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Joanna Jelen

Need: Justyna’s need is to become the top artist who can shake the art community with her original and breathtaking paintings. Although she doesn’t believe she has that much talent, she doesn’t want to give up the hope she can still do it.

Problem (in backstory): her paintings are ‘lovely’ and are a nice decoration over a fireplace but there is nothing breathtaking about them. Also, after graduation, not one job offer sought her ‘mastery’ and she idled a year not touching a brush and staying with her sympathetic parents. Justyna believes she can get her mojo once she paints with her childhood best friend, Chris, (he used to be a brilliant art student) but due to his family problems he dropped from college and immigrated from Poland to the USA.

Problem (in the beginning of the story): Justyn comes to the USA but finds out that Chris doesn’t paint anymore, too busy working for a living.

Justyna’s need arc: Since her first job in America is cleaning, the only brush she holds is a toilet brush—that puts her dream in perspective. She can’t even afford to buy art supplies and now the need to create is eating her and makes her guilty how she lost a year without painting when she had a chance. When she gets a job to paint a mural for a nursery room, she feels like Michelangelo in a first grade and is thankful to have it. Later, she paints her ‘lovely’ art and it makes her happy. At the end she gets a job with a graphic designer and, although it’s against her original dream, she finds her mojo and creativity is fulfilled. She understands that she doesn’t need to create a breathtaking art to be a happy artist.

Want: Justyna wants to stay with Chris in the USA to encourage him to paint again and take the opportunity to get her talent inspired. In order to stay legally she has to get married for green card.

2 Problems:

  • marrying for green card is illegal and punished by law (+ she needs to find a guy who will be willing to coming the crime with her)
  • she was raised by parents who still hold hands together, she doesn’t want anything less for herself (+ she saw examples of bad marriages that were based on lies and abuse)

Justyna’s want arc: initially she explains to herself, the fake marriage is just a gentlemen agreement and has nothing to do with real marriage honoring vows, so as long as she thinks about this as a ‘business’ she is fine with that. Besides, she doesn’t do it just for herself—her friend needs her, right? However, not only it’s hard to find a candidate but those she finds, either wants a lot of money or sexual favors. Money are still within the ‘business’ excuse, but sex is not, especially if the candidate treats the arrangement more like a real marriage. The last proposal is from her new friend, and although he doesn’t want any sexual favors, Justyna doesn’t want to break their friendship with a fake arrangement. In addition, she falls in love with Jay who doesn’t want to get married at all–how now she can get married to a guy when she loves another? She can’t. At the end, she rejects all offers and returns to Poland.

Veronique, the villain, pushes the suspense and gets Justyna and Jay together when they have to face Veronique’s wrongdoings.

Does it make sense? Is it big enough? Since Jay is my hero, should I construct his own arc, so you could review it? Chris is also an important character, what about his arc? Peter, please push my limits. I’m new at this and I need all your help you can offer. I appreciate it so much! Best.

PS. I’m leaving on vacation today and there may be days I won’t have internet and be late with my responses but I’m committed to this class, so please don’t give up on me when I’m silent for a few days. I’m already making my story better thanks to your last class. Please keep up with me. 🙂


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