A quiet night. Cold, cold fingers moving swiftly against the keyboard. Characters, scenes, plots swirl around the head, materialising and vanishing just like the words on the screen. Nothing feels right. Everything is misty.

How does a character get created? I see a shadow of a person sitting next to me at the table, without a chair. I nudge. I don’t know if it is a him or her. But suddenly, I feel a swish of nearly invisible hair. It is a girl. Smiling vaguely, lost, empty. As though without any thoughts. I look at her for a while. Then I realise. This is the woman I’ve been writing. Empty and lost. Thoughtless, for I haven’t put any thoughts. But shouldn’t characters have thoughts for themselves? I suppose you have to start them off first, though.

Let’s see. What do we put first? A childhood memory, perhaps. Playing with a toy. Maybe it breaks, maybe she cries. Maybe she feels betrayed by the friend she thought she had in that toy. Sad.

I look up at her. She seems to be more real now. She is cradling something in her hands. I ask her to show it. It is the broken pieces of the toy.

The story is beginning.