Creating A Realistic Rebel Resistance Group | Focusing Your Resistance

Check out these other posts in the Creating a Realistic Rebel Resistance series!
Part 1 Authority & Leadership
Part 2 Networks & Cells
Part 3 Meaningful Defiance
Part 4 How to Create the Perfect Tyrannical Government for Your Resistance

Overwhelmed yet? Are you wondering how to include everything about your fantastic Resistance Group into your story? How are you supposed to make this story shine without confusing your readers with too many characters, perspectives, and settings?

Well, that's what we're going to look at today.

I would suggest that not every single last detail about your Resistance Group needs to be in your story. There will simply be too much, and a lot of it will be backstory that can be shared through exposition. You, the author, needs to know every last facet of your resistance, but your readers do not.

What Should You Include About Your Resistance?

1. Cut to the Chase
What will readers absolutely have to know about your resistance for all its ins and outs to make sense? Cut any unnecessary details to avoid confusing readers with too many main characters, names and places.

For instance, do they have to know the name of every obscure agent/messenger who spies on a certain sector of the enemy? Only you know your resistance, so it will be up to you to decide what to cut and what to keep.

2. Choose Your Focus Point
In our little infographic from Networks and Cells, you can see how complicated a resistance group can be. If your Resistance Group covers any war, area, or country even close to the size of Europe during WWII, you'll need to select the best focus points and leave the rest. For instance, the focus point for the French Resistance and the SOE was Paris. But there were many different circuits working throughout the country in smaller villages and towns.


Choose one or two pertinent cells for your main characters to focus on. To decide this ask yourself, Which one has the most to lose? Start there, and move on to main characters.

3. Choose Your Main Characters 
In Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein chose a field wireless operator and a female by-plane pilot. Together, these two points of view cover both sides of the story in Britain and France.

Once you've chosen for the needs of your story really lay on the detail of each character and setting. Create a moving personal story for each one. Once you have a good view of your character and plot, your story can spread to any location.

4. Choose a Smaller Goal
Obviously, the overall goal of a resistance would be to defeat the tyrannical government and regain their freedom. But this is not achievable all at once. The French Resistance had to plan and carry out series after series of smaller goals to achieve the ultimate goal of driving the Germans from France. Even that they did not achieve on their own, but they paved the way for the Allies to break through. Without the French Resistance the Normandy landings would have been much, much harder, if not impossible.

The French Resistance's smaller goals consisted of:
  • Destroying German factories that manufactured weapons, ammunition, and wartime equipment
  • Spying on German battalion movements and reporting it
  • Blowing up railroads
  • Carrying much needed communication messages
  • Helping Allied men and women escape. Carrying passports that were not yours was extremely dangerous if you were caught. Providing them with shelter and food
  • Planning escapes
  • The list is endless
Choose a main function, such as in Code Name Verity, Maddie was a pilot and Queenie a wireless operator who transmitted messages back to the SOE. Her main goal was to make sure London knew everything the Germans were doing. Until she was captured . . . but that would be spoiling the story.

After taking these 4 steps, it's all story here.

Know your resistance, know their limits, know your characters and their goals, big and small, know the conflict, and you've got a good resistance shaping up.

For now, this concludes our series on writing a Resistance Group. Questions are always welcome, if you have any. Feel free to leave them in the comments below!


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