Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope that you’re all having a wonderful Christmas. Unfortunately, Alayna is working today, but fortunately I still get to spend the day with good friends and family. So, I’m looking forward to that! I hope that you’re all having a wonderful day as well, and if any of you are interested in doing some writing, take a crack at this. I have a plot challenge for you, and it’s something a little bit different. In this challenge I want you to work on plotting out a particular chapter or set of scenes. I’ve given you some exercises concerning metanarrative, but now I want you to focus in on the micronarratives of the story. So, I’m going to give you a couple of characters, a setting, and a grand plot, and I want you to plot out one chapter of a metanarrative involving them.
Metanarrative: This is a work of light fiction. The story revolves around the real meaning of Christmas. Apparently the whole ‘Santa Claus’ thing is really just a cover for a nefarious group of immortals bent on world conquest, and what better way to conquer the world than to convince everyone that a fat man in red pajamas flies around the world at warp speed every year delivering presents, and then convince them all that this is just a myth so that they will buy loads and loads of presents, thus boosting their respective economies, all of which feed back into the groups own money making enterprises, allowing them near total control over most of the world’s governments. However, a small group of brave individuals have discovered this groups nefarious plans and is seeking to set the world straight and remind them that the real meaning of Christmas isn’t about spending tons of money, getting more stuff, or even putting more presents under the tree. The real meaning of Christmas is about community, communion with a real God, and a commitment to loving others well, including those that we’ve never met (this can be as light as you want, but try not to make it super cheesy).
This chapter: This chapter is the first chapter of the book. The primary goal here is to introduce several of the main characters in the novel and set the course that the plot will take moving forward from here. Thus far nothing has happened, and I’m going to allow you to decide how the plot will develop in the long-run. The only rule is that you must develop it in a direction in which the good guys win.
The Setting: Your setting for this chapter in a shopping mall in your hometown.
Characters: I’m going to give you several characters. You don’t need to use all of them in your chapter. In fact, you only could use all of them if you were bouncing back and forth between several points of view. So, if you want to plot out the chapter entirely from Wilem’s point of view, that’s fine, just ignore the characters that don’t fit.
Lydia: a soccer-mom who is stressed and hasn’t yet finished buying Christmas presents for her immediate family.
Jim: an out of work actor who is currently getting by as a mall elf. Jim is a nice guy, but he’s fairly depressed and frustrated with his life.
Paul: the CEO of Janustech, a company that makes everything from oven mitts to lawnmowers. He’s probably one of the bad guys.
Aileen: the manager of the Sears in the mall. She’s a loyal employee, but has significant problems with the desperate consumerism of the Christmas season and always finds herself conflicted during this time of year.
Lesley: a Starbucks cashier. Lesley is normally a bright, chipper girl, but lately she seems to hate her job and everyone she works with. No one seems to know why though.
Henry: a lonely man. Henry is a 64 year old widower with no children. His only living relatives are a grand-niece and grand-nephew who are in their mid-twenties, and their father (Henry’s nephew) who is in his early fifties and is also a widower. He doesn’t get to see them much, and he feels this, especially around the holidays.
Meagan: A high school teacher and mother of four, Meagan often finds herself caught up in the hustle and bustle of the modern world, but just as often questions whether she really should be. ‘Is it all worth it?’ is a question that she finds herself asking more and more frequently.
Harold: a candidate for the US Presidency who is at the mall to campaign. He is an independent candidate, and this limits his impact on the campaign, but a lot of people on both sides are attracted to his fiery rhetoric, his outsider position, and his willingness to challenge the status quo on a wide array of issues.
Your job today is to use what I’ve given you here and your imagination to plot out the chapter step by step. Figure out the major events that need to happen, in what order, and how to make them interesting and fun.