The One and Only “Rabbithole”

It’s almost legendary. They say it can be perilous. Until now, I thought it was some trite saying, rather than a real problem.

I’m talking—of course—about the fabled “rabbithole” and the cliché “down the rabbithole” phrase. While I began my capstone project “The Narrows” with minor concerns about the scope of my short-story choose-your-own-adventure, I am now significantly struggling to determine when and how to conclude my dystopian story. With the sheer amount of ideas and possible twists and turns I’ve sketched out, I’ve found myself deep in the rabbithole.

In grappling with the scale of my fictional universe, I repeatedly have trouble with trying to limit the amount of possible pathways in “The Narrows.” Since I want my final product to have multiple endings, I’ve encountered issues with choosing how to structure the pathways so that decisions are impactful within the context of a short-story—I’m not writing a novel here. It’s a delicate balance, I think, and one that I’m trying to achieve by reviewing some of the dystopian short stories I read during the initial research phase of my project, including Ray Bradbury’s “The Pedestrian” and Kurt Vonnegut’s “2 B R 0 2 B.” So far, I’m still trapped in the rabbithole, but I’m hoping these professional examples can stimulate me to make some concrete decisions about the scope of “The Narrows.”

As I continue updating the story’s pathways and dramatic possibilities, I’m eager to hear any advice or thoughts any of you might have on my situation. If there’s some hidden formula you’ve found to solving this rabbithole dilemma, I’d love to hear it.

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