Sunday, August 28, 2011

WHAT IF?

by Suzanne

Okay, those new to the blog may not know this, but I'm a big baseball fan. Yep, Love me some boys of summer!

Now given my love of western historical romances, you'd probably think my favorite team would be the hometown Texas Rangers. Uhm, I do root for them to win as long as they aren't playing my favorite team, The Cleveland Indians. That's right, I'm a fan of the Tribe! We pay to watch 162 Cleveland games every year on TV. Through good years and bad, we root for our Indians.

Now this past spring's scouting report wasn't very good. To we Indians fans it was dire. Hubby came into my office the week before the start of the season and said, "Suz, the Tribe is going to suck so bad this year they're not even expected to win 9 games."

Sigh. Such a pesimistic fair-weather-fan is my other half! I looked him straight in the eye and said, "I don't think they're as bad as that. In fact, I think the pundits are wrong. The Indians are going to surprise everyone."

So April 1st and the start of the baseball season comes along. The Tribe not only lost their first 2 games, they lived down to the expectations of all the sports writers and my dear hubby. They got killed!

But then something happened. The players said to each other, "What if we don't listen to everyone else and start listening to ourselves? What if we play ball like we love it? What if Masterson and Tomlin and Carrasco start pitching really well? What if Asdrubal Cabrerra starts making fabulous plays and hitting at will? What if Hanahan makes remarkable catches at third? What if Travis Hafner stays healthy for most of the season? What if Carlos Santana and Hafner have walk-off-grand-slams to win games? What if even in the bottom of the ninth we believe we can win?

What if the fans believe? What if the players believe?

Funny thing started to happen. My boys of summer started winning. Slowly rising to the top of the American League Central.

Well, the pundits had something to say about that. "They'll never be that far up come May." Then in May, the Indians managed to stay in the AL Central lead.

Pundits: "They'll never last through June. They just don't have what it takes."

Tribe: Continued to win, stayed atop the AL Central. Yes, the Tigers were closing in, but the boys from Cleveland were hanging tough, finding ways to win. Sometimes with starting pitching, sometimes with relief pitching from the bullpen, sometimes with great defensive plays, sometimes with great hitting.

Now it's August. Where is my Tribe? Well, we're not in first anymore. We're in second with a six game deficit between us and those pesky Tigers. With only 30 some games left, the possibility of catching up is there, but the probability is slipping from our grasp with every loss by us and win by them.

I pray they make it. I pray we can have an October of playoff baseball for these guys. They've played hard all year. They haven't given up. What if they get one final surge and make it to the playoffs?

If they don't, I can tell you they've certainly had a season of "what if ?" that no one ever expected them to have.

That's the fun part of "what if?". It's not expected. There are no expectations and more importantly, no limitations.

What if I hadn't met my husband? Would I have the kids I have or the grandbabies? Would I ever have ended up in Texas? Would I have met the writing friends who have helped me become a better writer and a published one? Would I have finaled in the GH? Would I have met the Banditas? Would I have met you, our readers?

As a writer, I love the possibility of "what if?". The freedom it gives me and my characters.

Here's some "what if?" 's:

What if an undercover FBI agent needs medical help for a material witness but can't go to a traditional ER and risk the dirty cops finding them? What if he kidnaps a nurse out of a dark parking lot? What if she fights helping him until she realizes the wounded witness is a child? What if that child is the same age her dead daughter would've been?

*Yeah, I thought that was good, too!* That's the premise of KIDNAPPED, my RS that finaled in the GH Long Contemporary category.

What if a small town sheriff finds a wanna-be private investigator digging through the local town's dumpster and she stimulates more than his curiosity? What if they find a mysterious murderer living in his town? What if she is the only one who can save him in the end? That is the second book in a small town series I've written, CLOSE TO HOME.

What if a young woman is hiding from the law and the outlaw gang she helped rob a bank? What if two U.S. Marshals ride into town and discover not only her identity, but that she is unaware of her own sexual submissive side? What if they use that to gain information about the gang's whereabouts? What if she's attracted to both marshals? Yep, the plot to THE SURRENDER OF LACY MORGAN.

What if a woman witnesses the murder of a U.S. Senator? What if she needs to get out of town and decides to take up the offer to be a mail-order bride? What if the man she marries is distrustful of women keeping secrets, but needs her help to care for his young daughter? What if she falls in love with him? Yep, that's the plot to my book, CANTRELL'S BRIDE, (formerly known as REFUGE), recently sold to Ellora's Cave Blush Line!


So I think "What if?" is a very powerful idea. How about you? Have you ever had significant "What if?" moments? As a writer, do you ever have "What if?" beginnings to your books?

22 comments:

Helen said...

Is he still with me LOL

Have Fun
Helen

Sheree said...

Congrats, Helen!

Sheree said...

I think life is a series of what ifs. All those times kids (both me and my sibs as well as my aunts and uncles) could have been hurt or lost but didn't and grew up to have kids of their own and so on. At any point, any one of us could have been lost or gone. It makes me shudder sometimes to think about how close we were at times. The biggest achievement of any adult is surviving our childhoods.

Helen said...

Yep there are of course still a few Tim Tams left LOL

Suz

Whoo Hoo on all those what if stories I loved both Refuge and Lacey Morgan and I look forward to reading the others when they are bought as well.

My what if's are usually what if I won the lottery and I could travel the world and finally meet all the wonderful people I have "met" on line and get to meet the wonderful authors who give me hours of reading pleasure and of course I could help my kids out and that would be so nice.

I do hope your basball team wins Suz I am keeping my fingers crossed for my footy team The Tigers to get to the grand final this year there is one game left next week in the season before the semi's begin and we should be in them go tigers

Have Fun
Helen

marybelle said...

I think my WHAT IF? moments come after I have done something stupid. I want to take the WHAT IF? moment & rewind.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Yep, Helen.

Susan and my blogs crossed each other. Sorry about that. Blogger stuck again!

Joan said...

What if a rabbit had not hopped into that scene in TSOLM???

:D

I never conciously think "what if" but I can say that watching a strapping, black haired Irish stone mason brought out a BIG What if for my current series.

Good luck to the Indians...I used to follow baseball more but haven't for awhile...until the World Series :D

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Sheree!

How true that is. If we were to go back and have a situation turn out differently..."what if we hadn't done this or that?" then our lives would be greatly altered. I can think of some things that I did as a child or young adult that could've ended badly, too.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Helen: My what if's are usually what if I won the lottery and I could travel the world and finally meet all the wonderful people I have "met" on line and get to meet the wonderful authors who give me hours of reading pleasure

Oh that is such a nice, "What if?" I'd love to meet you, too! I think I'd love to win the lottery for that reason, as well as a long trip to Scotland!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Joan!
I never conciously think "what if" but I can say that watching a strapping, black haired Irish stone mason brought out a BIG What if for my current series.


And what a fine "What if" that has turned out to be!!!

Tawny said...

Ooooh, What If! I love playing What If. Its my favorite story starter. Unfortunately, it's also my go-to freak out. What if I fall carrying this heavy box down the stairs? What if I break my let when I fall? What if I can't get out of the house if I can't go up and down stairs with a broken leg? What if there is an emergency, and I can't get out of the house because I can't go down the stairs because I broke my leg.

Oh yeah, I could go on for hours. Gotta love what if :-D

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Tawny: Unfortunately, it's also my go-to freak out. What if I fall carrying this heavy box down the stairs? What if I break my let when I fall? What if I can't get out of the house if I can't go up and down stairs with a broken leg? What if there is an emergency, and I can't get out of the house because I can't go down the stairs because I broke my leg.

LOL, that sounds like the new laptop commercial where they could ship early if they don't put this one piece of protective equipment on it. The boss imagines what if they ship it and someone drops it? What if dropping it makes a major power outtage? What if the power outtage makes someone's milk go bad? What if someone drank that milk and turned into a blood sucking zombie? What if they infected more people to be zombies? What if the zombies took over the world!!!

Uhm, they put the protective equipment on the laptop and you probably shouldn't carry the box down the stairs alone!

Anna Campbell said...

Helen, looks like he's staying in Sydney. Must be the lovely spring weather - and the Tim Tams - attracing him.

Suz, what a great post - and this from a woman who knows NOTHING about baseball, apart from that Jeanne's son is obsessed with it ;-) Love it when the underdog comes up and surprises people with that spurt of will and courage and determination. Hope your boys catch up from second. Would love them to win - and as I said, this from a woman who knows nothing about baseball. We're a cricketing nation here. There's been a few attempts to establish baseball as a big sport (people certainly do play it here and there), but the wicket and the bat and the red ball and bowling the maiden over seem to have a hold on the national psyche that's difficult to break.

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, and the What If? I think it's something we just play naturally and that's how we end up being writers. I had a great idea for a paranormal light when I was in Melbourne (won't share it, as I said, it's a GREAT idea!). Sadly, I doubt I'll ever have the time to write it and sadly I'm not enough up on the genre to know if the idea is as original as I think it is, but there's something magical about a whole story hitting you like dynamite when you sit on the airport bus on a cold morning at 6am!

Kaelee said...

The rooster is getting a rest. He will be getting plump eating the Tim Tams.

I think most stories start with a what if premise but I'm not a writer so I don't know for sure. I am a bit like Tawny with my what ifs. I tend to look on the scary gloomy side of things too much. My gardening involves a lot of what ifs mostly weather related. I really enjoy this site and another what if would be what if Kate Walker hadn't had a day and I didn't find the banditas. I get a lot of joy out of this site.

Susan Sey said...

Hi, Suz!

I love 'what ifs.' I love wondering what might have happened had a zigged instead of zagged at significant moments of my life. I love imagining alternate realities unfolding. You're totally right--it's the writer in us coming out to play.

I love hearing other people's what if stories, too. I especially love hearing how other writers come up with their ideas. Your stories were great!

jo robertson said...

Great post, Suz! I think what-if scenarioes are the basis of many great stories. I like playing that game! It stimulates the creative side of my brain.

For my debut book THE WATCHER, I thought what if an already mentally damaged character also had a certain physical anomaly. What would happen as he grew into adulthood. Great fun!

Wow, Helen, he's still with you!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Anna: There's been a few attempts to establish baseball as a big sport (people certainly do play it here and there), but the wicket and the bat and the red ball and bowling the maiden over seem to have a hold on the national psyche that's difficult to break.

LOL, I can see why y'all are holding onto Cricket after hearing those terms. It would take a while to figure out the whole game, so why give it up? I can say one thing for baseball, I do like the looks of the men in their uniforms!!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Anna: but there's something magical about a whole story hitting you like dynamite when you sit on the airport bus on a cold morning at 6am!

Uck to the sitting on a cold bus that early in the day, but YEA! on getting a whole story handed to you. I love when that kind of "what if?" happens! And I think you should take the time to write it!!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Kaelee! We love having you here, too!

I think in real life we do more of the negative "what ifs?" and in writing we do more of the possibilities...the more positive "what ifs".

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Susan!

I love hearing other people's what if stories, too. I especially love hearing how other writers come up with their ideas. Your stories were great!

Thanks! I had fun using those "what if" scenarios to write those stories. And like you, I love to hear other authors' "what if" ideas, too.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Jo!

I think what-if scenarioes are the basis of many great stories. I like playing that game!

This is exactly what happens when my friends and I get together with a few bottles of wine!