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  1. It's been years since the last time I wrote a story (I've written poems in between, however). There was this story fragment that started off with the main character trying to jump off Golden Gate Bridge, but it was never finished. It was very emotionally taxing to say the least, and the amount of research done on suicide eventually lead me to give up. My life experience just wasn't there, and my own emotional state wasn't the best either to carry on such stake. The story idea has been recycled, and that's the starting point of The Sojourner of San Francisco (final title TBA). The story will have twelve chapters. Each single-page chapter is called a Letter, and each letter will be accompanied by a couple of photos (which adds another page to each letter) to document Sojourner's one-year stay in San Francisco in the year 2019. It's a mix of fiction (the main story) and non-fiction (history of San Francisco, and political subtext). Since I am also the photographer, the travelogues accompanied the photos are largely non-fiction as well. The original Letter 01 started out by the shore of Golden Gate Bridge (suggesting the narrator survived the suicide), but that was scraped. The entire idea the narrator is a suicide survivor is very discreet in the new version (as well as main character's homosexuality, which leads to his depressed mental state). For the sake of story arc, the first two letters the narrator (Sojourner) wrote to his Perfect Stranger seem to have positive outlook of a new relationship. It's a slow burn story, but it'll dive into heavy subjects very quickly. It's a very delicate puzzle I am currently working on actually: how to deliver a slow burn story in just twelve pages? If I put on heavy subject way too early and for way too long a duration, readers will burn out and desensitized. The climax would appear to be very flat. That's not a good story arc.... My current plan is to deliver comic relieves in between, but given the word economy this story requires, that's the most difficult task. I am not a very good comedy writer either. The story will have three layers: travelogue layer (Sojourner's physical and mental journey), family relationship layer, romantic relationship layer, plus political events sprinkled throughout which will intertwine with Sojourner's story. It's mostly a coming-of-age story, but with a twist: it's an (older...) adult coming-of-age story. The narrator is more or less my age in his forties. I've written coming-of-age stories before, but not with such age group. I personally think it's easier to write a story for an age group that I can truly say "been there, done that." However, the more advanced age means more complex mental processing that's going on in the main character's mind. People's interaction becomes more indirect, problems no longer have a clear answer, way too many things are going on at once. The very compressed story reflects that (three layers after all...). On top of it, the story might mention some events from twenty plus years back.... Not that I have any choice, as this COVID-19 long break may be coming to an end soon, so I have to finish the story before I return to work or I'd probably have to put the project on hold. It's not a story I can write on spare time or over the weekend, because it's just too emotionally taxing and might affect my work performance. As with my other stories, there might be cameo appearance of Ashi (yours truly) in one form or another, and/or a cross-over character from another story. Just to make things more interesting. 😄
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