Five Story Summaries
1 – Aristotelian Structure
Act one – Frey and Jesse are vagabond bounty hunters wandering the last, straggled breaths of a dying American west. They accept a job from an arms-dealing businessman to save his daughter, Anna, from the grasp of a cult called the Blood Angels.
The angels are lying out in a fort, and the pair make plans to infiltrate it after sunset. While Frey manages to save Anna, Jesse is wounded, caught, and thrown in a cell. Frey and Anna reconvene in a small village, where they spend the advance reward money to hire two mercenaries.
Act two – The group returns to the fort to rescue Jesse, only to find that the angels have fled and are making their way to the West coast. They press on for several days, and eventually overtake them on the outskirts of a city, only to realize the cult has convened with its other sects, and their numbers have grown tenfold. The hired mercenaries flee. While Anna and Frey camp out, they are surrounded in the night and thrown into confinement with Jesse.
Act three – Jesse is injured, his wound infected, but he informs them that the Angels accept duel propositions from prisoners on the grounds of their fictive religion as long as they have a weapon. Jesse is immobile and Frey admits they took her gun.
The three are brought before the cult leader to receive judgment- Anna procures a hidden revolver from her ankle and proposes a duel. She narrowly wins, and the trio flees into the sunset.
2 – Kishotenketsu
For the first two acts of this story, we are introduced to Ben- he works at a hardware store and seems relatively unassuming, but he has troubles connecting with others. He hesitantly befriends a coworker named Aiden. The second act illuminates that Ben has a habit of stealing lightbulbs as he leaves work everyday. Aiden begins picking up Ben to take him to work, as he has no car.
In the third act twist, we find out he is obsessed with lighting fixtures after a personal incident that occurred in the lighting section of a hardware store. His house ceiling is plastered in chandeliers, lanterns, hanging lights, etc, making it almost unnavigable.
In the fourth act, the lights are shut off, and he has an episode, refusing to leave his house, unable to sleep, eat, or respond to texts. Eventually, Aiden visits the house, finding Ben in this state. He realizes there is an issue with the breaker and gets the lights back on. The two share a meal on the hallway floor, under the lights.
3 – Episodic Structure
The story takes place in an underground habitat called the Mulberry Warrens at winter, a burrow filled with a variety of woodland creatures i.e. Redwall. Wintertime is organically a period of hibernating and isolation from the outside world- the thematic through line would be exploring loneliness, relationships, and self improvement as the main character (A vole named Ada) waits out the snow. It would permeate comfort and lead into the final ‘episode’ being some parallel to a Christmas celebration. One episode would explore the harsh wildlife outside the warrens, but most might delve into events like feast preparations or other relatively low-stakes, interpersonal chapters.
4- Surrealist mode
1920s New York – A host of disparate and enigmatic guests flock to a lavish art installation advertised with the ability to grant its observer’s desires. At the request of an anonymous letter left at her apartment doorstep, detective Gail Ballard devises a plan to infiltrate the exhibition’s strict guest list. When she arrives, she finds herself in a parallel, architecturally abstract New York populated with stranded characters plucked across two centuries of time, with a massive, humanoid silhouette etched into the horizon where the moon should be. She finds most of this world’s inhabitants have succumbed to a fungal parasite that grants them sickly appearances and senile, exaggerated personalities. The story explores her interactions with these characters and her eventual attempts to get home.
5 – Personal Anecdote
I could probably structure some work stories episodically for this section! I have a lot of small, fun anecdotes but nothing I can think of that would function as a satisfying arc. I could use the time someone threatened to shoot us, when a coworker spilled a comically massive keg of beer in the hallway minutes before the building inspector was scheduled to get there, or when another coworker was convinced an auditorium was haunted.