Monday, October 12, 2015

Novel Outline: The Mice Will Play

The Mice Will Play

Okay. It's time for me to stop being so darned afraid that I can't write a great novel

How do I do that?

I'm going to write a novel!

I've got three strongly enticing novel ideas that are delicious "What if...." scenarios, filled with deeply interesting characters whom I've come to adore. All three novels are mostly completed--in my mind. 

Oh, I've written down stuff for all three of them. Stuff being useful to me, mostly, as a procrastination tool. I feel like I could write a great novel, but then I read one, a really great one, and I change my mind. I could never do that!!! 

Yet, I know I could write a novel. So, thanks to Chuck Wendig's consistent support of us fellow writers, and his insightful advice and suggestions (oh, and the shock-prod. And the threat of bees. Ooooohhhhh.... the bees!) I've decided to stop being afraid that I can't write a great novel, and to start writing a novel. I've also decided to write my first novel alongside the suggestion of Chuck's that we create an outline and share it. (It's the "share it" part that roped you in!)

In this way I'm pushed forward. 

I've also got this excuse if the whole thing turns out to be complete garbage: Well, it's not my fault! That's what Chuck told me to do!! 

You see? It's a win/win! 
tee hee! 

So, for my writing pleasure--and for your opportunity to peek underneath the garments of my first ever novel--here's my (I think?) outline: 

The Mice Will Play
an eventual novel by Tsara Shelton (maybe even a great one?)

Four brothers are left home for a night while mom goes out with friends. Her sister is getting married and it’s the bachelorette. The oldest, Rand, is sixteen and pissed off at being forced to babysit his brothers.  There is a campfire party tonight that he has to go to or the girl he has finally been making headway with (Marina) will find someone else. His mom is not stupid. She knows that’s how it works at his age. You have to be there or someone else will.  Heck, she went to the same campfire parties when she was in high school!

So he decides to go and bring his brothers. He could leave them home with the next oldest, Reese, but truth be told he’s not sure they wouldn’t tell. Also his baby brother, Raif, is a perfect chick magnet. Riley, the thirteen year old, might ask a few too many weird and annoying questions but by the time the booze is flowing and flirting turns into making out no one will care.  

The hike through the woods behind the house is uneventful. Reese listens to his ipod, Raif runs around excited and nervous to be going to a teenager party and Riley is constantly distracted by trees and bugs and rocks and sticks and ants and footprints.  

The party is just starting when they get there. Marina is smoking a cigarette, here hair black and frizzy as usual, her clothes a little dirty and disheveled looking. Rand feels his heart beat a little faster and his stomach tickle. He imagines she is probably thinking about politics or world hunger or corporate something or other. This is one of the things he is attracted to about her. She seems oblivious to the fact that no one else is interested and assumes that they want to know. Rand feels like if she likes him it will mean he is smart. He knows he isn’t but wants so badly to be.  

Rand starts swatting away worries about his brothers like flies. The new kid, Willie, is here. He’s dangerous and Rand knows that his youngest brother, Raif, will be drawn to him. Raif is half black and loves hanging around the older black guys like Lawson, DeShawn, and Kendal. They’re gregarious and get a kick out of his dance moves. They have an almost dangerous vibe, but Rand has been friends with them for a long time and really, they’re cool guys. Well, they were cool guys till Willie moved here. He’s angry in ways that this small town hasn’t really seen in its high school hallways. Things have changed with that crowd (and the newspaper headlines suggest they’ve changed for the entire town) and Rand knows he’d better keep Raif away from the whole group. He knows Reese, too, is angry. But not at society, at him. He knows he’s going to be pushing limits to piss Rand off. Already he sees him taking swigs of vodka and flirting heavily with Rand’s ex-girlfriend. And Riley, Riley isn’t likely going to participate in the drinking or smoking, and he’s probably not going to be overly influenced by the dangerous Willie, but there’s a real danger of him diving deeper into his imaginary world and ignoring everyone so completely that he gets hurt in a way Rand could never anticipate. 

As the party grows Reese starts drinking and gets pretty drunk. Rand finds him making out with one of the girls and then another. Raif is the life of the party and dances like Michael Jackson while everyone cheers him on. He also keeps asking Rand when they can go home… Riley goes missing.

Rand tries to get friends to help him find his brother but everyone just gives him shit for bringing them in the first place and say he’s probably gone home, or he’s around here somewhere, relax man

Marina goes with him to look. Reese is passed out so Raif comes as well.  Marina doesn’t seem to have an opinion on Rand bringing the troop to a campfire party. Rand is both pissed at Riley and worried. It’s just like Riley to take off and follow some stupid train of thought.  He’s probably checking for dinosaur bones a mile away because the shape of the clouds around the moon made him think he knew where to look. It doesn’t take them long to find Riley and he is looking for dinosaur bones but because he heard something that reminded him of Jurassic Park.  

The trek back to the party is slow, Rand and Marina are feeling kinda like staying in the woods together. Instead they gather Reese, who has thrown up twice and can’t find his phone, and Raif who moonwalks out of sight of the partiers and then whines to be carried home. Marina doesn’t live too far off the path so Rand walks her most of the way home, although not all the way because she doesn’t want him to be seen by her parents. Marina’s dad is alright but he doesn’t like Rand’s mom—she’s single and her boys have a variety of dads—so he doesn’t trust Rand. Marina kisses Rand lightly, and for a moment Rand forgets everything about the night other than this. But as he takes his brothers to the house he finds himself using the kiss to justify the whole evening, and his own desperate need to justify is too clear. Even he, a sixteen year old boy, can’t ignore that his decision had been unfair and unsafe. Raif and Riley go to bed. Reese and Rand stay up talking. 

Rand is still pissed at his mom for putting him in that position but even more than that, he doesn’t want her to find out. Reese is pissed at Rand for putting him in that position but even more than that, he doesn’t want mom to find out.  

They know that she will find out. 
They also know, because of past experience and that strange way she has of not-judging them into telling the truth, they will be the ones to tell her.

*Ramona, mom, grew up in this town. She has a bit of a reputation for being woo woo and hippy-ish--she took off with her older sister to live on an organic farm in Canada when she was sixteen and they both came back after two years, Ramona with a baby (Rand) and pregnant (Reese). Getting pregnant at eighteen and raising boys on her own she has always been deeply honest, easily loving, and always there. Making the little money they survive on by working in the local library and writing book reviews for a small independent online magazine her sister is the editor for. Her sons adore her but this adoration doesn't come without turmoil and confusion. Though they do know that she deserves a night out. That she deserves kids who would stay home and not risk losing one to a dinosaur expedition or alcohol poisoning. * (this is stuff that we learn through the course of the night, via inner conflict and dialogue.)  

The sun is coming up. Ramona’s boys are home, and just before they fall asleep the sound of crunching gravel tells them that so is Ramona. At the sound of the car door slamming shut, the two oldest boys fall asleep on separate couches.  
# # #

Okay, so that's it! 
That's the basic theme/idea/skeleton/outline of the novel I'm going to be working on. If you think it sounds interesting (I hope you think it sounds interesting!) and you think it has potential (I think it has potential!) then be sure to Opt In to have my posts delivered to your inbox! I'll keep you updated on the progress (please know, it will be slow!) of my first (maybe great?) novel!! 

Hugs, smiles, and love!!!

If my outline for The Mice Will Play was fun for you to read, I invite you to check out my first published book Spinning in Circles and Learning from Myself: A Collection of Stories that Slowly Grow Up. Most of the stories are creative nonfiction, but there are a few short fiction stories as well, two of which were inspired by writing prompts offered by the previously mentioned Chuck Wendig