Sunday, August 15, 2010

Upping the Ante

I've upped the ante on the story I want to tell.

The skeleton story is: lonely guy finds a ghost girl living in his house, becomes more confident dealing with the outside, the ghost moves on. Everybody called, they want their plot back.

Ante! The protagonist is a man recovering from a Major Depressive Episode. He has an enervating mental illness that isolates him from the world. I can describe that.

The trick and the challenge and the bluff is whether I can write it so that anybody will care, whether at the end of the set-up the reader thinks: "This guy needs help, but he's got nobody because he's isolated in a vicious cycle."

Needless to say: heavy stuff, but worth the high risk of failure.


The Girl is not a classic ghost but a tree spirit. This not only better fits the setting, but also allows me to neatly pull a reversal on the classic ghost story plot wherein the protagonist tries to find out what the ghost needs to move on. I'm shocked-Shocked!-that searching for "Girl Spirit" on the Internet produces results the majority of which are in the prurient interest. And don't even bother searching "Dryad". That's even worse.

Ignore the wings...and everything else.

1000 words? Yes
Short Story "Moving In, Moving On" - discovery, in progress (~1/5)


  1. Definitely sounds like a challenge. I find two-character stories very difficult; usually I fling in a bunch of flashbacks to overcome my natural inabilities.


    Tree spirit > ghost girl.

    Without a doubt.


  2. 1500 words in and Really Glad she's not a ghost. And the setting evolved in such a way as to make it more convenient for her to live in a tree.

    But it looks like there's only going to be one viewpoint character. But no flashbacks. That would imply that his condition is Explicable.

  3. This story sounds pretty cool, David. Getting readers to care about the characters can be pretty tricky at times, depending on the story.
    Feel free to send it my way if you want alpha readers for it when you're done.

  4. I basically need a full day in which to tap it out; I've been throwing it down on looseleaf in stolen moments in my wanderings. But it should be done on or before Friday.


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