I really should wait to write this one. It’s probably a bit better for me closer to publication day. Maybe I can recycle it though. There is a not so subtile writing tip in here. I’m writing it in my usual corny style. What’s not to like? You get some fiction and a writing tip.
This happened in the Spring of 2013.
I paced back and forth at the bottom of the stairs. My Muse, Lorelei, sent the engraved invitation a month ago. Lisa, the robot, and I would be attending the character draft, live, to make my pick.
Lisa came downstairs. She had on her tight brown suit and stilettos. Her strawberry blonde hair was pulled back in a tight French roll. She was letting her freak flag fly today with her tattooed right leg in full view beyond her knee length skirt. She put on a pair of black framed glasses and said, “Let’s go.”
We went outside and climbed into my gyro-copter. “What’s with the glasses? You have perfect vision.”
“It’s part of my look today. Girl Friday, agent, maybe even bodyguard.”
I took it all in stride and flew us to the stadium. As I headed for the entrance, Lisa reached over her shoulder and clicked the lock. “Boop Boop.”
Our seats were left of the stage and right above the floor. The floor was a mosh pit of heroes. Grizzled old cowboys stood between overbuilt superheroes. Wizards and elves mingled with Classical Greek heroes, aliens, even a god or two.
The announcer, Vin, adjusted his tie and looked into the camera. “This just in, Batman is once again reserved by DC Comics. The first pick was The Lone Ranger and Tonto. Looks like they get to ride the range one more time.”
The color man Chris chimed in. “That was a smart pick, Vin. It’s tough to get two main characters for the price of one. Interest faded in them over the years, and no one saw this coming. Who’s next on our list?”
Vin looked at his computer screen. “It looks like C. S. Boyack is up next. Boyack has fifteen minutes to pick a lead character or he forfeits.”
The spotlight scanned the audience and landed on Lisa and I. Lisa opened her briefcase and grabbed an envelope.
“Hey, Vin. Isn’t that Lisa Burton with Boyack today.”
“Looks like it, Chris. I hope Boyack publishes her story soon.”
“She still looks good.”
“Oh yeah, she’s hot.”
Lisa handed me the envelope, and a runner grabbed it.
As the runner headed for the table, Chris said, “I wonder who he’ll pick. He seems like a Hercules kind of guy to me. Wonder Woman has been drawing some interest too.”
“Don’t forget, copyright expired on Holmes and Watson. They’re free agents this year.”
“True, but to get them both would take some doing. Boyack would have to trade a couple of his supporting character picks to another author.”
“Isn’t that similar to how Boyack landed Theodore Roosevelt and Billy the Kid in last year’s draft?”
“That’s how it’s done in this day and age, Vin.”
The runner handed my pick to a model, who strutted across the stage and handed the envelope to Vin.
The entire stadium grew quiet.
Vin tore the envelope open and held it toward Chris, who pulled out the papers and read, “C. S. Boyack chooses, Patty Hall.”
Vin dropped the envelope and turned to his screen. He whispered, but it still came across the speakers. “Who the hell is Patty Hall? She isn’t even on my list.”
Chris dug into a dusty cardboard box under the table. “Right here. She’s a fifteen year old high school freshman. Holy cow, get this she’s crippled.”
“Um, Chris, I think we’re supposed to say handicapped.”
“Can we get a ruling on that, maybe it’s differently abled. And get a microphone over to Boyack. I’ll bet he has a trade lined up with a romance author. I’ll bet someone has a football jock they’re going to trade for a weak sister or a dying kid.”
The spotlight scanned the crowd below. Atlas and Perseus moved to the side as an unruly shock of brown hair passed, barely coming up to their arms. Stretch Richards stretched himself eight feet higher as Patty passed between his legs. She nearly knocked Laura Croft over as she stomped toward the stage.
A microphone and camera got shoved in my face. “Veronica Staley here with C. S. Boyack. Mr. Boyack, can you tell us who you’re going to trade Patty Hall for?”
“I’m not trading her. I’m keeping her.” I leaned over and told Lisa to go get Patty.
“Mr. Boyack, you’ve written some pretty heroic characters in the past. How does Hall appeal? I mean, you took her in the first round.”
“Look down on the floor, Veronica. There are legendary heroes everywhere you look. It’s going to be hard to take them on a journey and show how they change. I mean what kind of change can you make with Conan?”
“Maybe so, but he could slash his way through a story like no one else.”
Patty stepped onto the stage, and had her picture taken with the model. The crowd hushed once more as they saw her leg braces for the first time. The monitor off to the side read, Boyack commits major error in the first round character draft.
“That’s true about Conan, but Patty has a story to tell too. She’s facing a bit of adversity right out of the slipcover. Adversity makes books interesting. It’s hard to do anything with a character who’s already lived happily ever after.”
Veronica turned back toward the camera. “Back to you Chris and Vin. Boyack is happy with his selection. I’m hoping someone takes a real hero in the next round.”
I was in a foul mood. I was ready to leave, but had to wait for Lisa to pose for pictures, and sign a couple of her calendars. When she led Patty back to our seats, we headed for the writing cabin.
There you have it. I look for characters who might be undervalued, and can go on a journey of personal growth. I’m not willing to start with an icon, or unbeatable warrior and try taking them on the same kind of journey.
Patty is the main character in Will ‘O the Wisp, coming to a Kindle or an app near you in 2015. She goes on quite an adventure too. I think you’re going to enjoy it.