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. If you’ve ever had something like this happen to you, please tell me in the comments.
“Hello?” It’s never a good sign when you walk straight into your book and none of your characters are there. “Hello? Is anybody here?” Seriously? Did one of my toddlers crawl on top of my computer and hit the delete key? No. I have it backed up and triple backed up. Fortunately, that doesn’t look like a possibility.
The lights in the conference room were off and all of the windows were closed with the blinds drawn. I heard something shifting around in the far corner. I reached for the light switch and flipped it on. A slight buzzing sound preceded the popping sound of each of the fluorescent lights turning on, one at a time, across the ceiling.
“Who’s there?” asked someone attached to a weak voice.
I ambled down toward the other end of the room. The closer I got to the sound of the seemingly disembodied voice, the thicker the air became. A pungent odor clung to everything in my path. I covered my nose and mouth with my arm. It didn’t help. I haven’t smelled anything this bad since my three-year-old decided to play hide-n-seek with a gallon of milk. Color me green when I found the container and its decaying contents inside of the trunk of my car.
“Please,” the voice said.
It took me twenty seconds longer than it probably should have to realize who the voice belonged to. Some people might feel guilty about that, but not me. I’m only the writer of this story. Not a miracle worker. I can’t be expected to remember all of my characters all of the time….er…..um….yeah….nevermind. Forget that last part.
Yup. It was him, sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall for support. His arms were still restrained inside of the straight jacket – thank goodness! I don’t even want to think about the nightmare his escape would cause – mostly because I’d have to write it and I already have one too many storylines running around in my head.
“Oh…Ms. Silver. Thank heavens,” he said with a pleading look in his eyes.
Not sure why he’s so thankful. I’m the one who put him in the straight jacket. “Where is everyone?” I asked.
“They left. The left me,” Dr. Palmer whined. “They’ve been gone for weeks.”
Yeah. No. “They couldn’t have been gone for weeks,” I began. “We were here two days ago and I’ve only been gone for one.”
“Will you let me out?” He coughed.
I turned my head, gagging at the cloud of stink that rose out of his mouth. How is it possible for a character to smell so awful? There’s something seriously wrong with me if I’m writing my characters like this.
“They left you a note on the corkboard,” Dr. Palmer said, tilting his head off toward the board.
I walked over to the board and found a typed note that read:
My eyes bulged out of their sockets. “Are they serious?”
“Can’t say,” Dr. Palmer said. “I wasn’t privy to the contents of the note.”
I crumpled the note up and tossed it in the trash can. I have no problems with stocking the fridge – since they’re basically requesting all of my favorite food groups. There’s no way in hell I’m giving Dr. Palmer a bath. Still, he does stink. And, if fictional characters ever unionized, I’d be screwed. I opened my laptop and typed away.
“May I inquire as to what you are doing?” he asked.
“Writing a nurse to come bathe you.”
Dr. Palmer bit his chapped lip. “I do hope she’s blonde.” Drool trickled down his unshaven chin.
The door to the conference room swung open and two, large men walked in, dressed in blue scrubs. The first guy, a blonde – because I aim to please – strut up to me. “Hey! I’m Olson. Where’s the patient?”
I pointed toward the floor.
“What?” Dr. Palmer asked, alarmed at the presence of these two men. “This isn’t what I asked for, Ms. Silver.”
Olson and his partner picked Dr. Palmer up and dragged him out of the room. He screamed and pleaded the entire way.
“Have fun during bath time.” I waved at him.
He turned back one last time and snarled at me. And the man wonders why we leave him in a straight jacket.