Okay, it might not be. The next step (the whole thing started here) could be the background for the baddies, but even if I leave that, there’s this other thing that needs to happen.
It’s called the action family for the main character. As I have yet to decide which of the two characters is going to end up being the main character, I’ll do a general verb family that could fit either or both the old lady or the kid.
Does anyone do this?
Oh. What is it?
It’s like a few verbs that indicate how the character is going to do stuff. For this story, and the issue of how to make choices, it needs a verb family that starts with a gentle action process and then builds up to the bigger actions.
If the verb family is choose, what fits with that?
(these come from Activate: A thesaurus of actions & tactics for dynamic genre fiction (Damon Seude) https://www.amazon.com/Activate-thesaurus-actions-tactics-dynamic-ebook/dp/B07PYZ17HP/).
Aquire, adopt, desire, fix, gather, grasp, hoard, invite, mark, pick, prioritise, secure, snag, source, stock, tap, strip, etc.
The opposing side of the actions: dismiss, ditch, exclude, ignore, refuse, reject, retard, squander, trash, waste.
This could start out as the actions that define the character reactions to events and situations. And this is the start. I’d need a few more to test exactly how that character is going to take action, move, fight back. And no one else needs to know this except me (and the character, of course).
Story is about characters acting, taking actions, being active and demonstrating agency. Verbs are good for that.
I haven’t done the motivations (some conflict within the things that are important to the character) or ambitions or blindness (to faults), but sometimes those things come quite late in the ‘getting to know the character’ stage. Once I have a rough outline, a bit of background, a dream, a problem, and how actions will happen, I can start working on the next stages as the ideas come (usually, when doing things other than writing, planning, or researching — and sometimes, they just fly onto the page at the time I think about it).
There you have another, tack-on stage that’s important to the way a character in the story happens.