to safety, nobody looked back.
“So, what is your plan now? Run? Hide?” He nervously looked at her, while Abby was completely cold.
“First, I’ll put down the flames of Pandor, stop them from making more of me. Then, I’ll stop anybody who tries to wage war.” Her voice went from thunder to a deep growl, and the capsule disappeared in the clouds without a trace.
For years, the news of buildings going up in flames was related to gang activities, while protesters demanded a fair response to the crimes done. Pandorian patriots clamored for another go, but Generals and Praetors swiftly changed their speeches from “Let’s put them all on pyre” to “Love thy enemy”.
Who knew that some prayers could be answered and hostilities stopped? Abby certainly didn’t, not even her partner. A little faith and a little belief sometimes can move the world.
This story is dedicated to my friend, Quill Commander and a Patron Chad. He also has a blog, so check his writing. It is superb.
– The End –
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