Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Made Up Problems

Many of my brothers and sisters work with kids. Shell helps them develop; Mark oversees their physical education; Patty home schools them; Mary raises them; Bob… well, I could go on, but there’s only so many gigs of space on the internet.

I work with kids too, sometimes. But I think the sibs have it easy. Their kids aren’t imaginary.

I spent today staring really hard at a wall, my bookshelf, the screen door, and the lights above my desk (two regular bulbs, one twisty fluorescent power saving bulb, one burnt out bulb), all while trying to figure out what a certain pretend kid needs (psychically) that can only be provided by a babysitter from an alien dimension.

I got notes from the producers on my first draft on Monday; and several people from my writer’s group sent in notes as well. So I have a rewrite due in a few days. But that can’t be done with knowing about this kid’s personal needs.

Shell can interview her kids and watch their behavior to figure them out.

That’s what I do, too; but what happens when the kid won’t talk or act? Just sit there waiting for me to tell him what to do, as if I’m supposed to know?

(Actually, I’m guessing Michelle has encountered the same problem.)

If Mark has trouble with a kid, he can just make ‘em do extra laps. (I know this to be true; I have listened to Bill Cosby.)

Maybe I should make my make-believe kid do laps. Maybe I should change the babysitter into a gym teacher. Yeah, there’s an idea!

So now I have a kid doing laps, and a gym teacher that fulfills his needs in an unknown way.


Back to work.

The kid. The kid. The kid. Maybe I should replace that bulb. Does being twisty really save energy? Right, the kid…

And so it goes…

Just my thoughts,



Anonymous said...

The problem is "needs." There are lots of things kids want from aliens: space ships, ray guns, travel to exotic places, etc. But needs, that's much harder.

Maybe proof of something? The child needs to prove to the science teacher that he was right in about a detail in his science fair project on Mars...

Maybe the babysitter brings something that solves a parallel problem like the kid is socially alienated?

A certain kind of mineral found in space cures the kid's rare disease?

Some kind of special power that allows the kid to time travel? do his laps faster? beat up the monster gym teacher?

But my best idea is this; the alien babysitter provides the kid with a much needed plot point.

Can't go wrong with that...

Anonymous said...

Most often children are looking for attention or acceptance but in the world of aliens wouldn't it be nice if the aliens cells were better than embroynic cells. If given within the right developmental time period they could cure Autism, cancer, MS, cerebral palsey or any one of the degenerative diseases. As we know kids often have thoughts of "I wish my brother/sister were gone/not here/ not born." Tremendous guilt comes when that sibling really becomes sick. Most kids think their thoughts have magical powers especially if the family is religious. Then the deity could hear their thoughts and grant wishes. It becomes all their fault. How nice it would be if they could save the day.

Darker yet maybe the alien has a potion that would turn mom's drug addiction into a wish for twizzlers or HoHo's or maybe it would turn Dad's fist into a sponge everytime he tried to beat mom or the kids. That would be a good use of aliens.