Monday, August 12, 2013

Well, So Much For That: Learning to Adapt

In my last two blog posts I talked about a new collaboration with some talented writer friends to create a series of stories based on a small town in an unspecified location. The more we talked about it the more excited I was getting and I loved the characters I created to contribute to the series—then it all went downhill. Two members of the original group said their writing schedules were too intense for this but six of us plodded on. Then last night 2 more pulled out. We made the decision to shelve the idea until a later date.

To tell the truth, I was feeling the stress, too, but I had created such a great group of characters that I didn't want to give them up. I had even written a substantial chunk of my story and loved it—it was a Christmas story and I knew the ending which brought tears to my eyes the more I worked on it. So, when the group decided to shelve the plans, I thought I might just write the story anyway as a Christmas story—and then my brain caught up with my feelings. With a few minor adjustments, I thought, this would make a great Marienstadt story!!! It could be set in Marienstadt, it could include a number of my favorite characters, and it could introduce some new characters. I'm so excited. I'm going to shoot for a novella length book to be ready by Christmas. The working title is The Christmas Daughter: A Marienstadt Story.

Briefly here is what I have in mind: Twenty-five years ago the Wilde brothers—Kit, Boone, and Cody—did their best to live up to their last name. They were the founding members of a motorcycle gang and were the terror of Marienstadt. Their father, Big Zack, was sort of a local legend who had once been county sheriff but now owned a hotel/bar/restaurant on the outskirts of town that catered to a transient trade. Their mother was a sweet woman, Minnie Werner—Henry's aunt, who had once been the head librarian at the town library. Nobody in town could believe she had married Big Zack Wilde. The Wilde's also had a daughter, Sister John-Paul.

For a number of years, the Wilde brothers and their motorcycle gang, were regarded suspiciously by the Marienstadt citizens. Basically, other than being very loud and very visible, they weren't particularly threatening. They drank too much and individuals in the group had run-ins with the law but, overall, they weren't bad guys. Then there was a  rivalry with a gang from a nearby town and Cody Wilde was killed. The group fell apart. Eventually Boone and Kit, along with Lucius Wickett—Juney's brother—left Marienstadt and that was the last the town heard of them.

Then twenty years later Boone and Lucius show back up. Big Zack is dead and Minnie is getting old. Boone has come back to be with her (after his sister calls him and gives him holy hell) and, while he's there, decides to clean up and run the family's business. He's calmed down a lot but he's still a big, tough guy in his mid—forties. Lucius is just as crazy as ever. Kit is in prison somewhere.

Things are going well for Boone—his business is picking up and he's fitting in to the community. Lucius has a girlfriend, a young woman who works for Stella and Lettie on their farm, and Boone has his choice of girlfriends when he gets a call he never expected. Years ago he had an affair with a woman who worked in a casino in Atlantic City. Boone had been in love with her but she was on a course of self-destruction that was driving him crazy. One night they had a fight and Boone took off—he never saw her again. Now he finds out that she had his child, a girl who is now thirteen years old. The woman is in the last stages of cirrhosis and she wants Boone to take care of their daughter. The girl is a sweet girl but has been terribly neglected all her life, is malnourished, and has been shuffled around from one place to another. She trusts no one and is fearful of ending up like her mother. Boone stays with the woman until she dies then brings his daughter, Charity, back to Marienstadt....

I think this has the makings of a great story—now I just have to get to work. So the moral of the story is: writers can always adjust—and are sometimes better for it.

Thanks for reading.

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