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Sarah Daffy

I have hit a wall

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So. I think you all remember the book about Zac and Charity I told you about? I posted the second chapter in Critique last week.

 

Well, in the third chapter, they awake in the hospital. Are kept there for several days. Most of the money in the bank is used for the hospital bills. The day they're released, they go home to see their home practically burned to the ground.

 

Well, they're standin' there, shiverin' in the cold, and a neighbor walks by. She offers to let them spend the night at her house.  (She has 4 very nutty, very annoying, very yappy Pomeranians)

 

Now. Plot hole.


(Should I change this?) They only stay a night or two at her house on account of the yappy dogs being up all night. (I guess eventually they'd be so tired and sleep-deprived that they'd just fall asleep)

 

Do they stay at her house for several days, and eventually go to the streets? And if so, then where do they sleep at night? Or should they go from neighbor to neighbor on account of several mishaps? I'm thinking that might work as well as add some humor to the story.

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Going from neighbor to neighbor would work for a while. Do they have other relatives? Can they rent/buy a used travel trailer? 

 

Hospital bills will not arrive immediately. There would be some time when they would have money in the bank. When the bills do come, they could probably make arrangements to pay some each month.

 

I think it depends on where you want the story to go.

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Just now, carolinamtne said:

Going from neighbor to neighbor would work for a while. Do they have other relatives? Can they rent/buy a used travel trailer? 

 

Hospital bills will not arrive immediately. There would be some time when they would have money in the bank. When the bills do come, they could probably make arrangements to pay some each month.

 

I think it depends on where you want the story to go.

They end up being homeless for several weeks. They don't really have any close friends or neighbors. Everyone after the party sort of deserted them on account of not wanting to get involved.

 

As for family, they don't have any. At least not that they know of.

 

And there's not that much money in the bank.

 

 

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So the dogs bark constantly?  I've never had a particularly yappy dog myself, but it seems like if they were that bad, their owners would do something to get them under control ... unless they are dogs that can't handle change like two guests being over, I suppose.

 

If the dogs were quieted down so their owners could sleep as well, I see a few days being possible before the guests in this case leave to avoid being an imposition whether they have a place to go or not.  It would seem very heartless for the neighbors to kick two fire victims out of their house too quickly.

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Just now, TDDracken said:

It would seem very heartless for the neighbors to kick two fire victims out of their house too quickly.

Oh, don't worry; the neighbor doesn't kick them out, they leave on their own.

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1 hour ago, Sarah Daffy said:

Do they stay at her house for several days, and eventually go to the streets? And if so, then where do they sleep at night? Or should they go from neighbor to neighbor on account of several mishaps?

Sarah, I would consider what the ultimate endpoint of the story is to determine what happens next. Whatever story you are trying to tell, would that be better served by them experiencing multiple neighbors and situations, or do they need to go to the street to learn some difficult lesson(s)? Or maybe both things work. Maybe they start with neighbors, but that situation degenerates, or through a series of unfortunate events they wind up completely homeless.

 

Whichever way you go, it shouldn't be a random selection. Be sure the choice serves the stories purpose.

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Hi Sarah,

You have to keep the story going.  I am totally a fan and need more of your story.  You have such a gift for dialogue, could you trust your characters to do a three way conference with you, and not try to steal your denouement? I bet if you wrote out that discussion between you and Zac and Charity, you come up with some amazing answers.  

 

I taught the age group you are writing about, young teens? I could help if you get stuck on how they think., But you pretty much nailed it already.  I know the suggestion is silly, but not as silly as using dolls or puppets talking to you. Actually, how old are Zac and Charity? Couldn't they have this discussion/argument within  the story line. I feel silly giving you advice.  Just some ideas...

MaryKaithe

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1 minute ago, MaryKaithe said:

I taught the age group you are writing about, young teens? I could help if you get stuck on how they think., But you pretty much nailed it already.  I know the suggestion is silly, but not as silly as using dolls or puppets talking to you. Actually, how old are Zac and Charity? Couldn't they have this discussion/argument within  the story line. I feel silly giving you advice.  Just some ideas...

 

I never thought of doing a conference with them!

 

Zac is 22 and Charity is 20. And don't feel silly giving me advice, I need it, want it, and like it!

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@Sarah Daffy

Probably not the answer you want, but most of the money isn't gone after time in the hospital. It doesn't matter if it's days or months. Hospitals don't expect money until after the patient is discharged.

 

I know this because the hospital messed up on the bookkeeping, (should have charged the VA Hospital, but charged the health insurance instead.) Health insurance pays part, and then sends patient/my hubby the rest in bills. Lots and lots of bills. Except, they couldn't possibly have expected him to pay it now, since the charges themselves say he's in their ICU on equipment that says he's not even awake. (Good thing the VA hospital picked up the tab. We could have bought five houses for the money they thought we should pay. lol)

 

As for where to stay? Maybe the neighbor caught them before Red Cross showed up, but Red Cross ought to find them in 1-2 days, and they put up the family. You'll have to check for how far Red Cross goes, but that's standard in USA.

 

If you want them living out on the street, three places I considered.

1. Car under the freeway. (Protects from sun, rain and snow, so we had the option to open the windows or not.)

2. Vestibule in a bank behind the ATM machine.

3. Since we did have a little money each month, I also considered spending one night a week in a cheapo motel, just for the luxury of indoor plumbing, a nice hot shower, and big fluffy bed. The rest of the time, I thought we could use the built-in grills at our park for cooking dinner. (Still planned using our car.)

 

(Saved from doing this three weeks before we would have been kicked out of our house.)

 

A friend of mine, (and her husband), did lose her house. They had an old tent for camping, and lived at their favorite camping site for three months, before finding a way to get back into an apartment.

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Oh, weird nugget in my head. If they are on the street, they can get showers at the truck stop. It cost money. I don't know how much now, but 20 years ago it was $3-$5 for a quick shower.

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3 minutes ago, Spaulding said:

@Sarah Daffy

Probably not the answer you want, but most of the money isn't gone after time in the hospital. It doesn't matter if it's days or months. Hospitals don't expect money until after the patient is discharged.

 

I know this because the hospital messed up on the bookkeeping, (should have charged the VA Hospital, but charged the health insurance instead.) Health insurance pays part, and then sends patient/my hubby the rest in bills. Lots and lots of bills. Except, they couldn't possibly have expected him to pay it now, since the charges themselves say he's in their ICU on equipment that says he's not even awake. (Good thing the VA hospital picked up the tab. We could have bought five houses for the money they thought we should pay. lol)

 

As for where to stay? Maybe the neighbor caught them before Red Cross showed up, but Red Cross ought to find them in 1-2 days, and they put up the family. You'll have to check for how far Red Cross goes, but that's standard in USA.

 

If you want them living out on the street, three places I considered.

1. Car under the freeway. (Protects from sun, rain and snow, so we had the option to open the windows or not.)

2. Vestibule in a bank behind the ATM machine.

3. Since we did have a little money each month, I also considered spending one night a week in a cheapo motel, just for the luxury of indoor plumbing, a nice hot shower, and big fluffy bed. The rest of the time, I thought we could use the built-in grills at our park for cooking dinner. (Still planned using our car.)

 

(Saved from doing this three weeks before we would have been kicked out of our house.)

 

A friend of mine, (and her husband), did lose her house. They had an old tent for camping, and lived at their favorite camping site for three months, before finding a way to get back into an apartment.

Thanks!

The Ashton family is not very wealthy, and so they probably did not have insurance at the moment. Or something happened with it. Or they couldn't afford it. Zac and Charity were only in the hospital for a few days, and then stayed with neighbors. Cars burned in the fire.  Mr. Ashton was not wealthy.

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Just now, Spaulding said:

Oh, weird nugget in my head. If they are on the street, they can get showers at the truck stop. It cost money. I don't know how much now, but 20 years ago it was $3-$5 for a quick shower.

That's what my sister said.

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When I was planning how to live when the mortgage company took our house, we were living on $839 a month, plus food stamps and Medicaid. Food stamps paid for food, but not non-food items like deodorant, TP, soap, etc. Could have paid for a surplus tent. (Feared bedbugs in the sleeping bags.) And would need an ice chest, which is a 50/50 shot at Goodwill shops.

 

At least we had clothes, bedding, and whatever we could take from the house. (Certain stuffed animals were going with us. lol) I could see myself robbing Goodwill boxes for clothes, but, again clothes is something Red Cross does help with.

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This sounds like my actual situation... how odd.  Did you know that all bank accounts are frozen when a spouse or parent die.  If both parent's died in the fire, those kids have  HUGE govt. bureaucracy and court dates, before they can touch a dime of their parents money.  They also might be being watched by the police. First suspects in a suspicious death, (a fire,)  would be the kids. By the time the police let you out, the banks have sealed the accounts.  Oh  Baby....you have picked a complicated, but very important subject.

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26 minutes ago, MaryKaithe said:

This sounds like my actual situation... how odd.  Did you know that all bank accounts are frozen when a spouse or parent die.  If both parent's died in the fire, those kids have  HUGE govt. bureaucracy and court dates, before they can touch a dime of their parents money.  They also might be being watched by the police. First suspects in a suspicious death, (a fire,)  would be the kids. By the time the police let you out, the banks have sealed the accounts.  Oh  Baby....you have picked a complicated, but very important subject.

😨 Even if they're adults, and were almost killed by the fire?

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Especially if they are over 21.  Sorry, I went to spend time with my hubby.  He gets lonely since my 3rd son set up this computer station for me. I have four sons, and one foster son. All these men...ugh!  Anyway, a bit of my history, I was in a train wreck while I was headed to a special education conference. The commuter train I was riding on hit a semi that swerved around the crossing gates.  The train hit the Semi going 88 mph.  What an awful crash.  I was pregnant at the time, and praise God, I did not lose the baby. Anyway, I wrecked my left knee and after Jesse was born I had to have four surgeries on my knee.  But there are injuries that show up two or three years later that you did not know you had.  Mine was my back.  I've had four failed surgeries on my spine. My back is progressively getting worse. I was pretty much bedridden before Jordan set up this work center for me.  Now at least I walk down the hall and sit at the computer writing something everyday.

 

But as far as your question? If the kids made it out of the fire with minor injuries, the police may still be considering them "a person of interest." I am not sure if banking and probate laws are the same in every state. I think they can vary from state to state. In Illinois, once they freeze all assets, which might include insurance payouts, only a court order from a judge can release funds.  You would be shocked at how nasty and unsympathetic some probate judges are.

 

A way around that might be to have the parents have a christian friend from their church as the parents lawyer or accountant. or even a Banker.  Any of them would know how to manipulate the system, within the legal statutes, so the adult children can get burial funds and well as funds to live on.  It seems picky, I know, but I have been researching, "The East Wind," a fictionalized account of my ancestors from Norway, since 2002.  Everytime I start writing, I run into a fact I did not know that sends me back to my story board. 

 

I recently read Devil in the White City, and had to rewrite the description of Chicago in the late 1800's.

 

MK 

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Wow. Another load of great posts.

I cannot give any advice on housing or homelessness as I am UK base.

I agree with RAD -work out your end so you know the direction of your story.

Q. What is the point of them being made homeless?  Is this part of the emotion arch of the story for them or a plot device for the action arch. If so then how does it affect them emotionally?

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6 hours ago, Shamrock said:

Wow. Another load of great posts.

I cannot give any advice on housing or homelessness as I am UK base.

I agree with RAD -work out your end so you know the direction of your story.

Q. What is the point of them being made homeless?  Is this part of the emotion arch of the story for them or a plot device for the action arch. If so then how does it affect them emotionally?

They're homeless for 2 or so weeks before Zac gets in a fight and goes to jail or the hospital. Charity is left on her own, on the streets, and has to make a decision. That's the climax of the story.

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Won't there be a massive criminal investigation about to begin as well? After all, someone or ones just tried to kill this family and burned their home. Your story could go a lot of ways, but I imagine you want to keep it more personal, more about how Zac and Charity deal with the loss of their home and parents. If that us the case, you might consider dialing the drama back some, have the parents die accidentally, and maybe the young ones aren't hurt at all, or not seriously.


Also, as a side note, I'm curious about plot holes. You said Charity and Zac leaving their neighbor because they couldn't stand the yippy dogs us a plot hole, but how? Isn't a plot hole when the author has left an important piece of information out of the story?

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7 hours ago, Zee said:

Also, as a side note, I'm curious about plot holes. You said Charity and Zac leaving their neighbor because they couldn't stand the yippy dogs us a plot hole, but how? Isn't a plot hole when the author has left an important piece of information out of the story?

Sorry. Guess I shouldn't have said that. Didn't really go. (It just sounded good, hehe 😜😱😳:$:)😭😉)

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