Plotting Difficult Topics: Loss, denial

This is part of a series of posts on Plotting Difficult Topics

In Inviting the Wolf In: Thinking About Difficult Stories by Loren Niemi and Elizabeth Ellis, the authors recognize that how you approach a difficult subject can make huge differences in voice, POV, plot and resolution. They suggest 32 different approaches and this series of posts works out those approaches for the following scenario.

The Scenario: A girl watches her mother place a box of candy on the highest book shelf; the candy is meant as a birthday gift for the girl’s grandmother. The girl decides to sneak up and steal/eat some of the candy.

Loss, Denial

  • Loss, Denial, Testimony

    After three days of going to bed without supper, yes, I ate those chocolates. I limited myself to only one a day, just enough to keep myself alive. Indeed, it kept me going all day, knowing that a special prize would be mine at midnight.

  • Loss, Denial, Confession

    I really liked chocolate-coconut candy. It was sweet, delicious, It wasn’t a mistake. Sure the candy was for Grandma’s birthday. The moment I slipped that first piece into my mouth, I said, “Nothing good can come of this.” And I was right. I had to steal–a bit from my sister’s bank, a bit from my brother’s red sock under his bed, and even a dime from mom’s cookie jar. It was easy enough to get the cash to buy another box and replace that one. For a month after, everyone was “miscounting”– coins from each respective stash. Each time I kept my mouth shut. And no one suspected. It was too easy, way too easy. Which made it even easier to steal next time.

  • Loss, Denial, Therapy

    It was nothing. I opened the box and saw right away that some were gone, so I only partially lifted the lid. Just enough to count. Seven gone, eaten.
    Looking up, I saw my grand-daughter watching. Her eyebrows were arched slightly, dark questions above innocent blue eyes. Would I betray her or not?
    “There you Ellie,” I said. “I’ll enjoy these when I get home.”
    I knew that would make Ellie, my daughter-in-law mad. She would think, “Why doesn’t the old biddy open the chocolates and share them?”
    Because you starve your daughter, I’d spit back at her.
    I held my arms out to Ginger. “Come and sit with me.”
    Her eyebrows, her face relaxed and she ran to sit warm beside me on the couch.

  • Loss, Denial, Transformation

    I double-dog dare you, he said.
    I had been scared, sure, but I couldn’t tell my brother that. When he dared me to climb up and see what the gift was, I couldn’t let him see that I was scared of heights.
    So, I climbed.
    And from that height–he looked so tiny, so small.
    So, when he asked me to drop him a piece of candy, I refused. Why should I give anything to the wimp? “Come up yourself.”
    Instead, I clung to the bookshelf and at the whole box. After, I took money from my brother’s piggy bank to buy a new box for Grandma. I knew he wouldn’t do anything. He was afraid I’d tell his friends the truth: HE was scared of heights.

This is part of a series of posts on Plotting Difficult Topics