It wasn’t your typical Thanksgiving lunch. In fact, not one living person was present. Just us fictional characters. We’d decided to get together while the computer was turned off and the author couldn’t rearrange our lives any more. Not that she had much power anyway. We had minds of our own, so we usually caused as much trouble for her as she did for us.
Sure, she started a sketchy plot, developed some general physical guidelines, typed the words on the page, but after that…once she breathed personalities into us – well, it was only a matter of time before we took over the stories. They were our stories, after all.
Bad news if you're a character.
So I called together some of the heroines to discuss this unfair life over a little Thanksgiving dinner.
“I haven’t been to a Thanksgiving meal in eight years.” Immaculately dressed Dr. Adelina Roseland said, her smile a little uncertain but her pronunciation flowed without one flaw. “Thank you for inviting me, Eisley. I know you must stay busy as a single-mom of three, but you always seem to have time to entertain.”
I shrugged. Entertain? Yep, with a lot of unintentional comedy involved. “It's a treat to get all of us heroines together, from the various genres and time periods.” I nodded toward Ashleigh who stood in full Edwardian attire. “We can certainly celebrate too.”
Ashleigh nodded to the table. "Though we don't celebrate Thanksgiving in England, I can always find something of which to be thankful. Can't you?”
“I’m thankful that there isn’t one piece of red meat on this table.” Sophia Quinn sighed back into her chair and rolled her jade gaze up to the ceiling. “I see enough blood in my job, the less I have to look at it the better.”
Some of the other characters said she was a vampire slayer, but that couldn’t be right. The author would never write a story about vampires. She was a Christian, after all. It must be a literary term. Like code name for vegetarian feminist or something like that.
Adelina’s fork, filled with chicken salad, stopped in mid-air and lowered back to her plate. I think all the blood-talk kind of got to her. She was a city-girl after all. “Well, I’m thankful the author finally finished my book.” Adelina shook her head. “How long does it take one person to write a novel? She's been working on it for two years.”
“How long? Our author?” Ashleigh stirred her tea, her face a mirror of understanding. “You do realize she wrote my story nine years ago and has revised it so many times I don’t even know the ending anymore. Besides that, she’s changed the spelling of my name twice and my sister’s name three times. Poor girl, I attribute it to her…um…what did you call it, Eisley?”
“No, I think you once referred to it as creative divergence. Yes, that’s right. Although all of the above are most likely involved.”
“If I was that indecisive in my job, I’d be dead.” Sophie grimaced and stabbed a piece of turkey with her fork. Perfect aim and a little unnerving. “I’m sure I could write a much better story than she can, or at least finish it. I don't even know if I survive to the end.”
“Don't worry,” I said. “Whatever the ending, it will be a happy one. She always writes happy endings.”
“Sure she does.” Came Sophie’s sarcastic reply. “I’m trying to be thankful here, but my story ending doesn’t look promising. She’s skipped about fifteen chapters to write the last one – and I'm left in the middle of a forest, bleed-.”
"Shh." Adelina's palm came up in warning, face a little paler than usual. "Don't tell the ending, or at least not at the dinner table."
Ashleigh smiled and waved away the concern. “ There's no cause to fret. You’re only a first draft, Sophie. There are no certainties at this point. Not even an ending at all. Just be thankful you’ve not been stashed into the...” Ashleigh lowered her voice to a whisper. “The drawer.”
I cringed and Adelina dropped her fork with a clang against the table.
“Now, Ashleigh, don’t go passing along horror stories.” I placed my arm on Sophie’s shoulder, but she pulled away. She wasn’t the huggy sort. “Just because a story goes into the drawer doesn’t mean it won’t come out again. She resurrected mine. Although she's rewritten it twice and cut at least thirty thousand words. I felt my life getting shorter with each cut. Sometimes I wonder what in print or e-pub she’s doing.”
“Precisely.” Ashleigh snapped her napkin onto the table. “She has four books on historical accounts of the Lusitania and a preposterous amount of notes on its sinking. Unless I’m wrong, I’m the only historical character at the table. This does not bode well for me at all.”
I tried to interject but Sophie stopped me with a look. "Oh you can't say anything, Eisley. If the worst thing that happens to you is getting locked in a 500 year old tower with a British hunk, I don't want to hear it. Try running for your life through an underground maze of tunnels with a hybrid vampire for company."
“Now guys, I know the author wants to write for the glory of God." I looked at Sophie and hesitated on the thought. Vampires? God's glory? I shrugged. Hey, who was I to know God's plans, right? "That has to help us deal with whatever she throws at us, right? I mean, she wants our stories to send a message of God’s love to the readers.”
“Our stories are part of a much bigger plan, even if we can't see the outcome directly in front of us.” Ashleigh offered.
“But wait a minute.” Sophie leaned forward, her unearthly emerald eyes catching the faint sunlight glimmering through the window. “The author’s own story isn’t so much different than ours then, is it?”
“Are you saying, God is the author of our author’s story?” Ashleigh’s smile bloomed complete this time.
“She must be very certain of his love for her.” Dee whispered and averted her gaze to the window.
“If she can trust God with her story." Sophie sighed, a surrender-sigh. “Maybe we should be thankful we can trust her with ours.”
"It's the ultimate happily-ever-after." Dee offered. "And I don't have a whole lot of faith in those, so that's saying a lot."
“Well, I’m glad we’ve settled that.” I unveiled the cake in the center of the table. “Now it’s time for sweets.”
“Chocolate for dessert.” Sophie's eyes took on a fighting glint.
I laughed. “Really girls, is there any other kind?”
I Peter 1: 3-9
6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Thanks for reading to the end. Sorry for the long post. It's very difficult to write short scenes :-) Hope you enjoyed. So what are your characters saying about you?