‘What’s going on?’
‘I don’t know. I just got here myself.’
‘Look at that?’
‘At what? There’s nothing there.’
‘I don’t understand.’
‘This must be fiction.’
‘The author hasn’t described the scene yet, has he?’
‘Oh, no. I suppose not,’ he said. ‘How do you know the author is male?’
‘It’s obvious,’ Jenny said. ‘Do you think a woman – a female writer – would do this far into the opening scene without at least throwing a few cushions about?’
‘Probably not,’ Paul said, realising he now had a name. ‘Hey, Jenny, hello. I’m Paul.’
‘I know, I can read.’
‘Sorry, but I don’t think there is any call for that attitude.’
‘I can’t help it. Now he’s developing my character in that direction.’
‘You want to be careful with that. You don’t want the writer to think he can just make you do what he wants. You need to stand up for yourself. Do your own thing.’
‘Oh, yes? And get killed off a few chapters down the line?’
‘Well, it is better than letting an author do what he… or she… likes with you. You know what their minds are like, don’t you?’
‘Not much of one for description, is he?’ Jenny took a few steps closer to Paul across the bare room. She ran her hand down Paul’s arm. ‘No, what are their minds like?’
‘Do you think any of them would be doing something like this if they could get a proper job?’
Jenny glanced around the bare room. ‘I suppose some of them are good at it though.’ She ran her hand over the poorly whitewashed wall. ‘This one, though. I don’t know.’
‘Hey, I just thought….’ Paul stood on the bare dusty floorboards, looking across at Jenny. He thought this could be a good time to describe her physically, but the moment passed before he could think of a non-clumsy way to do it. Anyway, he thought, finally getting some interior monologue of his own, what colour is that hair, anyway. What exactly is brunette?
‘What’s the matter?’ Jenny came back towards him, concern I her dark eyes. She brushed the long curly auburn? Brunette? Red? (fix in the edit) hair from her face.
‘I’ve just had some interior monologue.’
‘Oh.’ Jenny’s long thin fingers dropped to her side, brushing the denim of her tight jeans.
‘What’s wrong?’ There was concern in Paul’s blue eyes now. He ran a hand through his short blonde hair.
‘That must mean you are the protagonist.’
‘Maybe. For this scene anyway.’ Paul looked away, thinking that perhaps a protagonist should have a more dynamic name than Paul. ‘But you could be the love interest.’
‘I could be the one that gets killed. Remember we haven’t had an inciting incident, yet. It could be something awful happening to me that spurs you into action. You are the protagonist, you’ll survive.’
‘But what if this is a GRR Martin story.’ Paul turned, looking behind him, half-expecting a horde of murderous Lannister troops to bust through the door that had appeared in what had until then been a blank featureless and poorly-described wall. He pointed. ‘What’s that?’
‘Oh, no.’ Jenny shivered. ‘That’s the first doorway of no return. Once we go through that, there will be no going back.’
‘We could stay here.’
‘Don’t be silly, Paul,’ Jenny said, taking his hand. She dragged him towards the mysterious closed door. ‘We are the characters. We must go through the door. Our story is through there, waiting for us.’ She took his hand and placed it on the doorknob.
‘Why me?’ Paul turned to look at Jenny. For the first time he noticed how beautiful she was.
‘You are the protagonist. You must open the door and go through it. It is what out creator put you here to do. Now get on with it. I have a film script I have to appear in later, waiting for me.’