Updated: Dec 31, 2019
As writers, our biggest desire is to get our book ideas from our heads to paper, and share them with the universe. At least it's that way for me.
Over the last few weeks, I have tried to show you ways to flesh out your characters, how to complete your story concept, and then take those two things and create an outline that helps get your story out of your head.
This is the last part in that blog series: Character Creation, Story Concept, and Creating Outlines.
In the previous post, I told you that I would share the completed short story I started just for this series. Before we get to that, let me recap what my outline looks like, based of the exercises in this series.
My outline is made of up these components:
While looking through the kitchen window of his cabin, Geoffrey MacNally thinks he witnesses a man murder his family in the cabin next door. He sneaks over and sees what looks like blood. He then sees the man leaving with what looks like a rolled-up tarp, and Geoffrey is positive he has hidden the body in it. He is faced with what to do.
He must decide if he can stop the killer from disposing of the body before the authorities have a chance to arrest him. Geoffrey finds himself caught wanting to catch the killer and deciding how much danger he is willing to put himself and his family in to stop a murderer. After following the guy to a warehouse, and involving the authorities, Geoffrey realizes he made a huge mistake.
Geoffrey MacNally: (For purposes of this post, I am only including my main character profile.)
-Father of 2
-5’11 and lanky
-Loves murder mysteries
-Watches everyone and eavesdrops
-Sees a mystery in even the most mundane events
-He’s not ugly, not good-looking, very neat in appearance. Hair is always parted on the side.
-Can be rigid
-He loves puzzles. He grew up listening to his grandmother read him murder mysteries. Because he traveled a lot as a kid, he never made a lot of friends.
-The mysteries were his escape. He reads more into conversations than he should. Thinks there is always something mysterious going on and feels he should be the one to solve the mystery.
Geoffrey MacNally and his family pull up to the lodge. (Describe lodge here.) While unloading bags, he sees a man (he later thinks this man kills his family) in a heated discussion with his wife. Geoffrey eavesdrops on this conversation and is distracted by the couple and pays no attention to his family or anything else going on.
He tries to tell his wife that something is wrong with the couple. His kids and his wife dismiss him. But Geoffrey won’t let it go. Once at their cabin, he sees the man and his wife again in the cabin next door. He listens to their conversation through an open window.
Geoffrey follows the man to a warehouse where he thinks the killer will dispose of the body. He has phoned the security on the property and has told them what he witnessed and where he is located. Several people overhear the sheriff on the phone and now the lodge is buzzing with excitement.
Several of the hunters and workers follow the sheriff to the warehouse as back up. (and they are nosy as hell). In the warehouse, Geoffrey is waiting for the right time to stop the man from disposing of the body, when help hasn’t come yet he finds a PVC pipe to use as a weapon and is determined to stop the Killer.
The man takes the tarp into a large area with what looks like a drain. He is about to unroll it when Geoffrey steps out of the shadows to stop him. Within minutes the entire lodge shows up and the would-be killer is telling them that this crazy man is about to kill him.
Geoffrey explains there is a body in the tarp and that the man has killed his wife. The wife steps out from behind the sheriff, along with their kid, and Geoffrey realizes he made a giant mistake.
Event Timeline: (This is based off my story concept, opening, and ending scenes)
1. Geoffrey overhears several conversations between this husband and wife. tries to find out about them. Asks people at the lodge about them. the family is like let it go. They ignore him.
2. During family activities, Geoffrey searches for the couple, often at the expense of time with his family. He continues to assume the husband and wife are having problems because every encounter he has with them they are arguing.
3. One evening as he and his wife are going to attend an event at the lodge, he remembers he has to go get something at the cabin. Wife stays behind.
4. While at the cabin, just before Geoffrey is heading back to the lodge, Geoffrey sees the man murder his family through the window of a cabin.
5. Sneaks over to the cabin and looks through the window. Sees the man rolling up the tarp and Geoffrey what looks like blood all over the floor and splattered on the wall.
6. He watches from the side of the cabin as the man carries out a rolled-up tarp.
7. Geoffrey believes the body is in the tarp. He sneaks back to his cabin and calls the security.
8. Geoffrey is watching the man and realizes he is getting ready to leave. Geoffrey doesn’t want him to get away, he follows him and calls the security on his cell phone.
9. Geoffrey doesn’t want him to get a chance to dispose of the body before the authorities can catch him. He follows him to the far side of the property and tells the sheriff where is and what the man is doing.
10. While at the warehouse he must stop the man from getting rid of the body, until the sheriff shows up, he grabs a weapon and is about to hit the killer when the authorities show up.
11. The wife shows up and Geoffrey realizes he made a huge mistake.
Remember each of these entries doesn’t represent a chapter but an event that I want to happen in the story. This is just a tool to help me envision where I want my story to go.
For this blog series, I created a 10K word short story. Remember, this IS A FIRST DRAFT.
I purposely didn't want to do a lot of editing. I wanted you to see how I utilized all the steps I showed you in this series to get my story concept out of my head and onto paper.
Here is the short story:
I hope this blog series has helped you. If I can offer any assistance just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I write crime fiction horror, thriller, and paranormal novels. My time in the Coast Guard and my degree in Forensic Chemistry helps me create fantastic stories. If I'm not writing, I am binge watching Netflix and probably drinking whiskey.