Today’s topic: the necessity of Forward Motion in your story.
This one is a little longer at 12 minutes. Despite some judicious editing, I couldn’t get it under 10. There’s just too much good stuff in there, including a diagram of my “What If? Game.” You might want to pause the video and look over the diagram in more detail.
I hope you enjoy this one!
Want to follow along with the continuing adventures of Sara, intrepid teen?
Sara kept heading west as the suburbs thinned out, turning to the odd strip mall or townhouse development near the highway, then nothing but fields, lakes, and county roads intersecting the thoroughfare like offshoots to nowhere. She cranked up the music enough to hurt her ears and thumped the steering wheel to the beat and let the wind whip her hair into her face, lashing her eyes. The sun set low over the subtle swells of land and even with her visor down, she could hardly see for the glare across her dirty windshield. Sara knew she was a fool, speeding half-blind down a county highway. If a trooper didn’t stop her, she’d probably crash.
She didn’t care. Her recklessness felt like some kind of revenge.
Sara slowed, figuring her trooper waited behind the empty gas station that marked the outskirts of the next town. The sign said “Darwin, Minnesota. Home of the world’s largest ball of twine.” What the hell? Sara took the left toward First Street and found herself in a town square lined with shops, all of them either vacant storefronts or already closed for the day. The square consisted of a plot of grass dissected on the diagonal by two sidewalks that met at a structure in the middle. Sara parked in front of the empty ACE Hardware and got out of her car. She locked it, stared at the empty window, then shrugged as she pocketed her key.
The structure, a hexagonal shed, the kind people bought at Menards and plopped into their backyards, had Plexiglass panels on three sides so visitors could view the giant ball of twine. Sara leaned in close to a clear wall and cupped her hands between the Plexiglass and her face so the glare of the sun didn’t obscure her view.
One man’s obsession came in at 9 tons and 12 feet in diameter. Weird, Sara thought. One man could be dismissed as a kook, but the whole town took civic pride in this thing. Maybe it’s something in the water.
“If you come around this side, the sun will be behind the shed.”
Sara jumped, her hands fluttering before grasping at her chest.
A man, twenty-ish, with curly black hair and green eyes, smiled at her. “I didn’t mean to scare you,” he said.
She let go of her t-shirt and tugged its hem to smooth it out. “Then you shouldn’t have snuck up on me.”
“I didn’t sneak. I walked. You must really be into that twine to not have noticed.” He looked amused with himself.
“Just lost in thought,” Sara mumbled.
“The view is better on the other side. Did you know the twine killed the guy who made it?”
Sara put her hands on her hips. “You know a lot about this twine.”
“Not really.” His plain black t-shirt showed damp patches around the pits and middle of his chest. He wore jeans and heavy boots scuffed around the toes. Maybe these were work clothes. Maybe he just left a factory somewhere. “I read the sign,” he smirked.
Sara was in no mood to be treated like a child—there had been enough of that since the divorce started. “What are you doing here, anyway?”
“Stretching my legs.”
He stopped smiling, and Sara observed the slight nod of his head as he scanned her up and down. She folded her arms over her chest and scowled, bracing for an insult. “Well, it’s been…” He turned and walked away.
Sara moved around the shed far enough to watch him round it and head across the square toward a motorcycle parked at the curb. A helmet and heavy jacket rested on the saddle of an old Nighthawk. He picked up his helmet and lifted it over his head. “Wait!” she yelled and ran across the square.
He leaned against his motorcycle while Sara caught her breath.
“I like your bike,” she said.
He smiled, bigger this time, and laughed. “Is that it? You ran over here to tell me you like my bike?”
“I… Can I have a ride?”
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