Memoirs of a False Arcanist (logline and roadmap)

Memoirs of a False Arcanist (logline and roadmap) - student project

This project is a medieval fantasy novel that's been in the making since 2018 but has been stuck in limbo for the past three years. With a new year, I aim to get it off the ground this year. I am writing it in my native language, Portuguese, but eventually, I want to have it translated into English.

It is supposed to be the first book in a trilogy. I am still unsure if this title (Memoirs of a False Arcanist) is going to be the name of the book or the name of the series. Regardless, here it is:

Logline: After being captured by a group of bounty hunters [hook], the legendary archmage Montragar of the Fire Veil [protagonist] tries to divide the group apart and escape captivity, by earning their sympathy by telling the truth behind the magnificent stories of his life. As he does, he tries to figure out which person from his treacherous past is behind his capture, having to face the lies he has told the world and himself as he digs up a past he had long buried [conflict].

Roadmap:

It is somewhat hard to make a roadmap for my novel because it follows two different timelines: the present (narrating a captive Montragar being taken to the person who hired the bounty hunters) and the past (the stories that Montragar is telling his captors). Thing is, the main plotline is the story being told in the past (told in first person), while Montragar undergoes character development by having to face his past and deciding what truths to tell and to whom (told in third person). This gets more complicated as Montragar is an unreliable narrator about the past plotline, as he tells his captors he is being honest with them about his stories while he is still holding on to a few lies which affect their and his perspectives of himself. However, I'll try my best to compile the main plot points of the present plotline as well as brief comments about the past plotline when it becomes relevant. There are a lot of spoilers for my story below, but it's the only way that I managed to make things make sense to me. I am still hiding much of the past plotline to keep at least some mystery for future readers, haha.

  • Act 1:
    • Montragar of the Fire Veil is a legendary archmage, renowned among arcanists (scholars of magic) and famed for many impressive feats of magic and knowledge of the arcane. After spending the last decades as part of a mercenary company, he aims to retire as the court arcanist for a noble family, traveling the land while aristocrats pamper him in an attempt to convince him to stay in their court. [stasis]
    • During one of his trips, he gets ambushed and captured by a crew of five bounty hunters aiming to take him alive to the person who hired them, someone who has been wronged by Montragar in the past. [catalyst]
  • Act 2:
    • As the group travels with their captive, Montragar is unable to discover who hired them. After examining the relationships between his captors, he decides to try and earn the trust of one of them, a young woman named Erina, hoping to have an opening so that he can escape or kill them with his magic with the element of surprise. To do so, he convinces Erina with an agreement: she will tell them who their benefactor is and will give him a few freedoms if he behaves and tells the truth behind his marvelous stories. He starts telling his story while still being selective about which truths to tell and which lies to keep, in an attempt to make him more likable. [break into 2]
    • After telling much of his story and earning the sympathy of other bounty hunters, Montragar gains enough of Erina's trust so that she will release his magic-inhibiting shackles made of lead. He uses this opportunity to strike against the group but is brought down by Erina herself who, to his surprise, is a competent mage catching him off-guard and subduing him, discovering she was manipulating him and prepared in case he decided to turn on them. She condemns his action stating that she wanted to trust him but he showed he really is just as treacherous as their benefactor claims. [midpoint]
    • The leader of the bounty hunters, a man named Crestof, scolds Erina for taking such a risk. He has Montragar gagged and forbids anyone from interacting with him until the end of the travel save for feeding and necessities. During this silent treatment he receives, Montragar is overwhelmed by guilt for betraying Erina's trust as he did to many others. [low point]
    • After some soul-searching, Montragar asks another of the bounty hunters, a woman named Maude who sympathized with him and was listening to his stories with Erina, to send his apologies to Erina and say that if she's still interested in knowing his full story, he will give it to her, with no tricks. Hidden from the others, Montragar continues to tell his stories to Maude until she convinces Erina to give him another chance; she decides to listen to the story too, making it clear he will not be freed anymore. He accepts regardless, as he just wants to make it right by her. [break into 3]
  • Act 3:
    • Montragar finishes telling one major story about his past, deconstructing the grandiose lie that made him look like a hero against a tyrant and admitting he acted selfishly and not as a savior of the people under the tyrant's rule. He partially regains Erina's trust by admitting the truth behind the myth. She claims she will continue listening to his stories and might tell him who their benefactor is, but that she still doesn't trust him enough to let him free his hands. [climax]
    • As Montragar is trying to sleep after finishing that part of his story, he is haunted by the real way that things happened, revealing to the reader that he was still lying when he earned Erina's trust. He starts weeping and cries himself to sleep. This time, he did not lie to fool Erina or Maude, but instead, because he wanted to hide a hurtful truth from himself. [denouement]

And thus the novel ends, opening the way for the sequel where the travel continues and Montragar goes on to tell more stories about his past. The future novels will eventually lead to other twists including the identity of the person who hired the bounty hunters as well as who the bounty hunters themselves are.

PS: Just as a side note, the relationship between Montragar and Erina is not at all to be taken with any romantic implications whatsoever. He is an old man and she is a young woman; as their relationship develops over this book sequels, it shapes itself as much closer to a father-daughter relationship.

Passionate educator, aspiring writer