Ripples in the Pond
I’ve written young adult fiction for years. It’s the primary genre I work with, but I consider myself a multi-genre author. The story dictates how it is told. Even careful planning never gets me to where I usually start out.
Most of my contemporary teen novels have a theme of real life incidents being brought forth in a fictional atmosphere. Underage drinking, school violence, child kidnap, bullying, texting and driving, stalking, and non-custodial parental abduction have all been explored in stories that grip the reader from beginning to end. No holds are barred in these stories where the main character learns to stand up for their beliefs despite the odds against them.
In my latest young adult tale, I’m diving into a twofold theme, a first, but not one that will go away. The primary theme of The Lie is not telling the truth when you should and the aftereffects of that action. The secondary but still a strong theme is teen suicide.
How far can a person be taken from a comfortable middle class family with seemingly no issues to the outside world until they get to the point where they will take their own life just when they have supposedly achieved everything they’ve desired? Can that person be brought back from the brink? Or is it too late to do anything once that decision is made?
Suicide is a conclusion of a scream that no one has listened to for a long time. It’s not a cowardly act, but one that occurs because the individual sees no way out of the emotional or physical pain they’ve been living with for a very long time.
What can bring about that pain? In The Lie, it’s a simple thing, an avoidance of the responsibility a young woman has always taken seriously. But she soon discovers that isn’t just the only issue.
A lie, once told, is like ripples in the pond. They spread increasingly further away from the source, until they encompass the whole body of water. In my latest young adult novel, I’m exploring a teen that tells a lie. It’s not a big lie. The whole thing was supposed to be a practical joke… until it went horribly wrong.
This is where the guilt associated with the lie comes into play. How can one go one with their life if they are constantly thinking about the consequences of this fib? Does the person who believes they’re guilty of causing pain and grief just forget everything and move on with their life? Do they wallow in guilt? Confess their transgression?
All of that and more is explored in a complex teen story told from two viewpoints. The allegedly requisite happily ever after ending is missing here. It’s more of a bad event and then life moves forward, but not in a way it was planned.