And if you look over here you’ll see something shiny.

“You’ve seen the party tricks, now it’s time to see what I can really do.”

I do love my characters. I love them even more when they speak to me on some deeper level. The thing I hope they do with other people. The thing every writer wants their characters to do.

I feel like my entire life has been showing everyone the party tricks. I’ve been just good enough at things to warrant recognition, but not good enough to stand out from the crowd.

My grades were good, but not stellar. My jobs… Well, I’ve always been really good at what I was assigned to do. If you’re good at your job you don’t attract attention. I guess I wanted to stay under the radar. Head down, power through until I figured out what it was I was meant to be doing.

We all do this. We all search and search for that thing that we’re good at and that makes us happy. The thing I’m good at, really good at, moving pieces, intricate plots, conspiracies. Oh, I do love a good conspiracy. (I blame Mulder.) They’re special with their layers of deception and their wonderful tiny pieces that move about and think they’re better than all the other pieces.

I get weird toward the end of a novel. I’m almost done with the zero draft. I can feel the end. I know what it smells like (musty with a hint of pine). I’m in that phase where I toss words onto the page in hopes of prolonging the inevitable. Another argument won’t hurt. Some more travel is fine. Oh, they can’t do that there. Let’s put them over here and make something else stand in their way. Yes. Sure. That sounds lovely.

It goes that way until I run out of reasons to prolong the inevitable. Then I write the end. I finish off the novel and wait for the feeling of emptiness to pass. Because that’s what I am. I’m empty when I finish. Everything is on the page. Every last bit is there. Then, slowly, it comes back and I start again.

This is what I can really do. I can write. I can tell a story. I can make characters dance and sing (not usually) and I’m done with the party tricks. No more sucking. I’m putting on my game face and I’m going to make it as a writer.

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