I’d forgotten how much I actually enjoy painting miniatures. Recently I’ve been thinking about painting up some miniatures that I’ve had for a while, and that are very nice, high quality sculpts. However, it has been years since I last painted anything. So, I went out and bought some good paints and some cheap Reaper miniatures (which are actually surprisingly high quality given what you actually pay for them) and I’ve been painting them. Thus far I’ve painted up a sarcophagus, a ruined well, an alchemist, and three Chinese soldiers. I have a few more cheap miniatures to paint, and I definitely need the practice, but everything I’ve painted so far has come out better than I actually thought it would. Still, my work is far from being professional quality. Anyway, I have an exercise for you. You’ve done this one a few times. Today I want you to sit down and write out your basic metanarrative. I don’t want you to building any settings or develop any characters, instead use what you already have and come up with an overarching storyline for a 1, 3, or 5 story series. Plan on these stories being between 10,000 and 35,000 words long and try to have a good flow. I want you to consider and decide on the following points:
1) What locations (i.e. cities, ruins, forests, temples, etc) is your story going to center around? What are the major powers (i.e. national or religious) forces involved and how to they currently relate to one another? How are their relations going to have changed by the end of the story?
2) What characters are involved? Who is your main protagonist? You supporting protagonists? Your main antagonist? Your supporting antagonists? How is each major character going to be different by the end of the story? Is anyone going to be dead? If so, who?
3) What is the introduction, the climax, and the epilogue of each story? What are the three pivotal events that the metastory itself focuses around? What are the major events that come in between them? Try to have a clear but general outline of your plot. Consider what has to happen in the story, and then consider what should happen in the story. Then you can start working out how to get from one to the next.
4) What are going to be your major trouble areas? What events or plot points do you just not know enough about, or are you simply bad at writing? Can you work around these trouble points? If not, is there something you can do to get better at handling them?