The Process – 4 – Guardian’s Job

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the protagonists in my books would be moving from country to country as they go on adventures. Their ages are 7, 8, and 9. How would such young children move around the world?

One possibility was having different protagonists in each book. In this case, they’d always be local kids. This option didn’t attract me much because I don’t feel qualified to write about the life experiences of young children from many different countries.

So the next possibility I thought of was that the guardian(s) of the children would have jobs that required or allowed them to move frequently, and they’d take the children along. What kind of jobs are like that?

In order to experience the kind of adventures I had in mind, the children would need to have easy, casual contact with local people, the sort where you step out of your front door and greet the shopkeeper sweeping the sidewalk outside their workplace nearby. The places where they live need to be big enough that the children can move around anonymously sometimes, so not very small towns or compounds. They’d be staying in each location around 3 months or so, although this is probably the most flexible condition.

I think that rules out a military setting. And finally I decided on a particular profession that in my opinion fits the bill. However that’s not to say I’ve thought of every possibility. Do you have any ideas about the perfect job for this situation that you’d be willing to share?

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The Process-the Beginning

I see that I’ve made a mistake – I posted the first “process” post as a page instead of a blog post. So it’s showing up in fourth place, but it was meant to be first place. Sorry about the mix up!

To begin. From looking around the last few days since starting this blog, I see a number of blogs by wannabe writers like myself, so perhaps I’m not the only person interested in the process of writing and what happens when you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). I’ve thought about writing all my life, mainly because I love reading. In fact saying that I love reading feels a little bit like saying that I love breathing. Everyone else in my family was pretty much the same way. We spent a lot of time reading companionably together, and I think my siblings and I were in our late teens before we discovered that other kids’ parents tried to get them to read more, while ours had always been after us to put the books down and go do something else.

But… what would I write? Write what you know, they say. What did I know? It didn’t feel like I knew much of anything that I could spin into something to write about! Write what you like reading, they say. What do I like reading? Spy novels, mysteries, YA lit, fantasy, science fiction… Ok, I could start to narrow down the options.

Around this time my partner got me my first Kindle, with all of the Game of Thrones books that were out then. I fell in love with reading all over again. Ok, I’d never fallen out of love with it, but wrist problems meant I had a hard time holding my favorite kind of book, one with lots of pages. Forget hardcovers. Here was a lightweight Kindle that had a cover with its own light that was always at just the right angle – I couldn’t put it down.

Writing ideas began to crystallize. I recalled books I’d loved as a kid. The We Were There series. Enid Blyton. The Boxcar Children. “Children of the Resistance,” by Lore Cowan. The Black Stallion books. What I couldn’t get enough of were books about faraway places. I’ve been fascinated by the alluring sparkle of “anywhere I’ve never been before” ever since I can remember. Travel to new places has always been irresistible.

In 2014 we took a vacation trip. I bought a little touristy knick knack. After we returned home, I was playing with it a bit, and it came apart in my hands. It was easy to put back together, but I noticed a slip of paper inside it, so I took a closer look. There was nothing on it but some light colored printed designs. Why was it even there? What if…

That’s how it all started. I’ve been answering “What if” questions ever since. What if that slip of paper was a treasure map? What if someone had written “Help!” on it? What if I wrote a series of children’s mysteries, and each adventure/book took place in a different country?

So here we are. I’ll be recording my own process, and progress, and I’d love to hear from others. People who may recognize themselves in what they read here, or who react with “What?? That’s not the way it happened for me!” or anything in between! Thanks for reading.

Process-3; Pets

One of my biggest questions was about pets. I wanted pets to play a part in the lives of my child protagonists. But if they’re moving about from country to country every few months, their pets would basically be in quarantine most of the time, and being vaccinated at the vets the rest of the time. I finally decided it would have to be their neighbors or friends who had pets that the kids could temporarily “adopt,” maybe.

In addition, I choose not to mention any breed names. If the books become widely read (!), any breeds mentioned might spike in popularity, which never does a breed good. Also, I read that after the Harry Potter books came out, kids started asking their parents for owls, and parents started saying yes, and owls started getting abandoned, because apparently owls don’t make good pets for kids… So in the end I’m happy to be able to write about different pets (a lizard in one book, a hamster in another), and there will also be more traditional pets (cats or dogs), all rescued from shelters.

Is there an aspect of writing about pets that you think I’ve missed and should consider? Can you think of another way that the kids could have a pet that wouldn’t involve lots of quarantine time?

Process-2

The questions continue. How many protagonists (children) will be main characters? What is their relationship with each other? How old are they? Are they boys or girls? Do they already know each other when the first book begins, or do they meet during the book, and if they meet, how?

Each answer led to more questions. What about the guardian or guardians of the children? When it comes to children’s adventures, the parents or guardians can’t pay too much attention, or the children wouldn’t be able to have adventures of the kind I was thinking of. Unless there’s a “magic place,” an item or some other way to access an alternative world, but that was a route that didn’t attract me.

Some other options are boarding school, orphans, or runaways. But it would be hard to move the children around the world with any of these options.

So what sort of life situation could the parents or guardians have that would allow or even force them to move around in such a way?

In each case, I wrote out a list of options to answer the questions, and either one of them was immediately attractive to me, or I’d pick one of the options after some time spent considering them. Most of the lists were made up while I spent half an hour or so walking, pad and pencil in hand, looking for ideas in my surroundings.

How do you come up with ideas, and decide which one is the right one?

Reblogged

Found this book called “The Golden Rules of Blogging (and When to Break Them)” I felt like checking it out since I wanted to know about some ground rules of blogging if I want to do more one day. Here’s the rules but you can check the book out too if you want to know […]

via The Golden Rules of Blogging — Thinker Reviews

So this is my second day of blogging, and I’ve already broken several of these rules! Still, practice makes perfect, right??