When I write a scene I don’t always have an idea on how to start. I know what the scene is going to be about, but sometimes it’s a struggle. Sometimes I write aspects of the scene in a notebook and that helps me start it. Other times that may not work, so I think about the scene and I look around. Where is the scene is happening and what’s going on in the background? If that doesn’t work. Get the big picture, like you would driving. The Big picture usually starts off with a question. What if? Ask yourself what if and a whole world of possibilities opens up for you.
In the sequel to Derby Double, which I called Redemption, I decided to make Mick the focal point. I wanted him to have a girlfriend, but I wasn’t sure who this woman was going to be. I set him up at The Baron’s Head pub, which became the pub for Sheffield United players. Mick and his best mate Kenny Dayken are playing darts. I decided that he becomes distracted by a girl playing Snooker. At that point I was stumped. I knew nothing about this girl. All I knew was she played Snooker and she was really good. I got my big picture, it was a pub, there was a lot of conversation going on, Mick was playing darts. Maevis the Publican’s wife was working her ass off clearing tables and serving customers. I concentrated on the Snooker. The Snooker reminded me of a ladies pool tournament I saw on ESPN. Then it came to me, and I asked, what if this woman is Britain’s lady Snooker Champion. She’s fiery and competitive. I didn’t even have a name for her. She was just some girl in a pub playing Snooker. For some reason the name Audrey stuck out in my head. When I lived in England Audrey was a common name and I always liked it. So now I had this name Audrey but no last name. What would her last name be. I couldn’t simply have Mick hit on her and try to ask her name, that seemed too cliche to me. Instead I asked, what if Mick asks Maevis. So Maevis tells him her name is Audrey Muckwith. Now the name Muckwith, should have stuck out in Mick’s head, but it didn’t. I didn’t want it to. I wanted Mick to find out who she by some strange occurrence.
Mick does end up hitting on her and she’s not having any of it. She walks out of the pub to practice for her Snooker Tournament somewhere else.
A few weeks later Audrey shows up at Sheffield United’s training ground to drop David Muckwith off. Now Mick knows who Audrey is related to and he’s a might intimidated. David Muckwith was embroiled in the match fixing scandal and he also was let go by Sheffield Wednesday and was picked up by United. During the previous season, the two nearly came to blows on the pitch numerous times. Mick isn’t exactly going to be inviting Muckwith to tea.
From this what if situation, a few things occurred, I found Mick’s love interest and I took a minor character from the first movie and expanded him into the second movie. There was something I always liked about David Muckwith. He’s was an intriguing character to me and I wanted to explore him. The more I began to explore him, the more I began to realize that this guy was a Defensive Animal. He was the type of player that you could imagine playing for Wimbledon’s Crazy Gang. When that idea came to me, I decided to mold him after Wimbledon’s Vinnie Jones, one of the most ruthless Center Halves to play the game. As hard a guy as David was I discovered that there was more than meets the eye to David Muckwith. He was a misunderstood guy. He had anxiety issues and went to therapy. His Doctor suggested he calm himself down, by working on puzzles. He was deeply loyal to his sister and his Uncle. Family was important to him.
So the next time you’re writing a scene and you’re stuck on how it should start, get that big picture and ask what if? I know by asking what if, I discovered the Muckwith’s. Two of the most fascinating brother and sister characters I’ve written.