Story Arc in Julius

by RS on October 13, 2010

I’m borrowing from Alexis Grant’s recent post about story arc, which I highly recommend if you’re scratching your head of what it’s all about. Alexis sums it in a very user-friendly manner. After I read what she wrote, I finally had one of those Aha moments of now I get it.

Although I already got it, but I just couldn’t visualize of where the story arc should take place and how long it should be, but to see her nifty little illustration helped a lot. Does it mean I can finally get myself out of that corner? Yes.  Do I have a new idea that will bring more conflict into the story? I have a few up my sleeve.

Now instead of offering some nebulous smattering of what I’ve written so far, I’ll give you rundown of Part 1 of Julius that sets up the adventures for my merry Marxists.

Prologue:

We meet Corinne, age ten, with her father. They’re driving through the village of Ossining and Corinne sees for the first time Sing -Sing Prison. Her father makes a comment about the prison that used to have executions and this is where the seeds of her obsession with the Rosenbergs starts.

Part 1

Flash forward twenty-eight years, Corinne and Jake, her significant other, hate their respective jobs, and dream of quitting to start a political/literary journal. However, Corinne is hesitant to quit because of the money she earns, and something from her past that’s holding her back. After a death in Jake’s family where the couple learn of another Rosenberg connection, and an unpleasant event at work finally pushes Corinne to quitting and to return to her leftist roots.  The couple, with their retirement accounts cashed out, move forward with their plans. Via backstory readers learn Corinne was raised by Marxists and her beliefs are shaped by the historical events like Spanish Civil War, the blacklist, and the Rosenbergs. Now as they prepare for the launch of the magazine that they call Julius, after Julius Rosenberg, she has returned to her roots. But conflicts arise and Corinne battles with Jake who still thinks more as a capitalist. Although the couple are financing a good portion of the magazine, Jake decides that they need investors and recruits a group of elderly men who were former volunteers of the Abraham Lincoln Brigades, CPUSA members, and labor activists. With a small staff, and investors Julius is ready to launch, but everything seems too be falling into place too easily. Corinne has her doubts which manifest into dreams where her hero, blacklisted screenwriter, Abraham Lincoln Battalion veteran Alvah Bessie appears and offers her unsolicited advice about the magazine and about the trials and tribulations of a fellow traveler. Part one ends with Corinne questioning her sanity

So that’s the set up. Part 2 is where all the confrontation/conflict occurs. According to the diagram Alexis posted, the story arc should look like this:

Makes sense, right? So far I have nothing, but a number of scenes, and the more I stare at this diagram, I’m seeing that I have to chuck out a few of them. I hate to do it because I have quite a bit of backstory that I think is pretty good, but it bogs down the action.

So as things stand Part 2 looks pretty much like this:

Garbage. With the exception of the first two chapters. And this is where I need to spend the next few months working out the kinks of the story, but before I can do that I really need to reexamine Part 1 and start chucking out some scenes, and reworking others.

Will it ever end? I hope so.

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