Reservations, Regrets and Reflections


Reservations, Regrets and Reflections

reflectionTwenty-one days.  Less than one cycle of the moon.  A new year hardly begun.

I saved Forbidden Footsteps for the last time.  I had written a complete long story, finally.  I shed a tear of happiness for Jamie.

Still, I struggled to finish the last of the 53,000 words.  I overcame reluctance to write about a physical attack on my protagonist.  And I wished I better understood her.  I still had no idea what she saw in her love interest.  Her affection and hero-worship for a minor character astonished me.

I became an avid reader of Kristen Lamb’s blog,  when I was in Part 2.  I devoured her recommendations on story structure while writing Part Four.  Heart broken, I almost stopped, but felt honor bound to finish the story.  With an end to writing, I explored characterization, and am reading about openings and scenes.

My story shamed Jamie, and myself.

But, that left me without closure.  During the day, where my mind once strayed to sales at Macy’s, or appointments with the stylist, now I dwell on genre, structure and character.  And it gets worse.  I dream about story beats and opening sentences.  If I am ever going to be normal again, I must get this out of my system.

That chimera of normalcy brings me back to Forbidden Footsteps.  When I finished, I WAS FINISHED.  I had no intention of “fixing” the story, let alone posting it.  But, three weeks later, I am still obsessed.  Could I have made the story readable?  Could I have gotten at least one reader to look at  Part Three, let alone the un-posted Part Four?

I am never going to get my life back until I know…

…what genre I should have written for.

…how the genre would have influenced the story structure.

…if I could have turned Jamie from a cardboard cutout into a three-dimensional character, with a character arc that propelled the story to a conclusion.

…if I could have written a hook that would have gotten readers to the second paragraph.

So What?

At least I can get back to what was important to me, and I can dream my own dreams at night.


Before you read any further, you might want to check out my summary of Forbidden Footsteps.  I doubt you would ever, really, want to read the actual story.  But, if you do, let me know.

Then I will explore how the story might have flowed, had I picked a genre, instead of just letting it happen.  The rules are pretty simple:

  1. Jaime still goes camping in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming.  She won’t stray too far.
  2. The rest of cast may change.  Christopher is, or becomes, her love interest.  The Twixells still show up but, they may not always be Twixells.  New characters may appear.
  3. Everything starts on a Friday afternoon, and ends by Monday morning.

If my time, energy, and interest hold, I will create a concept for a different Forbidden Footsteps based on some of the genres listed below.  Honestly, I am attracted to some, while others, almost, repel me, if that makes any sense.

Before plunging into the genres, you might want to meet Jamie, even though she in incomplete, and a one-size-fits-all genres may not work.  And, there is this guy, Christopher, that she knows.  She has not met him, but there is a really, really, really bad person, Mark Sattler, that I hope never notices her.  I might add a few more characters to the list.  I can already feel my feet sliding on that slippery slope.

Genre Summary Description
Girl With A Problem An ordinary woman finds herself in extraordinary circumstances.  (future post)
Rite Of Passage A woman attends a reunion with High School friends.  While there, she learns a shattering secret about herself.  She must either meet the challenge, or it will destroy her.

My initial feelings about this genre were not positive.  As I laid out the bare-bones elements of the story, I became intrigued.  I do not know if I would actually write it, but I believe it is a plausible idea

I suspect that my original layout could have be restructured into a Rite of Passage.  I am actually more intrigued by the new plot line, than the one I actually wrote.

Institutionalized A woman becomes part of a group foreign to her, and either preserves her identity or gives in to the larger group.  (Not sure if this is a future post because I may not have the skill to manage a large number of characters.)
Super Hero An extraordinary woman finds herself surrounded by ordinary people.  (future post)
Golden Fleece A woman must find clues, solve problems, and meet interesting people on her way to solving a problem or achieving a goal.  (future post)
Monster In The House A woman must save herself from being eaten alive.  (Not sure if this is a future post because the genre makes me uneasy.)
The Fool Triumphant By luck and pluck, and ordinary woman overcomes obstacles put in place by an institution, that prevents her happiness.  (future post)
Buddy Love A woman fights with someone, with conflicting goals, until they realize they are incomplete without each other.  (I think the original story was trying to be this genre, but is still worthy of a future post)
Out Of The Bottle A woman, through extraordinary luck, is granted something that gives her everything she dreams of, only to find what she had all along was what she really wanted.  (future post)
Whydunit A woman peels back layers of an onion to get at the heart of a mystery, and, in the process, discovers unsettling things about herself.  (Not sure if this a a future post because the genre makes me uneasy.)

At least, then, I will know what I could have written.

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