The school year has begun, and I sat down with my family this weekend to our last supper before the school year started. I asked each family member what their goals were for this year. It appears that this is our last year in Florida. It is a bittersweet realization that this is the last 10 months in our home. I love it here, and I hope that my husband can find a way for us all to stay for another year, yet with each passing day I feel more and more ready for the next step in our lives.
Anyway, back to the goal discussion, it was really cool to hear what my daughter’s goals were. She’s 9, and every goal she had was a positive change, and not something like improve my score on Skylanders :). Her first goal was to become a better writer. She said that she was not happy that her grades were lower in grammar, spelling, and vocabulary. She wanted to be a straight-A student, and she struggles in those subjects. Because she is an honor student, she doesn’t receive help with them at school. She also wanted to improve her violin playing, and perhaps go to an art and music specialty school at our next base. She wanted to improve her physical conditioning, and wants to get her black belt in TaiKwanDo. Finally, she wants to make a new friend at school.
My son wasn’t really into discussing his goals, but my goal for him was to get him reading and writing, and get him ready for the next step in his schooling. We would ideally like to get him back to school.
My husband’s main goal was to not get fired. He also discussed some of the newest things he would like to do with the squadron before his change of command. He wants to leave the squadron in a positive light.
It comes to my goal, and my new blog. I have come to slow realization that I will not be able to go back to work in a traditional sense. I love writing passionately, and I would like to get back to it. I don’t need a 180-day deployment to inspire me to write. I am going to work primarily on my second novel. I am going to hire a editor (in the writing community I freelance for), and get my first manuscript published once and for all. I’m going to start dedicating more time to the craft, and perhaps sell ad space and try to make this blog a source of income. This last week, I invested some capital into the blog– if you noticed, I purchased jodisgoing180.com! I changed the layout.
So welcome to the new and improved Jodi’s Going 180…
I’m going to talk about my new novel, even though the first one is not yet published. I’m tabling “Adam and Eve” for a little bit, because the timing doesn’t feel right to me. I’m going to delve a little bit into plot, character development, tell you a little bit about why I have decided to do a typical “ADD” thing and change mid-course, but first I’ll give you a little bit (OK, a lot of background).
I love superheroes. I have always loved superheroes, particularly the vulnerable ones. The superheroes, who are imperfect, flawed, make mistakes, have missteps, have good intentions that sometimes go awry. The problem is that every single one of the superheroes I love are men. None of the female superheroes I used to watch in television and the movies were ones I particularly enjoy. They always took a back seat to men. Most of the women heroes in movies, television, etc are clones of men. For example, Super Girl. She is from the same planet as Superman. She shows up on Earth, and does pretty much the same exact thing as Superman, except she’s a girl. Same thing with Batgirl. Wonder Woman is the only one that kind of breaks this model, but she came into being in the post-feminine era. I’m not a huge fan, because ultimately she is still a “sex symbol” rather than a hero (that’s just my humble opinion). The more complex super hero female characters are side characters– Storm (manipulates the weather), but she is often overshadowed by Wolverine, Cyclops, or Nightcrawler. The women of the X-Men, who have the more interesting powers are the villains– Mystic (shape shifting is awesome) and Catwoman– a combination of the same bad ass skills as Batman, but killer costume and character added.
Besides superheroes, as of late there have been many strong central female characters. The first of these characters is Princess Leia from “Star Wars.” I think about it this way, this woman was tortured physically and mentally, and still didn’t give up the location of the rebel base, despite her home planet being destroyed. Another strong character I really appreciated was Hermoine Granger from “Harry Potter”. Hermoine was unique in that she was far more talented and intelligent than her male counterparts, but she was a secondary character in the entire series. Readers (and film goers) watched her (and Emma Watson) grow up in front of our eyes. But in every novel and movie it was highlighted that she was a incredibly witch, and she was also amazingly smart. Finally, one of my most favorite modern feminine hero is Katniss Everdeen. Katniss, unlike Hermoine and Leia is a survivor. She is kind, but she is also somewhat ruthless. Everything she did she did for the simple reason that she wanted herself and her family to survive. She volunteered for the reaping, so that her sister would survive. When it was convenient she teamed up with Peeta, even though in the beginning she preferred Gale.
So when I set down to write my novel, I wanted a strong female character. Unlike other superhero novels, comic books, and movies, this character was going to be the only character with super powers. Like other superhero media, she is also has weaknesses. Her experiences have tainted her existence. When the reader is first introduced to her, she is a preteen child in 1910s in New Mexico. She is vulnerable, because she is a child. She has powers that she doesn’t understand, and she is just figuring out what she can do and how to do it. I selected New Mexico as a setting, because it was the first military base I was stationed at.
The next chapter the reader is introduced to the my female lead’s caregiver from the “dimension” or planet they had originally come from. I won’t go into how they ended up on Earth, but the setting of the chapter takes place in the 1920s near Biloxi, MS. It is the height of Jim Crow, when the KKK was at its most popular, and there were also a record number of lynchings. She looks at her male caregiver as a father figure even though he is not her father. The main character should have aged 18 years between the first chapter and the second chapter, but she has not. She does not age like others. This aspect of the character is like one of my favorite heroes, Wolverine/Logan.
The following chapters follow the character’s development into adulthood. She doesn’t age much between 1923 and the 2000s, though we learn her motivations. The third chapter takes the character to Germany during WWII. In a surprising turn is at a convent as an initiate. After witnessing the holocaust in a very first hand account, this changes the character for both the better and the worst. The fourth chapter and fifth chapter she works in a MASH unit in both the Korean and Vietnam wars. In the sixth chapter she is in Kuwait as a pilot. It is getting harder and harder for her to hide that she is almost 100 years old. She becomes adept at stealing identities, and eventually shows her technical savvy. But at the end of chapter seven she is discovered.
The seventh chapter reveals why her and her caregiver are here. What her destiny is, and why her existence is significant. It is the point where she has to decide whether she is a hero, or not. I am only on chapter two, so much of the plot beyond this is in development. I have outlined everything. I have come up with settings and situations for this character. I’m more than excited about this novel. The story of this hero has been in my head since I was a 4-year-old sitting in a theater with my dad watching “Star Wars,” and now she is coming to life. I can’t wait until you meet her, and discover the biggest secret and plot twist.
I finished my first novel in March 2015. I decided to table the novel for a few month and work on this one after my dad died. This novel is the one I was born to write, and it’s the story I have always wanted to write. It is the one I have dream of being developed into a movie, or a television show. I couldn’t stomach having this story in my head, and not even starting it. So I did what every woman (and man) with ADD does, I stopped mid-stride an started something new.