Neal Abbott is guess blogging for us today about his latest novel, Entanglement:
It has been traditionally taught that the conflict in a story and its resolution stems from the hero wanting something and the villain stops him from having it. Through various trials, the hero finally overcomes the villain and gets what he wanted all along.
There is a different kind of conflict/resolution scenario. Our hero wants something. Either he is able to get it, he can’t get it, or he is in the process of obtaining it. The rising action runs him through various obstacles so that he is forced to look at what he wanted in the beginning of the story. By the end, he wants something else, something better. And the course of the tale has made him a better person, so he is able to get what he now wants. And so the new conflict is between what a person wants to do and what a person ought to do. This has been the constant in all of my published fiction.
- SICILIANA – Set in turn of the century Sicily, SICILIANA tells the story of Snodatu, who wants to defend the family honor. But in the name of this defense, he kills his uncle and his sister. He eventually learns how backward this is, and decides to rescue his brother-in-law from peril. The problem is, this brother-in-law has sworn vendetta against Snodatu for killing his wife, Snodatu’s sister. And still, he goes on simply because it is the right thing to do.
- DROVER – I placed Ben Bourland in Weatherford, Texas during the 1850s for DROVER. A cattleman wants to come off the trail and settle down. For Ben, nothing could be better than a big ranch and a big family. A few head and a few acres is all he has. After he meets and courts Amanda Jones, he thinks everything in on its way. But calling on Amanda and getting to know her family forces his to deal with the selfishness in his life. So when he must choose between his dreams and the right thing to do, he selflessly gives up on his dreams for a greater good.
- PRINCE – It’s a new millennium in LA, and Charlie loves Lizzie. She agrees to marry him. But within an hour, she will be coerced to marry Philip, Charlie’ father. Charlie is encouraged by his best friend to channel his passion for Lizzie into a concern for the suffering of others. Charlie finally decides to work to help those who lives are ruined by Philip’s business practices, and he does so knowing that Philip will try to kill him if he tries.
- FIRMAMENT – Jack Johnson is very immature. His wife just left him because he forgot their ninth anniversary. All he wants is to get her back. but he needs to forget about her. He will be called upon to save a couple, but in so doing he will lose his life. If he fails to save them, he would have never existed. And he knows all of this going into it. he needs to grow up and sacrifice himself for others.
- PIETAS – Darl Bundren has taken upon himself to find a home for his friend, who is severally challenged mentally, so much he is a mute. But all of his family is dead or hates him, except for one niece, and he doesn’t know where she is. But he finds her, and with her a bigger sacrifice for even more people. In fact, he needs to care for an entire town.
- BLOODHOUND – Oscar Morgan is a City Marshall in depression-era Oklahoma. He ends up at the end of a tether held by the local judge. He forces Oscar to chase the most dangerous criminals or he will expose his secret. Oscar upholds the honor of the badge regardless of the judge and cares for the suffering of those whom he arrests.
But for a while I’ve wanted to try something different. I’ve wanted to write about a main character who doesn’t sacrifice himself for the common good. That is what I’ve accomplished with ENTANGLEMENT. Rex Monday lives as if he is the king of the world and the deserves every good thing he can get. He lives as one of the idle rich and takes no regard for others. And while his selfishness harms other people, it ends up ruining his life. It’s a cautionary tale that encourages Christian love in word and deed. It does so though two particular characters. One is Rex’s cousin, Axel, and the other is his butler, Beaumonte. Just as with my other novels, we receive encouragement on how to live, though Rex Monday and ENTANGLEMENT we are encouraged what not to do with our lives, and are shown the consequences of selfishness.
Neal Abbott has published eleven books, four non-fiction, five novels, a novella, and a children’s book. He is the content editor for the creative writing blog, A Word Fitly Spoken. Neal is working on the first draft of his next novel about a first century Jewish freedom fighter who hates the Romans. It’s entitles Sedition. Later this year or at the start of next year, Neal plans on starting a political thriller–Ayn Rand meets Norse mythology– called Ragnarok. Follow Neal at his Amazon Author Page.