Yep, you guessed it. I have to make a decision.
The first part of a story is the most critical spot except the end, and that’s because they’re tied together. The beginning sets up a question that ends the story when the question has an answer. Yeah, I know. A bit esoteric. But that’s how it is. A story opens with a person who has a desire to do, get, become and it’s not going to be an easy path because there are blocks and troubles if they choose to pursue the path toward achieving that goal, and they must decide to step across the boundary of the time when they can leave it and walk away, or push ahead and get a definitive answer.
The main character wants something, but something else stands in the way, and the main character has to make a decision to fight for what’s desired. Gotta show agency, grit, determination (even if it’s hard, something never tried before — but the end result is worth it).
Simplified = Desire, Danger, Decision.
To know how much space I’ve got to lay that out means I need to know two main things: how long the story will be, and who the main character is.
I need the length of the story to know how much detail is going to get the story across in a clear, concise, and coherent presentation.
The end of the story comes when the character gets an answer to that story question.
In the case of this story, it could be:
Will ‘the kid’ ask Dee to mentor/train him?
Or it could be:
Can Dee show the kid how much he can learn with a bit of help?
The crooks won’t be the main characters, so I don’t have to consider them.
However, the climax is always an action — actions cause change and force a reaction; they can be acted out. Activity isn’t the same. Flicking of hair or sucking a gut in isn’t action, it’s activity, mainly because it does nothing to move the story forward.
How can the question in the story be answered?
The general story background is about the crooks turning up unexpectedly and causing mayhem, and I’ve got the end as when the last crook is cornered by the roo in the blackberry patch. That’s not the real story though.
The roo isn’t the main character. And the main character has to take action to achieve the answer to the story question.
With the two questions above, who would need to do what to answer the question/s? Who is going to get what they deserve (the crooks story is easy to show the contrast to the main story) and how?
Will it be the kid? Or Dee? No idea yet. Sometimes, these things take time to percolate, but if I don’t have the important pieces of the puzzle, then it’s not time to start the story.
Whose story is it? Why? What do they want? Why now? Is it worthwhile? I have the when and where, the why and what, almost got the who, but the how is a big tangle of net at the moment. What will happen next? Who will move into top billing?
I’ll let you know.
This is the last of the ‘idea’ posts, as I’m going back to a couple of Wees in Pee that are crying out for attention. See you next week!