The Law of the Red Circles

I was nearly finished with the first draft of The Gift of Samuel when my wife and I decided to have dinner with my best friend from work, Jamie, and her husband, Neil. Neil is a very talented author and playwright himself, but above that he’s one of the kindest, most selfless people I’ve ever known. Jamie and Neil were both aware of my intent to self-publish this book and Neil knew without having to ask that I was woefully unprepared for what came next.

“Now that the first draft is wrapping up, do you have all your editors ready for revisions?” Neil asked me.

“Editors? Revisions? No, not really. I mean, I was going to skim over it one time just to make sure I got all the typos.”

I could tell from the look on Neil’s face that my answer was far from the correct one, so I started fishing a little.

“Do you think, maybe, you might know an editor who would read The Gift of Samuel? Is that something you would do? How many editors do I need anyway?”

As always, Neil stayed cool and assisted me through my naïveté.

“I’ll edit your first draft, no problem; it would be my honor. Then you’re going to need fresh sets of eyes for further edits, at least ten of them, but the more, the better.”

You can imagine my shock when I realized I was going from one skim revision looking for typos to at least ten outside editors. I tried not to think about the anxiety of ten outside editors and concentrated on finishing up the first draft so Neil could be my first editor. On the very night before sending Neil a hardcopy draft, I had another vivid dream of Samuel that altered the story.

In my dream, I was walking with Samuel in this gargantuan warehouse, with all kinds of props and structures scattered around inside it. The warehouse was half indoor, half outdoor, like an open hanger. I’ve never been to a movie set before, but from my limited understanding, this was definitely a movie set. Without any words being exchanged, I suddenly knew that Samuel and I were scouting a location for The Gift of Samuel streaming series.
We walked up to the prop home belonging to Lorrick and Miriam on Elders Row and I could see the three red circles next to the front door.

“What’s up with the red circles?” I asked Samuel

“Joshua is going to need more reason to leave Caulfield. What you have so far isn’t enough. You need to incorporate this into the story.”

As I stood there looking at the house prop and the three red circles, in my mind’s eye it was explained to me how the law the red circles would be added to the story. It was as if the information was downloaded into my conscious and I was instantly aware of this major part of the story that needed to be included in the first draft.

As soon as I woke up, the first thing I did was text Neil, letting him know that the draft hard copy would not be coming in the mail that day as I needed to add something from a dream that I had that night.

Once I incorporated the Law of the Red Circles into the story, I sealed the package containing the first draft and sent it to my friend. He was going to be the first person outside of myself to read The Gift of Samuel. I felt so scared, so vulnerable, sending the story to Neil, but I knew he wouldn’t let me down. I knew Neil would go the extra mile to pull out the good stuff from the otherwise terrible first draft and encourage me to keep working at it. More than that, I knew the story was complete, now that the Law that Red Circles was part of it.