I open the door to warm air hitting my face like the breath of a sauna. Just my luck my writer lives in Minnesota, the land of ten thousand lakes and fecking cold winters. Ice crystals melt from my eyelashes.
“Shut the fricking door!”
The door swings shut with a thud. I might be a Muse, but when it’s so cold it hurts to breathe, I start thinking about tropical getaways and surfing. My writer is not at her desk, so she must be in one of the recliners. I peel off layers, slip my feet into toasty slippers, and make my way around to the alcove.
“Cold enough for you?” My writer looks up from her laptop. She has the footrest extended, a crocheted afghan on her legs, and who knows how many layers of socks she’s wearing inside those bootie slippers. A fuzzy gray hoodie give me the distinct impression she’s cold. That, and the afghan. Oh, hell, she’s always cold. A steaming mug of something sits on the small table between the recliners. Smells like apple cider, but not quite. Tea?
“Why don’t you live someplace warmer, like Hawaii?”
“Do you have any idea how many times my hubs and I have said that?” She sips her tea. “And then we remember how expensive it is to live there.” A strand of too-long bangs slips from her barrette into her face. She brushes it back. “Why do you bother going out? It’s not like you have to actually walk anywhere. Can’t you just teleport or whatever?”
Or whatever. “It’s for the experience, love.” I check out the wall-sized whiteboard before snagging a lager from the mini-fridge and dropping into the other recliner. “I thought you were trying to cross stuff off the list. I see more notes.”
She leans her head back and sighs. “Reminders. I’ve sat in on some good webinars lately. I’m going to have to do another round of revision after this one.”
I could have told her that a long time ago, but it’s better for her to figure it out for herself. “You were still fine-tuning the plot on this round.”
“Well, right, but I sat in on a revising webinar that made me realize I need a round of revision just for that.”
“That’s good, love.” I flip up the footrest. “Care to share?” I know what she wants to focus on, but if she says it, she’ll remember better.
“Scenes. I have to think in scenes.”
“Isn’t that what you do?”
“I mean, I need to look at each scene again and ask what the character wants, why they want it, and what’s stopping them. The scene goal. Oh, man, I can hear my writing teacher’s voice.”
“That’s a good thing, right?”
“Yes, always. Definitely better than hearing someone with a Mickey Mouse voice say it.” She turns her head toward me. “You could say it. I could listen to that baritone Aussie voice of yours anytime.”
I chuckle. “You don’t get tired of listening to me badger you about all those things you need to do and don’t?”
She sighs. “No. Well, yes … it’s like listening to Sam Elliott, but better. ”
I can’t help grinning. “Not Barry White?” I tease, doing my best impression.
Her breath whooshes out. She clears her throat, tugs the afghan off her legs, and shoves her sleeves to her elbows. “Stop that. The point is, I thought this round was my ‘check the scene goal’ round. I had to fix some plot stuff, so I didn’t pay as close attention to that. I’ve got to go through it again, and look for the stuff I learned from the webinar. That’s what the new notes on the board are for.”
Some days I’m really proud of my writer. “What’s your plan?”
“Look at each scene, make sure there is a scene goal, and check for action, relationship, information, suspense, and emotion–reader emotion.” She bounces her head against the recliner back. “So much to learn! So much to remember. I feel like I’ll never finish it.”
“You will, love. Then you get to move on to the next project.”
She gives me a sideways glance. “You’re sticking around, right? No pub crawls with E.”
“I’ll be here. I think E is busy with Mae after that nor’easter went through.”
Nothing like a week of double-digit, sub-zero windchills to give a writer an excuse to stay inside. Hope everyone is staying warm and safe!