June 7, 2016


Each Tuesday, rather than a POSSIBLY IRRITATING ESSAY, I'd like to both challenge you and lend a helping hand. I generate more speculative and teen story ideas than I can ever use. My family rolls its collective eyes when I say, "Hang on a second! I just have to write down this idea..." Here, I'll include the initial inspiration (quote, website, podcast, etc) and then a thought or two that came to mind. These will simply be seeds -- plant, nurture, fertilize, chemically treat, irradiate, test or stress them as you see fit. I only ask if you let me know if anything comes of them.

Change of pace for a bit – I’m going to look at elements of EXTREMELY popular SF, F, and H; break them apart and use each element as a jumping of point for a story idea…

Popular Horror Story/Series: Goosebumps Books

H Trope: Abusive Parents

Austin Ventura stood in his room. What should he do? What could he do? Carlos Rodriguez Cruz – his best friend since kindergarten – had run off somewhere. Worse yet, he’d been gone for anywhere from a few minutes to four hours. Austin texted Carlos’ sister, Paulina, “You still there?”

“Not going anywhere. Really.”

“Can I come over?”



“Meet me at the school.”

“I can get there in ten.”

“No car. Give me an hour.”


“I can come and get you,” Austin clicked. He waited. His screen dimmed to dark. She wasn’t going to answer. Shaking his head, he left the house, walking out the

front door. Mom and Dad had long ago given up trying to keep him in the place – he’d “escaped” so many times…and they’d had to pick him up from the police station for curfew violations so many times, that they’d finally said if he was going to go out whenever he felt like it, he could pick himself up.

They refused. He tested their resolve exactly once. That was the night he had to walk home from down town Minneapolis. His parents insisted the cops turn him out. The also lied about how far away they lived – they said they were staying in a nearby hotel. It had been just before Christmas. Austin was twelve.

When a cop car stopped to nab him, it turned out it was the same one who’d grabbed him the first time. The lady had said, “Your parents made you walk home?”

Miserable – even in his fancy Columbia ReflectiveHeat Brand – in just his jacket and Converses, the cop relented and gave him a ride home. When he dropped Austin off in front of the mansion, he’d leaned forward, looked at the entryway and said softly, “I can file for child abuse if you want...”

“No!” Austin had exclaimed. The publicity would ruin Dad. Mom would never speak to him again. “I’ve learned my lesson.”

The cop had made a face, shrugged and said, “Suit yourself, kid. But if you ever change your mind,” he’d squirted a contact email to Austin’s cellphone then went on his way.

Austin-in-the-present shook his head and sighed, the only lesson he’d learned that night was that he had to be a helluva lot sneakier from then on. And he’d learned exactly how mad Dad could get. He set off to meet Paulina.

Names: ♂ Mexico, Mexico; ♂ Minnesota, Italy (= “baby in the woods”, “foundling”); ♀ Spanish form of French name

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