Friday, October 22, 2010
Teens, Trekkies, and Heroic Ideal
I remember back when I was just a reader I thought authors knew everything about their worlds and how they worked. Naturally, authors who’ve been around know a whole lot, but I’m a brand new baby author and, let me tell you, I feel pretty stupid most of the time. Much of what I do know I learned right here on this blog, like Theme.
Ophelia is a Trekkie. She’s the heroine of my YA SFR, Sugar Rush. Why is she a Trekkie? It all comes down to Theme. The story’s theme is Achieving the Freedom to Live.
Ophelia and her sister are obsessed with movies. They live in a small, isolated Alaskan town. Movies, via a massive DVD collection, and the Internet are their windows to the world. Ophelia’s favorite movies happen to be Star Trek. Ophelia went to a real movie theater in the big city when she was diagnosed with diabetes at age nine and her sister has never been to one.
This brings to mind a hilarious movie starring Eddie Murphy, Daddy Daycare. He’s an unemployed dad who opens a daycare with a friend. (I used to be a professional childcare provider, so I loved this movie.)
After overcoming some initial bias against male childcare providers, they begin caring for a few children. One little boy seems to speak only gibberish. When Eddie must hire a new dad-care provider, the new employee, a Trekkie, immediately recognizes that the little boy is speaking Klingon, a fictional language from the Star Trek universe. Very sweet, but I was most intrigued by the little boy who constantly wears a superhero costume. He wears the costume of a superhero, because he’s working through his fear of the new daycare situation. A superhero fears nothing, you know. Once the little boy learns to trust his new caregivers, he takes off the costume.
The bad guys have Ophelia cornered like an animal in Sugar Rush. She’s a smart girl desperate to be free, but she hasn’t figured out her own strengths or how to use them. Like the little boy wearing the superhero costume, she clutches a Captain Janeway Christmas tree ornament (her boyfriend gave it to her) at her father’s funeral in the first half of the book. Her courage matures over the course of the story, however, and by the last battle she’s on her own.
A hero or heroic ideal helps even an adult focus and believe in themselves. In the story, it’s not enough for Ophelia to have a perfect grade point average. She needs to believe herself capable.
And that is why Ophelia is a Trekkie.
Speaking of heroes, the authors of this blog helped me believe I could achieve publication too, and here I am! A great, big, huge THANK YOU!Kimber An