As I’ve mentioned more than a few times, I’m a pantser. Stories tend to fall together in random pieces for me, and I work them out like a mosaic. I’ve never successfully created a story out of a linear plan. So having to create an outline for possible revisions of Ugly and the Beast, well, it involves a lot more writing than you might expect from an outline. Basically, in order to figure out what happens next in this outline, I have to write it. Not a full-blown draft, but rough sketches, snatches of conversation, a few images. Something to help my brain understand what’s happening.
Today’s Teaser is a product of this process. How I produce two sentences in an outline looks like this:
When we come up over the hill, I seen why all the folks down by the river said we oughtta steer clear of the place. It was fucked up. Like where a tornado comes in and flattens a whole town. Or like them pictures you see of when we nuked the Japs. There wasn’t not one building still standing didn’t look like it hadn’t been shot up, blowed up, or stomped on by Godzilla.
The whole city was that way, big as Dallas by my guess. Miles and miles of jacked up shit, as far as I could see looking down from that hill. Maybe there wasn’t no dragon, but whatever had happened was some kinda serious bad. And whatever it was hadn’t happened real recent either. There was grass growing in the streets and trees coming up outta buildings. I could see how in maybe another twenty years, it’d be fields and woods with bricks poking out of it.
The whole way, as we come down what’d been a big highway, Shona cried and left this trail of sparks behind her. I didn’t care much except as we got further into the city, I could tell people lived there, and I wasn’t crazy about folks seeing her sparks. Nobody come out to talk to us or nothing, but there was little gardens and what looked like rain barrels and tools. The people was either hiding from whatever had did that to the city, or they didn’t wanna be around a filthy fecking crosser like me.
The crying was getting to me so I grabbed Shona’s arm and gave her a shake.
“What the fuck’s your problem?”
“I–I destroyed this. All this,” she said. Leaned into me like she didn’t mind me holding onto her arm.
“Yeah, you and what army?”
“I and my sisters.”
“Your sisters must pack some heavy fire power then, ’cause you wouldn’t hardly kill a mosquito if it was biting you.”