Monday, November 29, 2010

Tainted Tea & Delicious Unpredictability

My favorite tea, Candy Cane Lane, which only comes out during the holidays, made its appearance this weekend at the Co-op, only the shelf was bare. By the time I got there, shoppers had snatched it all up.

After Dominic, Daney, and I bought our other stuff and packed it into the car, the kids told me they'd found a big box of groceries just sitting on the Co-op floor, which included three boxes of Candy Cane lane. So they'd grabbed one.

That was the first surprise.

Then, they went on to say that when a man picked up the box, they'd realized the tea was his. Instead of giving it back to him, though, they shoved it in a rack of raisins.

And that was shocking!

The mom in me was sad. I thought I'd raised kind, honest kids. I sent them back into the Co-op to get the tea for the man.

But the writer in me was thrilled. While I sat in the car waiting for the kids to straighten out the situation, I was thinking what a good story this was. That Dominic and Daney were usually pretty level-headed, that they always did the right thing, but that this was the very opposite of anything I'd expect of them.

It's exactly what I need to do in my writing!

This week, I am going to think of surprises I can put into my story: unexpected things the character does, or says. The root of those decisions. How she recovers.
I'm going to work on plot twists that keep the reader interested, excited, perplexed.

I'm going to drink Candy Cane Lane and taste irony and imperfection and regret.

Yum.

6 comments:

Shannon Whitney Messenger said...

First--new follower! *waves*

I really don't know how I've missed your blog--we follow a lot of the same blogs. Well...at least I've corrected the problem.

And I love this post. Isn't it funny how the "writer reaction" tends to be the opposite of the real reaction. I find myself doing that a lot. Like, the real me is sad or angry. Writer me is inspired. I suspect this might be why writers are a tad odd. ;)

Happy writing. And enjoy your tea!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Ah, I see Shannon #1 found you. Now she can enjoy you almost as much as I do!

Oh, Jennie, I LOVE this post! You are so clever. And that last sentence is perfection! Thank you for always putting a smile on my face - with your posts and with your comments on my posts. I adore you!

My sister and I had a good time, but she is a maniac shopper. We stayed up ALL NIGHT on Thursday so she could hit more stores when they opened, starting with Wal Mart at midnight (which was the worst experience of my life, btw). She's my baby sister, though, so I'd walk through fire for her if she asked me to! LOL. :-)

I hope you'll let us know how your Thanksgiving was!!

Catherine Denton said...

Ooooh I like that, throwing in something out of character for your MC. Thank you!

Catherine Denton said...

Ooooh I like that, throwing in something out of character for your MC. Thank you!

Jennie Englund said...

Welcome, Shannon WM! Thanks for popping by!

Your Thanksgiving sounds crazy but fun, Shannon O'D! I totally get what you're saying about little sisters (have 3!).

Let's try that quirky device, okay, Catherine? When my daughter read a MS from one of my writing partners, her big complaint was that everything went "too right" for the MC.

Anonymous said...

Jennie, I love your blog! Every entry has meaning and insight. I never miss reading it, and I feel like I know your family and the way you look at life and teaching. Keep up the wonderful work. I'm anxious to read your book. Good luck with it all.
Carol (Christy's Mom)