9-Cancer is a Gift
Today is a serious writing day for me. I mute my cell phone, grab my notebooks, and prepare to hunker down in front of the computer until I produce a respectable first draft of the first four chapters. But not before I surf the web first. I’ve got to check my email, Facebook and Twitter. That’s a given. Then I go down the list of bookmarked favorite writing sites and check those out too, particularly scanning for any interesting new calls for submissions.
Wait, what’s this? A contest to write a serialized story, but the twist is that each installment is flash fiction. A quick calculation tells me we’re talking 5000 to 6000 words here, not the 50,000 I was aiming for. I suddenly remember Arianna’s suggestion that I scale back on my first writing attempt, and realize this is the perfect starting point, far less daunting than attempting a full length novel right off the bat. It will give me a chance to get my feet wet, so to speak.
And now everything I learned in yesterday’s workshop comes flooding back to me. First step is coming up with my story idea. Okay, I still like the part about a woman with cancer becoming a writer, but hey, she doesn’t have to be me. Reaching for the few chapters of the story I already have, I begin marking it up with a red pen to see what’s salvageable, and try to block out the entire story.
In the first place, I think I’ll make her younger than me, oh, say in her early thirties. She’ll have two very young children, both boys, and live in… hmm, how about California. Her marriage is already rocky, and the strains of the cancer treatment put the final kibosh on it. She’ll opt for a mastectomy and chemo, but not radiation.
The tricky part comes when I have to decide how to end the story. Let’s see, what are my choices? Well, I guess at the most basic level, my heroine can either go into remission or succumb to the cancer. I wouldn’t say I’m overly superstitious, as my black cat crosses my path any number of times during the day, and I’ve even been known to open umbrellas in the house, but somehow I can’t quite bring myself to do in a character who had me as her starting point.
I’ll let her live then. I know, she can discover that cancer is a gift. I run this by my friend Melissa, from my cancer support group, and she gives me a pained look. “A gift, Kristy? Really? Would a friend give a friend cancer? Is that something you’d like to receive?”
Okay, no. Scratch that idea. I’ll simply end on a cautiously optimistic note. Maybe even a hint at a love interest there, as my heroine will suddenly find herself newly single. I can’t wait for the next writing group meeting, to see what they think.
To be continued Tuesday, July 21…