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In the pause: Whispers in the night—how our books speak to us as writers

A few days ago, I mentioned that I was having trouble writing Emerson‘s second book. Last night, I just decided to tag along with her to see where she was going, what she was doing, and who she was with. I didn’t expect or ask for anything. I just stayed quiet and listened. I was helped by the idea of a dæmon in The Golden Compass; Lyra’s dæmon sometimes hitches a ride on her shoulder to join the adventure. I did the same with Emerson.

It’s odd what your characters will tell you when you just listen to them. I found out Emerson’s birthday is January 1st, that there are now hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people who are looking for the same treasure that she seeks, and that her travels take her not to one place in Book 2 but many places. There’s some romance, heartbreak, and loss. She will be plunged into memories she would rather not see but are vital to her pursuits and her destiny. There are portals hidden in plain sight. The line between the physical world and the world of the mind is blurred to the point where they’re really no different at all. Time and space are much more fluid than we imagine them to be.

So today, I’m putting my ear to the ground, closing my eyes, and listening intently to the adventures Emerson has taken. I imagine her now, much older and wiser, entertaining a woman (me) who just showed up at her door and asked to hear the story of her life. She has a lot to tell me. She just needs some time.

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