As part of my participation in My 500 words, I am posting what I write each day.
The theme of the story is the truth that if proves. Even fiction proves some kind of truth. It can be something as simple as “good triumphs over evil” or “love conquers all”. When I am serious about writing something, I want to have a theme. When it was time to start developing my novel for this November, before I thought too much about what it would be about, before I even really tried to think of an ending, I felt I needed to know what I wanted to say. I needed my theme. And from what I had of the story, the theme revealed itself, innocence.
The theme of The Snowdrop Princess is going to be preservation versus loss of innocence. The little girl in the story, from the beginning I have now, is innocent to anything in the world. She will be brought up by holograms, probably run by some central computer system. She will have one hologram, maybe created especially for her that will be her best friend. That best friend hologram will be The Snowdrop Princess, representing innocence.
But what if prisoners of the state are incarcerated at this fortress? The government thinks that it’s empty of real people. They don’t know there’s a single little girl living there who was mysteriously dropped off as a young toddler, who spends her days running and playing with a hologram resembling a girl her age. I see conflict.
For the past two days I’ve alluded to something else. Several years ago, I had a vision of a little girl, perhaps school-age, wandering around a smoke-swept battlefield littered with bodies. The girl isn’t disturbed by death. She closes the eyes of some fallen soldiers and searches them for any provisions. So I sat down and wrote something, first just pen and paper, where the girl is finally frightened off by wolves. Then I took a few days to sit and type up what I could.
It was an exploration. The girl was looking for food, but I learned that it was to take back to someone. Someone was holding her father hostage, compelling this girl to go and search dead soldiers on the battlefield. My story began the day she found a handgun. Acting on her father’s instructions, the girl took a single bullet and filed it down near the primer. (I asked an ex-policeman if this would happen). The girl took food and the gun back to where her father was being held prisoner by another man. This “bad man” as the girl thought of him, seemed to me some fugitive from the war, desperate enough to hold a father and daughter. The father was injured, sick and dying. The girl gave the pistol to the desperate fugitive, and later provoked him into shooting it. With the altered bullet, the handgun misfired, seriously injuring this bad man. He soon dies of blood loss. The father also passes away. The girl, on her own in some dystopian wilderness, moves on.
That snippet came to me the other night. What if I could incorporate that into my story? I’ve been keeping it on hold for years, it’s not like I’m desperate to use it soon, ideas don’t really expire. But will this idea work for The Snowdrop Princess? Who is this girl? She’s too old to be the one dropped off at the fortress unless I change things up. Does she make it to the fortress years or decades earlier only to live and die and eventually be resurrected as a hologram?
Is she one of the criminals who is sentenced to the fortress?
There’s lots to think about and ponder. I’ve got just under two weeks to figure at least a few things out. There’s a chance this November novel could be little more than a convoluted mess. But with enough thought and planning, I might create something that shines.