It’s unusual for me to have such a hard time deciding upon the storyline for a book. But this topic is so grave, so sensitive, and so illusive in its magnitude of emotions that sometimes I feel as though I’m grasping at air. Even the air itself is varied in scope and feeling. Some observations highlight the brilliance of the minds that have been accused of mediocrity or down right ignorance, and others enhance the confusion felt by those with social behavioral disorders. Even the label assigned their conditions, social… behavioral… disorder…, sends the message that these individuals are defective in some way. While they struggle to build a life among “normies,” they must factor in how their depression, ADD, ADHD, bi-polar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and the worst, schizophrenia might topple their day… every day. They need to relearn how to communicate to others who don’t have the task of rewiring their brain in order to take part in regular conversation.
And here is the challenge I’m having as a writer. Because the basis of my books concentrates on social issues, the subject could (without much tweaking) be a depressing story of the sadness that emanates from the social issue. I have always strived to create storylines with adventure and develop characters who are fun. Yet, as soon as I get close to where I want the piece to go, the reality of the abject anguish and suffering people with mental disorders endure glares back at me. I realize that these characters must be molded with care. Their hearts must reveal a depth in personality, but the reader must be made to see their everyday struggle to cope with the world around them, but experience a tad of fun, too. It has been a daunting task.
Every writer has his/her own way of organizing their research, and my approach starts with character development. I begin by modelling a character based upon someone or an aggregate of “someones” I have met via interviews or observations. I let them bounce around in my brain a bit, and when I get a clear picture of what is meant to be, I begin. The process can be painstaking and take awhile to complete. However, once completed, the story starts to evolve. However, with the characters in Wildflowers, there is a profound responsibility to portray them and their physical and social anxieties, without coming off as mocking or flippant. This obligation is enormous. The pressure is on!