I was making Chocolate Cinnamon Flan the other night when Vicky came into the kitchen, snagged a bar stool, and plunked down beside the coffee maker. “I’m stuck.” I know, it invites all sorts of smart come-backs when your 14-year-old says that. I was nice.
As it turns out, she was at a plot cross-road: Kill the bad guys, or don’t kill the bad guys? She’s been working on and off for months on what I guess is urban science fiction. I don’t know all the details, only that she’s watched X-Men and read Palladium gaming books for reference. It’s something about bio-engineered mutants with wings. It’s been a good summer project for her, and she’s now lobbying for a laptop. Boy, does that sound familiar!
I wrote short stories and the world’s worst poetry in grade school. I got away from it in my teens and didn’t rediscover my love for writing until I was 27 and a senior in college. I’m glad to see that my late-bloomer is taking an interest in writing, but it’s not because I’m a writer. In writing her story, she has to know the mechanics of writing a proper sentence and paragraph, it will help with spelling and research skills, and most importantly, it will make her think through things. I talked her through her cross-road, offered suggestions, and reminded her that her job as a writer is to put her characters in the worst possible position and make them get out of it. I don’t know what she decided to do, but yesterday I was preparing some tomatoes for the dehydrator, and she came in giggling about how she’s “so evil”! Apparently her characters are just about at rock bottom.
As a parent, we learn things from our kids. The writing bug is contagious, and we seem to be infecting each other!