I’ve gotten some great comments not only here, but elsewhere, on how to change the story in the post below. All it involves is asking the question “Who is doing most of the work here?”
The setup (highly condensed): a ark-sized spaceship offers to evacuate a world that will die sometime between 1 and 3 thousand years from now. Young couple in love: he is adamant about leaving, she about staying.
The story as submitted: He boards the ship and gets shunted to hibernation due to ‘overbooking’ for his specialty. He spends the story emoting, getting frozen, and awakening to find his girl had changed her mind. Cupids fly about, crew does an dance number with song about love that sends the reader looking for insulin. (I am kidding about the last part)
The real way to look at this story: Who’s really doing most of the work here? The guy just has stuff happening to him, and is powerless to change the arc of the story. The girl, on the other hand, has to do all the work of changing her mind, rustling up the fare, fighting for a seat on the last rocket out, searching through the ship for her guy, finding him frozen, getting them to not only freeze her, but ensuring that she gets woken up first.
Pretty obvious. Toss out all of the stuff that happens to him, substitute her work getting the stuff above done, and I’ve got a story.
Thank you to everyone who commented – I really appreciated it!