WRITE YOUR STORY STATEMENT (#1)
Finding the peace of delight by fulfilling the demands of desire.
SKETCH ANTAGONIST FORCE (#2)
In DESIRE BEYOND DELIGHT, the antagonistic force is the obsessive side of the protagonist. Desiree, whom everyone calls Dessy, is born on a small farm in southern Illinois. At first, her ambition in captivating the son of the local grain merchant seems a way to improve her lot in life. Even when she abandons her first husband for her richer second husband, her scheme seems a desire for a better life. When she reaches complete financial independence, her obsessions become more petty and reveal the antagonistic role desire plays in her life by the way she sacrifices what she won in order to win her latest obsession. All this leads to Dessy's 100th birthday party when the senile old woman steals a piece of birthday cake from her baby great great granddaughter because it has a candy rose.
CREATE BREAKOUT TITLE (#3)
DESIRE BEYOND DELIGHT, INSATIABLE, MAN, THE INSATIABLE.
DECIDING GENRE AND APPROACHING COMPARABLES (#4)
DESIRE BEYOND DELIGHT combines two genres into a hybrid: upmarket fiction that contains elements of literary fiction. I have taken one of the fundamental plot lines, the rags to riches adventures of a ruthless woman, and bolstered it with psychological insight and literary panache. The rages to riches scenario is so well known Kindle and Amazon publish a whole series of them. I have removed a key element; the protagonists are inevitably portrayed as sinister schemers. Dessy is actually quite naive; she is more subject to serial obsessions. By using a basic plot, the upmarket reader can appreciate the added psychological dimensions (Dessy has to fantasize about the husband she cheats on because her lover is inept) or the literary finesse (over a half dozen set pieces like a plague of locusts that destroys the family farm or honeymooning at Niagara Falls as authorities try to find the body of a disappointed lover who went over the falls in a barrel). I created a model for myself as I wrote to clarify my goal: a Balzac novel (emotional power) written by Flaubert (literary control).
HOOK LINE (#5)
Woman who obtains everything she wants in life is left with the desire to reach her hundredth birthday, and tomorrow she turns 100.
INNER CONFLICT (#6)
Dessy wakes to her tenth birthday with exaggerated expectations. Her party reflect the humble means of life on the farm: flowers, hair ribbons, and a sea shell for loose change. Her father has a large box he is saving for the end. Dessy has repeatedly asked for a carriage because she can't imagine using horses for anything beside pulling plows. She finds an intricate toy carriage ordered from Chicago inside the box. Only then does she realize her expectation of a real carriage was unrealistic and it spoils her party.
SECONDARY CONFLICT (#6)
Dessy is determined to enroll her grandson in military school to teach him to respect authority, even though doing the same thing to the boy's father was a disaster. Dessy's docile older sister, Grace, suddenly pays a visit. Grace last saw Dessy at a movie theater with the man she is having an affair with. Grace suggests sending the grandson to a local school and Dessy abruptly offer to sign the papers, which astonishes her husband. When Grace leaves, Dessy says terrible things about her sister, but abandons her plan for military school. "After all," she casually says, "it was jsut an idea."
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS FARM - The humble home of Dessy's family. Its sparse furnishing (it doesn't even have a mirror) reflect the simple expectations of the occupants. When they lose the farm from a plague of locusts, Dessy's mother and sister move to the outskirts of Chicago, but it is almost identical with their farm.
PARIS, ILLINOIS - Dessy accompanies a cousin to the grain mill there, but finds it a dirty little town with no resemblance to the lithograph of Paris at her school. She does meet her future husband there, the son of the owner of the mill, and she gets to ride in a real carriage.
CAPSTONE, ILLINOIS - A small but prosperous town where Dessy learns the assumptions and power games of the wealthy.
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - Biggest city in Illinois and home of Nelson, her second husband.
PARIS, FRANCE - Dessy goes there for her second honeymoon, but is disappointed to find their dirty streets resemble Capstone's dirty streets, and everyone speaks a foreign language. She becomes sick and can't go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, her dream.
THE STOCKYARDS, CHICAGO - Nelson's business as a meat packer is centered there and reflects the dark underpinning of his fortune.
SKYSCRAPER IN CHICAGO - When Nelson dies, Dessy moves to her final apartment that is ten feet higher than the highest point on the Eiffel Tower (as the old woman tells every visitor). At this height, all individual detail in life is reduced to geometric patterns.