This is really several topics, but I want to try to tie it all into one entry. Something tells me I won't be able to do so deftly. We'll see...
1. I did a little brainstorming with
where I described a few of my ideas (mostly for characters and situations) and she asked me questions and offered ideas she had that sprung from those. I still have A LOT to consider, but one of the things she said (which is a totally new spin on my previous idea) is really taking shape in mind. I think I have a tendency in my writing to think of outrageous things, then take a step back and say, Okay, so how can I make this work? So, that's what I'm doing right now. I'm considering the angles and trying to come up with motivations that make sense.
2. I recently read an essay called "Lies We Tell Kids." It discusses how adults are involved in this almost unspoken conspiracy to mislead children, and while it isn't necessarily a bad thing that we do this, the writer wanted to examine which lies we tell and why. A statement that really hit home for me was this: If a kid asked you who won the World Series in 1982 or what the atomic weight of carbon was, you could probably just tell him. But if a kid asks you "Is there a God?" or "What's a prostitue?" you'll probably say "Ask your parents."
I have to admit, I am not a fan of lying to kids about anything. Then again, I don't have kids. Maybe if I did, I'd feel differently. But my stomach gets twisted in knots just imagining myself trying to do the whole Santa Claus thing with some hypothetical future offspring. I honestly and truly understand the appeal and the fun of it; I was a believer myself for a few years during my childhood. But even though there are obviously millions who disagree, I'm not sure that the cost outweighs the benefit. Maybe, probably, I was just a weird kid, but I hated it when I came to realize adults had been lying to me for years (about this and other things). It shook my trust.
3. So, this article and my recent story brainstorming made me think of the movie THE PARENT TRAP. I remember loving the Hayley Mills version of this movie as a kid. (I've never seen the Lindsay Lohan remake.) But I also remember being extremely bothered by the fact that the parents split up and didn't, you know, bother telling the girls they had an identical twin who lived with the other parent! The girls just went through their childhoods separate, not knowing the other existed. Why didn't either parent tell the truth or ever attempt to see their other daughter? Their break up was so bitter that they didn't want any further contact? Forever? Whatever!
Anyway. Yes, it's a Disney movie, and the original was released in 1961. Back then maybe people were even less honest with their kids than they are now about those sorts of things. But the remake was in 1998, and from the plot synopses I read today, it seems that the filmmakers still didn't address a satisying (for me) motivation for the parents' decade-long deception (although they did have one twin and her mother live in London and the other in California to make it more plausible that the girls wouldn't have found out about each other sooner).
4. Okay, so I'm not planning to write any kind of PARENT TRAP remake here. But I am spending a lot of time considering the types of lies parents/adults tell their kids, whether I can make motivation for telling some whopping lies plausible and/or sympathetic, and how I might tie it into the story. Also, I'm thinking about the impact there might be for a teen to have a parent of the opposite extreme: one whose refusal to lie goes to the point of saying way too much.