On Thursday night, I went to a networking event and then had a chunk of free time before meeting my friend, David, for a drink after his show. I grabbed a piping hot slice of cheese pizza, eating properly off of a paper plate while walking around Hell’s Kitchen. It was a perfect, cool evening that filled me with inspiration and possibility. Then I settled in for dessert, coffee, and wine at the wine bar where I was meeting David. I sat down and wrote the second chapter of the prequel to my novel, long-hand in my notebook. It’s told from the perspective of Oliver, Emerson’s father. It didn’t go at all the way I planned. I didn’t see any of it coming until the words came flowing out of my pen.
This is what happens when we spend a lot of time with characters. We don’t have to worry about what they’ll say or do next. We just sit down, tune out our world, and tune into their world to watch, listen, and get it all down as authentically, honestly, and quickly as we can. The story broke my heart. The characters say and do things that they regret. They hurt each other and love each other in equal measure. They’re stubborn, intelligent, and righteous. They’re real people with deep flaws and immense gifts. They’ll be their own undoing and their own saviors. They’ll have to be.