Hi there, fellow writers,
Last week I gave you an example of how I come up with a main character. Today I will share the process, or lack of process I use to get the story going. First, in the case of such a character as we found last week, it is a given she will kick ass and take names. The only questions are whose ass and why? What is the endgame target?
Some of you may know that I’m an avid chess player. I learned the game over forty years ago and I love it. The man who taught me chess said every move you make is a move towards the end game. That goes for storytelling too. Before you can tell a good story, you have to have an idea of where it will end up, not so much how it got there, but where it ends up.
That brings us back to our girl in purple leathers on her motorcycle. We know she’s a tough cookie with a shady past; she’s on her way to the island where it all started to make a fresh start and put a few ghosts to rest. Her endgame target? She wants to reclaim some of the girl she was before life went crazy, she wants to make a place for herself, to belong and to be accepted for who she is.
Now, it is at this point I begin to look like everyone’s image of a chess player. I sit and stare into space until I lose all track of time or my surroundings. Eventually she comes to me and tells me her story, but at first I need to know a bit about her world. In the case of our girl in purple leather I got three things, old hippie, sheriff, and abandoned hotel.
That was all I needed to start. I knew she wanted to end up in that hotel, it refurbished, and I knew she had two allies to help her get there, an aging hippie and a sheriff. So, she reaches her island on a ferry boat, but there is no ferry boat that can take her through the emotional seas and the physical dangers she has to cross before she can retire to her renovated hotel and live happily ever after.
So that’s her end game, to reach the point where she is accepted and belongs as a part of the life on that particular island. She’s come home to make a stand, to sink roots, and learn to deal with the past. Seems a bit ambiguous, doesn’t it. Of course it does, the main character’s end game is rarely the storyteller’s end game. What’s my endgame? Why, to let her win, but put her through hell and make her earn it. I know, I’m an old meanie, but what can you do?
Okay, this will give you a peek into the general direction of the story, but not much. We have a character, we know she’s had a hard life, we know she’s jaded, somewhat tormented, and emotionally lost, desperately seeking a safe harbour from a mad world. Nope, she’s not going to find it, she’ll have to make it, but she will have help. Next week I’ll tell you a bit about some of her helpers.
Yes, yes, I know, there has to be a bad guy, or something worse. Patience, dear readers, patience. Okay, if you just can’t take it and have to know, here’s where to find out girl in leather.
Well, that’s it for today folks. Sunday’s post will be about the farm once again then next Wednesday we’ll get to know a bit about our girl’s helpers.