Whether or not to take out this big event? [should her sister be captured or not]

So…idk what to title this.

Basically, there’s a whole entire event in the beginning of my story that idk if I should keep.

The issue is, do I keep the Tendri-capture, war with Prendai event?

I feel like I should…but also idk.

I’m going to have to explain everything, aren’t I? :sweat_smile:

I did try to make it short...

In the beginning of Lunar Heart, Shadow Bound, Pinti (a species of bipedal feline called Kattaluna) is seen healing warriors in a healing house. She’s the only one with working lunar magick. Since only the one with working magick can heal those in need, her father, the clan leader, has stepped down (in the previous month) and made Pinti the youngest clan leader at fifteen. She was going to inherit the job later, but he needed her sooner as his magick was dying.

So, despite still being a child, she is relied on to heal and to be a leader of her clan, Makiista Clan.

This war that’s going on happened because:

  • Pinti was out in the forest with her little sister Tendri (who is six at the time). Tendri was playing and ran off to chase a butterfly, and then crossed the border to the neighboring rival clan, Prendai. It was a mistake.

  • The Prendai clan leader Kalis is a bit crazy and she assumes that Tendri was trying to spy on them.

  • Kalis captures Tendri and will not give her back without a fight. In fact, some think Kalis wanted to fight Makiista Clan and/or just Pinti because she hates Pinti, and so, was looking for any opportunity to do so.

All this happens before the book starts. The book starts on what will turn out to be the last day of the fight. The purpose is to show Pinti trying to figure out how to be a leader (she has been going at this war for a month and it was all a big rush). It also shows why she’s later so numb to death (she’s sad and tired) or why she later acts out to immediately lash out at Kalis when they meet again or has some distrust toward Prendai Clan.

The purpose of the war is also to show Pinti’s magick and it’s limits, what she thinks of it and her relationship with her father (who seems aloof the entire month despite his daughter being captured). The feelings Pinti has towards him has been building up (and later they have a fight).

It also gives a chance to show the relationships between Makiista Clan and their other neighbor clan, Jurana Clan. Jurana was supposed to be siding with Makiista. Jurana lends warriors but breaks the promise to lend healthy warriors, in a sense, jeopardizing the war and making Makiista Clan struggle.

Pinti and the leader of Jurana, Reyl, have another clash later on when he tries to unite all the clans and become the sole leader. This doesn’t happen, but this leads to her stubbornness when the Kattaluna race suffers from food shortage. Someone suggests all clans work together and Pinti says NO WAY we will NOT let another clan STEAL our food.

That’s how she sees it now. Reyl sent in bad warriors to steal her herbs, he tried to steal her clan, and now her food. What next?

Before Tendri returns, Pinti realizes how important her sister is to her. After Tendri returns, Pinti starts to promise “to always protect” or “to never let anything happen to” Tendri even though such promises are impossible to keep. Tendri is shown to be really happy with Pinti.

The war with Kalis and the Prendai Clan, however, do not end with Tendri’s rescue. The tension between Kalis and Pinti will later affect their relationship when they have to travel together. It all ties back to Pinti wanting to protect Tendri (she is meant to leave on a quest if she wants to save her sister).

When I talk about it like this, Tendri being in the center of that war does have a purpose, but still, sometimes I wonder if I’m only using it to show things about Pinti.

I did, previously, had the idea that Tendri chasing the butterfly was because she saw a dream of herself doing that and then that leads to some prophecy thing. I still can do this, but then there’s no reason for Pinti to question Tendri about why she chased a butterfly. It’s not unusual for Tendri to play like that anyway.

So, the prophecy wouldn’t even come up.

So…does this sound like I’m using the Tendri-capture, war with Prendai event to show things about Pinti? Or does it sound quite important to the plot?


It sounds like it’s a personal stake to the MC and those she loves. The fact that it fuels other feuds makes it an important thing without showing it off.


  1. Showcases the character.
  2. Is intimate to the character.
  3. Fuels decisions of the character.

If it was just 1 of those things, you could dump it. If it feels like it’s missing something, you need to make sure that point 2 and 3 are strong enough to “balance the table”.

This is where some foreshadowing and other types can hint at the parts you don’t have strong enough in the beginning. She should mention her mistrust of the other clan from the beginning of the problems, for example, like maybe vowing over her dying people to never share power with such a selfish slug again.

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It would be better to start the book with this instead of making it happen before the book starts. It’s a good hook, and it reveals all kinds of things that are necessary for understanding what comes later. ¯\_(ﭢ)_/¯


The only thing that happens before the book starts is Pinti becoming clan leader because her father’s magick is dying, and then Tendri being captured. After Pinti becomes clan leader, her sister’s incident happens really quickly. Like within a few days.

Everything else I explained (Pinti clashing with father, saving sister, fighting for clan, becoming a stubborn protector, having moments with rivals, etc.) happens in the book.

To clarify, which are you saying is the good hook?

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Her distrust of Jurana Clan shows in the first chapter, quite early on. The incompetent soldiers she’s given are getting injured easily knowing she is forced to heal them. It takes away her herbs because if she wants their support, she HAS TO heal them. She’s seen morbidly considering giving them the “wrong herb” to kill them off and then lying to their leader that they couldn’t be saved.

She scolds herself for thinking such things. She had to choose to send children to war because her clan had few soldiers available. She blames herself for all the deaths. I try to show that while she wants to do awful things or sends children to war, she does have morals.

Later, she fights against the leader of Jurana and wins, proving to her clan she can protect them. She also gives a leader speech.

this one…I’m not sure it’s obvious.

I do try to show her wanting to do things for herself, but then throwing it away to be a leader or a sister. Pinti thinks she has to really prove herself to rebuild the clan or regain trust from some. She’s constantly presented with moments of decision to be with her sister, or be a leader to the clan, or do something for herself.

She’s once scolded for bringing her sister home herself and then going off to see friends, when she should have been at the border to wait for the soldiers’ return.

Idk if I can say the event fuels her decisions directly, but I do try to think about how it would have affected her and her choices later on. Especially considering the war and fighting has been going on, on and off, for a month.

It’s a conversation with a sister afterwads that might easiest reaolve this: specifically: did you send childen to war dor men or because of the dude?

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In my opinion, the book should start with Pinti out in the woods with her sister, and then her sister wanders off, chasing a butterfly. I’d start the book there since that shows a little of normal life, followed by the inciting incident (chasing the butterfly and then getting captured as a result). Omg that could really tug at the heartstrings if she’s crying and screaming for her sister as she’s being dragged away by the enemy, and Pinti tries to reach her but she’s too far away or maybe being held back or something. That’s the hook! The sisters being torn apart by a simple childish act, and that sets up Pinti on her path to leadership and revenge. ¯\_(ﭢ)_/¯

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I understand what you’re saying. Idk about it though :sweat_smile: The reason is, the story did begin with frolicking in the forest, but it caused such problems with many readers, I ditched it entirely.

The previous version of the book started very similar to what you said, and so many people got put off when the story got considerably darker :sweat_smile: Sounded like I was trying to just shock people.

It goes from frolicking in the woods to child torture. The rival clan grab Tendri, tie her up, then proceed to punish her for spying. Then Pinti faces off with the Prendai leader and her soldiers. Pinti is alone, so she can’t fight all the soldiers. She’s forced to retreat. She then hears the rival leader declaring war on Pinti’s clan because of the “spying”. She feels forced to engage in the war.

Idk if I can do this again or maybe I could change it and do a little of it.

Maybe I could start with Pinti looking for Tendri who has wondered off, and finding her captured? Then I can avoid the frolicking in the forest?

But then another issue is how would I show people that these are not Humans but bipedal felines and they are blue?

It’s easy to show it in the healing house scene where Pinti looks around and sees all the injured tails, torn ears, broken claws, and more severe injuries…etc. Then I show the contrast of the red blood on the blue fur (now we know, they are all blue).

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Hmm, I could have Tendri ask that. She would have seen some of them, too.

It’s reasonable for her to ask it.

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If she’s late to stop her sister from being captured, blue blends into a shaded green forest too well. They won’t see this young leader until she’s up on them. As far as torture goes, that can be done after she’s stuck there without a way to win because there’s 1 of her, and if she cross the line, there’s no more clan. Let the other leader mock her.

Hac the other leader tense until she realizes there’s no other hidden ones, and make HER cross the line to try to grab Pinti. Whatver torture there is, it’s the sister’s story.


If only Prendai blended in with their surroundings :stuck_out_tongue: They’re more on the white side of blue. Makiista would have more of an advantage.

I decided that I might take it back one day.


The story is not about the war, but about what happens after.

Maybe Pinti’s shapeshifting friend Thorn can actually play a bigger role. There could be a scene where Pinti asks Thorn if he’s seen Tendri and he says no, but he’ll keep checking. It would then hurt that much more when he eventually turns on her.

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So, I think…I’ll do this:

I have this scene where Pinti’s friend Chardi comes to see her at the healing house. Instead of asking how she’s doing, they’ll talk about how they can’t go on like this. Something about an underground prison system where they think Tendri is.

Chardi: Everyone thinks Aln’s finally smarter than he sounds, figuring out that trap door actually leads to their dungeon. Imagine, they dug that out from the mud. If that’s not impressive enough for ya, Thorn used echolocation to—
Pinti: not so loud.
Chardi: Sorry. Still no sign of him?
Pinti: no, it’s been two weeks.
Chardi: he broke his streak. Every week without fail until now. He won’t get the medal I was making him. It’s called the “at least once a week for ten years” medal and if you pull the lever on the back, the wooden wolf in the frame looks like it howls like he does.
Interrupted by injured ones coming in.
Pinti: I shouldn’t have left her side.
Chardi: I thought I told you to stop crying over spoiled milk.
Pinti: it’s spilt milk. what if she never forgives me?

Then Chardi leaves. Pinti goes back to healing…and then Tendri is found. Once this happens, one of Pinti’s friends says they saw Thorn (and this leads into the following chapter where the friends meet Thorn in a secret hideout cave).

Then I’ll pepper in more scenes with Pinti worrying or being over protective of her sister.


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