God's Child

by Worku
(Bowie, MD, USA)

Question: The setting is in Ethiopia and the book is being written in Amharic language.

The novel is about a mom, who as pregnant teen was thrown out of her home by her own parents. After giving birth to the child, she abandons her 2-month old baby but does not return to her parents, instead becoming a "street girl" or a prostitute. But after 25 years she starts looking for her baby. However, she does not want to share her secret with anyone because of fear that she could face criminal charges for abandoning her child. Then one day, while she was begging in the street, she runs into a young career woman who employs her as a live-in house keeper. To make a long story short, the two women turn out to be mother and child. My problem is to find a way to move the story forward while the main protagonist keeps her secret. Should she share her secret with someone?

Answer: Bear in mind that I can't tell you how to write your story, just offer things to consider.

One thing you might consider is how the overall arc of this story will unfold. For instance, let's say the abandoning of the child is the setup. The mother going to work for the daughter could be the complication. Then you need a crisis. Something happens that could spell disaster unless the main character makes the right choice. Finally, the resolution will show how things worked out in the end.

Alternatively, the complication phase could be her estrangement from her family, having to enter the sex trade, and her fruitless search for her daughter, the crisis could be the event where she is hired by the daughter. Again, it should hinge on her making the right choice.

You have to decide what makes the best emotional arc.

You might also consider the static elements. For instance...

What is the Goal of the story? Is it for your protagonist to have a real home and family? Is it to be saved from a life of prostitution? Is it to find salvation? Regain her parents love?

What is the Consequence - the unfortunate thing that will happen if the Goal is not met? What would a tragic ending look like?

What the Requirements - the things that must be accomplished or must happen in order for the Goal to be achieved? Making a little progress by meeting one or two requirements along the way might give her and the reader hope.

What are the Forewarnings - the things that happen which suggest that the Consequence is drawing closer and may occur instead of the Goal? Do we see life getting harder for her, so that she is running out of options?

Best of luck.

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