I was stalled on it earlier today, and I called for reinforcements. I sent the following text to eight of my friends (six guys and two women, if that matters to you):
"I’m having trouble. What would need to happen for a high school guy to get a crush on a quiet, generally unnoticed girl and for him to initiate something? What event? This is for the TV pilot I’m writing. Out of ideas."
I wasn't sure if anybody would get back to me, but I got a flurry of responses. So much so, my battery died. I enjoyed the responses so much because of their range of candor, creativity, and thoughtfulness. (Thank you!) Here are some of them:
- "I think there would need to be some rumor about her once going to a party with someone famous. Or a rumor that she gives great blow jobs or something."
- "She accidentally hits him with her car. And she feels a sense of obligation to the boy."
- "Opposite each other in a play?"
- "Girl that does something particularly memorable (like express a strong opinion really intelligently or really nerd out about a thing she loves that the boy also loves, like a sports team or video game) when she thinks no one sees her would do it. But you’d have to mix it with something like the boy seeing her v’s secret undies while she’s stretching in PE."
- "Maybe they have a random conversation about sports when they’re sitting next to each other in English class and she blows him away with her sports knowledge."
- "She wears his favorite band T-shirt, she draws something cool, maybe she says something interesting or insightful in a class discussion. Maybe he asks her for a pencil and she says no."
- "Expert opinion: anything. It’s normal enough for high school dudes to develop crushes that almost nothing will seem unbelievable. That could sound like bad news bc the scene won’t just write itself, but it’s actually good news bc you can base what happens on your characters, not narrative necessity. Another way of saying the same thing is that it takes almost nothing to get an audience to accept that one character is attracted to another (even if she is a dork!)"
- "He accidentally walks in the girls bathroom while shes putting on makeup (happened to vince)"
Sports affiliations showed up twice on the list, and T-shirts did once. Mitch talks about how the first time he had a crush on me was the off-campus barbecue junior year at Whitworth. I was wearing my mom's old IU sweatshirt that I had found in the closet over the summer. He was like, "She likes IU, too!" Then we got married.