The inspiration of the story “The Mystery of the Faded Girl”, emerged from a book by Jeffrey Archer which I had read and had a similar plot. In this essay, I explored the genre of ghost story. I presented a gripping event in the beginning and built on it to engage with the reader but avoiding to wrap it up a neatly.
The structure is made up of some few basic elements in ghost stories within a mundane scene, for instance, evidence of a crime, a suffering soul and a dinner scene. However, the two major parts of the plot involve the girl’s murder and both apparitions. The opening immediately sets the scene. There is a shift in the setting, firstly in the countryside, the second is depicted in the domestic scene, eventually finishing in the same outdoor setting. The contrast of these settings, when Francis firstly encounters the spectre, at home when he hears the priest’s stories and when the medium meets the spectre, employ a set of events which are reinforced by the imagery and diverse point of views.
Ghost stories are typically written in the third person narration in the past tense so I abide by that convention. In my opinion, this point of view makes the storytelling less relatable so, in order to better understand the characters and events I used direct speech to convey aspects of their personality and advance the plot of the story. The awareness of the crime evokes sympathy not fear when the spectre reappears. The brief dialogue between the medium and the ghost is meant to pull the reader back into the story and create suspense. Nonetheless, the reader might be concerned with the meaning of what the ghost is looking for especially with the words: “I will not leave. Stay away! You’ll regret this”. Prior to this statement, the plot seemed to be moving to a conclusion so I avoided a traditional resolution to leave it open to interpretation.
Challenges and areas of improvement
My main aim was to fit the structure of Freytag’s pyramid as a model then I decided to have a climax in the beginning and construct the plot, with a semi-resolution. Due to this, I did not strike a balance between the characters’ interaction. I reworked the writing according to the feedback mainly focusing on the inclusion of more dialogue in order to get various reactions to the story. I realized that the story could be told by relating to other characters as Jeff VanderMeer contends that “[c]haracters who, from their point of view, in a sense create setting, and who exists for us through description, which technically, includes dialogue”. Thus I have included the point of view of secondary characters, as the priest’s monologue felt too long then altered it to a conversation, thus developing secondary characters and make the story more believable. I would definitely work on the ending of stories as it entails thinking in order to avoid clichés, and have great endings.