My mind has churned out more stuff on this story in these aspects:
- The female protagonist I'm thinking is seeking the wizard out because of some urgency to her birthplace/village, a curse or a plague. Cliched territory but at least it's a powerful motivation for the protagonist.
- Now I've come up sth about the wizard being an old race and magic is dying out and the female protagonist being a young race (basically humans). My mind now says that what the protagonist gives to the wizard is to show him that the will power of mortals are a new form of 'magic'. Wrapped up in the plot is also some stuff about the protagonist can 'unsee' all these sealed up threats to mortals that the wizard is worried about with the weaning of magic. Doesn't seem too original from the epic fantasy genre but I am an avid fan of epic fantasy so oh well, I think I at least see some structure emerging on this story.
In terms of characterisation, I sometimes do a 10 by 10 character grid (this is where I brainstorm 10 points about 10 categories including important memories, little mannerisms etc.) plus character synopses (which delves into personal motivations) to zoom in on characters. But to be honest, often they don't help me- I've had two stories stalled already where the protagonist went through both the character grid and character synopsis treatment but I've still written myself into a dead corner for both in terms of the plot (one of them is that Old Beginning story that you read partially). I know there's a 'school of thought' that says you should know your characters with such details that you can fill out a questionnaire on their behalf but doing a character questionnaire always turns me off so doesn't help me at all. That's why I opted for the character grid approach. Anyway, I haven't done anything for the characters here because for me, I need to get the main plot arc sorted out first before I can get to the characters.
Thanks for the reply, PA. I think I'm now ready to jump into the character grid plus synopsis stage with the general shape of the storyline worked out.