Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Letter to Nic

An author I follow here suggested writing a letter to your main character as a way of helping you move forward with your story, and although I don't need help in that area, I thought I'd try my hand at it because it sounded like fun. (Here's the writing tip, if you're interested: . All of her tips are fantastic. Look through them.) I thought I'd share my letter to Nic for those of you reading REFUGE, and even if you're not. If this piques your curiosity, you're welcome to read the novel as well, no strings attached except that you have to keep it to yourself. Okay, here it is. Oh, and Nic wrote back, so his is included as well. Enjoy.

Dear Nic,

I love you, kid. You kind of had me at hello. Not sure if you know this or not, but I had plans before I met you. I had this big series going, a fantasy series, and I had two of the three books done and I was ready to start the third. Then you waltzed into my head and started talking about your life and how you fell in love for the first time and I realized my series could wait. Not sure if my other characters have quite forgiven me for that; they’ve been hanging out in limbo for a long time now. But what can I say? You, with your pretty gray eyes and your sincerity…I’m a little weak for you, let’s be honest. You gave me no other choice but to write down your story, and I could tell from your eagerness and your insistence that this was really important. Not to just you and me, but for others as well.

It’s going to be really important for other teens like you, Nic, and thanks for sharing it. I’m honored that you told me first (even before Brad, ha!), and that you trust me with getting it right.

So I’m nearly done with Refuge and there are just a few things I’d like to know more about before I wrap this up. What do you want to do about McKinley? How are we going to deal with your father? Am I getting you right? And what about Brad, am I getting him across right? And Lark? Dear God, what about Lark?

I want to know everything. What you’re thinking, how you’re feeling, what makes you want to vomit with nervousness, what’s bugging you… and for pity’s sake, if I’m screwing something up, let me know.

Love you, baby boy, and I’m so proud of you. And I’m with your mother, by the way. I want life to be easy for you. I’m so sorry I can’t make it all sunshine and rainbows.



Rainbows? Really? You had to go there, didn’t you? And why are you writing to me? This is ridiculous. You know all you have to do is be quiet and I’ll start talking. Never could keep my mouth shut around you. I just knew you’d understand me somehow. Then after I told you I thought I was gay, it just kind of all came out, didn’t it? Word vomit. Now I bet you wish I would shut up sometimes. Like when you’re trying to sleep or teach. I’d say I’m sorry about that but…you know how I feel about honesty.

First of all, calm down. You’re doing fine. Almost as good as what’s in our heads. So let me get to your questions.

You’re getting Brad exactly right. (Thanks for him, by the way. I know it’s sort of cheating since he was made for me but he’s perfect. Smart and funny and sexy as hell and all mine. God, and the way he kisses. He makes me lose my mind. His lips are so… Sorry…what was I saying? Oh yeah, Brad.) The only thing with Brad is that he’s too patient with me. I sort of need my ass kicked, and I think he should kick it soon. Just promise you’ll give us a chance to make up after I admit that I’m a selfish bastard, okay? And while I’m talking about being a selfish bastard, let’s get to Lark…

Laura, you and I both know I’m just going to have to hurt her. It’s really going to suck and I’m not entirely sure she’ll be able to heal from this. Actually, I’m really worried about that. I love her, but I’m not sure she’s stable. I mean, she thinks I’m her whole life. She’s planned everything around me. I’ll be honest – I’m scared for her.

I wish I could help McKinley, you know? I wish he could see what Brad and I have and learn from it, and I wish he could see how happy he is with Matthew and just let himself love him. I realized how liberating it was to tell someone when I told Brad, and when it all came out with my mom it was such a relief. I hope he knows that feeling some day.

About my dad…I’m terrified to tell him, but you knew that. I mean, it’s bad enough I don’t want to go to medical school. He won’t tolerate this. I’m going to be really honest, if I tell him at all, it’s not going to be until I’m done with college. In a year or so, I’ll hopefully be in Cincinnati and it won’t even really be an issue. Maybe by then, Mom and I will have some kind of plan. Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it, okay?

And now for brutal honesty: I meant it when I said you’re doing a good job but…please remember that YOU’RE the girl and I’M the boy, okay? I know you’d like it if I were a little more emotional or a little more romantic or whatever but, seriously, I’m a seventeen year old male. Yeah, I’m hardcore Catholic and I feel guilty about it, but that doesn’t meant I DON’T think about sex just about every second of the day. And knock off the crying, please. It’s okay for me to cry when I tell my mom I’m gay but… when Brad hurts me, I’m just going to get kind of pissed. That’s how my heartbreak is going to manifest itself. Be careful with my other reactions too, even the way I move. I’m pretty and small but I don’t freakin’ float. Go a little lighter on the ‘wilting flower’ act, okay? Okay.

Love you too and…thanks. Gotta jet. Brad’s waiting for me.


Nic Amati