Props and other items
On Day 6, I said today you were going to think about the “what” of the who, what, why, when, where and how of your story. You’ve already covered the “who” when you created your characters, the “why” when you thought about their story goals, and the “how” when you created action points to illustrate those goals. Yesterday you covered the “where,” and today you’re going to fill in the smaller details.
Your characters are not the only moveable pieces in your story. The props and items that surround them also move around. Whether that’s a letter one character has misplaced and doesn’t want another character to find, or the car they drive, the locations of these items can easily trip you up if you don’t keep track of them.
For example, in the first draft of Moroaica, I had Max, the main character getting out of the same car twice without first getting back in. In Decontamination, I had written a scene with Gemma, a minor character giving Matt and Amiti,the two main characters, a lift back to the pub where they had left Matt’s car, despite the fact that I had them arriving in Amiti’s car. I had temporarily lost count of the cars in the plot and where they were, and had to do a hasty re-write.
Work through each of the actions in your outline and think about the items in it. Make note of where they are at the beginning and end of the scene. If they are in a character’s possession, make note of which character, and also which of the other characters are aware of that.
Getting all this straight in your mind will help you avoid having characters refer to information they shouldn’t yet be aware of.
Also consider the symbolism of the props. Do they represent any of the themes of your story? If so, does what happens to them fit with the overall story arc?
Don’t forget to include animals in your planning, if there are any in your story.
Tomorrow you’ll be finishing off your research with a bit of world building, ready to start writing your first draft on Day 9.