It was fast. It was fun. It was over in three months.
Okay, that’s halfway true. The only celebrity I’ve actually seen up close is Kirk Cameron at an autograph signing.
After spending several months on my last manuscript, now out for representation, I needed a change and returned to the contemporary novel I wrote two years ago. Carson Kent, a famous actor, leads my current work in progress, Call When You Land.
The idea for this story came to me late on a Friday night. I was mindlessly watching music videos on YouTube when this one came up. I didn’t know Duran Duran was even around anymore, let alone making new music. It was beautifully shot, and strangely intriguing, and I was hooked. At minute 4:13, a little plot bunny climbed into my lap and wouldn’t leave. By the next morning, my main character had a name. And you know what they say: when you give something a name, you get attached.
I had been between projects for some time and felt the head rush of a new idea. The next day, I was crafting Carson’s world in the back of my mind during a Fourth of July party. The day after that, half the first chapter was written. I knew I had to put Carson in a serious predicament, so I gave him the opportunity to evaluate the trappings of fame – while being stuck inside his own movies where he’s the only one who knows they’re a work of fiction.
The story flew off my fingers. I’m a certified pantser, a writer who doesn’t outline prior to penning the manuscript, but my story structure allowed me to go chapter by chapter and was easily organized. Each day, Carson experiences a new film, so I created eight mini stories with unique characters for him to interact with. Since he knows them in real life, as well as what they were called in the film, I got to name the supporting cast twice. Naming characters is one of my favorite things to do.
Research for this story was a thrill. I read about World War II paratroopers and learned where the phrase “a bridge too far” originated. I sifted through videos of Texas state fair equine competitions to force poor Carson to compete in a boxing competition. I researched the rights of child actors, swag bags for Academy Award winners and nominees, and “shopped” for million dollar mansions in Beverly Hills.
I wrote the last paragraph of Call When You Land in October, three months after I started it. It was the fastest I’d ever put a story on paper. I enjoyed every single minute of writing it. And then it was over.
Writers get attached to their characters, and it’s bittersweet to complete their saga. I get to know my characters deeply, and if you want a super elaborate, IMDB style backstory, I’m happy to share. I’ve been working on Trusting a Traitor since 2013, with several rewrites and a fully developed sequel. I feel like I’ve been in a long term relationship with the characters Everett and Mara. But my relationship with Carson was a fast and exciting fling. I shelved the story with the intent to go back to it, and now that I’m starting fresh, I’m giddy all over again.