Some of my favorite stories end where they begin, and my WiP is no different. Wait a second, maybe it is...
If you study the tropes of literature and television, you may hear that there are only three plots. Or seven. Or thirty-six-- it's all very confusing, really, but worth the time to study. One of Christopher Booker's supposed seven basic plots is the "Voyage and Return" story. Obviously, this encompasses stories like The Hobbit, Robinson Crusoe, Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, in which the main character leaves home, has an adventure, and comes back home.
Mara's story, however, gives the Voyage and Return a different spin. Yes, she leaves home and has a great adventure, but though she does get a little homesick, she finds a new life and a new home. Before she can start that new life, however, she must take care of some unfinished business at home, which is where she is when the story ends.
What I like about studying tropes is how you can use them to give an old story new life. Everything old can be new again when an author knows what has come before and how s/he can change a trope to suit their story. What I like about this method is that it provides the reader with a story that starts out familiar and comfortable, but in the end winds up surprising them by diverging from the story the are expecting to read. Of course, there's a danger in diverging too much, but a skillful writer can make it work with solid, likable characters, a uniquely lyrical narrative style, or a fast-paced plot.
If anyone still hasn't decided on a project for National Novel Writing Month, take a look at t.v. tropes (see the "television" link above). You may waste hours looking at this site, so don't say I didn't warn you. But knowing what has come before is a great way to decide what you'd like to write next. As my daddy always says, those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it.
Which is why we'll be seeing Lord of the Rings rip-offs for another seventy years. ;)
“All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives lies a mystery. Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” ~George Orwell
I'm a YA writer who delves into urban fantasy, paranormal and romance, and who loves reading good books almost as much as writing them.
When not writing—or working—I enjoy daydreaming, drinking tea, and walking in cemeteries. I used to spend the rest of my time checking my inbox for manuscript requests, but am now proudly represented by Rosemary Stimola, of Stimola Literary Studio.