From A&B… Premise homework for Upon Wings of Hope

February 14

Realized I never posted these to LiveJournal…


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Avians, who look like human with wings, rule the land. Humans– the earthbound– are basically treated as slaves, not held to Avian law unless it affects Avians. Alissandra, an Avian, feels that something is inherently wrong in the way the humans are treated. Though asking questions about the past often draws unwelcome– and pointed– attention from the priesthood of the Winged Goddess, she seeks answers to the inequality of the two peoples… answers she finds in the journal of a human mage who cured his sick daughter by giving her wings with which to fly.

She does so with the assistance of the human Marten, who is secretly feeding the findings of their research to the underground human rebellion. Alissandra becomes pregnant with Marten’s child, and the pregnancy is aborted by decree of the Triune Council. Marten is soon-after killed in an explosion triggered by uncontrolled magic, and Alissandra is sent back to her home Eyrie, Drun Aliet, in disgrace.

Litala, a human, has been abused for most of her life, meets Alissandra upon her return. As the two seek solace from their individual pains in their friendship, Alissandra becomes her champion and saves her from further further abuse. Pressed to protect Litala further and to protect herself from an enforced pregnancy she does not want, Alissandra ends up transforming Litala into an Avian. The two are arrested, and in the middle of a trial for their blasphemous use of magic, the Winged Goddess chooses Litala to be her Avatar.

Together they return to Drun Shonen and delve deeper into the past as they come to terms with the changes in their own lives. Alissandra realizes that there is more to the inequality beyond just the politics, and Litala is left responsible for a priesthood that grudging looks to her for guidance… when she has been trained to fear making choices for herself.

Marten yet lives, and after a stormy reconciliation and growing passion for both women, connects them with the rebellion. The three face the hostility of people who long for them to be dead and forgotten– and try to make them so– for who and what they are, and forge a peace in their own complicated relationship.

As they dare to uncover the greatest lies which have shaped the face of the land for ages past, they stand united together to lead their people to their forgotten past, and to their new future.

Premise Questions:

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  1. What do I love about this story?The original premise was inspired mainly out of interest in quasi-humans. It was originally a male Avian and a female human. But given the concept of their inequality, it was rapidly apparent that Litala’s history would be one of abuse. After being exposed to the “uber” genre of fancfiction by Jeri at FM, it morphed into a female/female pair. While I was originally intending this to be a serial story, told in many different installations, I decided to rewrite it as a complete novel.

    Marten was added in because I wanted to explore how Litala would react to a male, whom she will associate with her abusers– especially since he is human, like she once was. And at the same time, while she will have to grow strong enough to overcome that (and more), I am very interested in the dynamics of polyamory. Not that that should surprise anyone here… heh.

    It is about overcoming our weaknesses. Alissandra is the strongest of the three of them, but she has not lived as much until the novel starts. The other two have suffered more than she can really come to terms with on a gut level. Litala is withdrawn, introverted, afraid… and she is thrust into the role (which I once thought of Alissandra taking on, and realized there was more conflict if it fell to Litala) of being a religious leader to their people– chosen for that role directly by the Divine. Marten is afraid to trust Alissandra, and very angry at having his child ripped away from her… and his rage and oft-times hatred for his enemies blinds him to the fact that there are good people that do not agree with his world view. He must overcome his prejudice.

    And what greater conflicts are there, than overcoming bigotry, recovering from abuse, spiritual crises, and being helpless in the face of the suffering of another?

  2. Where is your novel set, who is your main character, and what is his main conflict, problem, or goal?I don’t have a name for the continent yet, but it is an isolated land mass inhabited by humans and Avians who abandoned the world at large in ages past. My main characters are the Avian Alissandra, the human Marten, and the human Litala who is transformed into an Avian. The main conflict is the inequality between the humans and the Avians.
  3. What does your protagonist most want, and why?They want to live in a world where life is respected and cherished, with equality between their peoples. They see and live through the results of the way the world currently exists.
  4. What is your your protagonist’s second plot layer? (Maass uses “plot layer” to refer to a subplot directly affecting the main character, such as a romance; storylines relating to other characters are referred to as subplots)The transformation of Litala from human to Avian, and the divine selection of Litala as the Avatar of the Winged Goddess.
  5. What is your protagonist’s third plot layer?The formation of the triad polyamorous relationship between the three characters, and the issues they must overcome to do so.
  6. What is the first subplot?Alissandra’s former Mage mentor orchestrates the attempts on the lives of Marten and Litala out of jealousy that they share Alissandra’s love, which he can never have.
  7. What is the second subplot?The old land, Drel Trano, is not sealed off like the public believes; a portal exists, and it is actively in use by those behind the power of the Triune High Council.
  8. Who is the most important secondary or supporting character, what is her main problem, conflict, or goal, and what does she most want?I don’t know that I have an external secondary character that aids the protagonists; as the three characters are all main characters in their own right and support the goals of each other in the triad. They share a common goal and focus, though each of them has their own personal challenges and biases as well.

    Outside of the three, the most important secondary character would be Thaltron. He was promised as a fledgeling to be mated with Alissandra. Litala being Avian gives Alissandra the right to refuse; if she had remained human, she would not have that right and the priests would have forced the mating. Ultimately, he fights against everything that Alissandra and Litala stand for, until he realizes that he can never have what he wants… because Alissandra is no longer capable of having children as a byproduct of the forced abortion. He is robbed of his desire by the consequences of the very prejudice that he espouses. He then has a chance at redemption, but he must decide if he truly wishes to be saved.

  9. Who is the novel’s antagonist, what is his main problem, conflict, or goal, and what does he most want?Alissandra’s mentor is haunted by the ghost of his former wife (figuratively, not literally). She had an affair with a human, and the pregnancy killed her. He blames humans because of this, though he was never fond of them before that time. He has slipped into a delusional state where he confuses his late wife and Alissandra. He wants Alissandra, wants to be loved by her, and is infuriated by her associations with Litala and Marten.

    He is not the power behind the Mage branch of the Triune High Council, but he is the power behind the figurehead the Mages use in the Council (Archmage Dalforne).



Posted by on February 14, 2006 in Planning/Plotting, Wings


2 responses to “From A&B… Premise homework for Upon Wings of Hope

  1. tocketeaunchim

    February 14, 2006 at 6:20 pm

    wow. great questions! i am tempted to steal them and see if i can answer them about my novel (i bet i couldn't!)

    you've got some amazing worldbuilding going on. sounds intriguing!


  2. stormerider

    February 14, 2006 at 6:26 pm

    Kudos go to for the questions… this is part of her Above & Beyond course based on the Maass BN book.

    And thanks 🙂 I do like the setting, looking forward to writing this when I'm done with the course.



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