A few days ago I had a sudden brain explosion when I thought up a new idea for a story. To give you an insight into my process, when I first start with an idea I usually have a bunch of notes written down somewhere (usually OneNote), which I then map out using XMind (a mind mapping program). As a program I find it insanely useful because it lets me timeline out the story in a logical way.
I can throw down the major plot points in sequence then build in smaller points until I have the barebones of what I want to write. I then copy each of the headings into Word and start filling in the blanks.
My most recent idea came to me last week almost as a fully-formed idea for a story. I quickly smashed it into XMind so I wouldn’t forget any of it, then that night got to work typing it out. I worked on it whenever I could over the weekend and am sitting on a little over 7,100 words and only just getting started. I haven’t been this excited about a new project idea for some time, so expect to hear more about this as I work on it.
So what’s it about?
So the general idea (without giving too much away at this point) is a story in the Young Adult genre set in a dystopian future. The heroine is a young lady named Echo Fox, who has lived her life trapped inside a place known as the boneyards: the garbage dumps of the world. The world is under the control of a single organisation which controls virtually everything, from the food you eat to the air you breathe.
She spends her days picking through the garbage trying to find enough precious metals to trade for food. As if their lives aren’t bad enough they are frequently attacked by “hounds” – people from the outside world who hunt in packs and prey on the inhabitants of the boneyards – or by the “rats” – permanent inhabitants of the boneyards who have turned cannibal.
Below is the opening few paragraphs as they spilled out of my head, so unedited and of course subject to change :).
My name is Echo Fox and I’m a scrapper. I live at the bottom of your world, in the place you don’t think about. We call them the boneyards and they’re filled with your waste. Me and my kind, we pick over what you throw away and salvage the precious metals which we sell to help us survive another day.
I spend my days in the shadows of the skyscrapers of glass and steel that cover the earth. Today has been a good day. I haven’t needed to avoid the hounds, and I’ve found a small plastic box covered it buttons. It’s still intact, so I’ll be able to salvage a little copper and gold from it.
Tomorrow I’ll visit the Bitza brothers who buy the scrap we find and I’ll be able to afford a pinch of protein bar and maybe a little water. I tuck the plastic box safely into my pocket and keep hunting through the pile.
Hours later and it’s still the only thing of value I have found. It’ll be getting dark soon which can be a dangerous time of day when you’re out by yourself. I jump down from the piles of garbage, landing on the bare earth with a soft thud.
Looking around, I get my bearings and head for the safety of home. I live with people I call my family though in reality none of us are related. We’re the leftovers of the world above, just like everything else down here at the bottom. They helped me survive ever since my mother abandoned me here as a baby, so they might as well be my family. They’re the only ones who have ever cared about me.
As I wind my way through the dirt tracks between the mountains of garbage I hear a noise close by that makes my blood run cold, the excited baying of a pack of hounds. I cup my ear and listen to work out which direction they’re coming from, but the howling noises bounce around the canyons making it impossible.
I hold my breath and pick a direction, and then I run for my life. It literally depends on it.