Laura Hawbaker Posted February 7, 2022 Share Posted February 7, 2022 1. Story Statement Lynddy, a young woman with a troubled childhood, travels the world and amasses an eclectic assortment of 25 roommates during her 20-year search for a home. 2. Antagonist Lynddy’s mother is undiagnosed bipolar and OCPD, swinging between catatonic depression and manic rages. This condition is generational and aggravated by both her husband’s bullying and her refusal to seek treatment. Lynddy’s father is an alcoholic trapped in a domestic life with a wife he hates and two anchor daughters he never wanted. He takes out his frustration by abusing his wife and neglecting his daughters. Without a safe, stable home life, Lynddy suffers childhood food insecurity and becomes responsible for raising and protecting her seven-years-younger sister. Having taken on too much responsibility at too young an age in an eruptive household, Lynddy turns 18 and runs to faraway places—only to find that no matter where she flees, her past follows. No matter how much she wants love and a family, she fears and rejects every opportunity she has at finding them because of the specter of her parents. 3. Title 25 Roommates 4. Genre / Comparables Genre: literary / upmarket The character-driven novel-in-stories format of Olive Kitteridge meets the misanthropic Millennial milieu of Fleabag. A globe-trotting cross between A Visit From the Goon Squad’s nonlinear linked stories and Love Life’s anthological categorizing of a relationship series. 5. Hook Line Art school dropout Lynddy lives in 12 cities across seven countries and four continents—amassing 25 roommates along the way and finding “family” in the intimate, fleeting, powerful relationships defined by the length of a lease. 6. Conflicts Inner Lynddy's trauma from her troubled upbringing results in C-PTSD, borderline personality disorder, and a deep rooted belief that homes are cages and families inherently harmful. She denies and ignores this wound, even though it is the thing that causes her to run away from every opportunity she has at finding a home. She must face what happened in her childhood in order to heal and find that which she was denied as a child... the thing she can't admit that she now longs for most: a place to put down roots. Secondary This is a novel-in-stories. Each story centers on a secondary conflict. Examples: "27 Dollars" - Lynddy is arrested at an anti-war protest. Her roommate Ann must scrounge up the $100 bail even though she has only $27 in her bank account. "Stargazers" - In Morocco, Lynddy's flatmate Mira risks death in the Sahara when she contracts scarlet fever and refuses to see a doctor. She doesn't want to miss the chance to honor her grandfather by completing his life’s wish: seeing the Milky Way without light pollution. "Colorado" - Before it's too late, Lynddy must confront Joshua—the ex-boyfriend of her dormmate Tippi—when he moves in to convince Tippi she should return to the 9-11 conspiracy cult where they met… and from which she has fled. "Yellow Shirts" - Lynddy gets a reality check when she decides to leave the U.S. and live in Bangkok for no other reason than her love of Thai take-out, unknowingly moving to a country that's in the middle of a military coup. 7. Setting(s) This is a story collection about a globetrotter. Each story takes place in a different city/country. Examples: An underground punk club in Holešovice, Prague - A chain link fence surrounds the club's empty lot and abandoned warehouse. Eastern Euro punks in chunky boots lounge on the stairs, smoke pot, and look very Don't Fuck With Me. The music is some freetekno Czech thing remixed with Marilyn Manson. The thrash room is packed and the bar is pressed with flesh and sweat. Skulls and macabre artwork call to mind the bone church in Kutná Hora, an hour outside Prague, where chandeliers are made from real human mandibles. The club is the worst possible place for Lynddy to be when she receives a text with the worst possible news: her childhood friend has died, and Lynddy is a half a world away, surrounded by death. (story: "Messages") The Gion District in Kyoto, Japan - Lynddy imagined Kyoto would be filled with Zen water bridges and pink cherry trees, swirls of matcha tea ice cream, and tree branches spindled in the white ribbons of unlucky fortunes. But when she moves to Japan and spends an evening taking photos of geikos and maikos in the famous geisha district, she sees shop windows stuffed with plush geisha dolls, postcards, tea sets, and cheap yukata for souvenirs. Japanese culture is commodified, and Lynddy must accept that as an American living in Japan—a naïve traveler who exoticizes the culture—she is just like the other tourists in fanny packs who cluster at street corners and harass the geisha. She is just another Western outsider: a tourist, an appropriator, a paparazza. (story: "Chasing Geishas") A run-down house across the road from a prairie - Lynddy's childhood house in rural Illinois is a shabby split-level across the road from a dry grass prairie. Controlled burns set fire to the dropseed and wild rye and cordgrass every other year. The house is isolated, far outside town, unwelcome, unsafe, and unclean. Lynddy's mother’s cage of parakeets—broken seed collecting on the floor, the water often foul and still—make everything smell like a pet store. Her parents' raging fights shake the walls. Lynddy hears smacks from upstairs—either a slapped thigh or a slapped face (they sound the same). So she runs and hides in the prairie, where scorched soil is as black and dry as the moon. Yellow-suited burn crews with red drip torches pick through the grass. There, Lynddy hides, because a prairie on fire feels safer than the parental rages inside the house. (story: "Water Lanterns") Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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