While writing about Reiner’s authoritarian personality I noted the polarisation of freedom and security.
The conflict between Adam and Reiner is a fight over the kind of world they will live in. “Will it be a world ruled by freedom or one ruled security?”
If Adam is to have a better life at the end, he has to reject the world of security demanded by Reiner, and make a positive choice for freedom.
The seed of this decision is sowed in the stories inciting event.
Adam has to do something that, to quote John Truby, “causes the hero to come up with a goal and take action”. The difficulty I have is that Adam and Reiner are part of the same tribe, they’re policemen in a totalitarian state that has built its identity on attacking drug users. Adam at some level shares this totalitarians mindset, he couldn’t be a policeman if he didn’t.
So what would make him question the orthodoxy?
If part of the totalitarian mindset, that Adam is part of, is the authoritarian personality exemplified by Reiner, an individual willing to belittle himself so he can, as part of something greater, become great himself, what startles Adam out of that delusion? My gut tells me the only thing powerful enough to force that kind of revelation in Adam, is a direct attack on Christine.
Whatever self-righteous stance he might take against her drug use, she’s still his sister, the only remaining member of his family. Whatever he believes at the beginning of the story, when she is attacked, he’s compelled to save her.
At present the inciting event happens as Reiner attacks a surrogate for Christine. Adam gets a call from her as Reiner beats the surrogate to a pulp. Reiner’s actions, and Christine’s plea for help, prompt Adam to abandon his post and go to help her.
The attack on Adam would need to be more sustained before he finally reject Reiner. Perhaps it’s in the symbiotic tendency of the authoritarian personality, seen in the tyrannical father who torments his wife but is subservient to his superiors. Perhaps Reiner uses Christine against Adam, he’s forced to choose.
Instinct tells me that’s actually the choice Adam has to make in the final battle, the last stepping stone that gets him to the freedom side of the river. What I’m looking for, is the first stepping stone on that journey.
I’m sure it has to be a direct attack on Christine. Reiner makes a move against Christine, which forces Adam to step in. His instinctive response puts him in direct conflict with Reiner.
With this choice made I now have to go back and restructure the first thirty five minutes of the plot.