Thursday, April 3, 2014

C IS FOR CRUTCH

C is for Crutch  (Skim to the underlined genre or style that best suits you.)

Ideas can’t be copyrighted, so the ideas I will be posting Monday through Saturday during April are free for any of you to use.

I recently read in Rob Parnell’s book on writing Romance (genre romance, not literary love stories) that you can’t have a protagonist with a disability (which really irritates me). But I don’t think that necessarily means you can’t have a protagonist with a “temporary” disability. Imagine some good looking guy who appears a bit clumsy maneuvering around on crutches, and naturally wearing a hot pink cast, but who will undoubtedly be the perfect match for your heroine by the time his foot heals and his brain smacks around his arrogant side enough to let his romantic side get her attention. After all – what if they met at the hospital? Seems plausible to me. (My daughter’s boyfriend is wearing a hot pink cast right now. It’s her favorite color.)

So put on that neon cast, grab a pair of crutches, and let your characters fall in love.

Now what about in a Mystery? Imagine that outside the window, instead of footprints there are imprints the size of a half dollar. Imprints from the bottom of crutches, and not even one shoe or boot print? How can that be? Surely the guy had to put his weight on his good foot at least once in a while. Or, did somebody use crutches purposely to throw off investigators, to cause confusion or cast doubt on some hobbling but innocent character. Or, if you don’t like the footprints/imprint idea, maybe a receipt was found on the floor, a receipt to a manufacturing company that makes crutches. Was the receipt dropped by the murderer? Possibly, because the victim is not on crutches, has no need to order crutches by bulk or a single pair … unless they’re aluminum crutches and somehow hollow, filled with cocaine or some other weird drug, and then shipped to an unsavory party. It could happen.

Literary? Oh my, my. What a good literary writer couldn’t do with a solid pair of crutches. Or maybe, a not so solid pair. Consider that Constance, already thirty-five years old, hobbled down the aisle full of hope and using a pair of crutches when she finally squeaked out, “I do.” The need for crutches may have been a sign, something she overlooked. Something that has been speaking loudly to her ever since that day. It not only followed her, it somehow shaped her. You can take it from there, you wizard of a writer.

Also consider a character using another character as a crutch. A character not actually a love interest, but one who fears the crutch character may complete him or her in a way he or she “might” not be able to live without. Like an addiction.

Children’s writers. There’s a natural tendency for teasing with children (unfortunate but true) , and crutches can trigger teasing. If the main character is on crutches, imagine the talk on the playground. Imagine that the need for crutches came about the day before a big race (and thus, the character let down teammates). Or, imagine that some creative child wanted to build a fort and used Grandpa’s crutches for supports. That could make some interesting dinner conversation for said child.

What ideas can you pull off the top of your head? If you can offer some ideas in genres I didn’t cover, such as horror, sci-fi, or fantasy, please share! My readers will appreciate it.

Happy writing!

32 comments:

  1. For horror - what about one of the characters having to fight off the monster/demon/ghost with the crutches? Or the sidekick, who is on crutches, can't get away from the creature and decides to sacrifice himself or herself to save the protagonist? What if a character looks like a harmless person on crutches but is really a cover for the evil character/demon/monster?

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption
    Minion, Capt. Alex's Ninja Minion Army
    The 2014 Blogging from A-Z Challenge

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    1. Great ideas, Madeline. Thanks for your input.

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  2. a crutch can be literal or an allegory. I lean more towards the allegory than the literal, although, if it's needed in the story, by all means, go for it. :)
    <3
    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
    My A to Z
    Caring for My Veteran

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    1. I like the allegory side to it too, but I wanted to offer both.
      Thanks for stopping by.
      Best,
      Deb

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  3. I had to use crutches after surgery in HS. There's definitely a novel in there somewhere. :)

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    1. No doubt, there is a novel there. My husband was on crutches for six weeks, and it was during a time that we were getting heavy snows here. It was the first time in 20 years I had to use the shovel, because he couldn't. Actually, I learn to do a lot of things that I used to do all the time, but didn't have to since he took on certain duties while I took on others. Shoveling was on his list until he broke his leg. Definitely not a fun time for me. We have snow blower, but it decided to quit that week. Go figure. :-)

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  4. You can't have a protagonist with a disability? That irritates me too. What's he saying? Are the disabled unattractive? Unworthy of love? I wish I could think of an example, but all that comes to mind is Forest Gump.

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    1. He's talking specifically about the romance genre, which follows certain conventions and expectations. Forest Gump is a literary work, and so that doesn't have to follow the same guidelines. The literary love stories don't either, so to me they are less restrictive because they reflect real life which can have handicapped people and people with depression in people with warts on their faces. But then, being literary, they don't have to end happily ever after. :-)

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  5. I think you may have just given me something to work with on a mystery, Deb. But not because the character is disabled, let's just say he uses a crutch anyway. I don't know, I'll have to think about it. I agree with the horror comment above, it's a good one.
    Btw, I read your comment on my post today, and couldn't stop laughing. Think you'll be a bit surprised at tomorrow's post, though. :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, and I'm anxious and excited to read your post tomorrow. I will be wearing a turtleneck sweater and holding a crucifix, just in case. Glad you liked the ideas posted here.
      Best,
      Deb

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  6. Hi--Stopping by from the A-Z and a new follower. I love your theme, and your posts are sources of endless "what ifs." What great fun! I'll be back to see what else you do.

    Actually, romance is the genre in which I write, and you CAN have a disabled hero. You just need to balance his disability with other things that would make him attractive to women. I know this sounds shallow, but readers read romance to escape. They may fall in love with a hero's disabilities by the end of the story, but in order to be drawn to him in the first place, he needs to possess some qualities that help the reader to get over the disability barrier. I once read about a hero who was a paraplegic, but boy, he had strong arms, and was building his own home. Plus, he was successful--was building a very nice home. Plus, he was loving and kind, and helped the heroine succeed in her career.

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    1. Good to know. I wasn't very happy when I read that in Rob's book. It was not phrased as a suggestion, it was a so-called rule. Maybe the rule was from the thought of what the bulk of most publishers are looking for, which leaves out those wonderful ones who are willing to take a risk and do something different.

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  7. Crutch in a mystery!! So cool! Imagination is running!! :) Thanks!

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    1. You bet. Keep me posted if your imagination takes you into a story with the crutch. :-)

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  8. Crutches can be made out of saplings, too. The Ranger definitely needs one after his leg was torn up when he and his companions were attacked by a pack of wolves while on their way to the neighboring castle...

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  9. Yes I liked this idea, great post to make you think.

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    1. Thanks! I'm on my way to your wonderful blog now.

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  10. I hate it when someone says 'You can't...' Just about the time someone says that, a writer somewhere manages to pull it off.

    I especially hate someone saying 'You can't have crutches.' It seems pretty rough on those who really are disabled.

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    1. I agree. That's exactly what I thought when I read it – what, somebody with a handicap can't fall in love or be loved? Ridiculous! Anyway, Chuck, I am so glad to see you here. Now that you can see what I'm doing, participating in the A-Z challenge, which requires me to write one little post a day, and the joy of reading a ton of others posts by very good writers and artists and interesting people, you will probably understand then why I'm a little behind on responding to emails. But I haven't forgotten you, and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
      Glad to see you here. Feel free to click on some of the links of people who have left comments here. You will learn a lot and meet a lot of wonderful people. I'd also love it if you joined as a follower to my blog. :-)

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  11. When I think crutch, I think Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol. Don't know if I could write anything with a crutch that could rival that.

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  12. Super! I thought about Fantasy where a character can leave their crutches behind when they enter their secret world. I spent my childhood looking for the portal to Narnia not to escape a disability but to find adventure and be courageous.

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    1. Thanks – I was looking for that same portal. I wanted to live in Narnia!

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  13. Great theme and foul on the no disabled characters. What is he talking about? Nothing more love and swoon worthy then one character taking care of another.

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    1. I agree. Like I said, it really irritated me. Funny thing as, as I was reading them book, my wonderfully romantic husband was on crutches. :-)

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  14. I would definitely be in the literary genre. So much meaning to impart to those crutches! A lot of good literary fiction deals with quirky characters and their psychological makeup. That totally appeals to me.

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    1. Yes, quirky characters always grabbed me right away. I'm with you on that, though I love a good romance. But I wouldn't enjoy one where the characters had to be perfect – I like real people. :-)

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  15. Those are all very imaginative ideas. I especially like the mystery protagonist perhaps using crutches to throw off the scene of the crime or even distort an eyewitness description. Not sure why someone with a disability can't be the romantic protagonist? Is that just physical or include mental and emotional? I can think of several novels I've read with protagonists who were disabled. He must be talking about formulaic standard?

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    1. Yep, formulaic standard, so if you want to get published by Harlequin ... :-)

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  16. These are all interesting scenarios, Debi. Never once thought about the fact that having a disability in romance is frowned on. Makes me understand better why self-publishing has taken off in the way it has.

    J.L. Campbell writes at The Character Depot and the Jamaican Kid Lit Blog.

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  17. I read a romance where the heroine was wheelchair bound - it worked just fine. Don't see why it should be a no-no at all!

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