Behold the Dawn

Inciting Event: Annan is wounded and captured at the siege of Acre during the Crusade in the Holy Land. This comes just a smidge later than the appropriate 12% mark, but this is clearly the Inciting Event because this is what initiates Annan’s meeting Mairead, at the Saracen prisoner camp, which is the heart of the story. Although his arrival in Acre, a few chapters earlier, is a turning point, it’s not the turning point of the First Act.

First Plot Point: At the request of Mairead’s husband, Annan’s old mentor, he marries her when she becomes a widow, in order to protect her from her enemies during their flight to France. The Saracens begin to slaughter the prisoners, and Annan and Mairead escape. This is a departure from the Normal World of the First Act on a number of levels. It is the beginning of a new paradigm for Annan (even though he refuses to fully accept it), as he is now married. It is the launch of the main story of his and Mairead’s flight from their enemies. And it is also a physical leaving of the heretofore established Normal World of the Crusade and an entrance into the adventure world of the Second Act, in which they are on the run through Syria, headed for Constantinople.

First Pinch Point: There’s a little bit of a double Pinch Point here. First, Annan encounters Gethin the Baptist, the antagonistic monk who wants Annan to help him kill the traitorous bishop they both studied under in years past. Then they are all attacked by the bishop’s men, chief among them Mairead’s personal enemy Hugh de Guerrant. This marks a turning point, both in the direction of their journey (since Annan will have to return later to save Gethin, who was captured) and in their relationship, as they both realize how much they feared for each other’s lives.

Midpoint: While Annan is off trying to track down and save Gethin, Hugh finds Mairead. She reveals she is married to Annan, then escapes. Although I still really like this scene, this would have been better structured to put the emphasis on Annan. He has his own Midpoint, in which he learns some important things about the bishop and Gethin. But it takes a clear backseat to the higher-pitched conflict in this scene with Mairead.

Second Pinch Point: The bishop decides that he will strike at Annan by first killing Mairead. This comes right on the heels of Mairead and Annan’s reunion, where they finally admitted their feelings for each other and make theirs a marriage in more than just name. This scene with Annan and Mairead seems like a positive one, but it also functions as a “pinch,” since it only emphasizes what they stand to lose. They both decide Mairead must still go to the convent for protection, while Annan returns to fighting in the tourneys. They cannot live as husband and wife beyond their current journey.

Third Plot Point: The bishop’s men track down Annan and Mairead and stab Mairead. Annan believes for a time that Mairead is dead, which reinforces the low moment of the Third Plot Point. Even though she survives, this event forces him to rock bottom, and he leaves her with his servant in order to hunt down and kill the man who wounded her.

Climax: After Mairead is captured by the bishop, Annan follows her to Jaffa—which is about to come under siege by the Saracens—and infiltrates the bishop’s house to find her. There, he is attacked by Hugh, whom he kills, before he and Gethin are brought before the bishop for a final confrontation.

Climactic Moment: After Gethin has revealed himself to be the true orchestrator of everything that has happened, he and Annan battle, and Gethin is killed.

Resolution: As the European armies leave the Holy Land, Annan grants freedom to his loyal servant and promises that he and Mairead will make a home together back in Scotland.

Notes: Again, it’s always interesting for me to go back and plot out my own books. When I wrote Behold the Dawn, I hadn’t an inkling of story structure. The day I did learn about story structure, I looked through Behold and was floored to realize how well it was structured. Structure is an instinctive thing for most of us; if we’re in touch with our instincts, we’re probably structuring our stories pretty well even before we consciously realize what we’re doing.

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