I never planned it. Not really.
It was NaNoWriMo 2007, and I was serious about seeing if I could write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. I had already written for about a week when my wife went out of town for a Women’s Retreat from our church. She left on a Friday and would be back Sunday afternoon. I had time to get serious about this writing thing.
One of those nights I was writing in a little red folding chair, laptop on my legs, and really on a roll, and I did something I never planned to do. My main character (protagonist for people who remember high school English), fell in love with someone. It just happened. It was never planned in my outline, and I had no thoughts about putting romance into the story before. One minute, the adventurer was waking up in a strange room, having all sorts of questions asked of him, trying to solve the mystery surrounding him, and the next, he finds himself staring into the beautiful eyes of this female character and there you have it, the beginning of a romance.
And did I mention, both characters were robots?
Here’s where I realized something about myself. I had been missing my wife and I didn’t even know it. That’s how these things happen. I could plan my book all I wanted, but when it came time to write, some of my frustrations, fears, aspirations, and yes, feelings of missing a loved one was bound to show up in the story.
That book was never published. Not yet anyway. But it did give me a chance to learn who I was as a writer. You see, I thought I liked science fiction, with cool futuristic worlds and technology that blew your mind. But what I found out was that there was something else required for a good story. Someone I can care about. Someone a lot like me. So my robot became as human as anyone I might meet on the street. In fact, more so because I got a chance to look into his motivations and feelings even more deeply than I could for my closest friend.
Then there is this thing about love. I used to make fun of sappy love stories. I did not think I was into all of that yucky love stuff. But I was wrong. That is why I married, after all. Sometimes it just takes a lonely night to make me realize how important it is.