Rather than focusing on character traits, this week’s brainstorming update to “The Story” will focus on a scene that’s cooking in my mind’s creative oven. Let’s see about collecting the ingredients for one of the first events following ‘the scene,’ or the catalytic events that throw everything into motion, where John (right) is invited over to Trishna’s family for dinner. The spoilers after the jump are primarily just world building stuff, so let’s dig in!
Spoiler Warning Scale: Minor (early narrative scene building)
The scene that popped into my head was of John breaking down in tears.
Growing up, John was thrown around assorted disinterested and abusive households, never invited to even one casual family dinner. Almost like a creature of survival. Barely getting anything to eat, and only heavily processed junk food, so for him to not only be welcomed to a dinner table but to have a nourishing meal was too much for him to comprehend.
John was sitting next to Trishna. He looked at the food on his plate. Then, tears.
In my imagination, he was overwhelmed with the situation, almost in a trance of anxiety over feeling like he didn’t belong at the table. Trishna moved closer and ran her left hand over his shoulder to calm him down. Her siblings see what’s happening with John and look over at their parents. Their mom whispers in their dad’s ear, he nods, then speaks.
“John. You are the guest of honor. We are happy you are here.”
The way her dad Divit speaks might be enough to break that trance. Otherwise, her mom Brigit might have something more to add that could calm him down. That was about it for what I’d been imagining over the week related to this scene. I have a feeling that John will snap back into a more sensible state, maybe get more than his fill with just one plate, and pass out shortly after for the evening.
In my general breakdown of these events:
They retrieve John hours away in bad weather, they stay the night at a doctor’s house along the way since he’d fallen into a concerningly deep sleep, and so this might actually be the first evening he’s at the family farm. Divit might be a little suspicious of John, as fathers do when a boy is around their daughter, though Brigit is much more receptive to him.
As I’ve written about before, I’m not quite comfortable getting into writing this yet.
Mainly because this project has been burning inside me since high school, I want to do it justice. My story treatments for inconsequential short stories and Keyboard Kommander are, exactly as I say, fiction practice. Once I get to a point where I can conceptualize ideas like this first family dinner and write a coherent story, then I know I’m ready to begin writing. I feel like I’m still years away from that point. Until then, I’m just practicing and enjoying the process.
Let’s keep digging.