Writers Workshop: It’s Fine, Really

I’ve had this story that I’ve been writing on and off the last several years, more for myself than anyone. Its working title is Redheaded Stepchild, and the protagonist is a young teen named Blake Stephenson. Blake lived across the street from the house in which Walt Disney was born on the northwest side of Chicago and lived with his single mother, Bobbi, who was in her teens when he was born, until one day, after Blake has graduated from eighth grade, she dies (different versions of the story say she had pancreatic cancer, she was hit by a hit-and-run driver, she was pushed in front of a CTA train, died of a drug overdose, etc.). Blake knows next to nothing about his mother and even less about the man who was his sire (I won’t call him father), and has no knowledge of any other family he might have. His mother stipulated in her will that he was to go live with friends of hers in Atlanta.

Needless to say, this is an adjustment for Blake, who’s used to running his own show. He’s well-behaved, intelligent, does well in school, and very quiet (one of his teachers said he was "laconic"). His mother was more of a roommate, and left him alone in the evening when she worked (she was a freelance movie critic). As long as he kept his grades up and stayed out of trouble, they got along fine. In contrast, the Bellinghams are a more-traditional family, which drives him nuts. His answer to a lot of questions and suggestions is "fine." "How was school?" "Fine." "How was your geometry test?" "Fine." "You should go to the movies with Rachel and her cheerleader friends that never. Shut. Up." "Fine." etc.

Eventually, all works out between them and the world is… fine…

26 thoughts on “Writers Workshop: It’s Fine, Really

  1. This does sound like the beginnings of an excellent story and where this boy is headed. Fine us such a nasty word in many ways isn’t it? I will be interested in how his mom dies. There could be layers there too.


  2. I like the sound of this John you have the bones of a really good story here . I am sure you have plenty more material if you have been working on it on and off for years. You took my interest from the get go 💜


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