Sunday, September 26, 2010

Birth of an Idea


...Thursday evening.

An autumn sunset has created a smudge of color across the distant skyline. Like an oil painting, variations of pink and orange blended together from the hand of an artist touched by an angel.

From both sides of the ball field, young men raise their arms into the breeze, four fingers outspread...fourth quarter underway.

As they've done throughout most of the season, the game has long been decided, both teams having already pulled their starters, allowing their second string players a chance to scuff up their cleats.

I watch my son standing along the sidelines with his teammates, helmets clutched at their sides, smiles spreading like an air-born virus. Thus far the season has been a success. Fourteen year old athletes riding a four game winning streak, dreaming of varsity ball under the lights, less than a year away.

My son turns toward the stands, spots me in the crowd, offers a grin before returning his gaze to the action. I answer with a chuckle. Sky's the limit for that kid.

Down by thirty, the opposing team is threatening to score. They line up at our ten yard line, their backup quarterback barking out the play.

The football's hiked, the passer shuffles his feet, winds up and tosses the ball into the endzone...to an awaiting receiver, hands outstretched.

A blur of blue and gold and our backup defender sweeps into the action, snags the football, and bolts in the opposite direction.

My son's backup, the boy doesn't get much time on the field in most games. An interception is a rare treat. Standing along the sideline, my son and his teammates leap for joy.

Then as the boy rumbles into the open field, I spot something else. The boy's father, unable to stand pat, stumbles to the asphalt track outlining the football field, and begins sprinting along the sidelines to the same pace as his son...as the boy hits the fifty yard line, his legs churning like the pistons of a car.

The boy's head turns, spots his father, in blue jeans and t-shirt, a ball cap turned backwards, matching his stride as he heads for the score.

The boy aims his sites on the distant goal line. Quickens his pace. The crowd rises as one, father and son on a footrace to glory.

...and I think, "This is a story."

I see the track and think, "Not a football game, but a track meet. A runner, for some reason disqualified, but running for no other reason than pride alone. Racing along beside the track, versus opposing runners, competing...but not."

The young defensive back rumbles over the twenty, no one within ten yards of tripping him up. His father keeping pace, nearly plows over a young lady balancing a plastic tray overfilled with nachos, oblivious to the drama.

And I think, "Not a boy. A girl. Really fast. But for some reason unable to participate."

Behind the endzone, an ambulance is parked, its occupants jumping up and down, their hands clapping in anticipation.

And I think, "Perhaps an injury. Or maybe a religious dispute. A family's beliefs thwarting the athletic prowess their daughter was born with."

The boy falls into the endzone. His father leaps into the air. The crowd roars their approval.

And I think..."Need a name for that girl."

Hours later. The kids are tucked in. The excitement of victory settling down for another day.

I hear my wife giggling from the office. "Hey, come in here," she calls. "Check this out."

I enter the office, follow her gaze to the computer screen, my brow rising. "What's this?"

"One of those funny emails," she says. "This one determines what my porn name would be...you know, if I'd be in that line of work."

I shake my head, "In that line of work? Really?"

Then I see the name. "Derby Wayne."

And I think, "Derby...like a race track. Or somebody's nickname. For somebody who's really fast....like a girl. Derby Wayne."

"That's perfect," I say.

"It is?" my wife asks. "Like...your wanting me to change careers, or what?"

"Absolutely perfect," I say, ignoring her.

"Perhaps I should look for an agent," she continues.

But I've already left the room, yanking a sheet of paper out of the printer, my other hand snatching a pencil from under my wife's elbow, next to the keyboard. My brain spinning somersaults. An outline literally writing itself.

And while "South of Charm" heads toward the galley...a new story begins.

That's how it works for me...

Thanks for reading,
EL

15 comments:

KarenG said...

Sounds like it will be an amazing story, too! I like that name, very good MC name, unusual yet memorable.

Lola Sharp said...

Oh yeah. I've come up with story ideas from some weird places. (nothing from porn names yet, though)

Hey, I'm not sure when your release date is, but I'm happy to help pimp/interview you in any way you need.

Have a terrific week,
Lola

Melissa said...

Sounds like an interesting story. When is your release date for South of Charm?

Roland D. Yeomans said...

An eye-catching, memorable name.

Funny where ideas come from, isn't it?

Let me know when SOUTH OF CHARM comes out, will you?

I've driven 2000 miles and logged sixty hours this week with half of the days on-call. Whew!

Don't be a stranger, hear? Roland

Piedmont Writer said...

You're lucky, you had a pen and paper handy. All my great ideas are usually lost somewhere in the either for someone else to find.

Then again I have little scraps of paper everywhere, that when I read them now, I wonder what I was thinking. They never make sense.

It's all good.

Christine Danek said...

This is awesome Elliot. Stories do come out of nowhere. I had one the other night. IT was so strange.It's just popped into my head.
I love it when that happens. I also love when things like the name thing happened for you. It's like a sign.
Good luck!

The Golden Eagle said...

Good luck with the new story idea!

Elliot Grace said...

...at this point, when asked of a release date, I've been instructed to simply answer with...2011.
As I'm sure each of you will find out, writing the story is the easy part, the politics/editing is where the waiting comes in.
Currently in round four of edits, with very little re-writes at this point, I see the light at the end of the tunnel...just a matter of distance at this point.
Lola, I may take you up on your offer as the date nears, thanks so much!
And thanks all for reading:)

j.leigh.bailey said...

What a fascinating look at how an idea is born. Thanks for taking us along for the experience. :)

Terry Stonecrop said...

Great story idea! Run with it, ha!

...Now I know where to look for names for my characters:D

DEZMOND said...

the first passage was very lovely :) although I didn't expect the second one coming after it with that plot :)

Patti Struble said...

I actually teared up watching that father run down the side lines. This idea definitely has legs (pardon me).
Patti

Robert Guthrie said...

Amazing birth of a story. Exactly how it is!

I want to ring that father's neck though. Let the kid have his own life. Yo, dad, it's not about you. Yikes. But it could make a great story.

worddreams said...

I love new ideas, especially when they 'write themselves'. It's always fun to see where my characters go.

I love this start.

Adeeva Afsheen said...


Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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