A frame story is exactly what it sounds like, a tale or series of tales bounded by an encompassing story. I am choosing to write Julie’s Story as a framed narrative for several reasons:
(1) Julie is the narrator and the subject. By telling her story in bits and pieces from the distancing perspective of death, she can move from the present to the past in an experiential manner.
(2) By acting as the framing narrator, she can communicate with Bonnie, the woman she has possessed, in a conversational tone.
(3) By framing Julie’s story within the mystery of the present (What happened to her daughter?) I can create suspense.
This is the opening section:
Cody’s on the terrace. Older, handsome, grey at the temples, wearing a sports coat, and two-hundred-dollar shirt. “So,” he says, “you’re Bonnie and want to know what happened to Julie’s baby?”
I scream. “I’m Julie! What happened to our daughter?”
He laughs, a Mephistophelean howl. “Julie’s dead, and our daughter? She’s probably a whore.”
Evil spirits surround him. “You sold her and have adoption papers. Your lawyer told me.”
The demons stop swirling. “So, you’ve come back.” He approaches. “Why didn’t Marilyn tell you?”
As if you care. “She died of a brain hemorrhage.”
He was looking at Bonnie’s body. “I can offer you bourbon, Coke. We can look at photographs.”
I follow down to a cellar, made into a gentleman’s lounge. “Make mine a Cuba libre. Old times’ sake.”
“Myer’s Original Dark Rum.” He holds up the bottle. “Kept it here just for you.” He adds the Coke, lime, and ice and hands it to me. He makes himself a Chivas and soda, leaves, and comes back with a photo album. “Open it. It’s our youth.”
Me and Rosie playing with a beach ball on Daytona sand. 1984, thirteen, nothing mattered. We tied on bikinis, played, and found a mark―a meal, drinks, and a bed. Two girls at a bargain price with no pimps, no drugs, no overhead.
My fake ID said I was Lisa Hamilton, eighteen, a student at Ohio State. No y’all, or yessir, say hi instead of hey. No one gave a shit.]Julie’s Story
As you can see, there are three unidentified characters within the narrative–Marilyn, Bonnie, and Rosie–indicating there is a second frame within the frame. What went on in the immediate past as compared with what occurred in the distant past, so the story begins at the seventy-five percent mark–the beginning of the end.
I’m making it a novella because I don’t believe the story will require more than thirty-five thousand words. Framing a story is a new challenge for me. I haven’t finished outlining it yet, so that’s the next step.