Balanced on the Blade’s Edge

Inciting Event: Disgraced pilot Ridge arrives at the mountain prison mine he has been put in charge of for the next year. He meets Sardelle, a strange woman he believes is a prisoner—but who is, in fact, a magic-wielding Referatu who has just emerged from a 300-year stasis. As in most romances, the Inciting Event is the meeting between the two leads, with the previous chapters being devoted to their individual introductions and personal goals.

First Plot Point: One of the female prisoners is found hanged, allegedly for using magic. Ridge starts an investigation and asks Sardelle to be his inside source—officially kickstarting their relationship (and thus the main conflict), while also introducing his prejudice against magic users.

First Pinch Point: An enemy airship attacks—an emphasis of the exterior/physical antagonistic force—and Sardelle brings it down but accidentally causes an avalanche that buries Ridge and other men. She uses her magic to locate and free them, risking her unmasking as Referatu—an emphasis of the interior/personal antagonistic force.

Midpoint: An demon owl, sent by the airship, attacks, and Ridge and Sardelle must hide together in a cave, which forces their relationship to the next stage. This effectively turns the plot in both the war conflict and the romantic conflict.

Second Pinch Point: A general crash lands his airship at the mine and immediately begins taking control of the mine away from Ridge. Meanwhile, Sardelle communicates telepathically with the enemy leader. The introduction of the general as a brand-new character this late in the game offers continuity issues, but Sardelle’s full revelation about the enemy is a very nice pinch point, even though it comes a little later (71%) than what would be ideal.

Third Plot Point: Referatu books are discovered in the mine, and the general and Ridge learn of Sardelle’s true identity. Simultaneously, the enemy airship is spotted. The discovery that the romantic relationship is perhaps impossible is always a suitable low moment in a romance, as it is here especially, since the revelation also brings with it the threat of execution for Sardelle.

Climax: The enemy airship comes in on a final attack. Ridges takes his flier up to combat it, while Sardelle escapes her cell.

Climactic Moment: Sardelle kills the enemy leader.

Resolution: Sardelle and Ridge reunite at his cabin.

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