Believe it or not, I did it.
I completed a semi-detailed chapter outline and synopsis of the book I will be writing, and I want to share it.
First, though, a few details about the book. It will be a novel, roughly 20,000 words, written in third person. My age range is about 10-12, though, as you will see, it will definitely be for mature 10-12 year olds. So, with no more ado, I present my story.
Molly is 12 years old and stuck in Modesto for the summer with nothing to do but babysit her younger brother. Her mom works two jobs, but there is no extra money for a babysitter or for Molly to go do things with her friends. Her only escape is her imagination, but that gets her into trouble.
She is constantly daydreaming and pretending to be somewhere and someone else. Molly finds herself in trouble for burning dinner, neglecting her brother and forgetting to to put the rent check in the mail box.
When she forgets to give her brother his cold medicine and he gets very sick, Molly feels guilty and responsible, until her mother explains that he has cancer, and forgetting the cold medicine had nothing to do with it.
Molly struggles to reconcile her emotions. She is devastated and sad, but sometimes she feels happy, sometimes she has fun and sometimes she forgets to feel sad, but she always feels guilty after. She has to learn that it is ok to be happy or have fun even when she is sad.
If you are still reading and want even more, here is my semi-detailed chapter-by-chapter outline.
1. Introduction of Molly and her family, set the scene for a boring summer, but Molly’s teacher tells her an imagination can take her places she can’t otherwise visit.
2. Her first imaginary adventure: she is a princess secret agent on a mission to save her country by recovering stolen top secret documents.
3. Molly is responsible for dinner tonight, but she gets caught up imagining how cute her newly-assigned partner is.
4. Molly’s mom comes home to find dinner ruined and Molly running wild (in her mind, anyway). Molly gets in trouble, and is sent to bed without dinner.
5. Molly’s brother sneaks his dinner in to her room to share and Molly tells him about her imaginary adventures, and he wants to join the fun.
6. Molly and her partner have to rescue a very important person who was kidnapped– her brother.
7. Molly is charged with mailing a letter, but after she and her partner rescue her brother, all three of them are pursued.
8. Molly’s mom finds the letters ect on the table, and now the rent is late and she has to pay a fee, and she isn’t happy with Molly.
9. It’s Molly’s birthday! But she’ll have to imagine it’s fun because the late fee used up the money her mother had saved up for her birthday. In her imaginary world, Molly get in a fight with her father the king, and she is removed from secret agent duty.
10. Molly’s brother has a cold and Molly has to take care of him. But she is busy sneaking out to continue pursuing her nemesis, the kidnapper/thief.
11. Molly forgets to give her brother his medicine, and now he is even worse. Molly lies about forgetting the medicine and Her mother takes him to the emergency roo. Molly starts to feel guilty.
12. When her brother isn’t getting any better, Molly confesses everything to her mom, explaining why it’s her fault. Her mother tells her that the doctors found cancer, and Moll’s forgetfulness had nothing to do with her brother’s sickness.
13. Molly’s brother gets to come home with a nurse, but he isn’t getting any better. Molly is so upset she can’t even play pretend any more.
14. Molly’s brother wants her to play pretend with him so she makes an effort. Then she decides to surprise him with a little play.
15. Molly recruits her friends for the play and they practice. Her mother gets a work bonus and uses it to buy treats to make the play more special.
16. The play is a success, Molly’s brother loves it and everyone has fun. But then her brother gets more sick and has to go back to the hospital.
17. Molly and her mother spend a long night waiting in the hospital, and the news is bad.
18. Molly’s brother is dying, but he wants Molly to keep playing pretend, he tells her she can imagine he is playing with her. Then he dies.
19. The nurse who stayed with them sees Molly at the funeral and tells Molly her imagination can help her accept the hurt, even when life doesn’t make sense.
20. Molly misses her brother and meets him again in her imagination, where they have great fun. But when she comes back to reality, she feels guilty for the fun. Her mother helps her understand that it’s ok to have happy moments and have fun even when she is sad.
I know that this story will be intense for children, but I feel like it is important for several reasons. Childhood cancer is so prominent now, it touches so many kids, it’s relevant. And so is the message that it’s ok to be ok. I had a hard time accepting that at the age of 20, feeling guilty that I wasn’t moping around because I was sad. It’s ok to function, even have fun and be happy, when there is something sad in your life. Just because we don’t mope and cry all the time doesn’t mean we don’t care or feel less sad, it simply means we are giving ourselves the freedom to still live, and that is a message I want to share.