Sunday, September 13, 2009

Figures in my Writing

It occurred to me that I have one bad habit (technically have more than one bad habit, but let's focus on one thing at a time, okaibai) when I'm writing a new story - as is the case with the new version of UF.

Super intelligent and weirdly advanced children

I'm not kidding.

Every single new book I'm writing of late, even the short stories, have children who aren't just the "Mommy, I wanna toy" types. My little munchkins generally know long before the adults in the same novel when something bad is going to happen. Or they know exactly what is going on while the adults are distracted by other worldly things.

The children generally serve as the first guideposts to the main characters. They are the ones who point the main characters in the right direction, or warn them that they need to be careful and watch out for ogres under the bridge.

These children generally are solemn and sad little things, who are colored with a tinge of weary fear. Their powers of prophetic vision and premonition only shows them so much, or they can only comprehend enough to recognize the figures and circumstances, but not the exacts. <- I'm tired after a long day, so sorry if that last line or two doesn't make any sense.

I think the reason why I do this is because I remember vividly what it was like to be a child. Not saying I'm THAT close to my childhood. I'm just saying that as a child things are that more frightening and serious. You see things very different from adults, and even the slightest omens are quickly picked up on, and because you can only understand SO MUCH, it generally gets blown way out of context.

One thing I remember as a child was the guy next door and the way he turned into a monster after my parents sat down and gave me 'the talk' about bad guys out there who would kidnap pretty little girls like me. This was because I wanted to go biking and couldn't find anyone to go with me. I didn't let that stop me from having my own way, and I took off. I had a great ride and enjoyed myself muchly, until I got home and saw my entire family out there freaking out. I was in huge trouble, because six year olds were not supposed to go on bike rides alone, even in the subburbs. Well especially in our area - the teenage boys in the neighborhood were troublemakers who already harassed my oldest sister whenever she went outside alone (she was 12 at the time). The result of the talk had me being convinced they were really talking about the guy next door. This meant I kept having nightmares about him hiding behind trees and bushes and waiting to jump out and grab me. That guy had nigh superhuman abilities in my dreams. It was awful.

Sidetracked - sorry.

My point is that kids do have their own concerns that get blown out of proportion. They dwell about BAD THINGS and will have nightmares about them. Those nightmares are much worse than any nightmares that adults might have, because children have the idea ingrained in them that they are helpless little things who can't defend themselves from the bogeyman.

Add to that the fact that traditionally, people believe that the eyes of a child's soul are wide open until they reach a certain age. This is why they are said to be more likely to see ghosts and angels than adults would.

Add to that the fact that adults (the more perceptive and superstious kinds, anyway)are more likely to believe a child's words - if they say something absolutely outlandish. They assume a child, in all innocence, isn't likely to cook up a complete lie just for fun.

That's pretty much my reasoning.

In the novel I'm working on right now, Tamara is the youngest sister. She says she took after the unknown maternal grandmother instead of her mother. This means nothing to the main character, because that maternal grandma died long before any of the girls were born. But what it does mean is Tamara is perceptive and sensitive. She can see things and knows things. Could be part of the reason why is because the dead grandmother is looking after her (I haven't thought that out completely). She is unchildlike, not just because of this sensitivity, but because she's also seen things that no child should see. Her mother was a shaman, and did perform her job (healing and seeking) on occasion, with Tamara watching. Tamara also saw both parents killed in the crash. Everything her mother told and shown her has stuck and caused her to seem older and more mature. This is because she senses that the things she sees and feels are MORE than just her imagination. They are real.

There is also an element of a child who basically is protecting herself after having her whole world (parents) stripped away. She lacks the trust and reliance on adults that make children seem normal.

So anyway - I'm not (always) pandering to the usual "evil child" movement because the children in my novels are the dark and tragic figures they are.

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