Plotting Difficult Topics: Loss, Grief

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, Grief

  • Loss, Grief, Testimony

    When she lost the battle of her will and ate the chocolate, she knew it would send her blood sugar crazy. And it did. She wound up in the hospital, learning how to give herself insulin shots.

  • Loss, Grief, Confession

    I climbed up there just to get candy. But when Tommy came into the room, I realized he could see my underpants. Worse, I realized I wanted him to. It was all my fault what happened next. And afterward, we ate the whole box of chocolates together. (Young adult story!)

  • Loss, Grief, Therapy

    It was the constant denial of self that ate at her. When was it HER turn to be special? No one had EVER given her a birthday party, yet, her old grandma had a big party year after year. So, when she accidently saw Mom hide the candy, she told herself that she deserved it. But it didn’t satisfy–not really. Because it was stolen–it wasn’t a gift meant for her. It was a start of the bitterness and every bag of chocolate–her main obsession, now–after that, made it worse.

  • Loss, Grief, Transformation

    She had sold exactly zero boxes of candy for the fun raiser, she was such a lousy salesman. No Girl Scout troop would want her on the cookie sales team. So when Mom finally bought two boxes–out of pity–she was excited.
    But then, nothing happened. Stuck at the pits of Salesmen’s Heaven.
    Then, her baby sister snuck in and ate one box and had to buy a replacement for her allowance, since it was a gift for grandma. And then, Grandma tried a piece of the candy and love it and called her friends and took orders and soon–
    She was an ace salesman, selling more than anyone else in fifth grade.
    She owed her career to a box of chocolates and a thief for a little sister.

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

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