What I wound up doing

After my reading binge yesterday, I had no agenda today. I earmarked time to talk with my mother, and we spent two hours on the phone. No rush. No squandered time.

I’ve got this character that’s been screaming at me for attention. She only has the vaguest outline of a plot, but she’s really interesting. Today I went down the research rabbit hole for her.

I spent my day learning about newsroom hierarchy, cattle mutilations, rare earth minerals. Double checked the locations of the Green River Killer. I spent an hour learning about radioactive prospecting by geologists, and shopped for scintillators. These things are better than Geiger counters and have even been used from low flying aircraft to identify ore bodies. Even made up a joke about them.

Research led me to common items in every home that will give off a radioactive signal. Things like several fruits and vegetables, smoke detectors, granite countertops, bricks, ceramics, and our cell phones. Cigarette smoke is radioactive, but vapes aren’t. No idea why that might be important, but it’s something I learned about today. A scintillator will pick up these light duty readings where a Geiger counter will not.

Botox and fillers took up a brief section of time. My character is going to be an aging television reporter whose looks are fading along with her desirability on camera. She wants more out of life. She wants to do hard news. I gave her a great weird habit that I think some might relate to. (Weird is kind of what I do.)

I invented a son for my MC, and decided she’s a war widow. This had me learning about audiologists, audiology technicians, and even Foley artists. What kind of college courses might be needed in these fields? I’ll have to make some of this up on the fly.

I’m getting close to what looks like a plot, but it isn’t ready for a storyboard just yet.

I need some kind of shadowy figure or a group to add tension as the rest unfolds. Why are they following her? Probably federal types, but it could also be something related to a tech billionaire. The kind who send rockets into space.

I scratched out some notes about a mentor type character. My MC can’t go from fluff pieces (or weather girl) to investigative journalism all at once. I like the idea of a disgraced newsman trying to live in obscurity. Maybe he was a fanny patter after that became newsworthy and he took the fall.

Sometimes I just need to get things out of my head. I’ve been known to make these sheets for stories that never get written. Sometimes they take two years before I turn them into something. Working ahead has served me well over the years. Then again, I might start drafting this next weekend. Who knows.