Further to that Idea

Mentioned here, is the next stage of the preparation. It’s the process of getting one of those little outline thingies for every character in the story.


Because if the writer doesn’t know why the character is in the story, and can’t understand why they’d do it this way and not that way, then the reader won’t get the right feel for the character.

There is more than one character to a story – even if it’s only the mirror image with a different view.

So, here’s the deal for the crooks view:

Two: Robbers, Roos & Roses

Idea: We broke away from the forced worked program. Me n Bud got better stuff to do. We need wheels, but there’s no one around. And then a kid comes along. He’ll know something. The kid’s on his own, but he doesn’t have a vehicle. We gotta get outta here, and fast. A coupla hours is all we got. When we see the kid’s got a list of customers to get to, we know one of ’em has to have a vehicle.

Genre: Australiana

Where, when, who – working on it.

OPEN: Break away from the work party. [this isn’t likely to go into the story, only their backstory, and only if it come up. It may only be a single sentence – that’s life].

THEME: don’t run.

SETUP: Country life ain’t easy.

CATALYST: she’s expecting the regular delivery, but when the kid turns up with extras, she doesn’t seem too concerned. Is the old lady nuts?Better and better.

DEBATE: We need supplies, a change of clothes – and where she hid the keys to that bomb of a vehicle.

BREAK: a weapon. Even better. Now she’ll give us the keys.

B-STORY: Bud gets shot in the shoulder. The old lady and the kid sort him, but he’s gotta get real help.

PINCH: Bud can’t run, he can’t even walk. The vehicle doesn’t have a battery. Go to the next farm and take one, quiet-like.

FUN/GAMES: She’s got booze!

MID: The food – is it poisoned? You can’t trust old ladies who live alone in the country and talk to roos.

AGAINST IT: Fell asleep. She did drug us, but we’re not the usual .

PINCH: Where is the kid? Beat the truth outta ya, old lady.

ALL IS LOST: He’ll call the cops. Gotta go after him – down the gully, through the mob of roos. He can’t get too far, just a kid.


BREAK: Meet Boomer, and he likes to have a sammo every day. Who’s got that sammo? Boomer doesn’t take no for an answer, chases all around the blackberry bushes until trapped.

PREP FOR FINALE: scream for help.

SHOWDOWN: The cops finally arrive. With an ambulance.

END: Happy to get outta the country.

Maybe tomorrow, I’ll do one for the kid. I might make him a trainee for an olympic sport, and he’s friends with the old lady because she was a champion shooter in her day … hmmmmm, has wings, potential.

Each character in the story (all with a viewpoint, and the baddy/opposition) get one of these outline thingies (it’s a beat sheet, adapted for the way I do things), plus a few ideas on motivations and stakes and a family of verbs to make their metaphor.

It’s the fun bit before the serious business of writing it up into a readable story. It brings the people in the story close to real.

8 thoughts on “Further to that Idea

    • But you get to know your characters before you write, and how their journey bends and twists, don’t you? It’s the same thing, but I take it out of my head and write it down

      Liked by 1 person

      • Actually…no. I hate to sound all new age, but I have a ‘feel’ for one character, usually the MC and an idea that kickstarts the story, but for the next 20 or 30 thousand words, I’m winging it. And getting a feel for the other characters as they pop up. For example, I had no idea about Kenneth’s backstory until a throw away line gave me an insight into who he might be. Even then, I discovered Kenneth as the story progressed. Ditto the other characters.
        Of course, by the 30K word mark things have started to solidify, and that’s when I become a hybrid of sorts. Until then though, it’s pantster all the way. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: What Comes Next … | Cage Dunn: Writer, Author, Teller-of-tall-tales

Comments are closed.