Tuesday, June 14, 2011

'fess Up

Perhaps you know what it's like to feel guilty about something. Maybe you did something that hurt someone. You might have done it deliberately, or it might have been as a side effect of something else you did that had consequences.
If you hurt someone, you only feel guilty if you have a conscience. So feeling guilty is good.
The main character in my upcoming novel, Wounds, is carrying a heavy load of guilt. Craig's mother died before the beginning of the novel, a fact that the reader finds out only after a flashback in which she is still alive.
(How do you feel about flashbacks? Do you think middle graders can handle them without any problem?)
Getting back to the story, Craig's dad is too weak to handle living without his wife, so he starts drinking heavily and takes his anger out on Craig by physically beating on him.
Consequently, Craig takes his anger and grief out on things at school. He's in the eighth grade. At school, he tears up the art teacher's bulletin board and paints with a magic marker on the math teacher's car.
Criag has plenty to feel guilty about. We know from the flashback that Craig's a nice kid at heart. He's just carrying a load of grief and anger that's too heavy for him. And he's never asked for help. Maybe if he had, things would have been smoothed over before they got so bad. It takes a lot of guts to place your problems and inner-most thoughts into the hands of an adult. And when you've been beaten on, you lose a lot of your trust in people. That's what happened to Craig. He's mistrustful and arrogant to the adults around him.
(Do you think you would feel the same way if you were in Craig's position? Or do you think he was stupid for not getting help before his vandalism escalated?)
He next tries to cut down an old, valuable tree. He wounds not only the tree, but himself.
Oh, yeah--his worst guilt doesn't come out until near the end of the story.
Do you think Craig's conscience saves him? Does he 'fess up?
The book, Wounds, is coming from MuseItUp Publishing in September of this year.
The author: Barbara Bockman


J. Aday Kennedy's Brain Fart Explosion said...

I can't wait to read the final book.
J. Aday Kennedy
The Differently-Abled Writer & Speaker
Children's Author of Stella the Fire Farting Dragon (April 2011)

BarbaraB said...

Thanks J. Aday,
It won't be long now.

Pam said...

Ditto for me! I can't wait to read the whole thing, an autographed copy of course!
Great post, the book is so full of turmoil, sure to be a page turner. I bet my son will want to read it when I am done!

BarbaraB said...

Hi Pam,
I certainly hope your son will want to read Wounds. And then you can let me know what he thinks. (I hope he never has turmoil in his life).

Karen Cote said...

Sounds really heartbreaking Barbara and I'm very intriqued as to how or what will change/save Craig. This is a very tough subject and I admire you for taking it on. Great job.

Karen Cote said...

Sounds heartbreaking and I'm very intrigued as tp who or what will change/save Craig. This is a tough subject to take on and I commend you highly for doing so. Great job.

billkirkwrites said...

Some pretty weighty topics in this story. Hats off to you for digging into them using very real social situations as a backdrop. Well done, Barbara. This definitely leaves us wanting to learn more.

lionmother said...

Barbara, sounds like a very true account of some children I have seen. As a teacher, I have had experience with kids who had that kind of history. Your boy sounds like so many I have known who take out their anger on things and sometimes on other kids. I am looking forward to reading your book too. September is going to be magical for both of us!!!

Rosalie Skinner said...

Sounds like a great read Barbara, I will look forward to September and the release of 'Wounds'.

BarbaraB said...

I'm so glad someone reminded me to add the link to this site. Thank all of you who visited and thanks for the encouraging words. This book is going to be a dream come true for me. And as BarbaraE says, there is truth in this kind of behavior and I hope teens who read it will take something positive away from it.

Margot Finke said...

Barbara, flash backs are a terrific took for adding back story - if they are done right. Clear when they begin and clear when they end.

As for how he deals with this, it all depends on the temperament of the child involved. Some react like Craig, others crawl into a shell and stay there, some talk to a trusted relative or friend.

Wounds sounds like a really powerful story.

Margot’s Magic Carpet
Kids Books With a WOW Factor!

BarbaraB said...

I agree there are many ways to react to a traumatic situation. People are different. That's what makes horse races.
You'll have to let me know if you think my flashback works.