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This entry is part 9 of 13 in the series Story Genius Method - Pillar

Cheers and welcome back – I dunno why I’m feeling like a radio show host all of a sudden, but here we are.

Quick recap: We’re following Lisa Cron’s book STORY GENIUS and applying it to a short story format. Last week we answered some key questions relevant to the backstory used them to construct an outline of the scene where Roti’s misbelief takes root. This week’s task: actually write the thing. There’s bound to be a lot of ‘doodling’ in the Google doc (here’s the link if you don’t have it yet).

Full Fledged and First Person

“Are you late?” Sai asked, already knowing the answer.

“Stop talking. I need to find my soccer shoes,” Roti shot back, not even looking up at his sister.

“They’re in the living room. Don’t forget to be home before dinner. Remember how mom got angry…,” she spoke with a melodically mocking tone.

He didn’t hear her. He raced to the pitch to find the teams just splitting up. Gai spotted him and directed him to play defense. Ten seconds later the ball hit the field as the forwards grappled for control. Roti squinted as the ball appeared smaller and smaller under Tuay’s control.

He’s going to take a shot!

Roti could feel his pulse quicken with excitement before watching the ball rocket from Tuay’s foot, hitting the crossbar, and float harmlessly to their full back. A moment later, and the ball was getting larger – much, much larger. Their full back had cleared it up to their forward who was now heading straight for Roti! It didn’t matter. He was ready.

The forward feigned left, and went right. Roti charged him, tapped the ball back between his legs, and passed it to Yim, a neighborhood girl with uncanny accuracy.
“Get it to Pratuu! He’s wide open!”

Yim took one glance down the field to spot the unattended Pratuu. She lined up her pass, and rocketed the ball straight to him. Pratuu stopped the ball with a heel kick, lined up a shot, and fired. The ball sailed just beyond the outstretched reach of the goalie tucking just inside the far corner of the net.

They were up!

Roti had an idea. He used the break to run over to Gai, their sweeper, brimming with excitement.

“What if we switched Yim and Thuay? She’s great at…” but Gai didn’t have to hear the rest before he was shouting the substitution change. Yim’s eyes grew wide with a rush of adrenaline. Thuay trotted dutifully to his new position, trying to hide his obvious discouragement.

Roti was beaming.

Gai listened to him! Maybe they could be friends after all…

His thoughts trailed off until the smack of a soccer ball snapped him back to reality. He searched the skies for the faded neon yellow, but the ball wasn’t airborne. He searched along the ground. There! A boomer of a shot just a meter off the ground rocketing towards Thuay, now playing defense. But Thuay was still looking at the ground, sadness hanging from his face. The other team’s center forward fielded the ball, dribbled around Thuay, and passed straight to the forward on Roti’s side of the field. Roti lunged for the ball, distracted by his plan unraveling around him. He felt contact, but it wasn’t enough. He spun around in time to watch their forward pass by him, shoot, and score. They were tied.

It’s okay…we still have time.

But then he saw the bright blue pickup with double benches pulling up to their gravel field. The Songthiaw belonged to Pratuu’s father, who apparently took off from work early. Each side would get two penalty kicks to declare the winner.
Roti panicked.

“I’ll take the shots!” He cried, but Gai wasn’t listening. Roti could do nothing but watch has Gai missed both of his penalty shots leaving the other team two chances to take the game.

The first shot missed.

The second shot didn’t.

It’s all my fault. Roti told himself, followed by some distant advice he had heard his mother tell him repeatedly about it only being a game with friends.

Maybe it didn’t matter. He hoped, as he slouched over to the benches to remove his cleats. He had just taken them off to let the cool air flow through his socks when Gai’s shadow towered over him. He didn’t say anything. He just scowled. Roti lowered his gaze a little hoping to communicate that he was sorry for losing them the game, sorry for not catching the defender, sorry for even thinking about being one of Gai’s real friends. But all Gai did was bend down, take Roti’s cleats, and walk away.

Roti froze, a feeling of helplessness washed over him. Yelling at Gai would only further his chances of ever being friends, but what was he doing? Gai watched to the edge of the street, the sound of the blue Songthiaw driving away filled his ears. That’s when he saw two objects spin high into the air and hang suspended from the power lines. Roti stood up. Gai’s hands were empty.

Betrayal, rage, fear, and sadness boiled inside, but Roti showed none of this. He put on his sandals, broke his eyes away from Gai, and walked home. They would never, ever, be friends.

If you like reading this, please share it with your writer friends! Also, if you aren’t a writer, but are some other flavor of creative, has seeing this process helped you at all in your creativity? Let me know in the comments!

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