Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Last thesis story

I am finally, finally beginning the last major revision for my thesis. There's a ton of minor things to do once I'm through with this, but it will feel good to at least have an idea of the structure and meaning of each story. So now's the time for me to start brainstorming about this story.

Title: Carte Postale

What is it about? A young woman, Chloe, who goes to France a year after her husband unexpectedly dies. She is taking cooking classes there--something she learned about while researching culinary vacations for the magazine she writes for, but her main reason for going is because vacationing alone seems like a hurdle a newly single woman should jump.

Who is Chloe? Chloe is all about jumping hurdles. She's very successful in her life as a magazine writer, and she wants to feel competent about grieving, too. She has tried very hard to keep it together, especially in relation to her mother-in-law, who was obviously grieving herself. Her mother in law is a bit self-centered, and she gave Chloe something to focus on while repressing her own grief.

What happens? She writes postcards to her dead husband, the first kind of journaling she's ever done, even though the grief course she took with her mother-in-law said journaling was a good way to get in touch with the pain.
The writing, being in such a romantic spot, and being away from anyone who needs to be taken care of leads her into real grief for the first time. The grief starts when she pretends to her fellow cooks that her husband is at the Louvre. At first, the denial is only when she's in class. When she gets out, she cries and cries that Ethan won't be meeting her, like she told everyone. At the end of the week, though, she has a mini-breakdown where she allows herself to believe he's alive even after class ends, and when she finally comes out of her imaginary world, she is devastated. But she is also ready to move on.

Some challenges:
*How to present the denial/imaginary world without making it seem like she is crazy?
*How to make the city of Paris come alive in the story

Revision plan:
Reread draft tomorrow during the day
At night, rewrite the cooking class scenes. Make the class span a few days.
Thursday night: Writing group; probably won't work on story
Friday night: Getting a much-needed massage; probably won't work on story
Weekend: Finish revising by thinking about postcard structure, determining what info should be presented to Ethan on each, and in what order. Decide if she needs to sleep with the man she meets (probably yes). Make sure it's clear that Chloe is not crazy, just really wants to believe that her husband isn't dead. Best Blogger Tips

1 comment:

JimK said...

She is on edge by story anyway. Maybe just a matter of showing
the false-tale/reality/mood
tracks in a way they can be
identified with. Leeway opens.
If it's natural, and construction
follows each erosion, it becomes
growth. I'm not a story expert
...just a passing visitor.
The grand theme seems standard,
but your details are intricate
and involving. ---just a reader