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  • About Me
    I am a writer, editor, and yoga instructor based in northern Minnesota. In 2022, I will be publishing my first nonfiction work and am attending NY Pitch Conference to discuss my fiction book about wilderness therapy (based on true events, but totally exaggerated).

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  1. SEVEN ASSIGNMENTS First Assignment: The Act of Story Statement Everybody knows Zöe Turner from Lansing, Michigan. That’s what she says anyway, because she is the best basketball player to ever come from the town. When Zöe’s senior summer kicks off, she can’t wait to visit Division I schools. That is, until she wakes up to find two large men standing in her doorway telling her she is going to Idaho—for wilderness therapy. Landed in desert canyons for ninety days, Zöe wrestles with red-hot anger towards her parents, heartbreak of missing her boyfriend Tarron, and wondering if she did escape, would she survive? Second Assignment: The Antagonist Plots the Point The antagonist in this story is the situation that Zöe finds herself in—a dry, wind-whipped, desert—left to wrestle with the choices she has made to make it there (were they even that bad?). She desires nothing more than to escape her current life circumstance, though she can do nothing about it. Not for ninety days. Third Assignment: Breakout Title 90 DAYS IN THE DESERT—A WILDERNESS THERAPY STORY THE SUMMER ZÖE WAS SENT AWAY DESERT DIARIES—THE TRUTH ABOUT WILDERNESS THERAPY Fourth Assignment: Deciding Your Genre and Approaching Comparables Genre: New Adult Fiction or Contemporary Fiction Comparables: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens Based in the present day with lingering racial tension in a midwestern middle-class family, both of these titles represent fiction storylines based with real societal issues. Fifth Assignment: The Core Wound and The Primary Conflict A troubled teen is forced to face her fears of inadequacy while she is alone in the desert sentenced to a wilderness therapy program by her parents. Sixth Assignment: Other Matters of Conflict Primary conflict: Zöe Turner is stuck in a wilderness therapy program in Idaho thousands of miles away from her friends and family. After working so hard to be scouted by Division I schools to play basketball, this too could no longer be an offer when she returns for her summer of forced silence in the desert. Secondary Conflict: Zöe’s life is urgent—basketball scouts, an older boyfriend she hopes to move in with at the end of her senior year, and getting away from her parents as the navigate the impending waters of divorce. All of these things are put on hold, without resolution, as she hikes through the desert learning to survive in the wild. Inner Conflict: Zöe wants nothing to do with her parents anymore, and has had it with their slowly crumbling marriage. She is conflicted, however, because it is every child’s most natural desire to be accepted and loved by their parents. Zöe feels unseen, unheard, and must work extra hard to receive attention. She feels forgotten. Hypothetical scenario: Zöe has been in wilderness therapy for twelve days now and has her first meeting with the therapist. During their session, Zöe shares in sheer anger that she didn’t have time to tell her boyfriend, Tarron, that she was getting sent away. To him, she says, it looks like she ghosted him. But that’s not what she wanted; she wants to marry Tarron. Her parents, however, seem to have an issue with Tarron, and the question of difference in races comes to the surface when the therapist finds out that Tarron is African American. The therapist promises Zöe that if she contributes to group for another week, she can call her boyfriend and let him know where she is—but will he still be waiting for her by them? Seventh Assignment: The Setting The setting: High-desert Dot, Idaho—where there isn’t another town for hundreds of miles in any direction, the coyotes howl at night, rattlesnakes slither across the dry-cracked land, and their camp is enclosed by barbed wire. But that’s just the thing about the desert—it is harsh, with extreme heat during the day and extreme cold during the night—but it’s also the perfect backdrop for iron-colored canyons and orange sunsets dipping behind the snowy-peaked mountains in the distance. The harshness of the desert is a reflection, a mirror, for the troubled teens in this wilderness therapy program.
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