So I finally did an interesting breakdown of "Dowse and Bleed," also known as the story from inferno—so-called because my protagonist drives me batty. She tells her story grudgingly in an interesting raw but very veiled way. Slowly, but surely, I am coming to realize that all those layers are simply part and package of her: she hides things away even from herself; it just makes for a really lousy way to write a story. I have to dig deep, finish laying myself out raw, then look back at the prettyness of it before digging deep again and clawing my way down to the mess of it. Because that's where the story is—the mess.
That said, my breakdown:
INTRODUCTION: 1482 words
- Scene 1. 1007 words: Killinger calls Rachelle to ask for help.
- Scene 2. 1475 words: Rachelle visits the scene with Killinger.
INVESTIGATION: 8482 words
- Scene 3. 3130 words: Special Unit works on the case with the evidence they have.
- Scene 4. 3005 words: Special Unit works with Manning on the case at the scene.
- Scene 5. 2352 words: Special Unit determines what happened and develops a plan.
CRISIS: 1252 words
- Scene 6. 408 words: Special Unit regroups before going in.
- Scene 7. 844 words: Special Unit takes down Auspin and Rachelle goes down. Climax.
RESOLUTION: 1488 words
- Scene 8. 1187 words: Rachelle deals with her injuries and separates from Special Unit.
- Scene 9. 301 words: Justus takes Rachelle home where she deals with the fallout.
The story doesn't have a lot of surprise twists and it seems rather oddly shaped if I think in terms of arcs (which I usually don't, was just curious), but I found it an interesting exercise to poke into this story to figure out how it ticked and why adding another layer is giving me grief.
Then I figured it out from looking at that breakdown and realizing what Rachelle was doing. In this story, you see Rachelle and only because I pried herself out of the surface level and asked her body what was going on and asked her emotions why this assignment was her story, what did it mean to her. But I look at this and I see why she was just so weary and kept side-stepping particular thoughts, feelings, and flashbacks. In short, this snippet from the first scene summed up the problem:
The answering machine clicked on. "Rachelle Winslow. Leave a message."
Her birth name in her own voice jarred her. It wasn't her name.
Who in the world calls herself by a name she doesn't consider hers? Someone who doesn't want to look at the other side of herself, the part she does consider hers. She's disassociating and it shows. What this story doesn't show is the operative. And that's why it keeps leaving little odd threads hanging out that don't quite gel, don't come together, don't make sense. I was in too deep and couldn't see what she was refusing to see because she already knew it was there.
So yeah. Round three.