Today’s the first official day of my venture into the “Book in a Month” system.  According to the program, I should write a one sentence summary and fill out what’s called a Story Idea Map, as well as, write the first 1500 words.  The very cool thing is that as a substance abuse counselor, I’m always trying to get across the idea that daily focus upon a treatment program is critical to success.  That is, if someone wants to become healthy, she must focus on the needs of the day and not let anything detract her from her daily activities towards health. Well, this is a great opportunity for me to practice what I preach because, as a writer, it’s absolutely essential that I write every day and now that I have new idea with which I can work, using this writing program can help me both a better writer AND a better treatment provider.

So, per the Book in a Month program, my one sentence summary is:

  • Gabe Santos must make peace with his family’s death so that he can truly live again.

As for the Story Idea Map:

Main Story Idea

The main story idea is that Gabe Santos heads into the woods with a death wish and ends up a prisoner to an old man who found Gabe after a severe fall.  Gabe does all he can to escape, but can’t although in time, Gabe learns, through the old man, what it mean to be alive.

Inciting Incident

The inciting incident is that he falls and severely hurts his ankle.  His passes out from the pain and awakens in the Teacher’s campsite.  He’s scared and simply wants to get away from the scary man who appears to be holding him prisoner.  The question is, “Will Gabriel get away from the Teacher and find his peace?”

Act I Turning Point

While Gabe spends the entire first act trying to get away from the old man, by act’s end, he begins to realize that the old man could be his teacher rather than his kidnapper.

The Stakes

If Gabe doesn’t learn to live, he will lose his soul and dishonor his wife and son’s memory and legacy in the process, so I guess this means the stakes are pretty high.


Main Character: Gabriel Santos, a man in his early forties, has just experienced the unthinkable: He lost his wife and son in a violent car accident.  Before the accident, he was a successful reporter who covered significant events and who was in the running for an award for a piece he wrote about Addicts.  But, after the accident, he lost any capability he was had for seeing truth.  Worse yet, he disengaged from all life within a cloud of grief and survivor’s guilt: It was his turn to take his son to baseball practice, but he was heading for deadline and couldn’t break from work.  He blames himself and heads into the forest in an attempt to escape his pain.

Other Main Character(s): The Teacher of the Forest lives alone in the woods, as the woods provides everything that his spirit doesn’t.  He’s like Obi Wan – he retreated from the illusions of day to day life because there was no longer encountered anyone who desired to look inwards instead of out.  Because of his lost desire, the Teacher found himself to be a Master with no disciples and left the “real world” to meditate and seek his destiny.  He’s hairy and looks like a mountain man, but

Main opposing characters: The Teacher in the main external character; however, his role is to show Gabriel that his enemy is himself.  Most people are their own enemy, but those who experience deep loss tend to focus on the loss and in that misdirected focus they become blind to the fact the focus on the loss is a chain that binds them.

The Minor Characters are: The drunk driver who killed his family, Jack Gordon, is service his three years for vehicular homicide.  Gabe hates his guts with all that he has and wishes that he could kill James in the most violent way possible.


The entire story takes place in the old man’s cabin deep within the Pecos Wilderness. This cabin hs no doors and the windows are too small for a man to crawl through.

Well, I did it: Completed the tasks for the first day of the program.  It takes some thought, though.  Now, it’s time to get through the first 1500 (or so) words of the actual book.  Day 1 is in the books (pun, pun), now there’s 29 to go….