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Author Topic: Structuring: dissecting a post  

Topic Modified: 21/10/13 (11:26) AM
Because I just wrote a nova page on plot and post that touches upon structuring, I thought it would be fun to dissect a post to see if we can figure out how beginning, middle and end can work in something as short as a Steamhawke post.

By the way, the idea still stands for longer posts as well. :P

Council adjourned is a post written by Five and me, and though it admittedly does help we have face to face contact when we're writing, most of this was really written in the post you read. There was no discussion about where to take the plot or how to tell the story. We just knew we had to tell a certain story. And yes, because we have been writing for more that 10 years, we do have an advantage that most writers do not have.

The idea came immediately after reading the post where Kevin Price started his mutinous ideas, which went directly against established facts and plots. Price revealed he had started a 'council' which included some of the senior crewmembers, and placed himself right next to the Captain, over the authority if First Mate. It is well established that the First Mate is next in command to the Captain and that the Captain is the ultimate authority on board Steamhawke. The question of what the Captain would do if she found out about the council came to me quickly. There would be an example made of the quartermaster.

Faizel was uncomfortable with the request. "Will you join the Council?" Leftheris had asked.
Faizel Naji is the Boatswain and in Steamhawke's hierarchy, in as far as it exists, is third in command where the crew is concerned. It stands to reason that he would be one of the first to be asked to join the council. This beginning tells the reader where we are in the story. Faizel is being asked to join the council that was spoken of in the post before. It follows on directly from that.

He needed to speak with her.
This sentence ends the beginning and sets the scene for the actions about to take place. The Captain was unaware of the council. To tell our story she needed to know.

"One second. I have this sorted," she said as she quickly reassembled the weapon. After three minutes she twirled it around her finger. Then Faizel pointed to a spring on the matress. Daenelia looked at it. "That's not from my pistol. Is it?" She looked at Faizel with doubt in her eyes.
This foreshadows the actions about to unfold. It also affirms the Captain's clumsiness, which has been established in many posts. Doubt is everywhere around the Captain: she always wonders if she makes the right decsions, and even though she assumes she was right because it all works out in the end, that doesn't mean the decisions she makes are actually the right ones.

Daenelia wondered about Price. He had seemed easy going, level headed, good with numbers, good with people. He had not mentioned forming a council, not to her. She disliked councils. They never worked. "Right." She said, as she came to a conclusion. "Round up as many of the crew as you can, and make sure Master Price is one of them. They need to see this."

And this leads into the last section of the action: the execution of a person the Captain considers a mutinous rebel.

"Loyalty" said the Captain. "The moment we lose loyalty is the moment we lose strength and unity. When votes have the power, we break down into intimidating and bribing one another. What you need to guide you is a single voice, my voice.

"The Steamhawke is far away but you are still my Sky Pirates. Our mission is the same as when you all joined. I'm going to find the lost treasure of Quazlatah, and you're going to help me find it. I'm also going to find a new quartermaster.

The end reveals the Captain's dedication to her crew. It is that dedication that inspires the loyalty, more so than the execution. The crew have never had an interest in being run by a council that would delay decision making, or would be prone to bribery, or intimidation of factions on board. They trust the Captain to make the decisions that tie the crew to her: to find wealth, to be free and to find adventure.

The last sentence ties to the beginning, by letting Faizel clean up the Captain's mess. He does so without protest, because it already has been established how an why he is loyal to her.

Of course, this is my interpretation of a post I wrote with Five. I would be interested in reading your opinions about it. And don't hesitate to tear it apart if you like. We can agree to disagree in advance.


  • Captain of the Steamhawke
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  • Date: 21/10/13
  • Time: 11:24 AM
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  • Modified by: Daenelia

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