Getting to know Codswallop, I realized that some of his most interesting thoughts had to do with the subject of love and relationships. His parents have a complicated relationship and Codswallop, though searching for romance, does not believe in true love. And we all know what that means. He needs a good love story!
Codswallop promised me he had a good love story, and I was willing to hear him out on the subject. But he wasn't the only one who could give me details -- nope, it was time to meet the girl.
I knew from Codswallop that his love interest was a non-magic girl, and that he was hiding his magic from her. She was around his own age (at this point, 19) and was attending college. To get to know more, I sat and lurked in my head, waiting for her to reveal herself. Lurking in your own head is an interesting process. It's easiest to do late at night, lying in bed. While I was lurking in my head, I learned things about some other stories, and I saw my hero and heroine from my last book hanging out and being cute (they're so adorable, it's kind of obnoxious), and then I heard the voice of a stranger. She told me she was a Communications Major, with an emphasis in journalism. Then she started asking me questions. She wouldn't listen to anything I said, and when I refused to answer her questions, she wandered off.
Time for a more direct method. One of the days that I didn't sleep (that is becoming an increasingly frequent occurence), I took a long walk at six o'clock in the morning. And I started talking to this Communications Major right out loud.
Me: Why did you choose to be a journalism major?
Girl: I like finding information. Why are you so curious?
Me: I'm writing your story.
Girl: What made you decide to be a writer?
Me: I'm the one asking the questions here!
Girl: That hardly seems fair.
Me: I'm writing your story! I need to learn things about you.
Girl: I don't really want my story told.
Me: Well, I'm writing Codswallop's story, and you're an important part in it.
Girl: I would like to know his story. Alright, I'll help you.
Me: What makes you so interested in Cod's story?
Girl: He's secretive. I know there's a good story in there, but he's hiding it from me. That makes it even more interesting.
Me: Oh, shoot, someone's coming. Pretend we're not talking. *walks along in silence, like I'm not talking out loud to an invisible person, until the stranger passes* You like secrets, then?
Girl: No. I like finding out secrets.
Me: What if Cod never reveals his secrets?
Girl: He will.
Me: What if it turns out he's been lying to you?
Girl: Then I'll never speak to him again.
Me: What?! But... what if he has a really good reason to be lying?
Girl: There are no good reasons to lie.
Me: That's not true! What about spies or secret agents?
Girl: They lie only to their enemies.
Me: No, they lie to everyone to keep their identity a secret.
Girl: They lie to anyone they consider a threat. If I found out someone was lying to me for what they deemed a "good reason," I would assume that reason was because they felt they couldn't trust me. I would feel the same way about them. Maybe they had a good reason, but I can never trust them to be honest with me again. And I can't be friends with someone I don't trust.
Ooh! Interesting conflict, since Codswallop is lying to her! Will True Love be able to survive in face of this girl's strong objections to lies and dark secrets? I am excited to find out.
To get to know her even more, I roleplayed a scene between her and Codswallop... yup, still while walking outside, and still talking out loud. I probably shouldn't admit these things on the internet, but this is how my process works. Sometimes, it involves doing things that could potentially get me locked in one of those nice white rooms with squishy walls. I walked along, switching between being Codswallop and this girl -- he called her Rachel! I now had a first name! -- and I really started getting to know them. Along with her name, I learned that Rachel has a truth obsession because someone once lied to her and really hurt her (I still don't know the details on this...), she has an older brother, her parents are divorced, and she doesn't believe in true love either. I now have a hero with commitment issues and a heroine with trust issues, both who don't believe in love. Aren't romance novels grand?
When I got home from my walk, I started setting up a Facebook page for Rachel, and found a picture for her as well. Turns out she's of Asian descent, which, knowing how much I love writing about other cultures, you'll know I'm super stoked about. Fortunately, she's fourth generation American, and she spent a lot of her growing up years in Salt Lake City, so she shouldn't actually be that difficult. Once I got her page set up, she started chatting with another of Paige's characters (doing these character chats with Paige is so awesome!) I learned a bit about her relationships with her friends, and learned that she has almost no tact. She will ask questions like: "Is your father dead?" without batting an eye. I'm pretty psyched about it.
So that is how I met Rachel Seng.