Justification: An Email

by jonnahzkennedy

This is an email to my English teacher who is helping me write a story for the Texas Book Festival this year, the division in young writers of course, and while we’re so close to being prepared and confident to send this story off, we’re still having kinks, and this is my latest email to him updating him on the status of the work, and I just thought that I should share it with you guys because it might help you and it might be just a little bit inspiring in the last bit! 


I have started a second draft,  like a legit second draft, but I’m going to be pulling a lot from the first draft, while improving it to make it a lot more meaningful, and profound. The draft that we have now, the only part that I truly like and the part that I think I did the best job on is the finale in which or unnamed narrator reflects on his life and tries to justify everything he has done up to this point, but he can’t, so he lies to himself. The fatal flaw of this story, I realize, is that I just spent to much time in flashback. This would be fine if we were writing a novella, unfortunately we’re not, so this flashback is not working how it should, because it reads much more like a novel excerpt rather than a short story and for that reason, I’m going to instead reverse the story in that, the flashback will become chopped up, cutting down a lot of unnecessary fat from this story, and bulking up the story by writing in the present tense in the gas station, with reflections leading up to my MC’s death by the police officers. 

Also, I understand what made ‘Silence’ in the Place Beyond the Courtyard to great: In the Place Beyond the Courtyard, I had something to say, I had a message that I wanted and needed to convey, there was a lot for me to pull from. This happens in most all of my works, the Farm and the Place Beyond the Courtyard both had something that I wanted to commentate on, something that I needed to say, the problem with Justification is that I don’t have anything that I need to say, I’m focusing too much on the contest and much less the weight. The Farm was written to win a prize of some sort, but it was only finished because I threw that out of my head after finishing the first chapter which was written beautifully in my opinion because I needed it to be written beautifully. Now, I need to take that same mentality to write this story, otherwise it just won’t get done, done right that is. 
So, having said that, I have pinpointed what my goals are for this story, as in the main ideas:
1) Being Bad
2) Everyone wants to be remembered; to do something worth being remembered for, even if it’s something bad. 
3) We often lose sight of why we do the things we do for those that we love the most. 
1+2) We all want to  live exciting, meaningful lives and in the age of technology, your legacy means everything; what will you leave behind for this world to remember you by? What was your purpose here, what will be your footprint when they put you in the grave, and who will follow in your footsteps, or who will resurrect your figure as an example for something good or bad, and how will your small choices have enormous effects on the world around you? 
3) We are all willing to break bad for those that we care about, for something that we care about. Everyone, even the most timid people, will explode under the right circumstances, with the right threats, they will break their demeanor and they will explode, they will break bad. 
Those are the things that I am trying to convey in this story, and I think that I’m just going to have to amp it up a lot to get it across since the judges just don’t have the time to sit there and try and decipher my work. I’m also going to just try and write the best I can, the damndest job so that I can win, because I’m not going to just keep going along and pretending that I’ll get there one day, I’m going to make it happen, because the only way to move the world is to move mountains, and that’s what I aim to do in this contest.