If “The Story” is anachronistically a mixture of sensibilities from the 80s to 20s, then it would make sense that John and Trishna would, especially during their college years, want to go to Halloween parties. They might dress up only somewhat. They might prefer, even, to stay in on the otherwise festive occasions. I tended to stay in during my college years for Halloweens, but maybe they’ll be more interested in going out? Maybe not?
Spoilers?: Minor [fiction/nonfiction storytelling practices]
My indecisiveness is based around storytelling beats.
Stories, for me, should try to arrive toward a goal. Whether that’s to teach, warn, or entertain, I enjoy meandering through media the most that tend to be confident in what they’re trying to achieve with their media. Considering that Halloween was a major cultural party for many in the pre-COVID-19 era, and if there is any similar event in “The Story,” it would take place years later, I think it would be fair to explore both perspectives: the goings-out and the stayings-in.
But what’s the goal of having a Halloween party?
Without a goal, the media that flounders most, for me, tends to languish in its language rather than grow toward its goal. I don’t mean to say all unnecessary side plots should be removed from all media. Sometimes a party is just an excuse to have fun, for the characters or the media-maker. From my perspective, if I were to have a Halloween party in “The Story,” it might go something like this:
John and Trishna are invited to a party.
They would have fun going out to figure out what to dress up as, maybe they’ll dress up to make light of their disabilities – John could dress up like a zombie missing some fingers, as he had since childhood; Trishna might dress up as a zombie in a wheelchair, or some variation on that – or maybe they won’t. It won’t probably be a large party. They aren’t interested in drinking or drugs, so they would just go to hang out with their inviting friends and meet new acquaintances.
They would probably leave when one gets tired.
I don’t think it would be right to evoke some kind of sensational inciting incident in such a subplot story merely for the sake of action. I am confident enough in my writing to know when I am dragging down the narrative enough to not feel the need to drum up artificial excitement. That’s why having a specific plan for a Halloween party on a college campus seems contrived to me. Maybe once I start writing more formally, I’ll consider whether there’s a goal or point to it, otherwise, it might be more comfortable for them – and me – to stay in, relax, and not dress up.
I never went out because I always had homework.
I never enjoyed, either, the idea of handing out candies to Trick-or-Treaters. It was fun as a kid, certainly, but the process as I got older became exceedingly more tedious and less enjoyable. They might enjoy it, though, since it might be an easy way for them to feel in the festive spirit without needing to do much outside their comfort zone. It’s easy to dress up somewhat, hand out candy, but otherwise watch some movies on a quiet Halloween.
Would there be Trick-or-Treating in dorm rooms?
I imagined that they would live in Trishna’s family home for their first year or two of their four-year college programs. At home, they would be more likely to hand out candy. In their dorm room, they would be more likely to go out. I never lived in a dorm, but from what I’ve heard, it’s easy enough to be social with others in your area just through close proximity with others.
Maybe they’d have a group movie watching?
If not, if they didn’t attend a small party, I imagine they’d stay in and do what they usually do; talk, relax, and/or play videogames. They are the sorts of characters that are less interested in the goings-on of others, so they wouldn’t go out only for aspirations of gaining social stature, but they would if some close friends invited them to maybe a board game night or maybe a small Halloween party.
In that respect, they would have little to excite them through going out.
I’m a person that tends to attract excitement when I go to new places. Maybe it’s through my thrill-seeking nature? Maybe trouble finds me? That does tend to leave me feeling less interested in going out when I don’t feel ready to take on those challenges or opportunities. I don’t imagine John or Trishna having those same troubles. They might be more open to new experiences because they tend to not attract much attention, or maybe, they do and it rolls off them easier?
That’s where a Halloween party might represent their mindsets.
If college is going well, where they could take the time, I think they would. If not, if, say, they had a difficult class or quarter, they might be more inclined to rest and recuperate. When I write fiction, what I do is I plan out the major story beats, then let the characters fill in the rest. I think it’s important, whenever possible, to let the characters decide their own stories.
Here’s a practical example of storytelling.
Today, I went into town to run some errands. I wanted to go to a nearby thrift store, but they open at 11am. We had some time to waste before then, so I wanted in the car and wrote, while my family member that’s been tending to my post-surgery wound went grocery shopping. I could have gone as well, but I waited in the car. I have no need for groceries, no interest in leisurely grocery shopping strolling, and so I refused a “plotline” offer or two to go inside the store.
If you think of your fiction more like reality, it tends to write itself.
|Sources: The Story’s Imaginarium.|
|Inspirations: This essay landed on Halloween. I mark holidays and observational events on my calendar, but whether I write about those events depends on whether I have a topic to write about. There are many Halloween decorations out in early September, so it was easy enough to consider writing about this topic.|
|Related: Essays building “The Story.”|
|Written On: 2020 September 13 [9:53am to 10:40am.]|
|Last Edited: 2020 September 13 [Second draft; final draft for the Internet. First draft was written in Gdocs.]|