Okay- so after a lot of life side-tracks and meaningful pauses, I finally got back to some writing. I have wanted to write some of Hunter’s backstory. I’ve had some ideas for a while. and some of the authors I have been following and working with, decided to put together a YA anthology. A nudge of motivation for me there, but I still didn’t kick into gear (more on that, later:). The theme for this collection is “That moment when…”
I chewed on this for a while, the idea of revelation, personal insight etc, in a young character’s life (chronological age, not literary age:)…I tried it on for size against a few stories already developed. Poking the Bear fit in most regards- but that story feels complete the way it is. And while Gherant might have learned a bit of a lesson there, it doesn’t feel like it has that mic-drop kind of moment to it.
So I started looking at different characters and ideas. But I kept circling back to Hunter. Hunter is a bit of a challenge, in terms of the fine line of character development. Later on, he is going to make some “bad choices,” and while those are definitely based on his character and personal motivational traits, I didn’t want him to be a clear “bad guy.” I tend to prefer those murky lines even in epic fantasy, as per earlier discussions. I think it’s too easy to just say a character is evil, etc- without ever seeing the complexity and nuance that can be developed in its place.
Here is the story premise:
Hunter had always been his mother’s “clever little boy,” taking things apart, and building his contraptions. Now, he has a chance at an elite prep school. If he does well, he could earn a spot at one of the prestigious colleges of Chanmyr- where the elite and wealthy send their children.
His final trimester, he must work with a group of students to complete a special project. If he does well, he will be able to secure a recommendation from his teacher. But Hunter doesn’t always play well with others. And his arrogance earns him more enemies than friends. Can he overcome his own sense of superiority and learn to value what other people have to offer?
So, my problem with Hunter, in regards to this story. I wanted to give him a moment of insight, an Aha moment, about himself. Buuuut, because of future events, I can’t have him find a permanent resolution, either. I think I’ve managed that, pretty well. Here’s the last scene I have written.
Hunter bristled, sitting up as though to defend himself. Tia held up a hand, as she continued. “Yes, doing well is important. All of us here strive to do well. But,” she continued, slowing down for emphasis. “something to consider: it isn’t enough to be smart. Being clever will get you nowhere, if you alienate the people who might be able to help you. It also helps to be liked.”
“But I try to be liked,” Hunter argued.
“Do you try to be liked, or to be admired? Being liked, is allowing everyone to be equal, and not expecting anything back. Not even admiration.”
Hunter poked at the dirt harder, but a bit slower. He didn’t like what he was hearing. It went against everything he’d built his life on. But he also knew there was truth in what Tia said. He thought back, even on his acts of generosity- which were few- and realized he did things for a reason. Those reasons generally served his own purposes. According to this new information, that was not friendship, or generosity. He poked the dirt harder, not liking what he was seeing about himself now.
SO, now all I need, I think, is a good resolution bit at the end… and I’m totally not sure what to do around that. I also have a handful of plot aspects to work out in the middle. And I may end up with two different versions of the story, one abridged and the other full-length (short story). This is because the submissions have a 5k word limit, and I am already getting close to that, without the added developments I want to make. I’ll be posting the draft over on scribophile, too. if you want to contribute to the development. and if you have any conclusion suggestions, Hunter and I would both love to hear them:)