Tuesday, October 13, 2009

UPPING THE ANTE ON YOUR HERO’S QUEST Go Means Go & Rowdy Sings the Blues: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Hi Allyson,

I love questions. They wake me up if my mind wanders a bit. And right off the bat on the first page of “Go Means Go” Junior asks “the biggest question,” which is: “Who has the most hope?”

That question stopped me, as it stopped Junior’s parents. Just for a moment, though. They know the answer. Then they share it, with us and with Junior, in chorus: “White people,” which Junior knew. It’s an answer that leads to another question—a bigger question: what will Junior will DO next? Junior’s decision is pivotal—he announces his journey into a new world, the world of Rich White People. Though his parents try to dissuade him, he’s adamant. And furthermore, he’s aware of the danger. But he decides to go anyway. “Tomorrow.”

In this chapter, Alexie sets Junior off on the start of his quest. The die is cast. Go means go. But danger lurks, as Junior predicts that “my fellow tribal members are going to torture me.” And he’s right—in the following chapter Rowdy does torture him, and not just physically, but much worse. “I knew that my best friend had become my worst enemy.”

Story Sleuths Tip #6: At the outset of the hero’s quest, raise the stakes by setting risk or danger directly in his/her path.

Over to you, Allyson.