Little Pieces of Daniel- Part 2

Another old man, a tall one leaning on a cane, with Daniel’s bright blue eyes and straight nose, comes into the picture. This is Uncle… Frank, and he must be a great-uncle if he’s that old. Why he isn’t a grampa, I don’t know.

I do know that Frank is a retired GM man. I don’t think he’s a millionaire, so he wasn’t a top manager, but he’s well enough off that he had planned to spend his retirement years traveling the world with his wife.

I know next to zilp about the career structure of car companies, but I’m assuming something like an engineer must make some darn good money. The problem is, I know a car engineer, and all he wants to talk about is car stuff, which I couldn’t care less about and have no intention of researching, for the same reason. Obviously, if Frank was an engineer, he’d want to talk about cars, so I think I’m just going to leave it very open as to what he did.

Anyway, his wife died before they could get much traveling in, and like most men, he felt depressed and lost without her for several months. It was probably his brother who suggested that Frank visit the town where they grew up. It was much different when he got there, of course. The house where they lived had been torn down and bank sat in its’ place.

This too sort of depressed him, but he found the old pharmacy, now a greasy spoon restaurant, where he got his first job. There he found our old man with the tattered sweater, savoring tomato soup and asking the waitress for more crackers, not to sop up his soup, but because he was still hungry and can’t afford more.

Frank is a kind hearted man, and offered to buy this man his lunch. In the course of their conversation, he found out that “Burt” was a retired doctor, and his very first case in this town had been saving Frank’s sister’s life.

After taking “Doctor Burt” home to a dilapidated trailer park, and seeing the horrible conditions he and other residents lived in, due mostly to an absentee and heartless landlord, Frank decided to buy the place. And thus, Frank found his joy.

NOTE: Obviously there must be much more to that story, and I will get back to it eventually. But for now, Lucy’s description keeps niggling at me, and anyone who’s ever tried ignoring their “muse,” knows that he can get mighty persistent and noisy.

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Little Pieces of Daniel- Part 1

Little pieces of Daniel’s character and story kept coming to me at odd times, which is something that seems to happen to a lot of fiction writers, isn’t it? One morning, I woke up to the sound of the guys next door pounding in roofing nails, (at 6:30, no less; I was not happy,) and suddenly knew that Daniel knew how to fix things around a house, something he learned from his dad while they were renovating an old house.

I could see Daniel at 15 years old, even at 12, watching and learning from his dad how to fix a toilet, but I don’t think he liked fixing things, and figuring out what was wrong with them, as much as he liked creating things with wood. He strikes me as someone, even at a young age, who loves perfection and precision, things that sometimes frustrated his dad, who just wanted to get the job done.

When I pictured Daniel working in my mind, however, he didn’t seem to be in a house, or even an apartment. It took a few days to figure out Daniel was fixing something in a trailer, and an old one at that.  I thought, a trailer? Daniel isn’t a trailer type person; you know, the proverbial “trailer trash,” and sweet, delicate Lucy most certainly isn’t. Young girls who wear hand knit sweaters made from the expensive yarn, don’t live in trailers, nor do young men who are smart enough to be fire fighting students. So how did they end up there with their youngest sister? And where was Dad? How come he wasn’t there?

Well, I’ve heard from several writing sources that one good technique to use when you’re stuck on a plotting problem, is to work backwards. Pondering this conundrum on my walk one night, I saw that an old man in a patched sweater was watching Daniel fix the door of his trailer. He’s telling Daniel about the old days, when he used to doctor people around here. Ah! I thought, the old man was a retired doctor. Then why was he living in poverty? Doctors, even the old ones, make quite a lot of money during their working life, so why was he so poor now, having to live with another old man, possibly his brother, just to make his bills? (I haven’t figured that part out yet.)

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What If Harry Was A Muggle?

What if… Harry Potter was a muggle? That is the thought that crossed my mind when I first conceived the concept of “Daniel.” Harry is extremely brave, he’s kind hearted, and in wanting to keep his friends out of danger, he wants to work alone, even though he knows he can’t always figure things out without them.

When the series ended this year with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the actor who played Harry, Daniel Radcliffe, was 21 years old. I’ve read several interviews from Daniel, and he’s a smart young man, with a good head on his shoulders, who hasn’t been corrupted by Hollywood. He’s had many excellent mentors that have helped to keep him straight, including wise parents.

But it wasn’t Daniel (Radcliffe’s) characterization that kept niggling me with a story line; it was Harry’s, although his background kept changing on me, and is now totally different. He had a mom, who died of cancer when he was about 18. Because of his mom’s long illness, and his dad’s long work days as a fire-fighter, “Daniel” basically raised his two sisters, Lucy and Jaime. Daniel had to be a man long before he reached the legal age, much like Harry.

By the way, I emphatically DID NOT simply steal Daniel’s name, or what he looks like. The character himself has told me repeatedly that is what his name is, and he won’t let me change it. So there.

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