This is the general concept and backstory for Imagine, which might someday be my second novel. I’m in the stage where it’s really easy to give up, so any and all encouragement and/or criticism is greatly appreciated. If you like this idea and want to see more, let me know. More responses, comments, likes, follows, etc. basically translates directly into more effort put into the continuation of this story. Or rather, the beginning, since the story hasn’t technically started yet. And keep in mind this is a first draft, so there’s no need to be overly dishonest (i.e. complimentary), but I do hope you enjoy it at least a little bit. Oh, and the names are all just stand-ins until I have real names for my characters. Suggestions on this front would also be cool.
James was a boy who took his imagination for granted. It wasn’t long, however, before he discovered that not everyone could make things appear whenever they wished. Most people had to buy their candy, with money earned from a job, which was in turn earned with education and experience. His school friends, of course, got their burritos from their parents, but even then they paid for them, in an equivalent exchange of time spent begging and bargaining. ”Today candy, tomorrow broccoli!” they would wail. ”I promise!” Their parents on the other hand balanced sweets against pounds gained, and paid for their candy in guilt.
But if James wanted candy, he just imagined it, and it was there, in his hand. His parents never noticed, being busy with their own lives. They weren’t bad parents; they just grew accustomed to James’ independence, and blessed their lucky stars that their child was so mild-mannered and easily pleased. ”He never asks for anything, that boy. He’s told us so many times that on his birthday he much prefers the company of his friends and the joy of the party to any presents we could give him.” Other parents felt a vague envy, and changed the subject.
Eventually, of course, James found out that making things real was not a normal trait in a boy. “Make candy,” they would say. “Make money, make toys, make shoes!” And he would, at first, but he came to the conclusion that making things was more trouble than it was worth. He stopped showing other people his talent, and eventually his friends convinced themselves that they were imagining things, or that they remembered wrong. Surely their friend couldn’t really make things out of thin air. Surely it was all make-believe.
And in a way, of course, that’s exactly what it was. Make-believe. James could make anything if he believed in it. In junior high he made himself a leather jacket, a cigarette, and a lighter, but his attempt at being the cool kid was thwarted by a fit of coughing. He made himself a guitar but his practice sessions were irregular and he grew tired of how his fingers hurt. He made flowers once, for a girl, but she was of the sort that saw herself as above romance, and spurned him. That night he made himself a record player, thinking in his preteen angst that the scratch and crackle of a needle on vinyl somehow mirrored his depression. Then three weeks later he made a diamond ring, and she briefly accepted his offer of courtship. But when her parents saw it they demanded to know its origin, and to protect his secret (for by now of course he knew that no one would believe him if he told the truth) he said he found it in a gutter.
So when the year ended and summer began to smother people in their own sweat, the score was this: the police department had a diamond ring in their lost and found, one of his classmates had received a high-quality guitar for his birthday, and James was just about average. All summer he did the things everyone does, and he didn’t make anything. A girl kissed him on the beach, and when she pulled away, blushing and apologizing, he leaned forward and kissed her to shut her up. Carol became his first girlfriend, and they were hardly apart for two months straight. The couple had their arguments, of course, but when they became freshman and had classes apart, they fought less often. Eventually James settled into a rhythm, and he joined the school newspaper, ran (unsuccessfully) for student government, and only used his imagination when he was especially bored or when he needed a birthday or anniversary gift for Carol.
But the universe wasn’t about to let James have a perfectly stereotypical life. Especially not when he could be saving the world. Whether it was through some vast universal law of balance, the unknowable machinations of some great Being, or just plain bad luck, really doesn’t matter. The point is that up until now, the whole of James’ life was just a prologue for something much greater. And, as if the universe (or Someone, or luck) decided to give James one last cliché, the start of the real story was Prom Night.
What did you think? Should I keep going?