Friday Plot Swap:
State Fair Style!
Need a plot? Take one!
Have a plot? Leave one!
It is state fair time here in Texas. The only time I saw my dad's family growing up was when we gathered there once a year. So, I have great memories of the fair. When I got a little older than the picture below, my cousins and I would take off on our own. Just had to check in a Big Tex every few hours. If you aren't from here, Big Tex is a massive talking cowboy, we'll discuss him more in a minute.
My daughters are the age now that I was when my friends and I would take off with my cousins. This was long before cell phones but well after the case of Charlotte Kinsey and Cinda Palette who went missing from the Oklahoma State Fair in 1981. I can't imagine giving my girls that kind of freedom now.
Being a suspense writer, when I started thinking about this plot swap. My mind instantly went to the case of the missing girls (interesting side note: The sister of one of those girls was my roommate in college for about two weeks. She had been a pre-schooler when they disappeared.)
But, that felt too easy. There is so much more to the fair that could make awesome stories. Like, THE FOOD! I don't know about other places, but here, we fry EVERYTHING.
Such as Fried Bacon Tilla. That is bacon woven together to make a tortilla then wrapped around meat, cheese and other stuff that I'm sure is amazingly healthy.
So, what if your main character had the "next big fried thing"? She's working to make a name for herself. She needs to win the Big Texas Choice Award. (Yes, that is a thing. That link has a cool video about the competitors.) But, she is being sabotaged by a nefarious rival. Or, a food-truck-crossed-lovers story about two rival fried food producers falling into the big vat of love. (Okay, yeah. I made it creepy.)
Check out this article about the food to be inspired by the southern-fried creations.
Howdy, folks! I'm Big Tex.
This is a standard meeting spot at the fair. You can see him from just about anywhere and it's tradition to have your picture taken in front of his fence.
Big Tex is an icon. He speaks in this deep, smooth voice with an obvious southern-drawl. I always wondered about the man who owned that voice. What if you were walking through the state fair and your long, estranged father's voice came out of a fifty-five foot tall cowboy? Or your ex-husband's voice? Or the love of your life who got away?
Tragedy struck in 2012, Big Tex caught fire. This article has amazing though slightly odd pictures as well as video. I can't describe to you the feeling of watching this happen on TV. He's a statue. He's not real. It was still heart-wrenching.
It was determined the fire came from an electrical short in his boot. But, what if it was intentionally set? What if your hero firefighter or arson investigator had to spend time at the state fair research who would want to destroy Big Tex and why? What if watching Big Tex burn triggered a buried memory that reopened a cold case? What kind of fun could be hemmed into a story about a seamstress hired to create new clothing for the giant?
So, that's our state fair plot swap. Does your state fair have any good ideas just waiting to work their way into a story? Could you make something better out of these? What have you tried that's fried? Have any guesses about why mom extended her middle finger?