On Being Barking Mad

Yesterday I had a “barking mad” story idea.

It’s really not that mad. It’s not my insane desire to write a Doctor Who/Uncle Scrooge crossover, which I think would be absolutely fab. It’s more a case of “Why has no one ever thought to put this together with that?

As best I can tell, no one has.

Yet, once the two ideas collided in my mind, I saw how brilliantly they would work together.

I worked out roughly the hook and some of the dramatic incidents last night. I pulled some books off the shelf and gave them a once-over, jotting down a few ideas. (Yes, I’m surprised I even had books on certain elements of the concept, but I’m a man of eclectic interests.)

Today, I’m taking a break from “THOD” to put a brief outline together. As I type this, I have seven Wikipedia articles open, and three books on the desk.

I think I can knock this out entirely today.

And then we’ll see if I can do something with it.

I don’t have a cutesy acronym for this yet. Why don’t we call it “TDH”? Thistle Downgrades Happiness. 🙂

ETA: Have I mentioned how difficult I find it at times to write an outline? And yet, that I absolutely need an outline?

We’ll start with the latter. I need an outline because, without an outline, I’ll flail. If it’s a story that I can write in a sitting or two — roughly, four or five thousand words — I don’t need an outline, because I can “see” beginning, middle, end in my mind. Otherwise, without an outline, I’ll write without a direction, and I’ve become disheartened, and I’ll lose focus, and I’ll give up.

The former. The problem I have sometimes with writing an outline is that I’m mapping out everything. So I have this big idea in mind, and in “skimming” over the ideas, I find at times that I really want to write the individual scenes, even though I know right now that I really shouldn’t.

Getting started on this outline was difficult. Each paragraph on the first page was slow-going. It’s set-up. Initial problem. Introduce the characters. Get them into position. Complications. Page two, however, was not so difficult. The characters are now in position. The conflicts virtually write themselves. The plot really kicks into gear, and the main character is learning some very interesting things.

Now, sixteen hundred words in, I’ve reached the top of page three. When I get to the bottom of page three, I should be done. There’s one important character introduction still to happen. One action set piece to write. And some plot strands to resolve.

I’ll finish this tonight.

ETA2: Done. The outline now sits at four pages and 3200 words.

The character introduction? Mid-page three. The set piece? Bottom page three. Plot resolutions? Page four.

Tomorrow, I may think it’s junk. Today? Right now? I think it holds up. It feels right. I don’t see any gaping holes.

Not bad. Not back at all. 🙂

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