I have a new assignment: write a story based on a word list. Some of the words--float, candle, cup--suggested a ghost story set in a 16th century English tavern. (That's word association for you.) I came up with a protagonist who is a 14-year-old ghost of an American boy. Through some mix-up in the cosmos, he gets sent to the wrong place at the wrong time and wants to go home to haunt familiar time and territory. His first problem is how to move around in the absence of gravity. At first, all he can do is float around in the rafters.
I need three "skeleton" scenes (no pun intended): 1st: at the one-quarter point, the ghost must be thrust out of his comfort zone. That's the easy one. I've got it covered. ("Everybody looks good at the starting line.") 2nd: at the halfway point, the ghost's situation should worsen, preferably because he's tried to make it better. And 3rd: the climax, where things are as bad as they can be, and yet the ghost will do something to finally resolve the problem. Of course, all of these things must be consistent with the ghost-story logic I've set up. Once I outline a sensible plot that includes these key scenes, I can write the story in sections, aiming toward each key scene. The ending should "wrap" to the beginning somehow.
So . . . the plot's on the back burner with the lid on and the heat turned down low. I'm cooking it slowly because good things take time. And because there's more than a month until DEADline. Cheerio!