Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Vegetarian Indian Kid Gets Eaten by a Bear

In my never ending struggle to get all of my words out (and believe me, that's really never going to happen), I am attempting to jump start a career as a children's book author.  I've got one finished and waiting in the wings and the next story almost done.

The second book is about a little indian boy who gets teased mercilessly by the kids in his village because he won't eat the meat the hunters bring back.  Turns out he has magical animal friends in the forest who actually talk to him and he just can't bear to eat them.  The moral of the story is (obviously, to me) that it's okay to be different, even if people tease you about it.  A message I am hoping to pass along to my kids.  I'm pretty sure that Ben's got it already.

The problem I'm having is this: I've written the story almost to the end and I can't finish the damned thing.  I've discovered that (a) writing the blog for an adult audience is way more fun and (b) possibly I don't know my children's audience as well as I thought I might.

You'd think, seeing as how I'm still in the middle of raising three children, that I'd have at least some idea of what kids want to hear at bedtime, right?  Apparently not.  Picture this.  It's the last scene of the story.  Brave Bear has found a village who will accept him for who he is and his parents, low and behold, could not live without him and have followed along behind him.  Jump for joy, all around.  But what's the ending????  Three or four paragraphs that have stubbornly hit a writer's block.

I just re-read one of Stephen King's early books, Cujo.  If you haven't read it or seen the movie, it's about a dog that goes rabid and holds a mother and son hostage in their car for three days in the oppressive July heat.  The dog ends up dead, as do four of the human characters in the story.  It's deep, it's dark, and it's extremely well written.  And it's giving me all sorts of ideas for endings to my little children's book that do not jive with getting it published.

Some ideas:

Brave Bear (my sanctimonious little non-meat eater) turns to the occupants of the new village with fangs dripping blood, a sneer on his little face, and an announcement that he's actually going to eat the vegetarians.  I mean, seriously, who didn't eat meat in indian territory pre-white man?  What the hell was I thinking when I came up with this idea?

Or, Brave Bear lives peacefully among the non-meat eating villagers, only to be eaten by his little bear cub friend, who has grown up to be a carnivore.  Oh, the irony.  Book 1 - Brave Bear Finds a New Village.  Book 2 - Carnivorous Bear Eats Brave Bear.  Somehow, I don't think the sequel would sell well.

I seem to have lost my mojo after pouring out my first story over the summer.  Creativity seems to come in waves with me and, for some reason, it usually comes in the shower.  (Don't ask.)  I know I need to finish the second book and have the illustrator take a look at it.  I just can't seem to write those last three or four paragraphs.  Writing this blog for adults, at the moment, is way more fun.  Maybe it's the instant gratification of seeing the published post go up and the number of page views with it.  Maybe it's having the freedom to swear at will, knowing most people (hopefully) will think that bad habit of mine is at least somewhat amusing.  Maybe I'm just stalling....probably I'm just stalling.

I think I need to finish the Brave Bear book, even if it means putting in some serious shower time.  I've long had a habit of not finishing what I started in most aspects of my life (not to mention burning bridges - but that's a whole other topic).  A couple of years ago, I started a novel and sent the first couple of chapters to my mom.  She was excited, I was excited.  The book was good.  We both knew it.  Now, it's a couple of years later and neither one of us can find it on our respective computers.  I got started and couldn't finish...what a shock.  Not to mention a shame, cause it was a good story and had the potential to make us some serious money. 

Maybe I need to do a book on finishing what you start.  Hmmm....possibly after the book about Farting and Humping Dog.  Oh wait.  I think I said I couldn't include Humping Dog in a book meant for three year olds.  Damn.  Somebody please send their kid over here to tell me the ending to my story.

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