I have been searching for my character. And I think I finally found her.
Often I write first and then do my research afterwards. Similarly I had created this character in my mind first and had even written a scene where my protagonist discovers her in the last room of paintings at Kenwood House in Hampstead Heath.
So yesterday, my children and I went to Kenwood to find her. Kenwood House is treasure, filled with paintings by Rembrandt, Turner, Reynolds, Gainsborough and Vermeer. We eagerly walked from room to room, staring up at the paintings, searching for a girl about 11, 12 years old with a wild look in her eye.
But I couldn’t find her. We passed through three times. I was drooping with disappointment. I was facing having to completely delete one of my favorite scenes. We moved on to the gift shop and were idly looking through books and postcards when my eyes lit up.
There she was. In a postcard.
The problem had been that I was looking for someone slightly older. I realized that the painting was going to be the girl as she was before the whole story started.
I asked my daughter to run back through the house to find her. And there she was in the exactly same room I had written in my scene.
She smile down as if to say, You got me!
photo by sara b. (flickr)