My latest WIP (work in progress) is a big drift from my normal style of dark writing. This new book still has its dark subject, still has its subjective point of view, and as always, has some dim undertones within the aspects of the characters. What makes this book different is that the scenery isn’t always so dreary, and even when life is dreary, their mannerisms build up to a kind of comedy through it all.
Now, I take much of what I write from over heard conversations and/or discussions I’ve had at home. I take those little snip its and add the voice of the character to make it their own. Sometimes I get the exact same conversation, and those usually don’t make the final cut. But, sometimes the conversation takes an interesting spin within the mind of a character and I get something fabulous.
The scene: Huck and Maggie are sitting at the dinner table. Huck is in his mid thirties while Maggie is all of sixteen. They are practically strangers who have been thrust together by fate, and have two completely different ways of thinking. There’s a loud banging at the door, one that sounds like someone is trying to break the door down. Huck pulls a shotgun out from the side of the fireplace.
Maggie jumps from her seat, her eyes filled with concerned more than worry. “Huck? What the hell are you doing?”
Looking over his shoulder, the shotgun already in position by his right shoulder, he replies, “I’m hunting wabbit! What the hell does it look like I’m doing?”
“You aren’t going to shoot whoever’s out there, are you?”
In a fit a confusion, he rattles his head about then aim at the door while creeping closer. Maggie gives a hushed shout at how ridiculous this is. He stops and looks over his shoulder again, “I don’t have any plans on shooting, unless absolutely necessary. Okay? Hippie?”
“So what? Then you just planning on scaring whoever runs through that door? And when he’s sees your cannon he’ll stop and cower, right?”
Huck was growing weary of the conversation, and the banging at the door wasn’t letting up. Didn’t she understand he was trying to protect her? Was she really having a debate on guns while someone was trying to break in? It was clear she didn’t care, so he decided he wouldn’t care back and put the butt of the gun down on his right toe while holding the barrel with his right hand. “You have a better idea?” he asked.
Their eyes met, and he wondered how many of these visual standoffs they would continue to have. She was stubborn, cocky, and the biggest pain in the ass he had ever met, and all of that paled besides her wit. He stood there, eagerly anticipating some smart remark.
“Lightsaber,” she said.
“Lightsaber?” he practically dropped the gun from his hearty laughter.
“Think about? We’re in the middle of shotgun, handgun, Glock, 9mm, hillbilly hell, right? Everybody has a gun next to the fireplace, everybody has a rifle rack in the truck? And this crazy bastard is still trying to get into the house.” She points at the door that is still taking a beating. “That guy knows you have a gun of some sort, and odds are so does he. Probably bigger by the sounds of it.”
“You can tell he has a big gun by the sound of the banging on the door? Oh, you’re good,” he chuckled. Then he put his finger on his chin stubble and asked her to go on.
“That guy isn’t going to be surprised to see a gun. But, he swoops through that door and you’re holding a lightsaber . . . well, now its game on. You don’t need perfect aim, just one big swoosh,” she motions as if holding a lightsaber and striking, including the sound effects. “Whala! Dead.”
“You think a lightsaber is better than a gun?”
“Have you even seen the movies? How many people actually die by way of guns? Like one to every thirty people who died by lightsaber. There are red blasts all over the place and once in a while someone actually gets hit, but the lightsaber death toll was in the kazillions. I mean, if you gotta be a Neanderthal killer then at least do it with finesse and with a weapon that has a proven kill rate.”
At that moment the door burst open and Huck was instantly mowed over by the three-legged goat before he was able to get his shotgun up. As he looked up he saw Maggie standing over him, hands on her shifted hips saying, “if you woulda had a lightsaber you might’ve stood a chance.”
“You haven’t won this argument,” he said.
“Then answer this: if you busted through someone’s front door, would you be more petrified to see you holding a gun or Qui Gon Jinn with a lightsaber?”
His inability to answer caused her to throw her hands up in victory and do a little happy dance. It became quite clear he might just be the student and not the master. “Yeah, well . . . you need to work on your sound effects,” he mumbled.
So that little conversation came about from the topic of gun control I had with a friend on Facebook. I was pleasantly pleased with the changes Maggie made, and how fiction mimics real life yet gives it its own little spin.
Tania L Ramos, RN and Author Shopping for a Lightsaber