Like a stuck song jailed in my brain, a good story has been simmering for weeks now. For the last couple of days, following a clear dream (that terrified me), the issue has not been how to develop the plot, but how to tell the story without casting a dark shadow on those I MUST draw the characters from. They have done nothing wrong. Exactly the opposite. They are perfect.
Perfect people give me the willies. In the six decades I've been watching, I've known exactly four perfect couples, and three folks who got it right on their own. The catch phrase is "old souls"; folks who instinctively know the right direction, choose the right partners and careers, are comfortable with their bodies and their faith or lack of it. Perfect people are untroubled (from this viewpoint). But evidently God wants to challenge all of us, because in every case, the perfect people I've known suffered some random disaster that dramatically changed or ended their lives.
They all reacted heroically, of course. But being close to the tragedies that felled them due no fault of their own, the rest of us suffered, too. Makes you jaded. Most of us fail the life test early on; I sure did. All I could do was start over, and celebrate the folks still on their game. But after watching them cut down, I'm like the fan at baseball watching a pitcher's flawless performance; you don't dare mention it, for fear it will end, and you'll be blamed. I love these people. I don't know if I could stand the heartbreak.
Of course I have to write the story, if just to purge it from my thoughts. The characters might be changed enough to deny liability should the plot or future similar events prove true. But I'll know. I know now.