Spin the Sky

Inciting Event: Cesar—a war hero who has been absent from his family for years—returns home, only to have his wife and son fail to recognize him. Ill to the point of collapsing and unable to find a way to tell them the truth, he poses as a wandering friend and stays in their bunkhouse. He learns his wife Penelope is much courted, both romantically and by hopeful business associates who want her cattle herd—the only one in space.

This is a decent one-two punch here: first Cesar returns home to his family, starting off the personal plotline. Then he encounters Penelope’s would-be business partners (and the story’s antagonists), which kicks off the external, action plotline.

First Plot Point: Cesar kisses his wife—who still doesn’t recognize him—which gives the plot a hard right turn into the (re)development of their romantic relationship. While dallying with her in the laundry room, he also overhears the business suitors discussing their desire to take over her herd. He recognizes one of them as space pirate Uri Mach. Again, both plotlines turn more or less together here.

First Pinch Point: Cesar’s old servant Lupe finally recognizes him. This is the weakest structural moment in the entire story. Although it is an important revelation, it doesn’t really turn the plot and doesn’t emphasize the antagonistic force’s power. An argument could be made for the flashback story of Cesar’s encounter with Uri being the pinch point. This scene does emphasize the antagonistic force, but the telling of the story itself doesn’t have much impact on the plot.

Midpoint: In the middle of the night, rustlers stampede the herd, which endangers the gravity and stability of the entire space colony. This is an excellent Midpoint—well-timed, flashy, and capable of swinging the plot around to directly face the main conflict. Cesar, Penelope, and their son Trevor all dive into battle.

Second Pinch Point: In despair—believing Trevor to have died and Cesar to have abandoned her—Penelope agrees with Uri to sell her ranch to the winner of the Nullball competition being held on her colony. In theory, this is a great Second Pinch Point. But since it ends up having no impact on the greater plot, it’s not nearly as strong as it could have been.

Third Plot Point: Uri kidnaps Penelope. Kidnap is always an effective Third Plot Point, since it brings with it an effective threat of death. Cesar goes crazy with fear over the thought that he might lose his wife yet again, and he leaves Trevor behind to chase after Uri to rescue her.

Climax: After rescuing Penelope (who finally recognizes him), Cesar blows up the moon laser Uri is building, then heads back to where their ranch is still under attack, in order to save Trevor. A good portion of this book involves episodic “stories” about Cesar’s escapades during the years between the war and his return home. It’s a very nice touch that all the characters involved in these stories finally come full circle by rallying to help Cesar here in the Climax.

Climactic Moment: Cesar and Penelope return home to find Trevor safe and the fighting ended. As Climactic Moments go, this one is a bit anticlimactic—since all the action takes place off-screen and the main character isn’t actively involved in causing the end of the conflict.

Resolution: Cesar makes up with Penelope, and they decide to fly off and have adventures together with Trevor.

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