Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Fleshing out my story ideas

I just got back from a late lunch-break at Starbucks. I was feeling cranky and thought some coffee would help. What helped was sitting still for a moment and realizing my problem: I've been so caught up in getting my condo cleaned before vacation (this psychotic expectation I put on myself that everything must be neat and clean or I don't feel good leaving for more than a few days-- no easy feat considering how messy we are the rest of the year) and finishing my interdisciplinary submission for next time, that I haven't thought about or done much writing. (Phew, long sentence!)

So, now I'm going to brainstorm/flesh out the story ideas I first mentioned here.

The Rest of June
(The story has been told from the first person POV of Susan. Now I'm exploring getting into the dad's head, as I did here. The main plot is Susan's mom died, and Susan learned she was having an affair.)

Story ideas/scenes

  • Start story with scene I described in my Sunday Scribblings post: the father is at home, drunk, and his secretary comes to see if he's OK. They sleep together--the first woman other than his wife he's slept with in 17 years.
  • Another scene where he's back at work and seduces/is seduced by former student. Maybe secretary sees/knows and gets upset.
  • In between, there are scenes showing his loneliness--eating alone, etc. Maybe he goes to the diner where June and Harold met. He could run into Harold. I think that as much as he'd want to confront him, he wouldn't.
  • Must be a scene or two where he interacts with Susan. Over the phone? Does she come back to visit for a while? Maybe both--she calls, thinks he sounds weird, goes home. He gets mad at her for nosing into his life. Maybe she catches him with one of his new lovers. He is probably really dense when it comes to what's going on with his daughter's life--show that.
  • Maybe Susan's sister, Liz comes into this somehow. Maybe dad overhears Susan on the phone with her, and Liz then comes to see what's going on.

I'm realizing what I really need to do is some more character development of the father so I know who he is. For another post soon...

Longer project (story involving dogs)
The first scene will be of the dog landing on the main character’s front yard. She will have been hanging curtains—she just moved in. The scene will involve the back and forth of the dog being scared and territorial, and clearly needing help. Will end with it drinking the water she left out for him.

Next scene will show her taking the dog to the animal shelter. She’ll be talking to it in the car, explaining why she can’t keep it. But she will have trouble giving it up.

Back at the house, she will miss it and be sad cleaning out its bowl.

She’ll go back to see it, bringing it toys and treats. The woman at the shelter will befriend her, convince her to start volunteering there.

Again, I need to learn a whole lot more about the character before I can get much further…

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FatCharlatan said...

Hey, no more crankiness--you've got some AWESOME ideas and character development here...now get writing (notice how it's easier for me to say this than it is to get offline and go do some writing myself).


wendylou who? said...

I panic clean before leaving on vacation too. My husband thinks this is MADNESS! one of our shared quirks I guess, wink.

i liked all the ideas...but the one where he bumps into this (dead) wife's lover is very interesting indeed..That could go so many different ways..

Good work

Bug said...

Thank you to both of you! wendylou--that's too funny that we both do this. I wonder what it says about us...