Perspectives of a Writer and Musician

Issues related to writing, publishing and playing jazz music: One man's muse.
by Al Stevens

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Location: Florida, United States

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Words, words, I'm so sick of words...

I'm up to 58,000 words in Nursing Home Invasion. I have a character who is a kind of comical old guy. Everybody knows a guy like that. When he was young he was considered a pain in the ass, and everything he said was irritating. Now that he's old, he's irascible, and everything he says is funny. He says the same things, but because he's old, he gets away with it.

It's something to look forward to if you were a pain in the ass in your youth or are one now. (I know an old guy in his eighties who is still a pain in the ass. He didn't age well.)

Anyway, this old guy in my book spends some time on the witness stand in a murder trial, and he doesn't particularly like the prosecuting attorney. So, I put some text in there where he needles the lawyer, goes off on tangents, forgets the questions, and so on. I got a bunch of words out of that, and it doesn't detract from the story.

Word bloat can be a problem. Usually, however, if you look at the beginning of a chapter, there are more things that can be said to get it going. Not "the sun hung low in the western sky" kind of thing, but action lines that lead up to what's going to happen next.

I made a joke yesterday that I'd like to use in the book. We were going somewhere, and Judy was driving. She had the car backed out on the driveway, and I said I had to go lock my office. Judy said, "You already locked it. I saw you from the car standing in front of the door facing it and doing something with your hands. What else would you have been doing?"

Without thinking I said, "I was scratching my balls and didn't want the neighbors to see."

I shouldn't say stuff like that without thinking. I should've thought. Or maybe if I wouldn't have laughed so hard. I hope the swelling goes down soon.


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