Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Short Story Proposals (Part One)...

To help us get in the habit of generating story ideas, my fiction professor has us submit a short proposal every week. He'll give us a prompt to get us going in the general direction, but after that it's all us. The only special request is that our idea "not suck."

This is my first proposal. We were supposed to generate an idea for a romance story. I don't read romance stories, so this was a tough one.

Myles Wright is 25, living in Draper, UT. He is currently in his senior year at the University of Utah, studying in the Spanish program, and has started sending in applications for Masters programs at schools outside the state. His goal is to teach Spanish at the university level. He is a returned missionary from the Guayaquil, Ecuador mission, where he learned Spanish and developed a love for the Hispanic culture. He gets a LOT of flack from his family because he's 25 and *gasp* not married yet. He dates, but rarely gets past the second date. He just doesn't click with the girls he dates. On top of that, he refuses to date girls just out of high school, wanting someone within two years of his own age. That can be a little difficult, what with the prevailing culture of marrying young. He has been giving some serious thought to giving up on dating until he gets into a grad school, but then he meets Jessica.

Jessica seems to be ideal for Myles. She's easy to talk to, 23 and loves the original Star Trek series. He met her at Barnes & Noble. He was shopping for a new fantasy novel, while she was looking for the new David Sedaris book. They spent some time chatting books and he surprised himself by asking her out. She accepted.

They date for several months. One evening, after a Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon, Myles starts trying to steer the conversation around to marriage when Jessica tells him, “I'm so excited! I just sent in my mission papers!”

Myles is completely thrown by this announcement, though he recovers enough to congratulate her. They spend the rest of the evening discussing where she might like to serve and when she will enter the MTC. Myles wracks his brain, but can't figure out how to discuss marriage with her. After a couple weeks, he finally gets up the courage (again) to ask her about marriage. He sends her a text, saying he really needs to talk to her. He gets one back saying that she needs to talk, too. He cooks dinner for her that evening. She arrives, super excited, and bursts out, “I got my call!” He blurts out that he wants to marry her. That calms her down.

They discuss the possibility of marriage, and she tells him that she wants to pray about it before making a decision. She decides to accept her mission call.

Jessica goes on her mission to France, and Myles gets accepted into UTEP. Before leaving, Jessica told Myles she didn't expect him to wait for her, though she would appreciate it. They write to each other every week. He focuses on being supportive of her mission work, though he does mention his progress in school. She also stays focused on the work.

About four months into her mission, Myles is starting his second semester. In one of his classes, he meets Billie. She is a returned missionary from the Quito, Ecuador mission. Myles and Billie get along famously. They start dating. Billie knows that he is still writing to Jessica, but he hasn't mentioned anything about dating in his letters to Jessica. His relationship with Billie progresses to the point that he writes a “Dear Jane” letter and seals and addresses the envelope.

Then, Myles finds out from Billie that she would like lots of kids because sex is “only for procreation.” He discusses this with Billie, hoping to convert her to the idea that sex can be for enjoyment as well. She doesn't buy it and they break up.

Jessica returns home and she and Myles pick up where they left off until she finds the “Dear Jane” letter in the back of a book where he left it and forgot it. Huge fight follows. Jessica breaks up with Myles. The story ends with Myles attending Jessica's wedding reception, because they are “still friends.”


RiaTheOne said...

A little autobiographical, perhaps? It's so interesting to me how much of a microcosm Utah-Mormon culture is. Although I understand what you are writing about, anyone where I live would need the LDS/Mormon/Utah back-story.

Adam said...

Maybe a little. I really need to get out of Utah. Hopefully I'll get accepted into one of the grad schools I want and I can leave.

Anyone hiring a guy with a bachelor's degree in Spanish there in New Mexico? :)

refugee from reason said...


I write for a living, fiction (yes, it's been published, though not in the past five years), movies (yes, scripts have been optioned and I've done quite a bit of script doctoring, both for movies and television) and non-fiction, mostly reporting.

That said, most fiction is at least somewhat autobiographical. All of this is to say that there's an interesting book out there, which I own, and is very difficult to find at a decent price, called "Plotto," which purports to have every possible plot. It does so through ABCD structure, i.e. A marries B who murders D and has an affair with C; that sort of thing. It's interesting to look if you ever get chance.

As to grad school, it's a bit tougher now, I think than when I went (Ph.D. 19th Century Literary, Dissertation: Ruskin and the Pre-Raphaelites). I had wanted to teach on the college level and the whys and wherefores of why I wasn't able to are too prolix for here.

Suffice it to say that it all comes down to what you want to do. If grad school helps you accomplish that, great. If not, you should do what you want to do.

By the way, I didn't get the Mormon culture component, but as to a Spanish major, one of my oldest friends was just that. He wound up with a doctorate in psychology, with a small private practice and teaching.

There's a lot out there, and a lot of adventures. As they say in Vegas, shoot the dice.

RiaTheOne said...

Refugee beat me. All writing is autobigraphical. When I worked at that daily paper, and was writing every day, there was so much I was filtering, choosing to tell my part of the story through theirs even within the records part of the paper I was in charge of, crazy.

So lots of needs for dual-language speakers in NM. Lots of community colleges needing teachers. Come on down! It's still nice and warm!

Adam said...

Oooh, I forgot it would be warm there. Not exactly my favorite climate.

And wouldn't I need at least a Masters to teach at a college?

It's tempting to try. I would just need a decent job to start, then I could look around, I guess. Worth thinking about, anyway.

RiaTheOne said...

There are a few mountain towns, and in those towns, CC's don't care so much about master's at least not the first year. :)

RiaTheOne said...

Oh yeah, and master's are easy to come by too. They like people to school here that aren't so selective.