Lisa and I were hard at work out at the cabin. She brought me a pot of coffee, and acted out some scenes for me.
“No, you need a scowl here. My programming says a line like that deserves a scowl,” she said.
“That’s great. I’ll write one in, but I’ll probably change it during edits. This is first draft stuff, and getting the words down is the important thing.”
“Why didn’t you get your new character out here for this?”
“She has a report to work on. You never went to school, so you don’t understand.”
“Uploading data is much more efficient. I’m lucky to be a robot. Are you sold on her name, you could always change it?”
“When I was a kid–
“Here we go.”
“When I was a kid, every girl in school was Mary or Susan. I ran with a crowd named Jeff, Jeff, and Jeff. John, John, and John, and Greg and Greg. I felt fortunate to be Craig. I looked up common names for this era and every girl was either Mary or Susan. I chose the third most popular and made her Patty. I love names like Tanith or Gwynith. This character has a long ways to go, and I want her to come from a pretty vanilla background. Nothing too special.”
“Neat trick,” Lorelei said.
I snapped around and there she was, my Muse.
Lorelei grabbed a champaign flute from the cabinet, and a bottle from the refrigerator. She handed the bottle to Lisa and said, “Open this dear.”
I whispered to Lisa, “I didn’t know we had that.”
“We didn’t. Lorelei kind of does what she wants.” She opened the bottle and filled Lorelei’s flute.
I offered my coffee cup and she filled it too. Kind of classless, but that’s me.
Lorelei looked at my iPad and said, “Looks like a good start. How many words today?”
“Just over seventeen hundred. They aren’t all good words, but that’s what rewrites are for. You can’t fix something that doesn’t exist.”
“I agree. Is that first person point of view I see there?”
“I’ve never done it before, so I decided to try. Writing isn’t all about commercial success. I want to try new things, and push myself. I may rewrite the whole thing in third person, but the outline pretty much sticks with Patty the whole way.”
“That’s wonderful. I really like the way you’re progressing.”
Lisa stepped between us and said, “Yeah, we’re all pretty proud of him.”
“Oh Lisa,” Lorelei said, “You were a wonderful character. He probably should write your sequel, but I agree with him about waiting to see if your story sells.”
“Yeah Lisa, we aren’t trying to stack the deck against you here,” I said.
“I’d prefer a stacked deck. You taught me how to count cards, remember?”
“Oh yeah. Anyway, Patty’s story is coming along pretty well. I can’t wait to get to the paranormal stuff. That’s the part I really like.”
“Don’t rush it. It looks like the main struggle is with her handicap and her mother. The paranormal stuff is almost a side issue,” Lorelei said.
“I love it!”
“You do? I mean it wouldn’t be me if some weird shit didn’t happen, but the handicap is the main point.”
“What are you calling it?” Lorelei asked.
“Will ‘O the Wisp.”
“That’s wonderful, and sounds like something you’d write.” Lorelei kissed me on the cheek.
Lisa smacked my other cheek, stood up straight, and put one hand on her hip.
“Now ladies, let’s all play nice.” I held my cup up and said, “Here’s to the first 1700 words, maybe there’ll be more tomorrow. I swear, what would you two do if I ever tried that epistolary style I’ve been dying to try?”
Lorelei sat on the corner of my desk and got all soft eyed. I could tell I’d struck a chord with her. Lisa copied her actions. She crossed her tattooed leg over the top of the other one to get my attention.
I gestured with my cup once more, and made a forced grin. Lorelei clinked it, and Lisa tapped it with a Dixie cup I never saw her fill.
“To the first 1700 words,” Lorelei said.
“Seventeen hundred,” Lisa and I said in unison.