Dinner yesterday: I sit down with my friend Patrick and we exchange pleasantries. Then we get down to business. He looks at me earnestly and says, “I just have to ask…”

“He’s still in the cab!” I admit.

We’re talking about John Baker, one of my characters, that I put into a cab last November and–low and behold, the man is still in it.

photo-7Now, I haven’t been completely lax, mind you. Mentally, I changed the location of the story from Arizona to Pennsylvania. John is going to the museum where he works. The museum I know the best is the Carnegie on Forbes Ave in Pittsburgh. I spent countless hours doing homework, eating sandwiches, and writing in that museum back in my college days. I even made a special trip there in December with my sister and nephew just to explore.

My sister, “Why are we going to the museum?”

Me, “Because it’ll be fun. And because my character needs it.” (Doesn’t everyone’s?)

My sister, “I’ll drive.”

So, rather than build a mental museum in Arizona, I moved John to Pittsburgh. In doing so, I now need to rethink the cab. Last I lived in Pittsburgh, you couldn’t hail a cab. Much like here in Rochester, you have to call ahead for one. Oh, the trivia in the mind of the writer! So, John won’t be walking out of the flower shop and hailing a cab after all. So before he can get out of the cab, I need to get him in it. Or change his transport entirely.

Finally, and really it was the first thing that struck me: John isn’t going straight to the museum. He thinks he is. And even I thought he was. But no, he’s been sitting in that cab all this time because he’s about to be diverted. I’m sure of this. Where and how will come to me.

I truly think about John on a daily basis, and I’m beginning to know him better than most of my real life friends—another writerly quirk.

If you have a suggestion, lay it on me. I’ll listen.



My first book, Upside Down Kingdom, is available on Amazon. I’ll sign it for you.