The Walrus Speaks (and other Tales from High School)
By: Inara Scott
Let me start by saying I didn’t go to Delcroix Academy and I don’t have superpowers. I know, a disappointment to you all, but I don't want to mislead anyone. Now, I’m sure you’re expecting me to delve into my deep emotional trauma and tell you all how I hated high school, how the cool kids picked on the nerdy kids, and how it was all very Glee-like with slurpees in the face.
Sorry. I will have to disappoint.
Not about the emotional trauma – I mean I did play a walrus in the school musical.
Yeah, the walrus was pretty bad. And I was awfully nerdy. Look at these glasses. Anyone want to challenge my nerd-card?
Okay, but here’s the thing. I actually enjoyed high school. Despite the occasional humiliating walrus incident, and what should have been some severe nerdy glasses-related trauma, I had a good time there.
I went to a public high school in Buffalo, NY. It was small and academically-oriented. It felt to me like everyone there had a unique talent, be it for drama or debate or political science. We didn’t have a football team and weren’t known for our sports (though as a swimmer, I can tell you our swim team rocked, and I think the cross-country team was pretty amazing). We did have great teachers and nice kids who pretty much all got along with each other.
This takes me to the first rule of fiction: nice people who get along are B-O-R-I-N-G. I defy you to find one good book that features nice people getting along. YOU CANNOT DO IT. Because you need a conflict to make a story. Conflict + character = story. It’s that simple.
When I looked back on high school, I knew I was going to have to find more than nice kids getting along with each other. I figured readers weren’t really interested in the walrus incident. Makes for a good picture, but not a good story. Unfortunately, the nerdy glasses would never sustain someone’s interest for 300 pages either. But the group of talented individuals, each one having something special? That had more promise. Especially if you created a mystery to go with those talents. And some intrigue, perhaps around whether the talents were good or bad. That had the potential for conflict.
So I started with the talents (especially talents with dangerous results), and then layered in a creepy administration with questionable motives. Characters? How about a girl who accidentally blows things up, a good boy (or is he?), and a bad boy (or is he?) and voila! I had my puzzle pieces. Conflict. Character. A story.
So that’s how my high school influenced Delcroix Academy. And that’s me, rocking out at the senior prom. Just to show you that even walruses know how to have fun. :D
I'd like to give a huge thanks to Inara for the fun guest post! I hope you all enjoyed it and will remember to check out here debut YA novel if you haven't already. Stay tuned because there will be a contest for Delcroix Academy: The Candidates tomorrow. Those who comment on this post prior to the contest going up will get two extra entries. Thanks for stopping by! :D