Misadventures in Editing: A Discussion with Dr. Palmer

Ever wondered what a writer goes through when editing a work-in-progress?  Here’s your chance to find out.  Take a look at some of the conversations I’ve had with my characters while editing my current novel.

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The massacre of the toy people was so awful, the camera couldn’t focus.

Dr. Palmer squirmed in his chair.  I’m no mind reader, but I’d guess by glancing at the straight jacket wrapped around his upper torso, he was uncomfortable.  Good.

“What about my first victim in the 2011 version?” he asked. “The one who hanged herself in prison?”

“Too depressing.” I shook my head.  “I took that story line out in 2012.”

He bit his lip, sinking back into his chair as much as the straight jacket would allow.  “What about the innocent bystander I killed in the 2015 version?”

“That never made it past the outline.”

A pitcher of water floated over our heads. Tipping at an angle, the pitcher poured water into my glass before floating out of the room.

Dr. Palmer’s eyes and mouth were wide open. “Did you see that?” he asked.  “Did you see that water float in here by itself?”

“No.” I shook my head.

Dr. Palmer glanced down at the manuscript with a renewed energy – as if devoting himself to these edits would make him forget what he just witnessed.  “Where were we?” he asked, clearing his throat.

We,” I began, “weren’t doing anything.  I was editing and you were being nosy.”

“I’m not nosy,” he said. “I’m particular about how I’m portrayed.” He straightened his posture, squaring his shoulders as much as he could.  “I have standards and I expect the highest quality of writing to reflect those standards.  If I’m a killer then I expect that my murderous techniques will be above average, effective and rank high enough to get the attention of profilers from all over the world. So, whom did I kill?”

Crazy, crazy bastard! “Here’s the thing,” I began, “most characters want to be the hero, not the villain.”

“I’m not like most characters,” he said. “I’m unique. My story will make history.  I will be a legend.”

I turned to him, staring him down. “Listen, princess! You. Are. Not. Special.”

“A clever retort,” he said. “And yet, it didn’t answer my question.  Whom. Did. I. Kill?”

“You wanna know?  Read the book!”

“How is it I always get entangled with amateurs?” He sighed.

 

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