Holding down this spot…

It’s three in the morning. I have an appointment at 10AM. Sleep is for the weak, apparently.

I’ve been trying to sort out the latest writing debacle happening in my head and I think I’ve only served to confuse myself further.

I am good at things.

It’s no secret that I repeat myself constantly when it comes to writing. (And everywhere else, but we’re not talking about that right now.) When a story loses steam or interest, it gets shoved into the archives and sits until I decide to start poking at it again—either to pick up where I left off, or to mine it for ideas.

A lot of my repetition, however, is unintentional. I’ll have pages and pages of text sitting in front of me and suddenly, something reminds me that I’ve written this before, or at least something very similar. Or a character will start out on a given path that veers off toward territory occupied by a character in a different story. I’m running into this with the projects currently eating away at my brain.

Fostered… Ryan and Hallie struggled for years trying to have a baby, hindered by Hallie’s health issues, and make the decision to pursue adoption. Several years into the foster-to-adopt journey they finally get a promising placement with Emery, a teenager who has been in the foster system for half his life after his mother died. It’s a rough road to heal all of the emotional damage, but they figure things out with a whole lot of trial and error, and a whole lot of patience and unconditional love. And, inexplicably, a stuffed mouse.

I’ve been working on this one for about a year and a half. It’s currently the longest story in the active pipeline. It’s just kicking my ass on the narrative front. Par for the course.

Lightning v2.0 *… Parker and Alison have been married for twelve years, together for twenty, and friends for nearly thirty. Currently they’ve been separated for five months after two years of a declining marriage following a painful struggle to have kids. Divorce isn’t on the table, but the effort to fix their problems has thus far been entirely one-sided as Alison tries to get Parker to acknowledge they need help. Everything gets knocked off its axis the day Parker’s sister shows up and asks him to keep her son Tyler for the weekend. It doesn’t take long to figure out that she has no intention of coming back anytime soon, if ever. The sudden arrival of their nephew forces Parker and Alison back together and to finally deal with their own issues while balancing an emotionally damaged, recently abandoned teenager and his unexpected health problems.

There is an unintentional connection between these two stories with Alison, like Hallie, struggling to get pregnant. The two main differences being Hallie knows why she can’t have kids, whereas Alison can’t find a doctor who can figure it out. And Ryan and Hallie’s marriage holds up to the trauma of infertility, while Parker and Alison fall apart because they don’t deal with it in any healthy way.

I also feel like I’m starting to turn Tyler into Emery 2.0 with his damaged emotional state and overwhelming fear of rejection.

Emery…age fifteen.
Father disappeared before he was born.
Raised by a single mother until age seven when she died unexpectedly from meningitis.
Spent half his life in unhealthy foster homes.
Highly emotional, sensitive, doesn’t trust anybody, and expects everyone assigned to take care of him to reject him.

Tyler…age fifteen.
Father died when he was a baby.
Raised by a single mother until age fifteen when she dropped him at his aunt & uncle’s house and disappeared without explanation.
Spent last five years in an unhealthy home with a presumably mentally ill mother.
Highly emotional, sensitive, and fears rejection from his extended family in the same way his mother rejected him.

 

The more similarities I find, the more I wonder if I should be making significant changes to this tale. There is a lot that I can trace back to some older ideas too, but those have been sitting in the stalled folder for quite awhile and probably won’t be making any moves anytime soon. Bouncing ideas off Bob, he suggested making Tyler less damaged (not too far of a stretch) and changing the reason Parker and Alison are having marital troubles (harder than it should be). Tyler’s general personality is drastically different from Emery, and I think it’s adequately conveyed in the story. And in terms of damage, Tyler has had other family to mitigate a lot of it, whereas Emery has been shipped from one foster home to the next with no constant support in his life.

Though unless I start letting other people read all these stories—in their wildly disjointed state—does it really matter how similar they are? As long as I’m writing, and not just staring at a blank page, I consider it a victory.


* v2.0?

There was already a story with the code name Lightning and then Basil intervened and I haven’t figured out a new name for it.

Alison and Parker were once best friends and had a falling out that ended their friendship. Meanwhile Alison gets pregnant unexpectedly by her fiancé and he leaves her because he doesn’t want kids. Currently Alison is a single mother to fifteen-year-old Tyler and Parker comes back to town for familial obligations, bringing the pair face to face once again. Reconciliation should be on the agenda, but Alison is preoccupied with problems with her kid—inexplicable personality changes and a whole lot of aggravating silence—and doesn’t have the mental fortitude to rehash the fight that ended her friendship with Parker. Romance isn’t necessarily in the cards for Alison and Parker, but he does help her figure out what is going on with her kid, if only indirectly.

Initially Parker was named Stephen and I couldn’t figure out why things seemed so off until I realized I had Stephen and Tyler and awkwardness ensued. Stephen became Parker and I considered changing Alison to Olivia but then I would have Liv and Tyler and then I started to wonder if Tyler was the problem or if I should just relent and use only Aerosmith songs for the soundtrack. Instead Alison became Hannah and then Parker was changed to Justin, and Tyler is still the scheming teenager in between them trying to rope his mother into dating her once best friend.

Emerson Mouse just wants more live O.A.R.

Me too, critter.

Leave a Reply