Here is the result of my brainstorm:
Characteristic moment, core emotional longing
Jade longing to become a ballerina and protect her family/friends. Probably only Rosemary, maybe Tray, are her worries at this point. She is thinking of this as she practices dance at home.
Inciting incident, brokenness
Haven enters EoP, something about how the Doctors are being forced to experiment on the Culled gets out, dad angry/decides to fight, Jade decides to stop him.
Obstacles, discovery & frustration
The friends gather as they typically do since Miriam first started their Bible study (Jade, Rosemary, Mara, Isaias, Victor, and Tray), introduce them: Rosemary probably is working on chemistry during this, Isaias is working on illustrating the Bible, Tray’s probably campaigning to Victor to get his dad to be environmentally friendly, and Jade knits and observes everything, occasionally adding her two cents or a snarky joke. Now is when the theme can be set up in their discussions. When the theme starts coming in, Jade will be drawn in more actively because it conflicts with her current worldview. Issue of Mara being abused, issue of Rosemary becoming a doctor, issue of Mr. Nightingale rebelling. Jade’s probably getting driven nuts trying to help all of them XD. Let’s see, what can she do? Perhaps encourage Mara to get good grades and Rosemary bad ones? Victor knows that Protectors get essentially brainwashed and all sorts of bad stuff, so he is encouraging Mara to forget pursuing the Protector thing even if that angers her dad. He’s so mad over her dad abusing her, though. Oh, I wonder if he could show a successful method of protection in contrast to Jade’s. That would be interesting and in character.
Then Jade logically lays all the issues of rebellion before her dad, but he’s adamant as I’ve already written in WIP. Everyone is honestly likely irritated that she’s trying to control their lives. Jade is so arrogant… This might be what plants unfriendly seeds between Jade and Mara.
In ballet, it’s been too easy for her. She’s a natural, yes, but she can’t be perfect. Perhaps the teacher fusses about how she does not do the classical walk right. Makes sense that Jade might overlook the importance of that. It’s a little thing that could ruin her chances.
Mr. Nightingale meanwhile takes chemistry lessons from Rosemary and acquires fertilizer from Isaias. Where in Benevola will he get gasoline? Sneaks out to a scrapyard and gets it from the piles of dead cars? I really doubt that the Benevolents would’ve just left fuel in them once confiscated, though.
Jade notices that, of course, and maybe brings the fertilizer back to Isaias, telling him to never sell her dad that again. However, this doesn’t prevent Mr. Nightingale from looking elsewhere. Plenty of farmers would give up that for fish. Perhaps Jade speaks out against rebellion. Ooh, that would get most of her friends mad. More proof that her current methods aren’t working.
Showing the Benevolents’ cruelty: this would be a good point to have that procession of elderly people to the Culled district & the humming lady for singing stones; Mara should accompany her for this. Maybe the church gets raided & burned, so that’s why it moved to the Baums’s house?
And what can Jade say about all that evil, hmm? At this point, going along with it would be wretched no matter her reason of protecting people.
Mr. Nightingale would get so mad at that; he’ll blow up the government building in retaliation.
Teacher Finch threatens to remove Jade from the next semester if she doesn’t get the classical walk down pat. She’s beginning to realize that she’s relied too much on being a natural and that she’s been arrogant. Jade, Victor, & co. visit Mara in the hospital (she was close enough to the explosion to be burned). Mara figures out that Mr. Nightingale was responsible for Rael’s death and turns him in along with the other rebels she’s found. During the execution, Head Benevolent Emberson commends Mara. Her friends are utterly shocked and horrified.
The Baums have the remaining Nightingales over for tea and the discussion goes as written. Isaias brings up the theme, and Jade decides to try out the new mindset. Also decides she didn’t do enough to help her dad and needs to do more in future.
False victory, joy
New mindset works when Jade starts to worry about her mom (though God gave her a very forcible reminder!). Jade the proud actually apologizes to Finch and works harder at her weak spots. This results in her becoming the prima ballerina. She’s overall a happier person. Instead of pushing Rosemary and Tray to change who they are for their “safety,” she talks about their qualities in front of the teachers in a way that would help her friends. Relations between Mara and her old friends are now strained, and only Victor talks to her much because he loves her & thinks her dad’s ways badly influenced her. He still wants to protect her at least for the sake of redeeming her. Meanwhile, Mara is suspicious that Tray helped the rebels as a part of his environmentalist aims. Jade is actively pulling her mom out of depression, unlike in backstory with Airu.
Low point, defeat
Rosemary gets made a Doctor: the first blow. Mara tips off the Benevolents, so Tray is Culled on the Day of Destiny: the second blow. By the time Jade is made a ballerina, she hardly has the heart to be celebratory. Victor had arranged things beforehand to have the Benevolents make Mara a Benevolent instead of a Protector, which is unheard-of in the relatively short history of the Haven. As another layer of protection, he also marries her despite their youth. Jade now has to leave for the Peaceful Union Ballet Tour.
She must give up something. Maybe her obsession w/ protecting everyone? Control? She’s going to have some time for thought on the flights around the world. She might realize she’s not big enough to protect everyone. The rest of the theme could set her up well for this, surrendering to God and putting trust in Him, casting cares on Him & such.
At the final performance, she will come face to face with the utterly evil one ruling the EoP. That could be a good set up for stage fright, but instead she conquers this by what she learned from the theme and dances for God in defiance to him.
Being around all these elites, she inevitably picks up some information on the horrors they have planned now that the whole earth is under their control. Jade’s resolutions would be tested by this knowledge, and I’m sure she’s desperate to tell the church back home. Honestly, though, Miriam probably already knows and has told them.
When she does get home, she instantly knows things are amiss.
Isaias tells her about all the terrible things that happened in her absence, and Jade tells him all she saw and learned. They’re probably going to pray. Then Jade’s “So I dance to the song of the stones and the sky.” mirroring the beginning and the final performance, wrapping up theme and proving she’s gotten it.
This is raw material, so if anything is confusing or you see anything that weakens the plot, feel free to point it out 🙂
We are called to be lights in the cosmos.
May your inkwells never run dry!