Saturday, April 23, 2005

Project Outline

For next week I'm supposed to have a project outline for The Novel and how I will have it completed by the fall so I can register for Thesis I.

Here is the skeleton:

I. Unexposed/underexposed
In which our heroine (Sara) leaves home with little idea what she is getting herself into. Some information about the aunt she is going to visit, basic travel information on the country of Kenya, but little real knowledge of the situation.
II. Focal Length
Enter the cast of characters. We meet a number of people connected with Sara's aunt. Magdalene the interpreter, Mrs. Shah the timber magnate, Phyllis the landlady, teachers at the Shiloh Baptist Nursery School and headmaster of the Kalalu primary school. Sara is still getting her bearings. Trying to figure out which of these people will be main characters in her stay and which ones are playing minor supporting roles to the doctor.
III. Viewfinder
Sara as a tourist. On a wildlife photo shoot in a game reserve. Tea at Mount Kenya Safari Club. Staying overnight in the Maasailand in a traditional mud hut. Riding horses to the Mau Mau caves. Hiking the Sirimon Trail. Swimming at Naro Moru lodge.
IV. Ambient Light
Sara's growing awareness of the issues. Closer contact with the schools, the teachers and the students. She begins to work as a volunteer at the nursery school. Has some dealings with the Chief of the area that make her wonder how much she understands of what she sees... How much can be taken at face value?
V. Depth of Field
Things get more complicated. Violent crime, violent retribution and the matter-of-fact way torture and death are treated by otherwise gentle, intelligent people. She finds some about the history of Kenya's independence. Sours quite a bit on the current regime. Fantasies about organizing a rebellion.
VI. Dark Room
Sara back home. Realizing that her coping mechanism in Kenya had been to shut off all memories of home. Trouble reconciling the poverty she lived with all summer with the waste and wealth she sees upon her return. Now it's easier to pretend that she never went to Kenya. The two lives cannot coexist. Contacts between Sara and Kenya crumble quickly.
VII. Ghost Images
The things that stay with Sara even though she tries to forget. Images captured on film. Songs of the children. Haunting stories of things that happened long before she was there. Death.