| THE COLLABORATION |
Intended Audience: New Adult
Length: around 70k
When 21-year-old Jackie Moore receives a wax-sealed invitation to the prestigious Adwin Academy, she is forced to pick between a certain future or realizing the deepest dream of her heart- becoming a film director. She decides to pursue her passion. Before she loses her nerve, Jackie hops onto a plane and sets off for the Academy.
There Jackie finds herself relishing in the creative energy, the kaleidoscope of personalities, and the freedom to be who she wants to be. She gets put into a group with Josiah Jackson, an aspiring actor. Jackie finds herself drawn to him like an eye to the focal point of a well-composed shot- naturally, quickly, subconsciously.
She denies the attraction. Her last heartbreak is still packed away with everything else she took with her to the Academy. Besides, she’s there to pursue her passion- and not the lustful variety. Jackie focuses on developing friendships with her eclectic roommates and a few others, including Josiah. Together, they tackle assignments and become regulars at the local 24/7 cafe.
Reality sets in when the Academy announces its End of the Semester Showcase. Every student must submit their best piece of original work before they leave for winter break. If they pass, they’ll be invited back to the Academy for the second semester. If not, well, they’d better have a Plan B. Collaborations are permitted; Jackie, Josiah, and their friends band together and decide on producing a pilot episode for a light-hearted mockumentary. Drama runs rampant as the deadline approaches. Throughout it all, Josiah remains levelheaded and supportive. When Jackie learns that he has nowhere to go for Christmas, she invites him to join her.
Flying home with him, Jackie gets a flurry of nerves. It’s completely ridiculous, but then so is her grandmother’s reaction when they walk in the front door. The confusing feelings only worsen as the days pass. Resisting her attraction to him begins to feel more like a self-inflicted punishment than a safeguard.
Then she runs into her ex, Scott Snowden, at the supermarket. Every suppressed feeling of self-doubt comes rushing back. Overwhelmed, Jackie confides in Josiah. He comforts her. She falls asleep in his arms. The next morning, Jackie decides to make the first move, only to learn that Josiah left. Her ex attempts to take her back, but she refuses. Matters only worsen when Jackie receives an email informing her that she will not be invited back to the Academy.
When she returns to the Academy to collect her belongings, Jackie confronts Josiah. Upset, he retorts that her fiance spoke to him. Jackie explains that Scott is her ex- and has been the whole time. They make up and have their first kiss.
Jackie and her friends are called to a meeting with the Dean. She explains that they’ve not been invited back to the Academy because a handful of production companies have put in offers on their mockumentary. To celebrate, the group goes to their 24/7 cafe.
Jackie’s journey to self-confidence is central to the storyline. At the beginning of the story, her whole sense of self-worth is wrapped up in her wealthy fiance, Scott, and how he treats her. They’ve been dating since she was a freshman. She’s been harbouring doubts about how healthy their relationship is. When he laughs in her face about attending the Academy, Jackie gets just enough anger-fueled strength to break off their engagement. Furious, Scott completely tears her down and tells her that without him, she is no one and has nothing. Jackie struggles with this deeply.
While at the Academy, Jackie is able to develop a sense of self apart from Scott. She gains confidence, friends, and a sense of purpose. This is all tested when she returns home for winter break. When Josiah leaves without warning and the Academy does not invite her back, Jackie nearly loses all progress. However, when Scott tries to re-propose, Jackie finds herself again and can turn him down- forever. She can truly understand that she is valuable and capable of doing difficult things, without a man. Once this has happened, she is ready to have a romantic relationship with Josiah and learn about her success at the Academy.
Jackie’s relationship with her friends develops slowly, but surely. Initially, Jackie is very closed off, almost to the point where her roommates think she’s a self-absorbed snob. In truth, she’s very rusty socially, because Scott kept her on such a tight leash and prevented her from having any real friends of her own. Jackie doesn’t want to make any excuses for herself. She makes an effort to open up and make friends. This helps her create an identity distinct from who she was with Scott. It empowers her.
With Josiah, it’s not much more than insta-attraction initially. However, because Jackie chooses to focus on friendship and Josiah is a decent human being who respects that decision, they’re able to develop a genuine relationship. This allows Jackie to see how a good man would treat her. It gives her standards to compare Scott too. When he tries to re-propose, this knowledge of what a good guy truly acts like helps support her sense of value and turn Scott down. When Jackie does decide to pursue a romantic relationship with Josiah, it is healthy and because she wants to have one with him. She doesn’t feel like she needs/has to love Josiah, as she did with Scott.
Jackie’s development from dreamer to director challenges her to grow from a rich girl who could have anything she wanted without trying to a hard-working woman. The Academy is strict, plays no favorites, and offers no second-chances. The process allows Jackie to hone her mediocre natural talent into a powerful skill. Furthermore, it pushes her out of her trained submissiveness into a position of leadership. She learns how to take control without being controlling. In addition, Jackie is able to surpass her male colleagues by not taking anything for granted and playing into their sexist assumptions. Jackie achieves success by staying true to who she is. This directly contradicts and destroys all the lies Scott had her believing for so long.
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