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10:28 am: Overheard at the Wright Household

Our friend Evil Dave is visiting. (He's not really evil. Actually, he's very nice. But that's what people call him.)  From time to time, he jokingly runs a roleplaying game called "the Rolling Down a Hill Game" where one's character rolls down a hill. That's all that ever happens in this particular game.

Some years ago, he started offering to run the kids in this game whenever they were in his way. For the kids, this was akin to the Easter morning I woke up to find out that my health food nut mother had bought me a chocolate rabbit...only to bite into it and discover it was carob. The kids love games, but a game that goes nowhere annoys them.

This time, Dave offered to run the bored Juss in this game and commented that last visit, he had asked Orville the theoretical question "Would you rather play in the Rolling Down A Hill Game or get spanked?" and Orville had been unable to decide which he would prefer.

The following ensued:

Juss: "Okay, I agree to on one condition: You have some different hills, and there is a reason as to why we are rolling down. And when we get to the bottom of each hill, we learn another piece of why we are there."

 When he thought Dave had agreed, he said, "Okay, I'll play."

This took Dave by surprise. Eventually, Dave recovered and said that everyone was rolling because they had nothing else to do.

Juss: "Even I could run a better game than that."

Dave: "I'll remind you, this game has been going on for years."

Juss: "Yes, but no one ever plays it."

At this point, I, who had been listening and grinning while writing, lost it and started laughing out loud. (Guffawing would be a more accurate description.)

Juss then went on to run a Rolling Down the Hill game for about twenty minutes. In Juss's version, the game started two days before the hill rolling event, during which you go to pick your equipment and the two pets you wished to roll with.

It also included fellow contestants for the roll, including people like: I Don't Have A Name, and I Am Going To Roll Into A Tree --- clear evidence of the influence of John's reading of Bears on Wheels on Juss's moderating style. (Only John can make a 20 page kids book with four words per page take an hour to read.)



[User Picture]
Date:April 29th, 2010 03:05 pm (UTC)
You know there are certain parallels between these observations and writing a story.
Even at his tender age, Juss realizes there must be a plot.
I was reading something called "The Grange." It was trying to be a literary gothic with a modern sensibility set in the 1890s.
I'd call it a failure, at least for this reader. Terrible things happened that were not particularly necessary.
Instead of rolling down the hill, whenever these characters tried to break free or attempted anything unusual they would set out to sea and come back drowned. I felt as though I were revisiting Twain's proverbial well, but this well was at the bottom of the ocean.
Finally a loving twosome survive the ocean. Flash forward twenty years later where they have surmounted the difficulty of living together (taking one boat and sinking together) by the cheerful, modern expedient of becoming lovers rather than marrying.
[User Picture]
Date:April 29th, 2010 05:31 pm (UTC)
Gah! Sounds horrible. Reminds me of reading Gormonghast for some reason.

Yeah, I was amused by Juss's sense of plotting. Neither of my sons are actually good moderator yet, but they both are developing their sense of story, which is nice.
[User Picture]
Date:April 29th, 2010 10:07 pm (UTC)
Would that some of the off again, on again writers in my group had quite the grasp of the elements of a story that your son has.
[User Picture]
Date:April 30th, 2010 12:22 am (UTC)
I've been quite impressed by my kids senses of plot and action several times. They still have a ways to go...but if they decide to go into a creative field, they are sure going to have a good head start.

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