Thursday, August 10, 2006

New story ideas

I would love some comments on the two writing projects I am contemplating:

I was thinking that it might be interesting to explore some other angles of the story that I just wrote. (It was a first-person story from the POV of a young woman, Susan, whose mother had just died. Susan discovers her mother was having an affair of sorts. Meeting with that man helps Susan figure out what to do with her own broken marriage.)

For example, showing how the death of the mother, June, and the discovery of the affair affects the rest of the family's lives. The stories could be told from the first-person POV of the father, and maybe the sister and aunt too. It might become a group of linked short stories. I seem to have a feel for the dad's voice right now. So maybe I'll start doodling on that.

I've also been trying to think of a bigger project (I'd say novel, but that seems kinda scary). I know I want it to include dogs in some way, since I am so in love with them and I think that animals lend an interesting something to stories. So here are my very vague thoughts:
  • A woman who has just gotten divorced or widowed moves to a new town for a fresh start. She doesn't have a job yet, but has money from the divorce settlement/life insurance.
  • She's not sure what to do with herself, somehow finds herself at the local animal shelter--maybe a dog gets thrown off a truck near her house and she brings him in.
  • She ends up volunteering there, and through her interactions with the staff, people bringing in/picking up animals, and the animals themselves, she heals from her heartbreak.
  • There will be one dog who she is particularly attached to--maybe the one who got thrown onto her lawn--but she doesn't want to adopt him for some reason. Maybe she feels too unstable to promise to take care of a dog for 10+ years. We'll follow that dog through a few placements with families that don't work out. Suspense will be created in that we'll want to know what happens to him.
  • I obviously need more stuff to happen to sustain a novel, but hopefully this is an OK start.
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January said...

I think you're off to a great start. Is there a love interest, besides the dogs?

I'm curious to see what city your story takes place. That could drive much of the action and help you establish Susan.

Kim G. said...

I agree - sounds like a great start (both projects). I'll admit, I already want to know what happens to the dog . . . I find it interesting that people sometimes will put up with annoying things their pets do easier than annoying things their own family members do.

Kim G. said...

Bug - I just went back and read some of your previous posts and left a few suggestions on your book request post.

FatCharlatan said...

Great ideas, Bug! I agree with the previous comments, too. Location, love interest, etc. could help ratchett up the tension.

Does the woman have children? (For example, maybe she lost a young child in the past and healing this dog brings back issues she never dealt with before...maybe this child's death led to the divorce.) What kind of dog is it? Is it the kind that gets a bad wrap from the media (like a pit bull or something else)? I think the idea of having the dog be the focal point is brilliant! And you can raise the stakes for the dog, too, by giving him/her a colorful background or having some sort of "mystery" surrounding him/her.

As for your Susan story, I'm a HUGE fan of playing around with POV, so I say go write from Dad's POV. If nothing else, it will be a fabulous exercise to write from the perspective of an older man.

Good luck! And if/when you're ready to share, I'd LOVE to read some of your or offline.

And thanks for your two cents on my poem...all good ideas! :)

DJPare said...

Woof...Ruff Ruff...Woof!

Bug said...

Thanks everybody! It's so great to get feedback and ideas. FC, I really like the idea of the dog paralleling some past lost of a child. That could be really deep. And Jan, yes, I suspect there will have to be some sort of love interest in there somewhere. Thanks for pointing that out!

Bug said...

And Kim... that's funny what you say about pets vs family! There is something about animals that make them easier to put up with. That's a good question for me to explore.

Thanks too for the book ideas!

Bug said...

PS--Woof to you too, Don.

my backyard said...

I like both story ideas.

If you need examples of the kind of behavior that would get a dog thrown out of a placement, Marley & Me might be a good reference. Also, the book suggests that a yellow lab like Marley might be a good breed for you.

But Marley is truly devoted to his owners despite his misbehavior. That's his redeeming quality.

Thanks for your question re: my Marley post!

Bug said...

Thanks! That's a great idea to look to that book for some inspiration!