Today marks the third successive year that I have failed to make any written progress in my novel. I really like the general idea of the story but I have yet to form any coherent plot besides several major events. I have been uninspired as far as transitional scenes go, as well as the opening events. As embarrassing as this is, the primary focus of the past year that I've had involving this novel has been the first sentence, which I feel like I have finally written decently for the time being! (That being: In the city, to become truly powerful meant to disappear.) Anyway, the plot I have planned so far is that of rivalry between my protagonist, who may possibly be an officer of the security department of a city that rose out of a relatively large safe-zone after a massive man-made apocalypse, and the antagonist, who is the protagonist's childhood friend as well as the new advisor to the city's leader (who really serves as a figurehead while the inner council does most of the work, namely the chief advisor). The story will also be a coming of age story in a way although the main character is already a technical adult. What I have written is the opening scene, the funeral of the main character's father who was the former chief advisor to the leader (however this scene is very tentative, I'm not completely sold on the idea of starting my book like this...). Somehow I have to transition to the main character being offered a job by the new chief advisor to find the leader of an army of rebels who have recently risen up again after being all but destroyed in a war that happened nearly three decades before the beginning of the story. I was suggested to have the person who was formerly commissioned to search for the leader of the army of rebels being killed, as many of the higher ranking officials are being killed off secretly by the new chief advisor (the antagonist) to the leader, however I have sort of dug my own grave as far as that whole situation goes, as I have no idea why the protagonist would not already have an equally high ranking job as the chief spy if he was the son of the former chief advisor. Not only that, I don't know how someone of his renown would be able to function as a spy, which is essentially the job that I have been fixing to give him. I can't default to place him in a high ranking position because if he were in a high ranking position it would only make sense (unless he is really stupid) if he already knew that the leader of the rebels is a facade maintained by the Council in order to scare the citizens of the city into obeying the government and exerting a high level of patriotism, brought together by the shared hatred of the rebels. This is why the city allows for pseudo-searches to occur, even though the rebel leader died in the first war, and why they allow the rebels to continue to operate. If he were a high ranking official, I believe it would take the drive and mystery away from the story, because I want the story to be about finding out about all the lies that surround what he has known his own life. Besides, the chief advisor will eventually start commissioning mercenaries posing as members of the rebel army to kill off those who he knows and doesn't completely trust. I don't know whether or not I want the climax of the story to be the main character being nearly killed by the chief advisor himself after figuring out all about what is going on after visiting the farming community that the city has taken over for the sake of industry and power plants, causing the rebellion. Not only that, but I also really want his childhood friend to snatch the high level position that he was supposed to inherit from his father, in order to create the rivalry that I want to portray. So I'm stuck there. Basically, I have no idea where to go after the opening scene or how to introduce the background for the story in a way that isn't awkward and forced. I'm afraid that I will rely too much on the deaths of the high ranking officials for plot movement but I don't know how else to go about things because I want to establish a real drive for the main character to search for this rebel leader. I was thinking about completely revising the plot and changing the time period to when the first rebellion happened because that would open a lot of opportunities for plot events as I have that war more planned out than this one. However that would take away from the theme of corruption. Alternatively, I was planning to have the story split between view points of the main protagonist and a second, less major protagonist who is truly part of the rebellion (rather than just being a highly trained and amply paid soldier from the city). This protagonist's father owned a farm in the community that was taken over by the city. The community was nestled in a valley that was mostly safe from radiation due to geography-- they could see the city but the city could not see them, and they once revered the city as that of the Gods, as the original founders, who knew that the city was merely a well prepared safe zone, died off. They were initially very humble and welcoming to the first scouts from the city, who came looking for resources in order to replenish the depleted ones that power the city as well as the water and air purification plant just outside of the city. However, as currency and propaganda was introduced, the community's government sold out to the city's, and most of the citizens of the community moved into the city. Those who stayed were forced to pay for their land at steeped prices-- many had to go to work at the new power-plants and mines. Money was so tight that they could not afford the food and the government rations weren't enough whatsoever. Prices for a small apartment in the city rose so much that it was impossible to move there after several years, so many families were trapped working in the mines to pay for meager land that would not even earn them much money if they sold it to the government. This protagonist's father did not sell his land and instead opted to work in the mines and eventually a nuclear power plant. He eventually grows so weak from radiation and the lung cancer caused by working in the mines that he turns to the rebels, who are working in part with the underground drug lords who smuggle bio-enhancing drugs meant for the city's soldiers, and offers them 'secrets' (laid out intentionally by the city's government in order to out rebels) to infiltrate and bring down the nuclear power plant (which will essentially destroy the city if it melts down). His daughter, the minor protagonist, is the one to try to infiltrate the plant, but is caught. I have no idea where to go from there though so that is where her plot hits a hiatus in my story. Anyway, if you guys could please critique what basis I have so far and offer some suggestions as to what to do with my story that would be great-- anything will help. If I have made this way too garbled (and LONG) to be able to comment on I apologize, I wanted to lay everything out. I feel like I have a lot of interesting ideas but the entire story is so foggy-- I think all I really have developed are the characters. The entire plot seems really foggy and CLICHE so if there are any suggestions on to how to divert this story from becoming the standard 1984/nuclear apocalypse story, that would also be very helpful. I'm not really sure what I'm asking for other than help. Thanks ahead of time for your comments and more importantly thanks for reading all this nonsense.