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Sharon Blevins

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    Upmarket Fiction writer, school psychologist, & adjunct professor

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  1. FIRST ASSIGNMENT: Story statement Brett Sullivan fears adulting in an elite world where everyone is a success, until a traumatic accident forces him to man up and examine the value of every human life, including his own. SECOND ASSIGNMENT: Antagonistic force Brett’s twenty-six years of life climax in a war within himself. Brett’s antagonistic force is the conflict with family expectations and a dark, secret regret. His enmeshed relationship with his helicopter mom, Audra, is beginning to sour when he realizes the success she has groomed him for collides with the productive life he sees in his hard-working Sicilian girlfriend and social work classes. Brett’s selfish habits don’t feel quite right in the face of hurting people. The pressure to step into adulthood peaks when Brett witnesses a tragic accident near public housing. Convinced he had a role in the devastation, he concludes that his life has been a waste. He no longer cares about pleasing his family and volunteers with several agencies while working as a caseworker to set things right. Yet, in every problem he attempts to fix and life he tries to help, he only magnifies his mistakes. Failures of the system and personal setbacks almost break him. By the end of six months, Brett must learn to cope with a world he can’t control or succumb to the disappointments. Will he be able to count enough reasons to care? THIRD ASSIGNMENT: Breakout title Current title: The Final Deal Sixteen Reasons to Care Sixteen Reasons Why Not FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: Comparables Me Before You by Jojo Moyes An inner conflict is ever present in Will while Lou grows to love and care for him. Will pushes everyone away and eventually learns to care for someone else more than himself just as my protagonist, Brett. Lou develops confidence and a zest for life similar to Brett’s girlfriend, Dani. 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher Although this is a YA novel, a similar premise exists when a suicidal individual stacks up reasons to end her life that culminate in an attempt to psychologically punish those who wronged her. In opposition to this approach, Brett in TFD, needs to find enough evidence to cancel out his mistakes and forgive himself. Each of these characters has a starkly different reason to chose suicide. One is being bullied and one is more of a bully. Often both of those groups have significant issues of self-worth. TFD is a reverse of 13 Reasons Why and ends with a satisfying conclusion that points out that people from all walks of life suffer from mental health conditions and there are ways to find healing and support. FIFTH ASSIGNMENT: Hook line A spoiled college man hides his secret desire to work with the destitute from his wealthy family until a tragedy forces him to abandon his secrets and risk it all. SIXTH ASSIGNMENT: Protagonist - inner conflict Brett feels obligated to follow his mother’s plans for his future because he has benefited all his life from the privilege and easy life she eagerly provides. The pressure to do something productive mounts when he realizes he has never learned to work for anything (guilt) and is drawn to social service (secret desire). After a traumatic accident, he believes he caused, Brett is pushed over the edge and commits to helping others in an effort to redeem himself. As a social worker, Brett is triggered by every disappointment in the foster children’s lives. Once again, he struggles with his self-worth. Eventually, Brett discovers his ex-girlfriend in a domestic violence shelter and takes on all the blame. He must weigh the reasons to care about his life against the remorse he carries deep inside. FINAL ASSIGNMENT: Setting The Sullivan home: The sprawling residence rested at the threshold of the most admired subdivision in Bloomington, Illinois. Inside, glittery wall sconces contrasted the dark wood trim and old-fashioned emerald wallpaper. It was all in keeping with the 1930s period of the original house, according to Audra Sullivan. The décor was chintzy. Classless. The sparkle of candle lights dangled from a good fifteen feet of double chain above the parquet entry. A dark chestnut banister sloped left, guiding the staircase to the second floor. If it wasn’t for the oatmeal-colored carpet hugging each stair, he’d be traipsing into an enormous coffin. The park: Rock archways guarded the center fountain where passersby tossed coins into the spray. A pebble stone path wound around the perimeter with rows of red tulips hemmed in with hostas and ornamental grasses. Nestled between ornamental cherry trees was an iron bench where Harold waited for the one who would set him free. Family Fold Foster Care Agency: A blocky building lined in 70’s style brick with an etched glass entry opened up to a scared linoleum floor and worn plastic chairs lining the walls. On the left, a booth stuck out as if an afterthought, surrounded with bullet proof glass. A musty scent competed with a hint of floral perfume through the hallway marked with carpet that boasted a multitude of passersby.
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