It’s about a teenage girl who goes on a weekend vacation with her family—parents, brother, and grandmother. The grandmother is dying but doesn’t tell anybody, because they’re all stressing about something else, but she ends up telling the girl. That’s all I’ve got so far, but I know where I need to go, so I don’t really need any help actually writing the story.
I just need help ‘fleshing out’ the bits I already have. I need to show the personalities of the characters, like the teenage girl, because she has a major attitude problem, as you should be able to tell from reading the story. I have to ‘show, not tell’ what’s going on, like by describing the scenery and what the characters are doing and that sort of thing.
White lines zoomed by me as I stared out the car window, attempting to escape my family in the confined space of the car with the help of my iPod. “How are your aquatic classes going?” Dad asked Gran as he changed gears.
“What?” Gran screeched back.
“I asked how your aquatics classes were going,” Dad repeated calmly.
He faced the side window to let out an exasperated sigh, then turned back to the windscreen. “You’re not wearing your hearing aids, are you?”
I rolled my eyes and let my head thud against the window, and left it there for the remainder of the trip. We arrived at the resort after what seemed like hours too long, and after gracefully falling out of the car I was greeted by my brother demanding the iPod from me. I, as politely as I could, told him to fuck off. I started to stalk off to catch up with Mum, but was distracted at the last second. It looked as if Dad and Gran were arguing, or at least disagreeing on something—heatedly. This was something I had never witnessed before, especially not in the history of our oh-so-perfect family, so I stuck around to watch while stealthily pretending to be absorbed in the inner workings of the pause button. While none of the words reached my ears, I judged by their actions that something strange was going on with Gran. She placed a hand on his forearm and pushed him away from her seat, a concentrated grimace on her face, and struggled to pull herself to her feet. I shoved my hands in my pockets and shrugged, walking away.
I arrived at the barbeque where Dad and his mate Mark were charcoaling the hell out of everything, and scrunching up my nose and giving them a disgusted glare, I took a seat at the picnic table. Switching to my ‘get the hell out of my face’ playlist, I turned up the volume and made a point of staring out into space while remaining oblivious to all the chatter around me. I noticed Gran fussing over Mum scooping out a portion of potato salad onto her plate for her, and adjusting the volume again I rolled my eyes for the umpteenth time that day and turned around.
Dad dragged us all to the swimming pool, much to my objection. I stood outside the fence watching him and my brother splash around, and following the water drenched over my head I was forced into the water myself. “Come on angel, get in here!” Dad called to me with the forced smile on his face I’ve learned to decipher over the years. “Don’t be such a spoilsport!” I sighed and trudged toward the change rooms and unwillingly emerged sporting my black one piece. After putting myself through torture for a few minutes, I lifted myself out of the water and sat outside the pool house in the sun, lifting my face up to the sky and squinting my eyes. A shadow loomed over me and took a seat in the deck chair next to me, and I opened one eye and squinted out the corner of it to see who it was. The blackened shadow slowly began to take the form of my grandmother, and I closed my eye again and attempted to drift off to sleep.
“Addie,” she said suddenly, addressing me by my name for once. “Could I talk to you about something?”
I raised an eyebrow. “Uh, okay. I guess…”
Her wrinkled face displayed an array of emotions; most unidentifiable but one or two were obvious—sadness and concern. She glanced over her shoulder toward the pool house before turning back to me. “Addie… I’m going to tell you this in confidence. I know we’ve never really gotten along, but…” her voice trailed off and her eyes turned from me and gazed into the distance. “Well, as you know, I have some disease. I went to the doctor the other day, and he said something to say she’s dying.” Her eyes came back into focus and fixed on me, but with a gentle look behind them. “I’m sorry we’ve never seen eye to eye, Addie. I should have been kinder to you. I should have—“
I stopped her babbling with the holding up of my palm. “Whoa, whoa, hold up. Gran, what are you talking about?” I placed a hand on her forearm. “You’re not making any sense.”
She let out a sad sigh. “Elaborate medical description here”
All I could do was stare at her while trying to let the words sink in and take form in my mind. Suddenly her features looked much softer, and she somehow turned into the Gran she was ten years ago. The Gran that played Frisbee with me in the park, that held my hand walking down the street, that read me stories whenever I asked. I felt moisture gather in my eyes and begin to blur my vision, and I managed to see a figure come toward me and wrap me in her arms. At the simple touch the tears spilt over and cascaded down my cheeks, and I found myself shaking and a hand rubbing my back.
I released myself from the embrace, and gathered my words while rubbing my eyes with my towel. “Wh-what do you mean, telling me in confidence? Don’t Mum and Dad know?”
She shook her head slowly. “I don’t have the heart to tell them, dear. They’ve enough to worry about, especially lately. I’m sorry to unload this on you, Addie… but I just had to tell somebody. I couldn’t just… go… without at least one person knowing the truth. Knowing that I knew.”
I nodded. “I understand. I would do the same thing. And as you said, especially now, seeing they’re under so much stress.”
Her forced a wrinkled smile. “Thank you for understanding. I knew you would.”
I returned the smile and gave her another hug. “We’d better get going. We have to leave soon, and Dad’s going to know something’s up if he saw us getting along.”
“Sad, but true, dear.” We gathered our belongings and reaching out a hand to help her up; we stood and shuffled our way to the car.
“Hey, Mum,” Dad greeted her tentatively, offering her his hand at the door. “Do you want some help?”
A faint smile. “Thanks, Jim.” She reached her hand to his and entered the car with his help, and I hopped into the backseat.
I watched countless trees and shrubbery zoom by as I sat quietly, my head swimming with thoughts.
Thank you sooo much if you can help.