Prison Break Rough Plot Outline


The Acre prison after the break

The Acre prison after the break (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m in the process of developing a story idea for November’s NaNoWriMo. I’m calling this one Prison Break. Here’s my initial, very rough plot outline:

The overall story starts with a scene where there’s a mass breakout from the prison where the Protagonist, John Boomer, and his sycophant Sidekick, Alec Leach, are being held (for crimes unspecified.) Alec leads John out of prison and off to a hideout.

The hideout is owned/controlled by Mary Something, a woman who knows how to deal with Alec but is flummoxed by John. She watches out for John while Alec goes out snooping around the neighborhood.

Alec brings back information that Storm Troopers have been brought in to round up the prisoners, most of whom are being shot on sight. The people who are hiding them are also suffering, and it seems that the Troopers are headed toward the hideout.

Mary and Alec whisk John away to a cave in the hills just as the Troopers descend on the hideout. As they run their way is lit by the flames of the neighborhood being torched by the Troopers, many of the building with residents locked inside.

In the cave is a discussion of what to do. Alec argues that they should keep their heads down and keep running, while Mary argues they should go back and fight the Storm Troopers. John comes out of his drugged stupor and agrees with Mary, so they resolve to somehow protect the villagers and fight the Storm Troopers.

During their first action against the Storm Troopers the trio stumbles across the Warlock instructing the troops. They discover that this everything is by the direct request of the Warlock. The Warlock discovers the trio and takes direct action against them, harming John. It’s almost miraculous that Mary and Alec are able to get him to safety.

Back in the hideout Mary tends to John’s wounds while Alec smuggles in villagers and information. It turns out that Mary is a natural leader who is able to direct a series of small skirmishes against the Troopers while hiding in the cave.

John is eventually healed enough to get in the action, and when he does things look even better for the villagers. While Mary is a natural leader, John is a warrior, skilled in coordinating larger battles and able to handle himself in a fight.

Alec shows John and a group of villagers where the local headquarters of the Troopers is. During the raid John comes across information about what the Warlock’s objective is; why he’s repressing the masses the way he is. There’s also a file about John that fills in some of the gaps in his memory and suggests that his importance to the Warlock is more personal than previously suspected. And there are plans for future actions against the villagers.

John starts planning a series of daring raids against the Troopers, designed to cut off their support and eventually separate the Warlock from his minions. The plan goes into effect with a great degree of early success.

It’s a trap! An attack on the Troopers’ regional supply depot turns out to have been a set-up, resulting in major losses for the villagers, including one of John’s key supporters. The villagers are forced to withdraw and regroup.

While the villagers lie low and heal their wounds the Troopers are seen building new fortifications and bringing in reinforcements. Even though there’s a lull in the fighting the villagers aren’t sitting idle, gathering new recruits, laying in weapons and supplies, and training for a a major battle that everyone can sense coming. Meanwhile John is mulling over his losses when a mysterious stranger arrives with key information that might change the outcome of the war. Using the information has a cost, however. Is John willing to pay the price?

The villagers’ plan calls for a strike one week before the new fortifications are expected to be finished. They start moving into position, only to find that the Troopers are waiting for them, ready a week early. A tremendous battle ensues. In the midst of the chaos John leads a small band to try and locate the command center, believing that cutting off their communications will render the Troopers ineffective and allow the villagers an opportunity to pull victory out of their losing fight. The command center is headed by the Warlock himself! As the battle rages all around, John and the Warlock go face to face. Who will win?

Although the Warlock is killed and the command center destroyed, the battle continues. As expected the Troopers lose their effectiveness and the villagers are able to rally, eventually defeating the Troopers. But what price victory? John has lost a dear friend, and compromised his principles, and for what? The oppressive regime is destroyed, but what will take its place? Is it up to him to claim the throne now left vacant, to seize power over the masses? Or can the fractious victors overcome their rivalries and work together to rebuild the civilization that few remember?

Just copying it for this post has revealed a few things I’m dissatisfied about. For one thing, I think I need some more running and hiding before having any direct confrontations. I also think I need some more character interactions to develop tensions within the good guys (whom I’ve been calling the villagers).

But this is a first, rough plot outline, so changes are to be expected. What do you think?

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About Kurt Schweitzer

A former vampire logistics facilitator, past purveyor of Italian-style transportation, and Y2K disaster preventer, I'm currently creating websites, novels and other fictions while reinventing myself. Again.
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3 Responses to Prison Break Rough Plot Outline

  1. Caterina says:

    To me — and this is possibly very personal — Storm Troopers are reminiscent of Hitler. I am not sure such a definitely modern reference belongs in the same universe as a warlock. It seems you are trying to blend a sort of fantasy (with the villagers and the wise woman and the warlock) with a modern escape story (the protagonists and the storm troopers). I would select one and work within that context.

  2. Storm troopers are also the ground forces of the Empire in Star Wars. However I am open to alternative names.

    My Antagonist is called the Warlock mainly because that’s the closest characterization I found in 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. The archetype is Hades, and the closest popular culture character is Hannibal Lecter, although without the “have you for dinner” sentiment spelled out quite so graphically. I’m trying to come up with a new name for him, as well as getting a better handle on his profile.

    I didn’t think of Mary Something (another name needed here!) as being a “wise woman” so much as a nurturer. I think of her archetype as Demeter, with perhaps Marie Barone or Piper Halliwell as a popular character reference, although with hint of Marion Ravenwood from Raiders of the Lost Arc thrown in.

    Like I said before, these are early days in developing this story.

  3. Pingback: What’s another word for “jackbooted thug”? | First Draft Fiction

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