It happened last night. We were standing on the boardwalk outside of Doc Kellogg's office. Emily was ranting about the intolerant and judgmental citizens of the conservative town of Heaven, California. Sensing an emotional breakdown and not wanting her subjected to more public ridicule, Seth ushered the quirky librarian off of the crowded street and into a private area. She continued to vent about supposedly good people who shun those they perceive as different.
"Mrs. Dunlap is a goodhearted woman who contributed generously to this community for years. But along the way she lost her husband and two sons and slowly but surely her mind. She's not crazy, she's forgetful. Cole Sawyer Sr. took advantage and manipulated her out of her land. Granted, he paid for it. But not a fair price. No one wanted to take her in because they considered her a nut and a burden."
"You took her in."
"It was the decent thing to do. I can't fathom how someone could turn their back on someone in need!"
In that moment, something turned inside of Seth. And me, too. At long last, I fell in love with the heroine of my current story, ROMANCING THE WEST. I finally 'got her'. Completely. After months of being the bane of my existence, Emily McBride could well end up being my personal favorite of the heroines I've written thus far. With the exception of Evie Parish from THE CHAMELEON CHRONICLES. Evie and I share a special bond.
Emily's rant and subsequent breakdown wasn't only about Mrs. Dunlap. There are several contributing factors as Seth will soon find out. She's an interesting and complex woman. Over the past three days, I not only clicked with Emily, but with Seth, and two other central characters. I wrote 26 pages in the past three days, five scenes. Within those scenes twice, I second-guessed what I wrote off of the top of my head. Twice I ignored the urge to fight and change what had come naturally from the characters, but as a surprise to me. I'm glad I went with it, because those unexpected happenings led me fast and furious into the heart of the story. I'm driven now. I feel the characters and the plot is developing as I'd planned and as I hadn't planned.
That's the thrill of writing by the seat of your pants. That's the beauty of allowing your creative muse to run roughshod over your inner critic.