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Kelly M

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    An aspiring mystery/thriller author living in NJ

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  1. 1. Story statement- When her teenage daughter goes missing, Kristen Hall puts her own life aside to find her only child. 2. Antagonist- The antagonist is Jake Barlett, the father of Olivia Hall’s boyfriend. Jake is a murderer, but it isn’t the physical act of killing or sense of control that drives his actions, but rather his addiction to the emotional torture that his actions result in. After Olivia goes missing, Jake becomes close to Kristen Hall, encouraging her to dive deeper into the mystery of Olivia’s disappearance and the grief she feels, causing her relationship with her husband to deteriorate. Jake becomes Kristen’s shoulder to cry on as the two develop a romantic relationship despite Jake secretly being the one who killed Olivia. 3. Titles- o Woods of Ashford o A Keen Eye o Love Thy Neighbor *Other biblical titles that I pondered were “Those Who Sleep” and “Wings Like Eagles.” 4. Comparables- Comp 1: The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold- The love between a parent and child is a primary theme, in addition to the father giving up his marriage and life in order to find his daughter, who was killed by a neighbor and resides in heaven. My novel focuses on love, grief, and murder in a similar way, ending the novel with the dead teenager watching over her family and welcoming another character into heaven. Comp 2: Then She Was Gone, Lisa Jewel- My novel compares to Jewel’s work in that the focus is on the mother trying to find answers regarding what happened to her daughter. Also, the perspective in the novel switches from the mother in present time to flashbacks of the daughter which my novel also does. 5. Logline- A woman whose daughter has gone missing is forced to confront her dysfunctional relationship with grief in order to make peace with her loved ones and bring a murderer to justice. 6. Conflict- The primary conflict is overcoming the challenges in determining what happened to Olivia Hall, the daughter of the protagonist. The secondary conflict is Kristen Hall and her husband separating due to their differences in handling grief and Kristen reentering the dating world with Jake Barlett. The inner conflict is seen in Kristen who has unresolved grief from her past due to the death of her mother. Her inability to stop her mother from dying has caused her to be hyper-focused on controlling every other aspect of her life, often to her detriment. This is made apparent when the detectives insist that it is best for her to stand back and let them do their job, but Kristen continues to interfere with the investigation. 7. Setting- The story is set in a fictional town called Ashford, which is a quaint picturesque town with colonial homes and young families with new money. Properties back up to the woods, offering residents all the seclusion and privacy they could want. Stretches of trees form a canopy over the children who hop across fallen branches to rush home for dinner and large fallen oaks are the perfect seats for teenagers to relax while they drink the beer they stole from their parent’s liquor cabinet. Ashford is the type of town where every face is a familiar one. People watch out for each other and the same puffy-faced kids from kindergarten are in the graduating senior classes. Ashford is a great place to live, perfect for families and certainly, not the type of town anyone would ever expect their child to go missing in. The woods in the town represent a sense of innocence and freedom, but they can also be a dark and foreboding place. Not everything is as it seems in Ashford and much like the woods, the town is shown to have a dichotomy between its wholesome image and the malice that lurks beneath the surface. The story primarily occurs at the home of the protagonist, the town’s school, and the woodlands. In part two of the novel, readers are introduced to a heavenly place where the dead teenager watches over the town.
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