word craft


Story Behind the Story #15:
S.O.R. Losers

S.O.R. LosersNov­el­ists are often asked, how long does it take to write a book? My truth­ful answer is, about a year. S.O.R. Losers, how­ev­er, was writ­ten in one day. How could such a thing happen?

I was able to do it because the story—about a team of nerds who are required (by their school) to form a soc­cer team and then go on to lose every game they play—is true.

I was on such a team, and indeed, I had the hon­or of being cap­tain of that mem­o­rable squad. My boys loved to hear sto­ries about what a bad play­er their dad was, and often asked me to regale them (and their friends) with the saga. Need­less to say, I was hap­py to enter­tain them, throw­ing in (just a bit) of exag­ger­at­ed inep­ti­tude along the way—though my team tru­ly scored a goal by putting the ball into the wrong net.

So it was that when I sat down to write S.O.R. Losers I had, if you will, rehearsed the sto­ry many, many times. It was easy, then, to write.

There are a cou­ple of oth­er curi­ous things about the book. I had sent the book to my agent, and (I thought) agreed which edi­tor to whom it would be sent. It did not go to that edi­tor, but (to my sur­prise) to Richard Jack­son, the first of the many, many books I did with him.

Anoth­er curi­ous thing: I’m often asked how I name my char­ac­ters. Per­fect­ly rea­son­able ques­tion. But there is only one book about which I have often been asked: “How did you make up all those weird names for the char­ac­ters on the S.O.R team?”

The answer? None of them. Every name in S.O.R Losers comes from the actu­al play­ers on my illus­tri­ous team.

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