Friday, October 2, 2009
I believe most of you know that I write Little House fanfiction stories. In the beginning, I tried my best to mix real life and the show, but at some point fans of these stories requested I fill in the gaps in Laura and Almanzo's romance that inevitably are created by the limits of television and the need to have a one-hour storyline and provide a season's worth of episodes that focus on more than two characters.
I have taken my task seriously and now have written at least sixty stories based upon Little House on the Prairie, the majority of which use the show's characters as inspiration. Whenever I write a story featuring Laura and Almanzo, I have to admit that I visualize Melissa Gilbert and Dean Butler acting it out. This helps me to create stories that, for the most part, stay true to the characters and the end product is a better story because I can include Beth's and Manly's mannerisms and facial expressions from watching episodes over and again.
My latest story is titled, Finding A Way. It takes places during Season 9, after the episode A Child With No Name, which is where Baby Boy Wilder is born and dies.
One of the limits of television is that you can't get inside a character's head visually. So much can take place in a character's mind--and often does--which is why I feel that Stephen King's books don't always make it to film well. King is the master of internal thought and often uses dreams to relay what his characters are thinking and experiencing. The advantage to this limitation, however, is that viewers who wanted to get inside those characters' heads have created stories that hopefully honor the essence of the show and its characters, and help to fill in those missing elements. That is what I try to do with my fanfiction.
In Finding A Way, Laura struggles to move on even though six months have passed since Baby Boy Wilder's death. At the end of A Child With No Name, a repentant Laura announces happily to Doc Baker that she and Almanzo are thinking of having another baby. As a mother, that doesn't seem possible to me. Laura's grief over the loss of her son wouldn't disappear just because Doc Baker ended up saving Rose's life. But again, the episode is only one hour long, and Landon and his writers certainly came up with the best way to close out the episode by having Laura see the light, making the way for Doc Baker stay in Walnut Grove.
What I attempted to do with this story is show that Laura and Almanzo's marriage and life didn't just go back to normal. There was a time when Laura grieved deeply for her son and was afraid of getting pregnant again. Almanzo struggled too, but in a different way. As he tried to get closer to Laura, she moved further away from him. He felt lonely and isolated, much as he did when he thought he would never walk again (Days of Sunshine, Days of Shadow).
I'm not sure how others will feel about this story, but I am truly thrilled with how it turned out. If you are interested in reading it, you can find it at www.fanfiction.net.