"The Thing on the Roof" replot: Outline

Okay, so this exercise took 8 times longer than I anticipated. Here's the final story outline based on my notes and the first draft:

  1. Kidnapping and first night in jungle
  2. Ambush and mention of villagers. Susan (Dr. Vincenza) learns why they're there -- at least what they're supposed to be doing.
  3. Susan and someone (Red). She learns a little bit about the village and temple. Valentine interrupts, he's getting sicker. Their medic, Spencer, is the person who'd disappeared earlier.
  4. Arrive at temple. Valentine raving, carried on a litter. (He drops his pistol -- Susan picks it up and hides it in her bag.) Susan fascinated and repulsed by the temple, not sure if she can find a way in. No villagers to be seen.
  5. Valentine deteriorating -- never lucid any longer.
  6. One young boy from village survives, comes to Susan.
  7. Franklin tells her what happened at the village -- big fight, Spencer vanished, village burned, most villagers killed. Susan realizes she has to get away from them.
  8. Susan tells the men there's a treasure in the temple, and that the temple is already open (it is -- at the top).
  9. Men climb down into the temple to look for treasure. Susan cuts the ropes, abandoning them in the dark. She and the surviving villager head back toward civilization.


Notice how significantly it departs from the original plot? That's because the original plot was awful. I made it my own -- so much so that there's really no indication that Robert Howard's story influenced me at all.

I finally finished the first draft on Sept. 15 -- over a month after I first came up with the idea. So it took some time.

The good news is, it's a great read. The story seems front-heavy (all the walking through the jungle -- 12 pages in fact, before they get to the temple). I tried to avoid front-heaviness by having the story start with Susan's kidnapping but there's still a lot of backstory to plug in so the story makes sense moving forward.

If all goes well, I'll post in a few months that this story was accepted by AHMM or F&SF. If not, maybe I'll just get frustrated and publish it here. We'll see.