Michael Stuart Kelly Posted October 25, 2021 Author Share Posted October 25, 2021 Deanna, Are there any cliffs you can fall off? In my story, the protagonist discovers the kid after being a crotchety jerk (with inner doubts) and publicly supporting a position that if he came across a child in the wilderness, he had the moral right to pass it by and let it starve even if he had plenty on him at the time. The antagonist (his girlfriend) is a sociopath who actually believes this and has been slowly getting disillusioned with his gradually developing squishiness on being a hardass sociopath (she calls it being true to his principles). He has become more interested in human nature as it is without any ideology. Her view of selfishness and a Randian-like philosophy is not his. In other words, they have grown in different directions. She has developed a need to prove to the world its hypocrisy wherever she finds it. That is a big component of what drives her. One example is that she seduces the local preacher after listening to him preach about honesty. (She and Stretch are at Devil's Courthouse for a reason I'm not clear about yet. But they do interact with a local preacher.) And it's his baby she abducts and leaves on the path when she knows Stretch (her boyfriend) will go by it. Obviously, this will have to be at a time nobody but Stretch is going out there. In fact, at evening before night. (Ah... details... details... ) She wants to see if he will walk on by or be just one more hypocrite in the world. Of course, when he sees the child, he can't leave it there. As he starts to help the child, she shows herself. A huge argument ensues where she threatens to throw the child off the side of the mountain. And she does. Stretch follows grasping for the basket the baby is in and, as she tries to detain him, she falls off, too. They land on a ledge on the side of the cliff. Stretch and the baby almost fall off, but she falls to her death. Stretch has broken his leg. Out there on the ledge as night envelops him, he himself has become a child in the wilderness. He protects the baby as best he can realizing that he and she will probably die. He can't move too much due to his broken leg. As the dawn comes up, he sees it differently than he has ever seen it. He lets go of all his previous thinking and just lives in that moment, using his own mind to see and think and feel. For the first time, he looks and knows with certainty he belongs in the universe, even though he will probably die soon. And he fusses over the baby. He feels that he is part of all that, and has a transcendental experience of total serenity. Then he gets rescued (the preacher with some of his peeps, who has his own emotional issues with this situation ) and eventually becomes the godfather of Melody (the child). But he stays crotchety, does not convert to Christianity, but becomes good friends with the preacher. There's more, a lot more, in fact. For example, he's a whittler who is trying to make a small wood sculpture wedding a flame, an angel and a dollar sign and having one hell of a time with it. And more stuff. But one of the reasons I did not write it at the time was simple. I could not create a character who would leave a child on a path in the wilderness without being a cardboard cutout of a Snidely Whiplash kind of villain. And I did not want to create a two-dimensional character. Also, for the life of me, I could not find a compelling desire for Stretch to get out on that damn path all by himself at evening. Most of these questions are now answered and I am working out the final outline. I believe the actual writing will not be all that difficult since I have learned a hell of a lot about style, reader emotions, metaphors, wedding the familiar with the new, surprise, anticipation, and so on over the years. Anyway, do you know of some little trodden path around there? Some offshoot? One with a cliff where a person can throw a baby off of, but with a ledge on the side to catch it? I'm not adverse to making something up, but it would be nice if it were real. (btw - Thanks for your interest. I normally don't put my brainstorming out in public.) Michael 1 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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