“I really liked the new character you introduced in your serial this week,” Holly stated.
Aaron finished drinking his Snapple, but did manage to nod to acknowledge the compliment. Once the drink was done, he lowered the bottle to reveal a huge smile.
“Thank you,” he replied. “She was a lot of fun to write.”
It was Sunday in Maine and the best friends were seated on their favorite bench by the river.
“Is it easy to come up with new characters like that?” she asked and then took a sip of her coffee.
Holly had long been fascinated by Aaron’s creative process. He was very secretive about whatever it was he was writing, but she always tried to get him to share.
Now she was truly intrigued, and turned her body on the bench so she faced him.
“Explain,” she requested. “How does a character develop naturally in that big brain of yours?”
Aaron chuckled at the comment. He didn’t think his brain was any larger than hers, so it amused him whenever she said it was.
“When the week started, I had an idea for a female character I wanted to add to the story,” he explained. “By week’s end, when it was time to sit down and write, she had become something entirely different. That’s because I put all the ingredients into a big pot and let it simmer in my brain all week.”
“Brain stew,” Holly suggested.
“Exactly,” Aaron agreed with a smile. “All week long, I’d stir the pot, give it a taste, and add another ingredient when I realized it wasn’t quite right. At one point, there was a best friend for the character in the mix, but then the best friend became the main character the more things simmered…”
Holly hung on his every word. She had a job that wasn’t at all creative and used so little of her brain that she was all in on living vicariously through Aaron’s creative process.
Aaron nodded emphatically. “Like I said, it’s probably the most exciting part of the writing process. Especially now that I’m writing serials because I have to make sure something is exactly the way I want it before I post it. Once a new chapter goes on the blog, everything in it becomes canon.”
“It’s not like writing a screenplay, where I can constantly go back and rewrite when I come up with an even better idea,” he continued. “The story goes live and is etched in stone once I hit publish. There’s no going back. Can’t tell my readers to forget about everything I’ve written in the past four chapters. I’ve decided to change that character’s backstory.”
Holly nodded in understanding. “So the recipe for brain stew is constantly changing.”
Aaron nodded and smiled. “I’m always working on an idea. In the shower. During a run. When I’m driving. I’m forever tweaking and refining. My inner perfectionist is always demanding rewrites.”
“I hope you’re not working on ideas when you’re hanging out with me,” she said with mock hurt in her voice. “I like to think I always have your full attention.”
“Trust me, you do,” he assured her. “Although, I will admit I’ll often hear something in our conversation and think that it’s perfect to use in a story. To be honest, our witty banter has been a major influence on my dialogue writing. I suppose I’ll owe you a huge thank you if I ever win a writing award and have to give an acceptance speech.”
“You’re not only going to thank me in your speech,” she told him, “I’m also going to be your date to the awards ceremony.”
“Agreed,” he said and held out his hand.
Holly shook on it, and they both experienced the sensation of goosebumps running amok all over their skin from the other’s touch…