Thursday, February 11, 2016

Finding a Story, Part Two

Read Part One here.
I have here probably the best example of how story construction works for me. I went into the bathroom to take out my contacts, and walked out declaring, "Maybe it's a portal." It's a well-known fact that all the best thoughts are thought in the bathroom. Maybe it's the inherent lack of things to write with.

This restroom revelation addresses the question of "Where did everyone go?" Well, maybe our train has passed through a portal into some other realm, and our protagonist was the only one invited. Now, there's maybe a 60% chance that this thought will have nothing to do with the final story. Many paths are explored before one is followed to the end.

This could become an afterlife/final judgement kind of tale where the protagonist was really dead all along and this is some sort of purgatorial prison. References to various parts of the Greek Underworld and all that. This story could go that way, but it won't. I've done basically that already, so it would just feel like an easy and cheap way out.

I'm thinking we need to go a little more horror with this one. The Langoliers comes to mind. Everyone's gone and something is quite amiss. And a guy that makes me think of weasels. It's been a while since I've seen that movie.

At this point, a more rational and considerate blogger might stop to apologize for the tangents. You'll find no such contrition here. You're in my head now. It's a labyrinth and there's no street signs. What I'm trying to say is that this is all a part of the process. One thought leads to another, which leads to fifteen other completely unrelated thoughts. And sometimes a story falls out.

In this case, it's a story about a prisoner on a train, who finds himself suddenly alone in front of a mansion.

Right now I mostly just have a vibe. It's like an inaudible tone at 19Hz, and you find yourself with an inexplicable feeling of dread. I have the image in my head of a boxcar door sliding open. Outside and set back from the tracks is a dismal grey mansion. The sky is overcast, and it has been raining. The rain has stopped, and once the door stops moving, there is no sound.

I asked myself what kind of character would be in this story. He's obviously a criminal, being shackled and bound for prison as he is. The question was then: what was his crime? Was it a minor offense? Was he perhaps wrongfully accused? Does he need to be a "good guy" in order for us to be drawn into his story?

Upon asking these questions, I stared off into space, as this is my patented planning technique. And then I abruptly answered most of them with "No." Maybe he's not a straight-laced guy who made a few bad choices. Maybe he's a murderer. Maybe whatever evil exists in this world feeds off of souls. And maybe he doesn't have one.

We're going to leave it at that for today, or this post will go on forever.

1 comment:

  1. I learned a great deal to about 19hz and the effects it can have on people. I can't wait to hear how this story will turn out.