I love it when I stumble upon a visual that perfectly mirrors a scene I envisioned or a character I created. My favorite was after creating Luke Cedrus and living with him in my mind for several years, he finally walked into my world — literally. I was sitting in a coffee house and looked up at this smallish kid with shaggy auburn hair, wearing a red tshirt. It was as if my brain leaked and Luke Cedrus slid out. And there he was. Running around. Breathing. I was riveted — even snapped a photo of him. Ever since then, I’ve kept my eyes open for those moments. When characters and scenes breathe before me.
I had written a scene for MARKED, one that was set in a deserted church courtyard. And on one of my walks around Pasadena, I found this:
Here’s an excerpt from that scene:
She moved more quickly than Oliver had witnessed before, her eyes wide and focused, her fingers tightly clenched around his arm. Not a word she said until they were hidden in what looked like a deserted church courtyard. When Grandma Pamp finally released him, he braced himself for a disappointed lecture.
Instead, she shook her head and mumbled to herself as she tried to catch her breath. Her skin had gone as white as ice and her usually perfectly tied hair wilted around her face. She looked like a frightened animal in her large fur coat. Then, “I was being careless. We shouldn’t have come.”
“Grandma,” he said, touching her arm, which caused her to jump. “He barely saw anything. I’m sure he was just upset that I fell like an idiot into his lap.” But his palm seemed to burn inside his jacket. Even he wasn’t sure he believed himself. He continued. “Besides, what difference does it make? I haven’t been able to make my mark work. It’s defective or something. I don’t know what the big deal is.”
There. He finally confessed. It wasn’t working like it should. No skill. No talent. Nothing. And yet, all his grandma ever talked about was how he had to keep it hidden. Deep down, he worried this was the truth behind it. She was simply embarrassed by his ineffective mark. Hiding it was her brave solution.
“Oliver, it does work. Just not in the way you know yet. And in many ways I hope you will never learn. I–” A branch cracked in the distance and she froze. Seconds later, when nothing appeared, she continued, her brown eyes as sorrowful as they were on the anniversary of his parents’ death. “I should have told you long ago. I’m just not comfortable telling you here. Later. After your outing. It’s your birthday, let’s not forget.”
“But what about the man on the bus? What if he did see? Would that be so bad?” Oliver asked, suddenly feeling a sense of urgency to know.
“Yes. I know exactly who that was. He’ll want explanations. And I for one am not ready to give them.”