Levelling Up

I had a scene to write.

I knew exactly how it would play out too, had in fact been thinking about it for days, and finally had a chance to sit down and get it out of my head. To get in the proper mindset of my characters, I began to reread what I had already written.

“That was a good line,” I heard a voice say.

I looked up in the direction of one of the chairs across from me. There was no one there, no ghostly apparition, nothing. But there was a presence nonetheless. And that voice, deep and commanding, somewhere between Jon Hamm and Liev Schreiber, was unmistakable.

“I’m glad you approve,” I shot back, my sarcasm in full force.

He levelled his gaze at me. Just because I couldn’t see it didn’t mean I couldn’t feel it. “I think we’re all happier when I approve, don’t you?” he asked.

If I had been standing, my knees would have buckled. Instead, I simply and humbly agreed, then went back to work.

A few days later, I texted a fellow author. “It’s normal to have conversations with your characters, right?” I asked. They agreed that it was not only normal, it was practically expected. “I’m used to them talking to each other, not talking to me,” I said.

“You just levelled up,” they replied.

I felt an odd and unexpected sort of pride, a validation I hadn’t realized I’d been seeking.

Ever since, my male lead has shown up regularly. Sometimes, it’s so I can show him the real life inspirations for him as well as some of my other characters. Other times, it’s to help me work through a new scene. Today, it was to chastise me for being upset because other authors had been mean to their characters. “As if you haven’t done the same,” I could hear him say.

He’s not wrong. The fourth book is a tough one. It was tough to write and it will be tough for others to read. But it had to be done. And I know I’m in good company.



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