Author: Dan O'Brien
Series: The Prime Saga (Book 1)
Genre: YA/NA Sci-fi/Fantasy (elements of space opera and romance as well)
Publisher: Self Publish
Release Date: July 22, 2016
A war brews as a galaxy struggles to maintain a peace treaty signed in haste. The Commonwealth boasts sprawling cities built upon slums. The Sovereignty has placed the yoke of industry upon its citizens. Sixteen men and women are connected in a way they cannot yet understand. A murder of a prominent artist begins a chain of events that will ultimately determine the fate of the universe. Only thirteen will remain. In the end, there can be only one Prime. Are you a Prime?
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Q&A on Plot and Structure
Critical Elements - Do you know what they are?
The strength of Sixth Prime is the character development. Since it is a six-part series, it was important to make sure I had sketched believable characters who could grow (and fall) as the series progressed.
Strong Lead - Is your protagonist deeply layered?
Since it is an ensemble cast, each lead has clear strengths and weaknesses.
LOTE - Do you have the following: Lead, Objective, Trouble, and Enticing Ending?
Indeed. There are four distinct stories that follow this exact formula; though you wouldn’t know it given how quickly beta readers have moved through the book.
Identification - Can readers identify with your protagonist in one of these ways: Sympathy, Likeability, Inner-Conflict, or Power?
As there are several lead characters, all four elements are equally represented across a variety of characters. I am very excited to see how readers react going forward.
Objective - Is it strong and will people care? Ask yourself, "So what?" It must be something the protagonist must have to live a happy life.
I always ask “so what?” To me, it is the clear driving force behind whether or not a reader will care about the characters and the story. I feel as though I have crafted clear objectives that readers will enjoy.
Ending - Does it make your reader feel satisfied that all loose ends were tied up?
My goal with the first book in a series is to answer all the questions I posed that pertain to inciting events and plot points, while still leaving something unsaid in order to drive interest in the larger story.
Structure (3 Act):
Beginning - Does it introduce your protagonist and the world they live in? Have you had the reader shake hands with the antagonist? Is the threat eminent? Has your character passed through the doorway of no return?
The feedback I received from the first excerpts I put out were overwhelmingly positive. People couldn’t wait for me. I was getting emails from readers who wanted to know what happened next, and when the book would be available.
Middle - Have you deepened the relationships and character of the protagonist? What will the antagonist do to make life more complicated? This is where the action happens. Do battles rage? Have you set everything up for the final bang? Is there a revelation?
The growth of inter-relationships between the cast of characters is very important. As such, over the course of the first book you see how their lives overlap, and why.
End - Have you wrapped everything up? Was the final battle full of enough tension? Do readers believe the ending could've happened?
I answered the large questions offered in the beginning of the book; I advance the tension as the story moves toward a satisfying ending; and then I offer a glimpse of what is to come. All of this is done such that you could only read the first book and have a sense of it having a beginning, a middle, and an ending.
Dan O'Brien has written over 20 books, including the bestselling Bitten, which was featured on Conversations Book Club's Top 100 novels of 2012. Before starting Amalgam, he was the senior editor and marketing director for an international magazine. In addition, he has spent over a decade in the publishing industry as a freelance editor. You can learn more about his literary and publishing consulting business by visiting his website at: www.amalgamconsulting.com. Contact him today to order copies of the book or have them stocked at your local bookstore. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.