One was a bodyguard for a scientist whose knowledge was coveted by dangerous people, desired for its ability to sway the balance of power on an interstellar scale.
The other was one of those dangerous people, bent upon acquiring the scientist's information for reasons unknown.
The hunter and the bodyguard fought each other, threatened each other, and hurt each other...
And yet, despite the conflict of interest that put them at odds, during the moments when they weren't actively fighting each other, they got along like soulmates.
They understood each other. They shared similar pasts, trials, fears and wounds, and they respected each other's intelligence, maturity and dedication. They even mutually acknowledged that if they didn't have compelling external reasons to keep fighting each other, they'd probably be very close friends, if not more.
The more I thought about these two characters, whose book has yet to be written, the more intricate their relationship, personalities and stories became, and the more I wanted to write about them.
There was just one problem...
The relationship was the only part of the story that I had!
I didn't know how her hunter intended to use it; I just knew that he wanted it, and it was important to him.
I didn't know much about the spaceborne story world I was creating; I just knew a bit about the bodyguard's superhuman abilities, and her rival's tragic origins.
I had a few key scenes that I wanted to include, like dots in a connect-the-dots puzzle, but I had no idea what lay between them.
Basically, I had an awesome relationship floating around in a shapeless soup of disconnected plot points and premise elements, with no real structure tying it all together.
What's a girl to do?
and flesh the story out from there.
Then I started to build the supporting structure.
What cultural beliefs, personal and world history, and immediate threats or possibilities would lead the main cast and the people around them to act the way they would need to for the plot to work?
What would cause the interspecies instability that would allow the scientist's knowledge to cause such perilous upheaval, and what knowledge could produce that effect? It had to be important enough for her hunter to fixate on it.
For example, I had one really awesome character who was badly in need of being included in a story, but I'd had pretty much nothing for her story except for the character herself, her backstory, and her relationships with her evil rival and sole surviving family member.
Then she offered herself and her backstory to my skeleton of a novel, and suddenly I had one of my primary antagonists, a much-needed source of interspecies conflict, and a badass wildcard character.
I guess it just goes to show that when you don't have much to work with, but you know that what you have is worth pursuing, it pays to start with what you have, from where you are, and work your way up from there.
Do you have some story fragments in your head that you absolutely love?
Did this blog post encourage you to start turning them into a story?
If so, I'd love to hear about it in the comments!