Posted by Lisa
"I saw the stringy-haired girl one time.In a bowling alley in New Hampshire. It was raining out. The drizzle woke me and stayed for the day, a guest my parents never invited to our Lake Winnipesaukee cottage.That day my dad drove the five of us to Wolfeboro, to give us something to do. My sister, brother, our neighbors, Kathy and Scott. I was twelve, I think. Or thirteen. My dad gave us money, for snacks, sodas, shoe rentals, and three straight hours of strings.
The girl in the bowling alley was my age, thereabouts. She watched me, the whole time. I wondered what she saw. I glanced at her often, wondering why her dad looked so young and why her mom never spoke to her. She was someone lonely, with sad eyes that even a day of bowling wouldn't change. She was longing for a friend, longing for a lot of things. I think she would have liked a Coke. I sipped mine through two skinny straws.
Like any writer, anywhere, images stay with me. I have a picture of that girl – in my mind. It's next to a little boy I once saw trying to surf on washed up driftwood. We all have those photo albums. Sometimes I flip through the pictures. They tell snippets of stories. Things that never sat right with me. Things I didn't understand. I worried about those people. I write about them now, giving them names, and circumstances. I make up worlds for them to live in. I need to fill in the answers for the questions I had about them.”
The above was from a blog entry I made aver a year ago, and for over a year, I have been trying to complete a YA novel. It’s changed, tremendously, as my writer’s group can attest, but the story, the plot, has never been clear to me. This has made it hard, torturous, really. Plot, I’ve discovered, is my weakness in writing. Why did I choose to set my story in New Hampshire? It was all because of that stringy-haired girl. Only, where was she in my novel? Believe it or not, nowhere.
Over the last few days, I have been struggling with plot (arrgggh! No great shock in that). Like a mouse in a maze, I keep hitting dead ends. Today, I realized, I must listen to that stringy-haired girl; she’s in my novel, finally(with hair not so stringy anymore), but she is why I started this novel, and she must help me finish it. I have to listen to her. Will she give me the answers I need?
I certainly hope so.
Monday, January 07, 2008
Posted by Lisa