I am now up to chapter thirteen of my outline, 8 pages in. I am really getting a good feel for this story. My process is that I will write a paragraph or two describing the chapter, and then I will put some bullets below for stuff I either want to emphasis, or are alternative ideas to use in that chapter. At this point I still have not come up with names for my characters, so for now I am calling my protagonist Hero to keep it simple.
Below is an excerpt from my notes for two chapters:
Hero wakes up and experiences a tremor and is terrified in the darkness. He experienced one before when he was a young boy, and half his tribe had been killed as the part of their cavern home plunged into depths below. His parents were killed and he became an orphan. But it is only a minor tremor and nobody is hurt. In the morning he grabs a sack and goes on a journey to the chasm, intending to cross the bridge and bring back food. It could be tins, or it could be a rich source of fungi. But when he gets to the tunnel exit, he finds the bridge has collapsed into the depths below. There is no way he can get across. He is forced to return home empty handed and tell them he can’t get to the food.
- Hero needs to keep a sharp eye out for animal predators and for any renegade humans who might want to kill him and eat him.
- He might be bringing two sacks this time, one for his clan and the other as tribute for the other clan.
- Hero is a hunter, gatherer, scavenger. He might be going to pick fungi instead of 200 year-old cans which is too much of stretch. Whereas most of his tribe wears clothing that has been salvaged from found scraps, Hero’s clothing is made of animal hide. He has tough leather for his feet to protect from cuts. Many tribe members die from getting cuts on the rusty metal.
We learn that part of the food is supposed to be a bounty that is paid to clan living above them. They are coming to collect the bounty today. The tribe scrounges together what leftovers remain. The tribe arrives and are angry that the bag is so light and that some of the food has become rotten. They are so angry that they attack Hero’s tribe and decided to take their freedom as tribute. Hero is no warrior and flees for his life along with a wounded clan elder. They are chased, but Hero knows these tunnels so well that he is able to escape. They use their monkeys to track them, but Hero triggers a cave-in that prevents them from pursuing.
- Perhaps come up with some special words to describe the relationship in lateral terms, that living higher up means being higher in hierarchy. There could be titles for people who live higher and those who live lower. Bowing and stuff, or placing your hands over your head like it was a cover.
- The tribe wears ragged clothing, with lots of patches. It is all grey or black or brown. No other colors.
- Possible dowry situation. One the clan’s women is being forced to marry a high ranking man in the upper clan, and must pay a dowry of food to boot. Prevent inbreeding is the main key. Woman or girl could be daughter of the clan chief.
- Small monkeys could be pets. Bigger monkeys are threats. They can be used to hunt for food, or to track people or other animals like bloodhounds.
- It should be obvious that the warriors of the other tribe are better fed, in better health, have better weapons and clothing, etc. Even the way they speak is superior to Hero’s tribe. There is six of them: The groom and five body guards.
- Each tribe/clan should have a descriptive, interesting name. Based on North American First Nations culture.
- They work with and respect the land around them, even though it is a hell.
- The walls and floors of the clan living area are lined with non-rusted materials to make for a safe environment. Keep from getting potentially deadly cuts.
Continuing on my write of passage,