Yesterday I finished a rough draft of the story. Currently it’s called “Small Time,” but I will hopefully come up with a better title.
I have to turn in a rough draft today, but I have until next Monday to submit a final draft.
Some of the things that happened during the writing—
I started out with two criminals being used as guinea pigs—the main character who is filled with remorse for killing his brother and a scary serial killing professor who murdered several of his students. But then I was listening to a lecture by Branden Sanderson and he pointed out something. Writers tend to have characters who are acted on by their surroundings instead of being active themselves. Readers like protagonists who are taking action. He also said that this is why the antagonists are usually more interesting—because they are all about taking action. I realized that this was exactly what was happening in my story. My protagonist was sort of just there (a victim), while the scary professor was plotting to escape. So I consolidated the two characters into one. The protagonist would be alone and he would be plotting his escape.
I also ended up using a memory from my childhood that became essential to the story. This, in turn built a relatively strong connection for me emotionally. I think it helped develop the protagonist and it gave me an ending.
During the next few days, I will try to trim the story down and beef it up at the same time. This will be challenging since I’m already about 25 words over the max of 4,000.