10. The Hanging Tree Plot in Caelum Prime | World Anvil

10. The Hanging Tree

Show, Don't Tell Emotions: We are told characters are sad or scared but it would be more impactful to see their actions and expressions that reveal these emotions. The Past: Instead of infodumping about the past through Archibald's memories, weave flashbacks into the narrative or let the characters' dialogue reveal past events.
Develop the Characters
Arrah: We don't learn much about Arrah besides her fear for her children. Flesh out her personality and motivations. Calhoun: While we see his racism, is there anything else to him? A redeeming quality or a reason for his hatred? Maude: We only see her ghost. Consider giving her a brief scene in life where we see the loving mother and the injustice she suffered.
Tighten the Pacing:
The Hanging Tree: The description of the tree and the dead children is powerful but could be shortened to maintain the story's flow.
Raise the Stakes
The Tree's Power: Is the tree evil? A feeding ground for something else? Hinting at a greater evil could add suspense.
The Future: The story ends with a hopeful but vague image. Will the town rebuild together?


  • Racism and Prejudice
  • Collective Guilt and Facing the Past
  • Loss and Healing
  • Breaking the Cycle of Violence
  • Hope for the Future



Archibald Gold is headed for the general market store, thinking about how the posters on the lampposts have changed, about how there's a hush over the town that didn't use to be there.


Archibald Gold remembers the past when Maude "cursed" the town because of the grief she was feeling.

Rising Action

Arrah is looking for her twin children when Archibald Gold spots her. He asks her what she's worried about when Calhoun interrupts, demanding Arrah returns to her side of town.


Archibald Gold challenges Calhoun to visit The Hanging Tree to see who's right about what's happening to the missing children.

Falling Action

At The Hanging Tree the missing children are found. The tree is cut down and Isabella's grave is found.
26 Verdantia 1950 IE
Plot type
Chapter/Short Story
Parent Plot
Related Organizations
Related Locations

Cover image: by Lady Wynter


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