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    Adam Jarvis

    Member
    October 20, 2020 at 2:45 am

    Barb – good first go at it. I have some thoughts for tightening things up and focusing on the core story – though I may be off as to what the core story is.

    I think in this case we really need to know how old Paula is. The ideas of her aunt providing solace and the new responsibilities mean very different things if Paula is seventeen, twenty-seven, or forty-seven, and will colour our impression of her character and your story, especially the reason why Paula is not ready for these responsibilities.

    (You could indirectly imply her age by showing us a key marker from Paula’s life situation – is she just graduating from university, thinking about having kids, worried about getting too old to start a family, etc.)

    Also, I don’t get a strong sense of the danger in this story. I don’t mean aliens invading or cataclysmic natural disasters, but more the sense of what’s at stake for Paula. What does she stand to lose, and what does she really stand to gain if she decides to embrace change and become this new person? What is the inciting incident that forces these responsibilities on Paula? What sorts of responsibilities are these – care of a dependent loved one, taking over the family business, dealing with a deceased family member’s estate and will, doing the dishes? How much of an interruption to her own life is this going to be?

    I would suggest favouring those sorts of details over what Paula goes to her aunt about – we don’t, in this summary, really need to know about her issues with her mother, her work (these stray too close to blurb territory), or the “something” the aunt is hiding – unless that “something” is the inciting incident that forces said responsibilities onto Paula.

    I’d also suggest naming the aunt, as she seems a crucial character.

    For example, your opening lines could read “Paula, fresh out of grad school, needs the wise councel of her aunt [K], however [K] surprises Paula with her own [secret]. Paula is forced to take on [doing something] before she is ready…

    …and then end it with what’s at stake – rather than the vague idea of change, what might Paula really become? Or, if she doesn’t change, what does she stand to lose?

    (Random note: I have an Aunt Kay. She’s very nice.)

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