I'm a pantser and when I started Bixby's story, I just knew I wanted to tell a story about a short kid in a new school. A really short kid. But then someone said I had to have a plot. Apparently, his sure-fire wit wasn't going to be enough to sustain the book. Mmm. So, I had to think why is he in a new school? My first idea was that his mom was in a relationship that when bad and they went into hiding. Witness protection. Mmm. And then what if the entire town was in witness protection, but none of the citizens were aware that the others were? So, they couldn't venture out of the town, even for sporting events...so they had to have a sport they could compete in within the town. And I thought of the paintball plot device.
This weekend I visited Xtreme, a paintball supply and arena. I got to hold a $225 pistol and a rifle. I was given instruction on how to use them. I walked among the uniforms, feeling where the padding was. I saw armored vests that probably rival local SWAT teams. I talked to a tournament paintballer, watched some dads and sons shoot another dad and son. All in the name of research.
And what fun. I'm so glad I thought of paintball as the sport of choice for my fictional witness protection haven. Tomorrow I'm going to watch some intense paintball as tournament teams scramble at the arena. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to ask more questions. Because the more I learned, the more I needed to know.
And since adding the serious-to-infinity paintballers, I can't imagine not having them. I've never shot a paintball gun or been in the field, but I imagine by the time I finish this book, I'll be able to scratch them off my bucket list.
What started out as a whim in the book has become a major plot device and I can't wait to see where its going to take me next.
Has that ever happened to you?