I’ve done the basic outline for the old woman and the crooks, but why does the kid bring deliveries to her on a rural property?
It brought to mind to consider who he is, what he wants (the kid, that is) and how she interacts with him, and why.
One part of the story has the crooks finding a rifle. Now, I could make that an ordinary rifle, but what if it was a rifle used by shooters in Olympic sports? That would be interesting.
So, I came up with a bit of background.
The old lady gets the deliveries because the kid’s trying to get enough money to buy a proper shooting rifle, and they’re expensive. Despite the exorbitant cost of the deliveries, she plays it up and invites him in every time, waiting for him to notice the books, the plaques, the photographs. But of course, it’s too soon in the story yet, and only when the crooks have trapped him there does he take the time to look around.
What he sees is a picture of his dad, with this old woman, and they both hold professional shooters rifles.
When the crooks find the gun-safe [where should it be hidden so that it’s a big deal?], they ask what it is. The old lady says it’s a fire-proof safe.
What for? Her will, of course, what else would she have of value?
They open the safe, and pull it out. ‘What sort of rifle is this?’ and they mishandle it badly.
‘Where are the rounds?’
Wrong sort of weapon, she tells them, but they don’t believe her, do they?
The kid, though, almost drops his jaw into the cellar. He knows what it is, he knows who she is now. This woman was his father’s mentor before … [work on that bit, too, make it emotional in terms of why the kid wants this so badly].
So, now I have the big moment with the crooks finding the gun and how it creates tension for all three main stories.
The benefits of doing the preliminary stuff is finding out these things that make a difference to the end-state of the story.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll give the motivations for the crooks, and it’s not just to escape prison — everyone has a reason to do what they do, and every character in the story believes the story is only theirs, they are the heroes of their own story.
How does that sound?
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a pic of the specific rifle I had in mind, so that may take some more research. Meanwhile …