I’d been playing with an idea for a year now, and it never caught fire. I’d take it down one path, back up another, down a third… It didn’t feel like something I wanted to write.
It started with an angel, but then I removed the angel and the spark went with it. I couldn’t put the angel back, though: he no longer fit. I added a child. Added a weblog. Removed the weblog. Threw in a few quirky side characters, but nothing fit.
Last week, doing laundry, I started “hearing” one of the minor characters talking to the main character, telling her backstory. That was the moment I began to fall in love. In that moment, Character Number Two found her voice. It’s the moment Michelangelo captured with God touching the finger of Adam, the moment a bunch of notions become a person. In my head, I suddenly beheld a blue-haired violinist who had an entire childhood story she told me (or rather, my protagonist) about how she came to America, how she came to play violin, how she came to faith.
Remember last winter when I needed a car repair story for Honest And For True The Sequel, and the next day God provided one?
Well, God looks out for fools, drunks, the United States of America, and me too. Because my protagonist needed a day job, and I couldn’t come up with one. I ran through ideas, and one of them rang true. They all had opportunity for humor, but nothing felt like “her.” She’s been a bear of a character to nail down. I just don’t have the feeling of her at all yet, not even her name.
Thursday morning, waiting at the bus stop with the other SAHMs from my block, as I huddled against the wind, one of the moms said, “Do you know what’s the best job?” And then she told us.
Do you hear that ding-ding-ding sound? That was me striking the lottery.
She went on to talk about several other jobs and how much fun they would be, but I couldn’t get my mind off That One Perfect Job.
And now my protagonist is gainfully employed. In fact, the location of her gainful employment gave me the final scene of the novel.
So I have a first chapter and a final chapter in mind. I just need about twenty-five for the middle. Oh, and a name for my main character. I’m thinking Joey right now (short for Josephine) but it could change. It usually does.