Writer’s Workshop, part #2

Last time I sketched out a world where people couldn’t go further than one mile from their birthplace. I didn’t actually write a story, though. I just talked about all the different things I’d need to figure out to make the world work. Ancient times or modern life? Has it always been like this, or did it change all at once? When you leave a mile from your home, do you die or just feel bad? And so forth. It was a lot of fun to think through, although I did realise that I probably need to know more about history to really do a good job with a book like this.

But that doesn’t have to stop me from sketching something out! So in this edition I’m going to do as high-level a concept a sketch as I can without getting myself into too much trouble. Here we go. Deep breaths. I can do this. Ok.

Chapter 1: Blissful Boundaries

In an ancient village ensconced within a verdant valley, a young boy's life unfolds like any other child's would. He plays, he learns, he grows. But the world he inhabits is a microcosm, limited by mysterious rules and an invisible boundary. His community, bound together by shared space and shared resources, thrives despite its limitations. Through their myths and folklore, they have found ways to explain and accept their circumscribed existence. Distrustful of the unknown, they rely on rituals, rules, and an intense sense of community to navigate their world. Yet, despite the constraints, the boy is content, finding joy in the simplicity of his existence.

Chapter 2: Uninvited Disruption

One fateful day, the rhythm of village life is disrupted by the arrival of a stranger. In a world where everyone is familiar, the sight of an unknown face triggers a whirlwind of fear, curiosity, and confusion. The stranger, visibly ill and spouting unintelligible words, is a human paradox – a threat and a mystery, an outsider who has somehow crossed the uncrossable line. Despite their fear, the villagers tend to him, their compassion overpowering their wariness. But the man's life slips away, leaving behind a barrage of questions. From where did he journey? Why did he come here? And most importantly, how did he manage to defy the unseen boundary that keeps them all in check?

Chapter 3: The Stranger's Legacy

In the wake of the stranger's mysterious appearance and subsequent death, the village is engulfed in heated discussion. The once cohesive community finds itself divided, torn between curiosity about the outside world and fear of the unknown. The boy, previously sheltered from such dilemmas, finds himself embroiled in the discourse, serving as an observer, and a participant. His understanding of his world, once simplistic and accepting, is beginning to evolve. Parallels are drawn between the stranger's story and the legends they were raised on, leading some to argue that this incident is a warning from the gods.

Chapter 4: The March Beyond

Fueled by curiosity and a newfound restlessness, the village sends out carefully selected patrols to explore the nearby territories. Despite the warnings from the village's religious members who view this action as a direct defiance of the gods, the villagers cannot deny their shared sense of intrigue and desire for discovery. As the patrols venture beyond their familiar perimeters, they find themselves battling not only their physical limitations but also the ingrained fear that they are stepping into forbidden territory.

Chapter 5: Time, the Great Healer, and Provoker

Time passes, and the patrols return with no news of other settlements, but the village has been irrevocably changed. There's a shift in the way the villagers perceive their world - a sense of unease has replaced their previous complacency. The boy, now a young man, is particularly affected. The memory of the stranger's arrival and his subsequent demise, coupled with the fruitless patrols, instills in him a relentless curiosity and a longing to journey beyond the village boundaries. The thought of breaking the age-old tradition is both daunting and thrilling, setting the stage for the next chapter of his life.

Chapter 6: Pioneers of the In-Between

The village morphs with time, but the strange echo of the outsider's visit never truly fades. Seeking expansion, some daring villagers experiment with birthing their children on the outskirts of their boundary, in an area now ominously dubbed "The In-Between." This defiant act accelerates the growth of their civilization, but at the cost of breaking a long-standing taboo. The village is no longer a single entity; now, each individual exists within their own personal boundary. They devise primitive tools and markers to help them navigate, although their own bodies and emotions never fail to remind them when they've strayed too far.

Chapter 7: Yearning Beyond the Border

The boy, now a young man, is consumed with the desire to explore, fuelled by the memory of the mysterious stranger. While the village's exploratory missions have expanded their hunting grounds and diversified their food sources, they have yet to encounter other civilizations. The young man finds his dreams too expansive for the confines of his village, he wants to connect with the larger world.

Chapter 8: Love in the Boundaries

Love blossoms within the confines of the village, as the boy finds his heart tied to a childhood friend. She is deeply religious, her views contrasting with his desire for exploration. Yet, through countless conversations and shared moments, their bond deepens. They marry, and soon she is expecting a child. Despite her spiritual leanings, she agrees to birth their child at the edge of their boundary, becoming one of the controversial Boundaryfolk, much to the disdain of their traditional community.

Chapter 9: The Outcasts

The birth of their son solidifies the family's status as outcasts within the village. The harsh judgment of their former community stings, but they find solace among their fellow Boundaryfolk. The newly formed group, each bearing the mark of rebellion, accepts them readily, providing them with the support and community they need.

Chapter 10: Legacy of Curiosity

Despite the limitations of his boundary, the father embarks on a quest to understand the mysterious rules of their existence through primitive science. He is met with disapproval, as his methods clash with the village's religious beliefs, but his curiosity remains undeterred. He teaches his son to approach their world with a similar sense of inquiry, fostering a scientific mindset within the boy that further distances him from the more traditional villagers.

Chapter 11: The Great Divide

The weight of societal pressure, coupled with lingering personal doubts, eventually drives a wedge between the parents. The mother, unable to endure the isolation and criticism, decides to leave the Boundaryfolk, resulting in a bitter divorce. The boy, though affected by the split, finds solace in the stronger bond that develops with his father. Yet, a kernel of doubt and uncertainty continues to linger within him.

Chapter 12: Loss and Reconnection

In a tragic twist of fate, the father, who ventured out on a daring mission to unravel the mysteries of their world, loses his life in the pursuit of knowledge. The boy, now bereft of his father's presence, is drawn back towards his mother, whose life is steeped in the traditions of the village. The community's Traditionalists hold sway over certain parts of the village, and it is here that the mother has found solace. Though their relationship is fractured, the boy and his mother strive to build a fragile bridge of understanding.

Chapter 13: Inheritance of Contradictions

Left with the legacy of his father's scientific pursuits and his mother's steadfast traditionalism, the boy finds himself at a crossroads. He values the teachings of both parents, appreciating the questioning spirit his father instilled in him, as well as the comfort and familiarity of his mother's traditions. But he soon finds himself forced to pick a side. He decides to align himself with his mother and her family, drawn by the warmth and familiarity. Yet, beneath the surface, the spark of curiosity his father kindled continues to flicker.

Chapter 14: Unexpected Visitors

Unexpectedly, a party of five strangers arrives at the edge of the village, a territory known to be the Boundaryfolk's domain. The boy, now a part of the Traditionalists, watches from a distance, his curiosity piqued. In a surprising turn of events, the Boundaryfolk, recognizing the boy's unique understanding of both worlds, seek his help to facilitate communication with the outsiders. The strangers come bearing items for trade, offering an opportunity for exchange and discovery. The boy is presented with a choice, one that could have far-reaching implications for him and his divided community.

I’ll stop there. This is fun! Pretty thrilled with the story so far, gotta say.