My favorite/least favorite thing about the Chosen Grandma story is the way it gets angstier the longer I write it.
It doesn’t seem like it would be angsty at all. The premise is ridiculous: an 83-year-old learns she’s the Chosen One and leaves the nursing home to fulfill her destiny. That’s got humor written all over it.
And it is, it is humorous. Really. Truly. I mean:
- the wizard who poofs in to reveal Edna’s destiny is told to go back to the front desk, sign in, and get his visitor’s badge, because that’s nursing home protocol, wizard or no wizard
- oh, and the reason Edna’s chosen in the first place is that the head wizard is out with the flu, and the wizard who named her in his stead is known for being an oddball
- every character 100% constantly rolls a 1 for deception, but it’s okay because every other character 100% constantly rolls a 1 for perception
- there are weird little quirks of magic, like Edna’s handkerchief magic
- there are lines like this
- and exchanges like this
Also! There’s an anxious gay disaster falling in love with an elf who, unbeknownst to Our Heroes (but knownst to the readers), is the antagonist’s bestie. Plus! An angry ace disaster totally crushing on her half-fae pen pal. And! A low-key old person romance. And shenanigans of all stripes resulting from the conflicting personalities of an 83-year-old raring for adventure, an orderly with anxiety and a love of all things magical, and an impulsive and explosive teen who’s great at swordplay but sucks at magic.
But. Then again. Oh, dear.
Okay, here’s the thing.
The first draft started out truly humorous, just a rip-roaring time. But it saddened as the story went on because, you know, there’s all this trauma and anxiety and PTSD and anger issues.
And people keep Learning Upsetting Things. And abuse plays a big role in the story. And because I like to give my characters Tragic Backstories™, Edna’s got a dead son, Clem’s got a dead sister, and Benjamin’s got a distant father.
(Okay, in retrospect maybe I should’ve reversed the order there, because “distant father” doesn’t really stand up to “dead sister” and “dead son.”)
To be fair, that’s better off than most of my characters. At least everyone’s parents are alive in this story – well, not Edna’s, but she is 83. I think it’s fair to assume her parents would be dead at this point in her life. They don’t even have to have met a tragic end.
Still, dead sons and dead sisters cast quite a pall over stories. And they keep coming up more and more and earlier and earlier in each draft. And I just keep piling on the trauma.
Someone stop me.
Yet no matter how angsty the story gets (very), I i n s i s t that it’s Humorous. I’m like a petulant child.
story: *gets super sad*
me: *stomps foot* IT’S A FUNNY STORY
But it really is pretty funny.
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