My Brain is Fried

To Z’s disappointment, K has found Tish Farrell’s children’s book titled Write Your Own Mystery Story. (Of course she got it from Indian River Lib.)

K: (Her nose is in the book.) OK, how many characters will you have?

Z: I don’t know. The main character is a guy.

K: Named what?

Z: I don’t know. I can fill that in later.

K: You said something was stolen?

Z: (He is typing away.) Yeah. OK, this guy is a real popular guy that makes fun of a dork, but then he doesn’t know he’s a dork, no one knows because the guy doesn’t talk.

K: But then what does he do to the guy?

Z: He like makes fun of him or something like that.

K: Maybe it should be episodes, like what happens first? How long is this story gonna last? Is it just in one day? Is it—. Are all of the events going to happen on one day?

Z: Nooo. It won’t work that way if the guy sold it (the stolen item) on Ebay. Maybe it’s part of—I don’t know. Maybe it won’t even have a date. Maybe you won’t even know when it is. Some stories do that.

K: Oh.

Z: I just know it’s at a high school.

There’s a really cool guy who makes fun of this kid in public and the kid gets mad. Well, for my teenage novel purposes I’m going to say the kid gets pissed off. (He laughs and looks at K.)

K: This is not a teenage novel.

Z: Yo, OK. The kid gets mad. Then he takes his stuff. But, I’m not going to say that. ‘Cause I don’t want them (His readers) to know. I’m not going to say that—then if it’s third person? Maybe I shouldn’t make it third person ‘cause then a reader will already know. Then it’s not a mystery. It won’t count as a mystery if the reader knows it.

K: Unless you trick the reader into believing that somebody else did it (stole the item).

Z: It works that way if you say they did it and then they find out they didn’t it.

K: Or make it look like somebody else did it. Maybe two people are in the locker room or whatever.

Z: Maybe it’s a series of things that get stolen. Maybe it’s money—then something else gets stolen.

K: “The Scarlet Ibis”—what was the device in that? The literary device? How was the story told?

Z: Uh, I don’t know.

K: Did it include a flashback?

Z: The whole thing was a flashback, yeah. The whole thing was a flashback because the guy was an adult when he starts thinking about it.

K: Maybe that’s a good device to use.

Z: Flashback? Nahhh. I want it to be live!

K: Silence.

Z: (Types away.) The whole school makes a big deal about it. They bring cops and dogs. (He laughs.) They bring cops with hunting dogs. (More laughter.)

K: You can make it funny.

Z: The dogs bust a couple of kids with drugs. They bust a couple of kids with hunting dogs? (Laughing uncontrollably.)

Z starts talking about what he did in health class.

K: OK, so this book (Write Your Own Mystery Story) says great mysteries begin with the question who did it and readers work to discover the culprit.

Z: The main character and his crew. (Types fast.) His exclusive crew, Xplosion. (He laughs.) This is the worse crew name ever—explosion with an “X”. (He laughs more; he types more.)

His crew Xplosion tries to find out for themselves who the culprit is. (He says this as if he’s announcing a coming attraction at the movies.)

K is in the recliner, so she cannot see what he has written.

Z: The dork should be afraid for his life.

K: What do you call what you are doing right now?

Z: (inaudible.) I’m brainstormingggg. (He continues typing.) Xplosion is the most notorious gang in the um school. Gang in the school. Naahhh. I’ll cut that because—

(Z in the movie announcer voice.) The main character and his secret crew Xplosion try to find out for themselves who the culprit is, but it’s not gonna be easy.

K: Did you all read mysteries in class?

Z: Yes.

K: Why didn’t you think to bring none of that stuff home?

Z: She didn’t give us the copies of it. We just read it. I didn’t bring that home.

K: So what notes did you write down about what makes a good mystery?

Z: Uhh, she didn’t give us no notes. Uh, oh yeah she did give us (inaudible) but that doesn’t count.

(Looking at the computer screen.) That’s all I have. That’s a solid storyline right there. And the rest is going to write itself. (He laughs.)

I am now about to start the official writing. Tomorrow.

K: This book says it’s good to base your characters on people you know and see. Note their facial details and quirks and behavior. You have to disguise them so they won’t know they’re the people you’re depicting.

Z: Now that I think about it, Cape Henry had some good music banging up in there. (He talks about the music he heard there. A song by Dr. Dre titled “Explosion” is mentioned.) I’m about to go to my profile. (He has left Word and gone to a Web site.)

K: You better get to work.

Z: What? I said I got a solid storyline.

K: You’ve got to get started on the story.

Z: I said I’m going to get started for real tomorrow.

K: Nah, get started for real today.

Z: How much do I have to write? ‘Cause I don’t think I’m going to be able to write a lot.

K: Silence.

Z: So start over. He and his crew, Xplosion, had a party, right? (He types.)

My brain is fried.

Z: Keep writing until it unfries. Write until 8:00. (He’d have to write for 20 minutes.)

(K suggests Z should use a situation that happened at school as the basis for the story, but he says no.)

Z: Lots of typing.

I need a high school name.

Obama High. (He changed it in the final version.)

K: That’s good.

Z continues to add to his story, stopping to read lines aloud to K.

K reads excerpts from Write Your Own Mystery that include passages from Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz.

Z reads what he’s written so far.

K: That’s good, but it seems like you switched point of view. Do you feel more comfortable with first person?

Z: No.

Z: During the quotes I can say “I” right?

K: Yes, in the dialogue when someone is talking.

The Writing session ends.