The essential question for setting up a drama is “What are the stakes?” What’s the hero going to gain if they succeed, or lose if they fail?
While this is central, there are some tangential topics that must be dealt with carefully.
I had (another) scene in which The Mage planning something. I knew it was a mistake to have anyone formulate a plan that was likely to work.
The Hero’s Journey has an “Initiation” stage. This is the dark part of the story. It begins with, or is framed by a Road of Trials.
The trials aren’t really much of a trial if there’s no anticipation. The reader has to be worried about the Hero’s sanity for embarking on the road of trials.
I have been struggling with getting the Hero onto the Road of Trials. And struggling. The planning scene brought the problem into focus.
Not enough anticipation of what will absolutely go wrong.
I needed more anticipatory scenes required where the obstacles are identified. Indeed, metaphorical versions of the obstacles need to utterly defeat the mage.
I’d been dancing around the problem because it was missing from my outline. A destroyed city in the Magelands was there in all it’s glory. But it can't simply appear — boom — all at once.
It has to be leaked. And described. And described incorrectly. And argued about.
I think I have to revisit a number of chapters to reveal this properly: a little at a time. This feels better. The mage doesn’t get to “plan;” the mage gets useless warnings and rumors. Much more fun.