Further to the process of finding the story from an idea (see here), I went on to think about the crooks and what they’re doing in the story. I needed their reason for being there.
It’s not a simple thing, although it looks like it could be. They’re crooks, after all, and the quick and easy part would be to not think about it too much and just make them the baddies.
But, and a big one at that, there is the question of how their story is going to reinforce the main story.
It’s not about theme, not yet, but each story within the story needs to have a reason, and the best reason is to showcase the main story.
And I could find one.
I wrote down a few things.
What is the question that only this story can answer? [that’s how to find where to end the story – when that question has an answer. The answer to the question is the resolution to the story.]
Which leads to this one: how does the effect of the opposition/antagonist represent one side of that question?
The woman and the boy — is it about competing? She wants to help him, but she wants him to ask. Is the story about enabling? Enabling what? Does that lead to the crooks being disablers?
Didn’t sound right, or strong enough, or feel worthy of the time and effort.
Another question: In what way does the goal of the antagonist/baddie represent the opposite of the main character (as yet, I haven’t chosen which of the old lady and the boy will be main character — these questions need to be asked first, so I know who has the most change in their arc).
Ah, and why is there a ‘roo in the story? What does his role have to do with either of the other two? What is he going to demonstrate as part of the picture?
Several hours later, several scribbles later, and no closer to a solid enough answer, I think: maybe this story isn’t ready yet. If I can’t find the reason these groups are in the same story, the story needs more time to make itself known.
Lying in bed, half-asleep, not thinking about the story because I’ve slipped it to the back of the burner again, there’s a niggle of a thought.
It’s about choices, isn’t it? Allowing (or not) others to choose the path, to see, to ask or offer.
She wants the boy to ask her for help, but in order for that to happen, he has to become more observant of the things outside himself. He has to see what’s there. The kid comes to her house every week, the photos are on the wall and he walks past them each time. He needs to look beyond himself, to become observant. That’s his lesson, his arc. He has to choose this, and she can’t compel him or the whole reason for wanting to help him is gone.
The kid needs to know how to observe and act on those observations. It’s not just about the shooting or the rifle or the sport.
The crooks are all about taking choice away from others. They are observant, but in a manner that is only of benefit to themselves. They see, they take. They are the opposite of the old lady.
And ‘roo? He’s a foil of her demonstration of observation. How? The way she checks the fences every day, the notes she makes on weather and season, and in particular, if there are any does in the mob of roos in season. That’s the important bit about the big ‘roo. And that he stays for the patch of green grass the old lady makes with the bathwater. Oh, and the sammo she gives him every day.
And that’s how they tie together and reinforce the main story. That’s how to create resonance through each element of the story.
It’s about choices, and how they’re made/offered. Now, I can think about the backstory of the crooks. Tomorrow.