Monday, February 21, 2005

Tangent on Tangents

A few weeks ago I noted that I had gotten off on a tangent in the novel that seemed to be taking me away from the main story line, so I yanked it out and put it in a file called Rough Cuts. It turns out that I am finding I need that tangent after all; it is an integral part of the storyline and that I would be missing an important part of the development of Bobby as both a person and a man if I didn't use it.

So it's going back in but not in the same way I wrote it at first; in fact, nothing in the early version is useable. But the idea works, and that's where I'm going to take it from.

Without getting into massive detail, I realized that at this point in the story Bobby needs to come to some very powerful realizations. The first is that he is about to begin his adulthood; childhood and adolescence are behind him now and he has to come to grips with What Happens Next. Right now he is applying to college not out of any desire to further his education but because that's what's expected of a young man about to graduate from a prestigious New England boarding school; preferably attending some place like Yale, Brown, or Princeton. It has to dawn on him at some point, though, that there is a reason for him to go to college. That all the things he's spent the last twelve years or so learning both in the class room and out are put to use and that he wants to learn more. But about what?

It also is the time for Bobby to begin to see himself in the third person; that the world does not revolve around him alone and that such abstract qualities as empathy and even love are not inwardly directed. He has to realize that the next step in his growing up is becoming aware of his place in other people's lives and that the "Bobby Cramer" he thinks he is may be someone completely different than how others see him. And like some people, he is uncomfortable with that. He seeks to hide that real part of himself - the one that people demand to see when they say to others, "Be Yourself." Does Bobby like himself, or does he feel more comfortable hiding behind a mask, and how long can he do it?

Something has to occur to flip that switch; to engage the gears to bring about the evolution of Bobby from adolescent to adulthood. I know it will be a difficult transition - I speak from experience - but it all starts very simply, and when I thought back to how to make it happen, the answer was already there...in the file under Rough Cuts.

And so it goes forth.

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1 Comments:

Blogger ntodd said...

It also is the time for Bobby to begin to see himself in the third person; that the world does not revolve around him alone and that such abstract qualities as empathy and even love are not inwardly directed.Who knew?

9:51 PM  

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