Tuesday nights are my writing nights. I left the house and hung out at the local supermarket (they have a nice mezzanine area that's usually not too crowded with other Patrons with Deep Personal Problems Which They Must Share With the General Populous).
Although it's a bad precedent, I decided to switch stories. The one I was working on for Sword and Sorceress wants to be a novella or novel, and I need a short story (preferably 2000 to 3000 words). Ignoring for the moment the advice of Jake Lake to Finish What You Start, I'm putting aside the mushrooming story for something simpler.
I want to write a story about a sorceress; the sorcery she does is tolerated by the locals, and part of the price of doing the magic results in a light shunning (they do need her for her spells, they just don't completely approve).
One of the first things I did was to think about the main character and where she lives in terms of pictures. In the upper corner of my page, I drew an X for milieu, a heart for character, a ? for idea/mystery and a fulcrum for status quo to remind myself how I want to think about the plot. I want to make this plot a status quo and character story.
Then I drew a hut. Which led to a village. Which led to general world-building. And funny hats. Now I have a kind of an idea how these people move based on the kinds of clothes they wear.
And I drew a volcano! And finally, a wyvern, because if you're going to have a fantasy story, you're going to need these sorts of things. Not to mention a volcano is an effective way to change the status quo so that the characters have to deal with it (argh! a giant wyvern has been stirred up by the volcano and now it's eating our sheep and our fields are covered in ash).
I actually wrote down something approximating an outline, because I'm trying to teach myself the discipline of outlining. I hate outlines; they feel confining and when I force myself to stick with them, the characters decide they're going to do something different.
If I could just outline in pictures, I think I'd be set.