Now, that you have characters and an idea, what do you do?
Protagonist: Bubba Strong
Antagonist: Rex King
Idea: Bubba Strong steals the Mardi Gras beads of power from the Krewe de Vile to protect us from world domination by the evil mastermind Rex King.
Create your world.
I’m not talking about the type used in Fantasy. Just the basics of what is necessary for your story. Some of this will be done as you actually write, but you need an idea before you start. Set the scene of your tale.
Obviously, my story has to do with Mardi Gras, that limits me to the American Gulf Coast. Mainly, either Mobile or New Orleans. There are other, smaller Mardi Gras celebrations, but we want a bigger one. I also know that Mardi Gras is a moving holiday, it changes from year to year depending on Easter. But it is always in late winter, January -February.
From here I would build my background with information about Mardi Gras and Mardi Gras societies and their traditions. Most of this may not make it to the story, but it is necessary to add texture.
For instance, Mardi Gras parades are held at night and on weekends during the day. The Revelers, the people on the floats, wear masks. They also wear masks at the ball. These societies are supposed to be secret. (It’s not, you know how secrets are.)
Before you start writing, decide on the setting. Where is it written? What time period? What season?
These seem like silly questions, but if you write a Mardi Gras tale and place it during the height of summer, you didn’t do your research.
Most geographical areas have little quirks unique to the area. Bring a few of those into the story. It adds another level of believability. Add local drinks, food, or locations. Use it like seasoning, just enough to add flavor, you don’t want to overdo it.
Location, Location, Location
A few things to ask about location:
1. What does it smell like? Look, every place smells. Bourbon Street smells different than Madison Ave.
2. Are there small parks dotted around the city? Is there a large body of water nearby?
3. Are there many one way streets?
4. Is it a small, rural town or a large, urban city?
5. Does it snow? Does it rain often? Do the leaves on trees actually change color?
These are the types of questions that make the story feel real. Let’s see how it affects Bubba.
Bubba navigated the maze of one way streets and parked in the overpriced lot on Royal. He pushed his way through the excited crowd, he ducked just in time for a large woman to lean over and snatch a moon pie out of the air. The thump of the drum section bounced through his limbs. The night was unusually cool, small puffs of air rose from the masses as they exhaled. He quickly ran up the steps to the hotel and followed the sound of the music. As he threw open the doors, luck walked out toward the parade. Everyone in the room was wearing the same tuxedo and a mask. How was he going to find Rex?
What’s your favorite location to use, when writing?