Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Help Wanted

Dear Evil Editor,

The thing about the guess-the-plots is that there are a lot of gems that get missed, since they're not the plot the query is about. This one is from Face-Lift 1222, Kidblog:

Eight-year-old Ricky starts a blog dealing with life at Fontana Elementary school. Tough tests, tough teachers, Tough-Luck Bobby (Maria likes Finn). Meanwhile, mommyblogger Cindy Sharon starts a blog about raising her home-schooled genderneutral child Moon as a vaccine free, gluten free, and religion free vegan. Everything's fine until Ricky and Moon email each other.

I thought this one would be a pretty cool MG novel if the characters were aged up a bit. (Say, from eight to eleven/twelve.) Thing is, realistic fiction is not my forte. So, if the blog readers have any suggestions for a plot I'd be really thankful.

Minion #621


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what you're asking for. A plot, so you can write? As you said, the GTPs are bursting with them. Or were you asking for suggestions to flesh out that particular fake plot?

Minion 621 said...

I was hoping to help on this one, but on the other hand if anyone wants to share any guess - the - plots they found interesting that would be fun, too.

khazar-khum said...

Hi==that one was mine. Feel free to have your way with it!

InkAndPixelClub said...

So as it stands, there's a kid with a blog and a kid whose mom has a blog, but no clear reason why they connect with each other.

Ricky seems like the protagonist. He's struggling academically and socially at school. He's pretty sure no one understands him, certainly not his parents, who are constantly on his back about his grades. He writes the blog in the hope of maybe finding other kids like him who will offer advice or at least sympathy. But aside from the ocassionall spam post advertising discounted Ray-Bans, he doesn't get any response. He keeps at it because just writing his thoughts down helps a little, but it's starting to feel like just one more thing he's not very good at.

Then one day, Ricky's blog gets a real comment from a woman named Cindy Sharon. It's mostly about how great homeschooling is, but it's a real response and Ricky is intrigued. He follows the link in her comment and discovers Cindy's popular mommyblog about raising her child, Moon. Some aspects of it, like the lengthy screeds against gluten and Moon's gender neutrality, don't make much sense to Ricky. But mostly what he sees is a confident, happy kid with a mom who is unfailingly supportive and proud. Ricky starts reading Cindy's blog regularly and even leaves a few comments. He starts fantasizing about the life he might have if his parents were more like Cindy. Some of what he reads starts to influence his behavior and he goes from the kid who never raises his hand to the kid who's constantly challenging his teachers' methods and views of the material. His grades aren't improving, but his confidence is.

A few months after finding Cindy's blog, Ricky gets an email from an address he doesn't recognize, asking him some general questions about his life. It's from Moon. Ricky is excited to hear directly from the source about what it's like be Cindy's perfect, beloved kid, but Moon's responses paint a very different picture than the one from Cindy's blog. Cindy will post about how great Moon is at talking with adults about social issues, and Moon will send an email wishing that Moon had a real friend. Cindy posts about how proud she and Moon are of being vegans and Moon emails about longing to try an ice cream cone just once. While Moon's life is not completely miserable, it's far from the paradise that Ricky envisioned. Moon is fascinated by Ricky,s life and many of the simple pleasures and freedoms that he has taken for granted.

Fueled by Ricky's friendship, Moon starts to argue with Cindy more and more. None of this is reflected in Cindy's blog, which continues to report that everything is perfect. After one particularly bad argument, Moon hacks into Cindy's blog and reveals how stifled Moon feels by the lifestyle Cindy has been promoting. The post ends with the revelation that Moon has run away. Looking for any hint to where Moon might be, Cindy reads Moon's emails and puts the blame on Ricky for turning Moon against her

Though Ricky had encourage Moon to push back against Cindy, he's now very worried. A life of being sheltered by Cindy means Moon is in even more danger than the average young runaway. Can Ricky use what he's learned about Moon to figure out where Moon has gone? And can he convince Cindy to change so that Moon will agree to come back?

That's a rough idea, anyway. Feel free to see what you can do with it.

Evil Editor said...

Sounds like a winner. I imagine the average kid would have an easier time anonymously commenting on the mommy blog than hacking into it.

Anonymous said...

InkandPixel, that's incredible!

khazar-khum said...

Great start! Does Cindy self-medicate, or is she just high on her own smug sense of superiority? Is Moon looking for Dad? Dad looking for Moon, because he has legal physical custody and wanted to keep the poor kid safe from Mom's delusional life?

Go Ink! Make this one live!

InkAndPixelClub said...

I'm hoping Minion #621 will take it and run with it. Realistic fiction is not really my forte nor my area of interest. Truth be told, I have a bunch of partially finished short stories and the start of a novel which may all be trunk material. My paid writing is more of the listicle variety. So I'd be happy to see somebody else coax a story out of that idea.

Minion 621 said...

Thank you! This is a great idea -- I'll let you all know when it's done!