While cruising down the road recently, I passed an older gentleman selling baskets of peaches from the back of his pick up truck. A car was driving away, doubtlessly with a basket of peaches or two on the floorboards. The old farmer was pocketing the proceeds from his sale in his shirt. And that split moment snapshot made me mentally pause and think. Such is the fodder for our stories: these observations frozen in time.
While I could not immediately think of a place for this scene in any of my current works in progress or upcoming ones. Instead I tucked it away mentally for down the line and considered the POV. If I were ever to write something based on this short scene, what POV would I use? Whose story would this belong to?
We have the farmer who just sold the basket of peaches. He would surely have a story to tell. What went into growing his crops and harvesting them? What about the customers now driving away? Imagine the plans they have for the peaches. Peach Pie? Peach cobbler? Fuzzy navels at the block party this weekend? Peach Ice Cream? Or did they fight over stopping to buy them because one wanted them and the other one didn’t? And now they were going to be late to their destination.
Or what if there is another character? A kid walking along sees the same thing and rushes forward, robbing the old farmer, taking his cash and kicking the remaining baskets around. Peaches roll into the road and grassy shoulder. Punk brat needs to learn a lesson but what is his story?
And we can always have another car come along, the driver witnesses the car driving away and the attack against the farmer. Perhaps this individual has been wanting to do something positive, something to make a difference. Wow…this is the perfect chance. he can jump out and help the old farmer. Yeah!
Except he–or she– is either A) terribly afraid of any confrontation/ danger; B) running late right now and can’t risk being tardy to his/ her destination’ or C) whatever sounds really creative here. No phone booth to change clothing? Gas pedal sticks and he/she can’t stop the car? Big truck behind him/ her and he/she can’t risk stopping now or risk getting run over by an eighteen wheeler blowing its airhorn?
That individual could provide enough interesting stuff to make their own story. Either way, whoever gets to tell this story, it would make a good writing prompt to shake off any writer’s block or stimulate sluggish brain cells. It would be a chance to be funny and write crazy stuff or sentimental or serious. Or maybe one of the characters would have enough to say after all to take over and the snapshot scene would lend support to an entire book.
Prompts and snapshots are all around us when we just open our eyes and imagination to them. Personally, I think it goes something like this…
The farm knows judo and kicks the daylights out of that punk. The passing car is actually the kid’s probation officer who pulls over to the side of the road, lets the trucker go on by and then crosses over the road, grabs the kid and hauls him back to detention where he is reformed eventually. The farmer gets his money back and is reimbursed for the spoiled peaches. The couple who bought the last baskets made it to their destination on time, and used the peaches to make peach and buttercream cake for their son’s birthday, once he got out of detention. Yeah, same kid. He got his just dessert, or fruits of his labor.
How would you write this story?