Tonight I got my first bits of tangible work tonight. Yesterday morning, I settled on a concept to work with. The main reasons I picked the specific concept were that it seemed like something that would be fun to work on, something that I had a feeling for how the plot would proceed, and most importantly that it wasn't something I'd have to research. (I'm concerned that if I wander too far off the beaten path, research might become procrastination.)
Tonight, I sat down and started outlining my plot. I tend to think in terms of a three-act structure, so that's what comes to me most naturally. And while I think I have a basic understanding for the plot, there's still room to add twists as they occur to me. I jotted down what I thought would happen in the first two acts, but the third one is largely open thus far.
This concept also had several characters attached. I began writing the history, and determining the capabilities of one of my protagonists. I had an idea of who he was, but as I wrote, things seemed to continue falling into place leading me to understand not just who he is, but where he came from, and some of the challenges he's facing. I've got a name for him too, which is usually one of my sorest of spots.
I got as far as naming a second character before calling it a night. I'm not sure if I've got two hours of straight progress, but it felt good.
As I build the story elements this way, though, I need to try to figure out what format this story's going to take. I'd originally envisioned it as a comic book. I still think it would work well in that form, but with this project, one of my primary goals is to avoid giving myself a reason to stop working. (Such a reason might be the fact that I don't have any artistic skill myself, and that's something you need in a graphic format.) I think that I'm not going to concern myself with format, and write this story in short-story or novel format, depending on how long it feels. If it goes well, I can always adapt it back into a comic book script, after all.