|Lesson One Assignment:
1) There are many types of story maps that examine different elements of the story and reveal different structures within a story. For this week’s assignment, map the structure of a story into a written outline. You may use one of two stories to base your story map: either a completed short story of your own, or if you have never written a completed short story, you may use this wonderful short story on WDC:
Your outline should summarize the beginning, middle and end of the story, including brief statements pinpointing parts of the story’s exposition, rising action, climax, and resolution.
This story has a forceful start. It provides an exact future date of death of the protagonist. 99% of suicidal folks do not plan their death; they almost always occur spontaneously, and the timings often subject to their fluctuating emotional tanks. The deliberation of the protagonist sets her apart, and makes the readers want to dig into her history and story.
The background was also beautifully weaved in at the beginning. By contrasting the protagonist's reactions to the beautiful spring weather in the past and now, the author enabled the readers to have an idea of what kind of person the protagonist was. Extrapolating from this, the author explained the protagonist's change in outlook of life -- her marriage.
All the way from her entering into the truck to her delivery of the package, the author further fleshed up the character. Everything in between, from her denial of God as she passed the church to her mundane execution of her job in the truck helped readers to relate to her as a person, and not just a suicidal maniac.
I think it is very important to humanize the character, and the author has done well in this respect. While the readers still have no idea at this point where the story would lead to, we were still hooked because we can empathise with her emotions and exasperations and therefore wanted to know how she would come through at the end.
The climax. Toddler on the verge of falling off the window sill trying to reach a bird. Bird flew up, and baby was falling. Instinctive dash forward to save a life. The rapid successions of events raised emotions. The similarity between the baby's potential predicament and the protagonist's own struck the readers.
Having rescued the baby, the protagonist's own issues were resolved as well. A bird sign from God after her denial at the church just before.
2) Were there any elements of the story arc missing in the structure of your story? Is there too much background and not enough story? Does your story lack conflict? Does your story end with a resolution? Are there any areas in your story that you feel you need to better develop or elements of your story structure you should rearrange?
I believe this is a superb piece of work, none of the elements were missing. The only thing wanting in this story, in my opinion, is at the end where the baby was falling. I felt that a few more pargraphs could be devoted to build up the suspense (maybe something along the lines of the baby chuckling at the bird, the bird flying across the baby tempting the latter to catch it, a resounding slip and then the fall). Suspense is a little lacking here, but generally I feel that the story was beautiful. Background was enough, not too little to confuse and not too much to bore. I would love to be able to craft a story like that!