When I looked at my watch and realized it was the 15th, and we typically hand our stories in on the 20th (though I could easily imagine an extension this month), I came to the conclusion that I should probably put at least a few words down. I’ve done some brainstorming over the past few weeks, including how to arrange the story so it makes sense. But I never even SAT DOWN to work on it. I’ve been busily doing other things (including spending a portion of the weekend re-arranging our entire living room, only to realize that that means we now have to paint the rest of it. D’oh!
Aaron, now is the time to stop reading if you’re not set.
I had come up with the idea a long time ago to write a story about poker. I liked the idea of breaking down a single hand. But unlike an awful lot of movies where totally unrealistic hands happen where 9 people are playing and they all have pocket pairs and they all hit the flop, I wanted to make something with suspense that was actually feasible. That’s not to say those crazy hands can’t happen – I’ve heard of someone playing J6 off-suit and beating pocket 10s when four 2s came up on the board and his jack kicker ended up playing.
But what could they be playing for? I’ve long wanted to write a God and the Devil talking while watching people interact. I had once read a play (perhaps by Neil Simon?) that sorta followed this idea. So I had the idea of them playing for someone’s soul. Who’s soul? An unborn baby.
So that’s what I had had in mind before this month. Adding the deadline thing was actually perfect, because now I could make it a C Section (scheduled in advance), which also allows me to make it twins, upping the drama, as they could have to play for two souls. But most of my brainstorming was the fact that I don’t want it to be God and the Devil. I don’t want it to be religious, per se. I already did a story about religion, and I still have to write a long blog post on my other blog about religion. So I kept thinking of what to call them. Well, The Reaper made sense for the bad guy (I briefly considered having Death playing for the soul, but then realized it flirted pretty dangerously with Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey) But I couldn’t think of what the other one would be called. The Savior seemed too religious, so for a while I went with The Soulkeeper. But that made it sound like beekeeper – I imagined a whole bunch of souls in long rectangular trays. I finally settled on The Protector, but I’m not 100% sold on it yet.
Anyway, I have what the stakes are, but with no actual betting, I had to figure out how to structure it. So now they have a point system – essentially they get penalized for folding. The first hand where they both agree the whole time to stay in (which would essentially be an all-in and a call in regular Texas Hold ’em) they decide the fate of a child. But so it wouldn’t take forever, once they amass a certain amount of points (for folding), they also essentially forfeit and lose. It would be 100 pre-flop folds, but as few as 10 folds that were right at the end. That structure enabled me to tell the story.
Now I just have to write it. I did about 2000 words tonight and hope to have more time later this week to write some more. I’m pretty drained right now.