1. NeeNee
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    NeeNee Member

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    Fantasy Help me flesh out my Ghost Story outline.

    Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by NeeNee, Jul 9, 2016.

    I am working on a short story that I want to submit for admission into the graduate creative writing program. I figure if I write out the story in an outline form I will be able to see it start to finish a little better and I am stuck in a couple of critical places.

    The gist of the story is a girl takes a temp job entering records into the computer for a cemetery association. The cemetery is huge and was built in 1845, the caretaker's house is also from the same time period. These days the cemetery association does not have a live in caretaker on the premises. Police come by on a regular basis to watch for vandals, kids partying and so forth. They have a landscape company come in twice a month to take care of the grounds. There is no real reason to have anyone living on the site so the house has been empty for years. It's mainly used for storage although there is still a few remnants left from the last caretaker like a few pieces of furniture and a refrigerator and stove.

    My MC doesn't believe in ghosts, she attributes the noises she hears inside the house to the house being old, pipes being rusty, the traffic outside, etc.

    I am thinking about having her have visitors while she is working. Like maybe as she is reading the information about some of the fascinating people that are buried in this cemetery, occasionally someone comes to the house for various reasons. She thinks maybe the cemetery just has a lot of visitors and doesn't think anything of it. It's later in the story she discovers that all of the people that came to see her were people she had been reading and thinking about. (Maybe the thinking about a certain person wakes up their spirit or something?).

    My end goal is the spirits of the cemetery want her to be their new caretaker and won't let her leave.

    Here's the outline that I'm working on and I've written in blue where I am needing some ideas to help flesh out this story.




    Stasis.


    Amy is a 22-year-old college senior, she is a business major and it’s summer so she is out of school for a few weeks. She is not married, no kids. She lives off campus in Kendall. She is hired to do a temp job putting all of the old files onto the computer. She does not believe in ghosts and is not bothered by the fact she has to work alone in this empty house. (The house is located in the cemetery).

    Trigger
    Amy is fascinated with many of the documents she is reading as she is entering them into the computer and loses track of time. When she leaves the house it is almost dark outside, there’s a little light but it is fading fast. She gets into her car to leave and the car won’t start. Deciding she will go back in the house and sleep on the couch until either she hears police making their regular rounds or until the sun is up and she can see where she’s walking.

    Quest
    Amy is trying to find her way out of the cemetery. The path keeps changing and keeps leading her back to the house.

    Surprise - Finding out the visitors she's been meeting at the cemetery are actually spirits? Is that a good surprise or do I need more?

    Critical choice - What choice can I give her here?

    Climax - Amy realizes the cemetery spirits want her to be their new caretaker and they won't let her leave.

    Reversal This will tie into the surprise and critical choice.

    Resolution - Amy is now the new cemetery caretaker.

    My inspiration:
    House.jpg

     
  2. NeeNee
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    NeeNee Member

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    I brainstormed with my son this afternoon and I think I have an idea of the places where I am missing.

    Surprise - Finding out the lost and the malicious spirits hide in the shadows. The lost souls are attracted to her inner light, the malicious ones want to harm anyone and anything that ventures deep into the shadows. At night the lost souls and the "normal" ghosts that she meets during the day take refuge in the caretaker house.

    Critical choice -
    Does she stay and protect the spirits that need her or does she run? She's going to be terrified and really want to flee but she'll realize that if she leaves the spirits will continue to be tormented by the malicious spirits so in the end she'll stay.

    Climax - Amy has to stand up against the malicious spirits.

    Reversal - Not sure if I want her to die or remain alive but the battle with the malicious spirits ends with them retreating to the shadows or being sucked into hell or something - not sure yet how I will end the scene.

    Resolution -
    Amy is now the new cemetery caretaker.
     
  3. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    You won't be able to say you pantsed this one! I recognise the story arc from Nigel Watts' book and (not a negative) spot this in stories I read. Being a vet of this style I enjoy it when the formula's 'nuanced'. Both to read and to write. I think, if you don't mind me saying, for the surprise you could ramp it up by having a cameo of the caretaker's ghost? As a victim of the malicious spirits (penance for not tending plots)? Or poss introduce that aspect at another point in the story (two surprises) so as to soften the edges of the structure.

    Deliberation looks to be over—time to write @NeeNee :) . I'll be interested to see the finished article.
     
  4. NeeNee
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    NeeNee Member

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    I was actually thinking about bringing in the last caretaker. My son suggested that this is the guy who hires her and shows her around the house before when she first gets there. She thinks he is just a member of the cemetery association. Later she will run across his obituary and realize he was the last caretaker of the property. Once she starts thinking about him, he returns and tells her a little about what's going on and why the spirits are attracted to her.
    I am thinking she has some warmth about her personality, maybe a natural born nurturing mothering type and the ghosts find comfort in her presence and the malicious ones don't like being around her because of that warm light that she seems to emanate.
     
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