I should have known. My characters were at the edge of the woods, and suddenly it was all getting blurry. Once they got out of the vehicles, it was like they were standing at the edge of a vast, blank white space. When I’m teaching, I liken it to the White Space when Neo first meets Morpheus in THE MATRIX. (Before the gun racks appear. Speaking of which, I’m not proud to say this, but I think I might have taken the Blue Pill. Is that the one where you got stylish clothes and good food? I like to think I’m wrong, when I have to make the choice, but sometimes I wonder…)
I need to do more research for this chapter. In screenwriting terms, the chapter I’m writing now would be considered the INCITING INCIDENT–it propels the rest of the book forward, painting the true face of the situation. The previous chapters introduced the characters in new ways that were really a delight for me, returning to old friends all grown up. And I got to write a scene I’ve had in my head for a long time–one of the two scenes that helped me define what BLOOD PROPHECY might look like back when I was first conceiving of the book: Fana walking into her power.
That was also the first scene where Fana and Phoenix meet, so it was really satisfying to dwell there. I never want to do true spoilers, but I will say that the scene is set at the house Prince rented in L.A. for a while–where Steve and I attended a BEA party thrown by Atria publisher Judith Curr. (I STILL can’t believe I was standing close enough to see Prince’s fingers on his guitar strings as he played “Purple Rain” in his back yard, when I had never before seen Prince in concert. My ears are still ringing with the memory, and I can still see the purple light.)
So that was the part I knew with my eyes closed. Not so with my current chapter. I need to know the PRECISE locale, and research the terrain, the weather and the local politics. I need to see more faces. I need to hear more voices.
And now that Fana is in the scene, it must be rewritten from her point of view, of course. So not only do I have to learn what I don’t yet know, but I have to reinterpret it from Fana’s vantage point, which is so different and powerful.
But time and experience have taught me the lesson: I only have to put in the work.