tragic tales and sordid stories

for the past five years i’ve known this girl.  her name is aaryn reed.

her middle name changes occasionally.  she has a family that consists of a mom, a dad and an older brother.  there are a few pets, as well.  currently they are bassett hounds.  aaryn’s best friend is named brenna harding.  brenna has a mom, a dad and two brothers — one older, one younger than she (that is the correct pronoun, right?  because you’d say “than she is” if you were to continue the sentence.  anyway).  the eldest brother is aaryn’s brother’s best friend.

there are miscellaneous other friends, as well.  one of these is maggie mcdonald, who is of an indeterminate age (but younger than aaryn), but definitely likes blueberries and lime sherbet (not necessarily together, however).  floating around on the sidelines are two people named rowan mctavish and grey stirling (or perhaps stirling grey).  rowan is a lovely girl with muted blue eyes, and probably dark brown hair.  grey is an enigmatic and rather scary person.  he and rowan may or may not be in league with each other to do damage to our heroine, miss aaryn.

okay, so by now you might be wondering, what on earth is she talking about?  this is a story.  these are people who’ve grown out of my head (not quite the way athena grew out of zeus’, mind ye).  i probably know brenna the best because she’s never really changed much in appearance or character from day one.  aaryn, however, while she has always looked more-or-less the same, has had some radical attitude adjustments.  and i’m not sure if we’re even there yet, after five years.  it’s a bit like what i imagine raising children must be like, only these people are purely hypothetical beings (to everyone except to you) and you have almost total power to manipulate them however you want and make them act however you please.  note that i say almost.  some of them won’t behave.  i never fully appreciated anne’s lament to diana in anne of avonlea that “averil simply wouldn’t behave” until i started having little averils, percivals and bobbys of my own.

so what’s the problem, you ask?  well, one of the problems is plot.  unless you are just an incredibly great writer who can get by on glorious description alone (and i don’t know any of those), you must have a plot.  i had one.  then i did a little reading up on popular literature and discovered that the whole falling-in-love-with-your-brother’s-best-friend/best-friend’s-brother thing was just about the oldest, most cliched and hackneyed plot in the book, second only to, of course, the hate-turns-to-love plot between the heroine and whomever she is destined (doomed?  appointed?) to fall in love with.  kinda like benedick and beatrice in much ado about nothing, only not as sophisticated.  so, yes, i admit it, there went my plot.

okay, so what do i do now?  some of the original plot elements i want to leave the same because they just click.  i know they’re right.  i know that’s what those characters would be likely to do by virtue of who they are.  so then i have this other problem.  one character up and disappears for several years, and then suddenly returns, much to the delight of his family, but much to aaryn’s chagrin.  why does he disappear?  i had a couple of different reasons, and finally settled on what i thought was a good one.  eh.  i guess people do sometimes disappear without a trace, but it would be unlikely for this to happen given the reasons for why this person left.  so now i have to figure out if that’ll really work or not, and, if so, what reasons to give aaryn for her chagrin at his return.

another problem:  how to write it?  i want to experiment with multiple voices or formats.  would that be too confusing to readers?  i guess the only way to find out is to write it and see.  now if only my people will hold still long enough for me to get a good, firm grip on who they are …