For the month of May, Kendra E. Ardnek, who hosts Character Encounters on her blog, decreed that we were to encounter our character at a Playground. This playground is a real place, it's made entirely out of wood and the time that we went there there weren't too many people.
Jessica is a character from my series which I'm tentatively calling "Peacekeepers" but I've also referred to as "Wanderer series". Book one, Chronicler, is from her POV.
I found the picture of Jessica on Pinterest.
I'm stuck. I hate it when I know where I want the story to go, but I don't know how to get it there. I heave a deep, dramatic sigh and glare at a tree on the other side of the playground. Then I blink. Is someone hiding over there?
My writer's brain kicks in, though the last thing I need is yet another new story to work on. Even so, I jot a few notes down in the margins. I love margins.
"Whoo-WHOO!!" My little brother races by me, skids to a stop, and dashes back. "LOOK, Sierra! I'm a TRAIN!" He cries with all his five year-old enthusiasm. "Watch me go-go-GO!"
He speeds off, waving his arms and running in big circles.
I can't help but smile at him. Then that flicker of movement in the woods draws my eye again. It's not a person, I can see that now. It's blue and looks like it's flapping around. Probably a piece of trash or something. I get up, tucking my notebook under my arm. I'm clearly not going to get anything written today, I might as well do something productive. Even if it is just picking up a stray candy wrapper.
It ends up being a small, blue plastic bag, but hey, trash is trash. I throw it away, but when I return to the bench I was sitting on before there's another girl there, looking uncomfortable and out of place. Her hair is dark brown, hanging in a long braid down her back. She's wearing a grey t-shirt, jeans, and an awesome pair of boots. The thing I notice the most, though, is a silver charm bracelet on her right wrist. More specifically, my eyes catch on the single charm hanging on it- a greenish white crystal.
"I like your bracelet," I tell her as I sit down.
She glances over at me. "Thank you. I don't hear that a lot. All my friends say that I should get more things to put on it."
I shrug. "I kind of like it the way it is. I mean, more charms would look fine, but I think they'd have to be the right ones. Otherwise it'd just look cluttered."
She smiles at me. “I agree completely. I’m Jessica Matthewson, by the way.”
Another of my characters? What is going on? "I'm Sierra."
Jessica notices the notebook under my arm. "What are you writing? An essay, homework or something?"
"No..." Even though I know she'll understand, because she writes too, I feel a little self conscious saying it. "I write stories."
Her eyes light up. "Me too! What are you working on?"
I hesitate. "Well... I'm in the middle of a bunch of stories right now. I have a bad habit of working on too many at once."
Jessica grins. "Same." Suddenly she seems to notice my own bracelet, the one I actually based hers off of. She glances around before asking hesitantly, "Are... are you a Chronicler too?"
I chew on my bottom lip as I try to figure out an answer. Jessica is watching me with an expectant and slightly hopeful expression.
"Sort of," I finally answer. "I'm what's called a Shadow. Instead of actually going to another world like a Chronicler, Peacekeeper, or Messenger would, I watch the story unfolding and write it all down. Often this is to translate the story into another language, or make it available in another world."
Jessica nods slowly. "Who are you... Shadowing?" she asks at last.
"Well, I'm actually Shadowing... you. And Isaac and David and Shawna, of course, since they're part of your story."
Jessica is quiet for a long time, and I hope for the best. I’ve heard stories about authors whose characters find out who they are and blame them for all the bad things that happen in the book.
“Can you tell me what happens next?” I ask, “I’ve seen up to the part where Kristan takes you to meet her cousin. Do the soldiers show up right away?”
“No,” Jessica seems surprised. “How would they have known I was there? They came later.”
“Oh, that makes sense. So how did they find out you were there?”
Jessica narrows her eyes. “It was-”
“Sierra!” My other brother runs towards us, calling my name. “Mama says it’s time to go!”
“Oh,” I tell Jessica sadly. “I have to go now. Maybe I’ll see you again?”
She shrugs. “Maybe. I guess I could message you or something like that.”
“Uh-huh,” I reply, grabbing my notebook and pens from the bench. “I’m not sure if that’ll work, but you can try. Send it to Era.”
I run to the car, stopping only once to look back and wave before clambering into the back seat to write down what I’ve learned.