Now that I think I know how the climax of Truth About Truman is going to go (I’m still working up to that in my revision…), I decided I better check out the situation with a few school people to make sure it’s realistic before I get too excited. In light of what happened at Pret–excuse me, JUNIOR HIGH KID’S school a few weeks ago when they had that lockdown, I realized that even though my story deals with a completely different situation, there’s enough overlap between it and what happened at Junior High Kid’s school, that the way I originally wrote my ending is probably NOT the way things would play out in a real school. (I did a lot of reading before I wrote that scene the first time around, but I never actually talked to anyone at a school.)
When Junior High Kid’s school was locked down, they found two pellet guns. Junior High Kid says he knows that “somebody” was sent to a juvenile detention facility (admittedly, it’s possibe this information was obtained through the rumor mill rather than through a truly reliable source), but he doesn’t know WHO was sent away. Well, of course he doesn’t! There are privacy laws where juveniles are concerned! Duh. I knew that. So why did I ever write this big school assembly scene Truth About Truman the way I did? Obviously, I wasn’t thinking.
So I’ve been contacting every school counselor, principal and even one superintendent (my former 9th grade English teacher!) I can think of who would be willing to answer a few questions about the situation in my story. (Surprisingly enough, the counselor at Junior High Kid’s school has not gotten back to me…I know it’s a busy time of year, and he doesn’t know me at all, but I do find it interesting that I’m hearing from people in L.A., for example, but not from someone right here in town. Perhaps he doesn’t believe me when I say this is a FICTIONAL situation???? Believe me, if this was real, and it involved MY Junior High Kid, I wouldn’t be e-mailing; I’d be in that counselor’s office and I wouldn’t leave until he talked to me!)
I have to say, I really enjoy the research aspect of being an author. Most people are really very willing to talk to authors about what they do or what they’ve experienced. And I’m learning a lot that will help as I sit down to rewrite this climax one more time.
Is it possible I became a fiction writer just so I’d have an excuse to ask people lots of nosy questions?