Since the end of last years Summer Writing Project I have been thinking about what kind of story to enter this year. I spent weeks, sometimes even months drafting up an idea only to drop it because it wasn’t quite right before finally settling on this one:
Karma is a simple story about redemption. It’s not a very original premise; it has been used in countless books, movies and plays. There are many reasons I have chosen such an overused concept, but more on that later. For now let us talk about the story itself.
It focuses primarily on two characters: Jack and Gwen.
Jack has spent his entire life looking out for number one (himself). When he is killed in an accident, he finds himself in the afterlife, or more precisely, in limbo. Unfortunately for him, if he wants to get into paradise, he must do a little ‘community service’ to make up for his heinous ways. He is therefore assigned to help Gwen, a young woman who stands on the verge of a dark and difficult time in her life.
So, why did I choose this particular story? Well, tales of redemption are so common because we can all relate to them. We’ve all done things we wish we could undo. That’s why Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol has stayed relevant more than a century and a half after it was first published. It has been retold and re-imagined countless times.
The theme of redemption is also a common core aspect in many tales too. It spans all genres and has featured in pretty much every medium through which a story can be conveyed – you’ll find it in works ranging from The Bible right up to the video game God of War and beyond.
Don’t get the wrong idea, though. While this story is far simpler than others I have written, it is by no means an easier road. Such a powerful and universally felt subject matter will need to be done with finesse if I am to do it any justice. It MUST be combined with characters who have real emotions and drives and dreams and fears and hopes. A straight forward story like this has no room for error. If something is even a little off, it has nothing to hide behind – no winding sub plots or expansive, epic worlds or even edgy/quirky concepts. There is a reason why some tales of redemption echo through the ages while others are quickly forgotten; The simpler an idea, the more it tests a writers mettle. That is the challenge I have set myself.
There’s not much more I can say except keep an eye out for further updates. Oh – and good luck to all prospective entrants to this years contest. We had some fantastic stories last year – those who won really deserved to do so.