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.

Read something funny

S.O.R. LosersNow that you’re looking through the bookshelves at Grandpa’s or Aunt Eileen’s for something funny to read, you might try S.O.R. Losers, a tale of a soccer team that does not win. On my website, I often share the “story behind the story.” Here’s what I said about S.O.R. Losers:

“As noted in the entry for Bright Shadow, I am often asked “How long does it take you to write a book?” The answer is, about a year. But it can vary. A lot. S.O.R. Losers took me one day to write. It has never happened before, or since, and I don’t think it’s likely to happen again. How did it happen in this book? When I was in high school I played on our school soccer team. I was goalie. We were terrible. How terrible? We never won a game. My own kids—who had become good soccer players—loved to hear how bad their dad—me—was. So I told them many a story about how we always managed to lose. They thought it very funny.

“One day I decided to write it all up as a novel. Since I had—in a way—practiced telling the tale of our terrible team so often, it just flowed out, game by game—in one day.”

Is losing funny? Read the book and let me know.