Monday, August 3, 2009

Getting Somewhere

Over the past few days I've gotten a fair amount written for that children's story I've complained about. Beyond point of view, the big problem tripping me up was trying to think of a reason why the ten-year-old protagonist's parents would let him go off for hours a day on his own in this day and age, since parents seem to keep much tighter reins on kids these days than they did when we were young. This was a huge stumbling block because the entire plot revolves around him having fantasy adventures. I finally thought of the perfect reason why his parents wouldn't be keeping tabs on him, and it has to do with that shopworn advice writers are always given, "write what you know": The ice storm.

The ice storm was an awful week for everyone, but can you imagine how much worse it would be if you had a child with autism to deal with, too? The kids I worked with would melt down if their routines were interrupted, and you can't get much more disruptive than having no power for nearly a week. I think the protagonist's parents would have their hands full with his younger brother, and real parents in that situation would probably be relieved if he and a friend were spending a lot of the daylight hours outside playing.

It's gratifying in a way to find a way to put a positive spin on one of the most uncomfortable weeks I've ever experienced too. In a way it makes it feel like it was a slightly worthwhile experience, because I feel like I can write about the miserable aftermath of that storm with some authority, as I'm sure a lot of other New Englanders can too. Of course, now I need to do some more research about the storm, but that's okay.

Does it sound odd to say that occasionally I'm grateful for writer's block? It might sound counter-intuitive, but sometimes it seems as if we struggle because we're waiting for the perfect inspiration that will make a story better, as if what we might have come to easily would be inferior to what was hard to get to. I think this new idea will make the setting far more realistic than when I intended to set the story earlier in the fall, which will provide a nice dichotomy to the fantasy elements.

I'm beginning to feel hope again that this story could be the one, and it's nice to feel hopeful about something. Maybe there's some merit to that whole one door closing another one opening thing after all... I don't think it's a coincidence that having mostly put aside some futile daydreams about something else was immediately followed by thinking of something that could be pivotal to the plot of this story.

"Given a chance I wanna be somebody. If for one dance I wanna be somebody. Open the door, it's gonna make you love me." - Kings of Leon, Be Somebody

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