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He wasn't in the first draft of the book. I created him to help with a plot line I thought wasn't quite working. After input from my critique group, I realized he didn't fulfill his intended purpose. I considered writing him out again.
Essentially, killing him.
Refusing to allow him to exist.
I couldn't do it.
The little stinker had weaseled his way into my heart. In fact, he's the main character in the sequel I wrote for NaNo last year. A Change of Plans used to have an epilogue, but once I realized Jori needed to have his story told, too, I removed it. It gave away too much about what happens to him.
Here's my main character's first introduction to Jori. It begins on a ship, docked in Seattle, preparing to embark on a 28-day cruise to New Zealand.
... I sighed, standing in the warmth of the sunlight and imagining running on the treadmill with nothing but the ocean before me.
“Nice, yes?” asked a deep voice behind me.
I spun around and couldn't help a soft gasp. Before me stood the most beautiful human being I had ever seen. A little taller than me and probably close to my age, he must have been a direct descendant of some Scandinavian god with his pale blond hair and light gray eyes.
He raised his hands. “I didn't mean to startle you.” His voice had a hint of an accent I couldn't place. “My name is Jori. Jori Virtanen.”
“Nice to meet you. I’m Lyn North.” I shook the hand he extended. Like the other guy, Jori also wore nice cologne, subtle and masculine. “Where are you from?”
I blinked. “Seattle? Your accent ….”
“My parents and I emigrated from Finland about nine years ago.” Jori’s smile made him even more beautiful. He glanced at the wall of windows and said, almost to himself, “It will be interesting to do some sketching in here.”
“Are you an artist?”
He hesitated, his shoulders shifting a bit as though uncomfortable. “I hope to be someday.”
Curious. In my experience, beautiful people had a tendency to be self-absorbed. “Are you going to sketch the scenery in New Zealand?”
Jori nodded. “I do plan to do some drawing there.”
“Wouldn't it be faster to fly?”
“I prefer to sketch people. What better place than a cruise ship for people?”
Remembering why I had come to the gym, I asked, “Have you seen any of the staff around?”
Jori’s eyes did a quick scan from my head to my feet, and my jaw tightened. “Are you interested in some of the classes?”
"I want to see if it’s okay to use that open area by the door.” I indicated the location, taking a step toward the exit.
He arched a brow. “Are you a dancer?”
"No, I want it for karate practice.” At that moment, a staff member entered the gym. “Well, it was nice meeting you.” I raised my hand in farewell. “I need to go talk with him and then meet my friend.”
Jori glanced at my left hand. “Your boyfriend?”
“No.” I edged away. “Just a friend.”
“Are you going to the departure party?” he asked before I managed to leave.
“Uh, yes. For a little while.”
His pale eyes glittered. “Then I will look for you.” He did a little bow and left.
With a frown, I watched him leave. That incredible specimen of male perfection couldn't have just been coming on to me. No way was I telling Elle about the encounter.
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Have you ever had a character steal the show?