1. Douglas Rumbaugh
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    Douglas Rumbaugh Member

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    Transcendence: Contact

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Douglas Rumbaugh, Feb 6, 2011.

    Transcendence: Contact

    Hello, this is my first post on these forums so I suppose it is only fitting for it to be about my first novel that I have started to write. I just want some opinions on the plot I have and possibly some advice for making it better.

    In short, the story follows an engineer named Jonathan Taney who is a member of a splinter group of humanity that left Earth in the year 2036 (it is now in the mid 24th century) that lives on the fairly primordial planet of Oriens and is a few hundred thousand strong. He has spent the last several years as the head engineer on a project called ‘Ares,’ an attempt at designing and building this particular group’s first ever space battleship.

    At the start of the novel his company, Venture, is approached by the newly formed United Coalition of Oriens (previously humanity had been split apart into city states with radically different forms of government) with a demand, “complete the Ares in two months or we will come in and seize all materials relating to its construction and do it ourselves.”

    Somewhat confused about the sudden change in government on the planet, Taney and his superior, Dr. Hank Granger, push forward and manage to complete the Ares within the time limit, albeit with a lot of sacrifices to functionality (it was nearly completed at the time of the ultimatum anyway).

    After a lengthy process, the UCO decides that it would be best to put Taney himself in command of the ship because he himself designed it, and who better to test the craft than its designer (best reason I can come up with at the moment, I’m trying to figure out a better device to give Taney command). The ship is named Janus after the Roman god.

    However on its first voyage to a nearby system and outpost known as Soldaria, the Janus encounters and is attacked by a small unidentified group of light ships. This short battle kicks off a war with the human’s neighbor, the so called Solar Empire. Next to nothing is known about it other than the fact that it is massive and was formed over the prior century. Its forces are made up of an amalgamation of different alien species, leading to radically differing ship designs and tactics among small sections.

    The end of the story sees Taney captured by the Empire after being betrayed by his friend, Colonel George Mullen, who Taney had beaten out for command of the Janus and then made his First Officer (Mullen abandons Taney so he can gain command over the ship).

    I plan for Contact to be the first part in a trilogy with the other books being called Shadows and Triumph. Shadows will detail Taney’s captivity and eventual escape, and will delve deeply into developing the Empire over the course of a few years. Triumph will see Taney returning home to see a significantly changed society and planet, as well as humanity’s victory over the Empire (or rather the Empire’s destruction from internal pressure).

    Some major plot elements as of now will include a developing relationship between Taney and Temperance Reaves, a warp field physicist who is brought on to help design the Ares near the start of the book and later becomes his chief science officer onboard Janus, the development of the relationship between Mullen and Taney, and the effects that a sudden war has on an unprepared people (this being their first war since they left Earth several centuries prior)

    What do you think, I don’t believe that the plot I have right now is overly cliché, but I’m not very good at determining what is or isn’t overused. Right now I’m trying to steer clear of a good vs. evil scenario (Humanity vs. the Empire), though it will likely look like that in Contact, since it won’t be until Shadows that the Empire is described in any real detail. Please leave thoughts and comments, I’d like to hear them.


    I have posted my rough draft of Chapter 1 if you are interested in spending some time reading over it. You can find it here.
     
  2. Holden
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    Holden Senior Member

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    Welcome to the forums.

    At first glance, (and mind me because I don't know enough about your story), it doesn't look like enough for a whole novel. In science-fiction, at least, it is not unusual to see 500 page epic novels, especially space-combat related ones such as this. You've said you want to make a trilogy, but why not see how much you can get into one book? A publisher will be more willing to take a risk on one novel rather than commiting to three (that is if you plan to submit them at the same time).

    That said, the plot isn't bad. In any genre, there will be common themes and ideas. But judging by what you mentioned about the characters, I see a lot of room to make relationships develope and the prospect of grabbing a reader with three-dimensional characters.

    After reading the brief synopsis, I'm interested, and I hope you write it. Good luck.
     
  3. Douglas Rumbaugh
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    Douglas Rumbaugh Member

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    Yeah it is true that I may have trouble making it incredibly long. Perhaps I should write all three into one massive book and then split it up if I need to. Still that is just a very brief synopsis, I have a lot of other ideas to work into the book.
     
  4. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sounds interesting. It reminds me of Asimov in some way, which is not a bad thing.

    I would think about the trilogy step by step, and concentrate on the first part for now.

    Do you have some other sub-plots worked out? Is there a love interest or something more 'emotional', that counterbalances with the technical/clinical side of the book?
     
  5. Douglas Rumbaugh
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    Douglas Rumbaugh Member

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    Yes, Taney will get romantically involved with Temperance at some point, which will also lead into some interesting dialog as she will be on the bridge when Mullen decides to leave him behind. There will also be a bit of a political side early on before Janus is completed which will reveal a bit about the way these humans think.

    Aside from that I know that there are a lot of other sub-plots I could incorporate, but I don't want to get to carried away and have it wind up a confusing mess like To Kill a Mockingbird with subplot on top of subplot and no real direction. This is my first time trying something like this so I'm not sure how much is too much.
     
  6. Douglas Rumbaugh
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    Douglas Rumbaugh Member

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    I apologize for the double post but for any interested parties I have posted my rough draft of Chapter 1 in the Novel section of this board's Review Board. If you are interested in looking at it you can find it here.
     

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