My favorite Scene...
happens in a jailhouse.
and the whole book was born with just this one line and that one scene.
It all started when I was laying in bed one night and the phone rang (my phone call wasn’t nearly so good as Jocelyn’s). It was just a random call from my sister in law, but after I got off the phone and tried to go back to sleep, an idea started toying with me. I know. It’s supposed to be the other way around, but it hardly ever works that way for me.
I didn’t hop out of bed and immediately write it down or anything so exciting, I let it sit until the morning. I figured, if I woke up and the line was still there, it was a keeper. If not, something else would come.
Lo and behold, in the morning, there it was, still whirling around up there and it had a whole scene attached to it. The jail house scene. I imagined the whole interlude that morning—saw the entire thing, from the dingy sheets on Keaton’s jail cell bed, to Simon’s brown uniform, to Jocelyn’s fuzzy slippers and that monstrosity of a birthday cake.
Then came the dialogue. Keaton, I knew would be charming and fun. Simon was a momma’s boy, the golden child who worked with Keaton to orchestrate the whole thing. Jocelyn, though, she had to be tough and resistant to him and that was hard to write because I wanted her to fall back into Keaton from that first minute. I wanted whatever their problem was (I didn’t really know then) to vaporize into nothingness. But, if he didn’t have to fight for it, who would read it?
The first line… Had I known the first person to wish me happy thirtieth birthday would be my ex-husband calling from the county jail, I wouldn’t have answered gave me enough about Jocelyn that I knew she would be feisty when she saw him and his homecoming (he told me he’d been away) would be less than a joyous occasion for her.
And while it is the line that started everything rolling for me, I hope it is a line that stays with you, as well.