I wrote a story that I’m now calling Breathe. It’s serialised over these five parts:
I’m going to rewrite this to take out the spoilers at the beginning and tell the story from Sheena’s point of view, but before I do that, I’m going to break the story down scene-by-scene to see how it flows:
The partially omniscient (only has access to Sheena’s thoughts) narrator spoils the whole story by telling us how it ends.
Introduces Sheena and tells us how her mother dies.
Takes Sheena to a nightclub and describes how she met Mark.
This is a scene towards the end of Mark and Sheena’s relationship, which shows them coming out of a French restaurant and going to the chippy where Sheena’s first meets Mark’s replacement.
A brief interlude in which the narrator introduces the next scene.
A long scene right back at the start of Sheena and Mark’s relationship in which Sheena (on their third date) persuades Mark to take her back to his flat. This scene introduces us to Mark’s obsession with breathing. He has stickers all over the flat telling him to breathe and an hourly alarm that tells him the same. He explains about his mum having severe, life-threatening asthma and about the fear that this will happen to him too. This scene also shows Sheena’s reaction – she is shocked that Mark is thinking only of himself, not his mum. This ultimately leads to friction in the relationship.
A brief scene showing the young lovers at it later that evening.
Towards the end of their relationship, we see Sheena and Mark watching TV. This scene shows the friction in their interactions and explains why this is so – Mark’s attitude to his mum.
Goes back to the scene at the chippy where Sheena memorises the chip shop guy’s telephone number, which he has written on the chip tray. She decides to leave Mark.
A shortish scene showing Sheena dating the chippy guy, then breaking up with him too after a couple of dates – principally because he smells.
Some time after the break-up, this scene shows Sheena spotting Mark out with his mum. Sheena notes the way that he is not supportive of his mum. She realises that she might have helped him more, and we see that she has not been able to get him off of her mind. Sheena has a partial realisation – that Mark is trying to break a kind of addiction to his mum.
More time has passed and this scene shows Sheena bumping into Mark as he walks to work. He does not look well and so she takes him to a coffee shop where they sit and talk. It turns out that his mum has died and that he is devastated. She finds that they now have something in common – the loss of a mother and before he leaves, she agrees to call him. He leaves the coffee shop in a hurry because he has a meeting at work.
Sheena, sitting in the coffee shop still, hears the sound of a car crash around the corner and rushes out to find that Mark has been killed. She is extremely distraught by this to the extent that her body freezes up and she cannot draw air into her lungs. Just as she reaches the limit of her endurance, Mark’s alarm goes off and instructs her to breathe.
This is the climax scene of the story. It is the furthest point forward in time within the arc of the plot and this is where the story ends. The first scene tells us what will happen at the end, but not that the alarm will go off at that point.