My life as a writer has provided me many meetings—some fun and some strange.
Fun meetings involve other writers, some best-selling authors, new authors, and many writes in between. Many have become friends.
Other fun meetings involve readers. Their enthusiasm is catching, and they always have great ideas regarding my characters, which always leads me down a path of thoughtful consideration.
I’ve met and become friends with lots of characters, too. Many of these characters that I’ve read about were created by other writers, and some of these characters came into my life via my hand. I wish I could say that I fully created them. They mostly just pop into my life, fully formed, wanting me to write down their stories.
Such was the meeting of yesterday’s character. Only this character is dark and sinister—not the usual, traditional, likeable character that I want to get to know. Generally, I have to probe to learn about my characters—particularly the wounds they are struggling to overcome, which creates the conflict in the stories. Just as in real life, the wounds are buried deep, so it takes time—often weeks—to reveal these wounds.
But this guy was different. He wasn’t hiding a thing.
So there I was, at one of my favorite restaurants in this small community. The place was crowded, every booth and table taken with people standing at the door waiting.
While waiting for my order to arrive, I was reading, as I typically do when dining alone. I was reading Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places, a thriller for sure. Most definitely, it’s a dark story, and I was hooked, oblivious to everyone else around me.
All of a sudden this imaginary character—a drop-dead gorgeous hunk of a man with dark hair and dark eyes—sat down opposite me and said, “I know you.”
And then, he just stared. Waiting. Watching. And sharing his story.
The story, which includes a shocking ending, spewed from his mind to mine telepathically and with a gaze that never wavered. Seeing the end of the story, I broke out in goosebumps and felt my skin crawl.
I have other commitments, I argued.
He didn’t care. He’s wasn’t interested in knowing what I’m already working on, what my plan of writing projects looks like for the rest of the year.
Nope, it’s didn’t matter.
His wound was easy to see. No digging needed on my part.
He’s scary. He’s dark. He’s shallow and yet deep. He’s the bad boys of bad boys, but not in a good way or a fun way. He’s not someone you want in your house at all. That kind of scary.
Looks like I’ll be working on several projects, simultaneously. I have no choice. To get rid of him I have to write the story, and I’m not willing to postpone or abandon the others—even if for a short time.
A story that is going to lead me into the dark, spooky corners of an individual or two, who feels as real as any breathing, talking, blood-in-their-veins person in my life.
I can hardly wait.