I was meditating about a story idea. A story that involved a 12-year-old protagonist in a post-apocalyptic setting.
I wanted to write a Middle Grade transitional to Young Adult end-of-the-world thriller that didn't involve genetic mutation and zombies.
I asked myself two questions:
1. What do teens, especially young teens, want more than anything else?
2. What do teens, especially young teens, fear more than anything else?
The answers to those two questions is exactly the same answer:
The disappearance of Parents and Adults.
I read once that when God wants to punish us, He answers our prayers.
What would the world be like if all the adults disappeared?
Lord of the Flies meets Home Alone jumped to mind as the comparable story lines, motifs, and themes.
First, I had to decide on the age of those who would disappear.
Of course, legal Adulthood--18-years-old.
That means the world is full of newborns through 17-years-old.
But, wait. The world is too big.
Let's make it one small town.
A small town in Southwest Oklahoma.
Junebug, Oklahoma is my fictional town for nearly all my stories loosely based on Altus, Oklahoma.
Like William Faulkner's fictional Yoknapatawpha County is based on his beloved Oxford, Mississippi.
And the kids left in Junebug really are the last people left on of Earth.
Only those between newborn and 17 living in Junebug have survived what the kids label the Rapture.
What would happen?
How would the kids react?
How would the various age levels react?
Who would go crazy--insane?
Who would commit suicide?
Who would be in charge, try to take over, try to be a dictator?
Would the racial and ethnic make-up of the remaining kids be a factor? Of course, they would! People naturally seek safety not only in numbers but in numbers of their own kind--especially children.
Fear is a great motivator for story.
And what about the newborns? What would happen to them? Who would take care of them?
This applies to the infants and toddlers as well.
Not only that, the Rapture has not stopped. Any 17-year-old who turns 18 also disappears.
By Sunday, 25 April 2010, I had a 20,000 word single spaced outline of the first book.
There will be five books.
Because the protagonist is 13-years-old, each book covers a year in her life from the morning of the Rapture in the First Book to the day before her own 18th birthday in the Fifth Book--the next day she turns 18 and disappears.
I don't know why, but from the beginning my protagonist was female. At first she was 12, and then she aged one year by the time the First Book outline was complete.
This is how the idea moved from Mediation to What If Question to Outline to Story and is now proceeding full steam into Novel.
See you on the bookshelves.
Larry Mike Garmon
PS: Make sure to check out the other entries under the NEVЯLAND category for other insights to the development of this novel.