Hobbits really are amazing creatures. ... After a hundred years they can still surprise you. -- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Oh, one of the many, many reasons to love the writing life. The constancy of surprise, the frequency of discovery... even when I don't think something new is around the corner, it just, just might be.

I dragged my writing into the living room yesterday, looking for a change, for a patch of sun to sit in. I needed to work on a character, fine-tuning his voice and personality before driving him into the next section of plot. I've worked with him a lot, and I know him pretty well, but there were just a few things we needed to chat about, some lines to refine.

But suddenly, he blinked up at me with new eyes. His voice rang out with more determination, more attitude. Sitting next to me in that patch of sun, he was fiestier, funnier, and grittier than the person I thought he was, the person he's been for two years.

Two years! I could hardly believe it. I thought I knew him so well, all his little tics, his reactions... But he used to give up so easily, he was too easily wounded, he sat in corners with his disappointments. He stared at his hands.

Not anymore.

Now he's talking so fast that I can't catch up, now he's making my heroine crazy, now he's taking as much of the plot into his hands as he can. Grinning at me all the while. This is who I am, he says.

Oh. Oh, I like him so much better now.

He's opened another door into this story, another section that takes on new life, new energy, that calls me back again. And so I'm the one grinning foolishly now, so happy with these crazy super-charged characters who tug me along behind them...

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