Google Streetview takes me through a sleepy Irish village that has no idea what is about to sweep over it in my imagination… or perhaps they do. I wager that the locals love their History and know that Irish kings clashed over the walls of their famous monastery — now long gone — and that the Dark Viking chief Ivar the Boneless strode the blood soaked turf, and that his brother Olaf the White drowned King Conchobar in a font.
But a story is not a chronicle.
The battle scene comes slowly, methodically, tactical necessity teasing out personal objectives, planting the roots of each character’s story. As I wrestle with my outline, a berserk and a shield maiden take on human flesh, feel the rain, hear the roar of blood in their ears and I am rewarded for my persistence.
And tomorrow I get to write the text.
Don’t let anybody tell you outlining is dry, mechanistic.