The double reversal, basically all of the popular movies have it, but they usually have a happy ending. “There Will Be Blood” is a famous exception. Today, I think the tragic version will be fun to write. Let’s see how it goes.
First, let’s remind ourselves of the basic structure.
Something is bad, something is good, something is bad.
Next, we add something a little more specific; but what? Do I want to go a little more fantasy or a little more reality? I think something more on the “real” side will do. Who’s reality? How about a lost child? That sounds pretty intense. That is good. This may be hard to write with a tragic ending.
A child is lost in the woods. Which direction is home? unknown. Running and racing and yelling, but there is no answer. It’s getting late. A roof in the distance. Someone to help. No, an old and empty barn with holes in the walls and leaks in the roof. A storm is coming. The thunder is rolling in. Lightning and rain. Alone in the dark for the night.
This is pretty good. I used an interesting voice in the plot description, I am not sure if I will use that in the story itself; maybe. I couldn’t bring myself to make it too tragic, which is fine. Let’s see how the actual story works itself out in around 500 words.
He’s running. Scared. Alone.
The last thing his mom said to him was, “don’t get lost.” She was going to be so mad.
All of the stupid trees look the same. You are supposed to be able to tell where you are from the sun, he heard his dad say that before, but he didn’t know how. The sun just looked…up.
He’s out of breath; maybe, maybe if he just waits here someone will come find him. Maybe his mom was looking for him right now.
“Heeellp! Heeeyy! Heeellp!”
Only birds and the wind, birds and the wind; stupid birds.
He felt like crying, but that wouldn’t help, and then he would get teased when he got back because he was scared and cried.
His uncle told him once that people die in these woods every year. The national forest is so big that they get lost and can’t find their way out. Most of them get rescued, but not all of them. How was anyone even going to find him? They weren’t. He had to keep moving.
It was getting darker. His mom must be out looking for him by now. Bears, bears probably come out at night. His dad said there were a lot of bears up here.
He was probably headed the wrong direction, but he already went so far this way.
It was more of a whimper than a yell. No one was going to help him, and his throat was sore. There were tons of lakes and rivers around here, why hadn’t he run into one?
Just a little bit further, it’s probably just a little bit further.
There it is, the roof. Is it the roof? No, but it’s a roof. Finally, they will give him a drink and he can call his mom. She will be so mad though. Maybe these people will have some food too. He’s so hungry. Maybe his mom would just be glad that he is alright.
He wipes off his face. You don’t want anyone to see you cry. Take a few deep breaths. Just act like it was no big deal.
The roof doesn’t look so good. It is becoming more of a barn than a house, and not a nice barn. There must be the house right around here somewhere, but he didn’t see one. This must be their old barn, they probably have a new barn, this one doesn’t even have much paint left on it.
He walks around. Still can’t find a house, or even another barn. Maybe if he climbs a tree. The clouds are getting darker as the sun is setting. It smells like rain. He better do it quick.
His arms and hands are scraped from climbing the tree, but he still can’t see another barn, or house. There is lightning in the distance, and lots of thunder. You can tell how far away it is by how long it takes, or something. His dad told him that, but he can’t remember how.
Only thunder. He should probably get in the barn before the rain. There aren’t even any doors on the end. A bear could just walk right in. He’s crying now. No one can tell you’re crying in the rain.
Maybe it would be safer to climb up into the top part of the barn. Some of the steps are broken though, and it’s dark. Maybe if he just stays in the corner nothing will see him.
He’s crying. Scared. Alone.
Five-hundred and eighty-four words. I think it’s pretty good. It has a creepy feel, a growing creepy feel. It is an interesting piece. One character, very little action or setting description. I could obviously make it a little more intense, but I don’t feel like doing that right now; maybe another time.
I want to do some interaction, person to person, maybe I will do that next time. I could add some of that into a story like this to expand it, but I will probably just do a new situation entirely. You are welcome to join me at JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com.
I have been posting in a few other places too.