Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Florida Move's Gestation
How to avoid jumping into the genre box with the rest of the toys.
Instead of building a story out of what seem to be cool ideas, focus on one person and see what they're doing.
Or tell a story about a specific person.
I had this idea once that most parents would gladly change places with their kids to spare the kids suffering or trouble.
That is the tidy white bread notion.
Truth is much darker and more mixed.
But anyway, I wanted to show that urge to change places in a story.
Instead of building a story on that, which would be genre.
I focused on one guy.
He was poor.
Lived in a trailer, in fact, in FL.
Just a little window AC long since broken down and inadequate.
Eats fast food because he's unable to afford much else.
drinks a bit, to ease things.
his personal space is a rat's nest.
he wears sloppy sweats because he's run to fat.
he's a heap, but barely struggles on, fixed income and social security.
And his wife has died.
And all he has to care about at ALL is his son.
But his son is far away, going to college up north.
Kid never hardly calls, and seems changed each time.
Almost my whole focus so far is on a very real guy and his situation.
Then two guys knock on his door.
Seems there's been a problem.
His son's involved.
Killed a guy.
May have to do hard time up north.
Cops wonder if he's seen his son, or heard from him.
Truth is, he hasn't.
As soon as they leave, largely in disgust at him and how he is forced to live by depression of both sorts, he sits down and has a panic attack.
He desperately wants to find his son, hear from him, find out what's going on.
He wants to make sure the kid's okay, safe, innocent.
He urgently wishes this, and falls asleep drunk, and dreams he goes up north.
Dreams he finds the kid, and the kid is indeed in trouble, but was framed, and the old man offers to cover for him while the kid takes off down south, to FL, to hide.
When he wakes up, he's in the kid's body, of course.
Here is the rub: The kid wakes up in his FATHER's body.
And we find out the kid is a sociopath who was guilty as fuck.
Only NOW he is literally trapped in an aging, abused body about ready to give out, with no money, and no hope for much...
So by focusing on the real, I wrote what I hope is a compelling story that still manages to feature my silly idea about parents being willing to change places to save their kids.
Offered as an example of how to work without jumping in the box.