A writer I admire greatly, Anne Lamott, advocates writing shitty first drafts. My blogs are, in effect, shitty first drafts. Honing something into a viable piece of readable material takes time I don’t really have. HOWEVER, if I’m going to allow myself the fantasies that somebody out there knows somebody who knows somebody that publishes quasi-celebrity written fantasy novels, I gotta step up my game. I don’t know how many people read this blog, but I do know some of my best friends pass through, so I’m going to process this like you’re all my best friends/Mommy who will put my successes up on her frige. Today I am going to edit what I wrote yesterday. This may turn out to be fun, if anything ever gets completed, so you will get to partake in the journey and see how long and winding it really is.
Or you may get fed up with me and take me off your notification list. I don’t mind. I’m ultimately doing this for me so I don’t go crazy and can at least feel like I have SOME momentum in my life while I sit around waiting for an audition. (I HATE BEING AN ACTOR! JESUS CHRIST! WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GET A JOB? I’M DOWN TO A SIZE FOUR AND ALL THE DUDES ARE GAY AND DON’T EVEN WANT ME TO BLOW THEM ANYWAY! WHAT MORE DO THEY WANT? IT IS NOT A GLAMOROUS, WEALTHY BUSINESS, IT HAS BECOME PATHETIC. ONE CASTING OFFICE NOW APPARENTLY WON’T EVEN LET US USE THEIR BATHROOM! Okay. I’m done.)
So the original is in italic. My substitutions are in boldface and my rationale is whatever the word for non-italicized is. Let me know how it goes for you.
OH! And yes, there is more to this. It exists in fits and starts in my grey matter and on my laptop, but it’s intended to ultimately be a full-length novel of the urban fantasy vein.
The candle sputtered out with a fitful gasp that perfectly summarized how I was feeling. Too many words. That’s clunky. Don’t make readers work so hard right off the bat. The candle sputtered out, perfectly summing up my mood. I was tired. I was spent. I was hungry. The day had been too long and I was grateful to be nearly done. On the other hand, I had no clue how my client across the table was feeling. This doesn’t actually make sense if the protagonist is psychic. Sure, the audience doesn’t know that yet, but I do. No good. That’s how I felt. However, across the table, my client’s face gave nothing away. This was probably due to the abundance of botox, collagen and wrinkle fillers that had robbed her of any expression. (Well, to be precise, robbed her of any expression beyond “moderately surprised” or, as I like to think of it, “ready to perform a blow job but will find it absolutely distasteful”.) Still, I assumed she was satisfied and it was time to wrap up the reading.
Any final questions ?” See explanation below. “Anything else?”
The soon-to-be Mrs.Jadilyn
smiled coyly and twisted the engagement ring on her finger. The word “coyly” is not really a word I think our heroine would use a lot. Still we need something that further illustrates who this client is, phrased in a way that further illustrates who our protagonist is. The diamond would have choked a Great Dane. “Are Roman and I going to have a baby?”
Dammit. I was an idiot. I knew she’d want to know and I shouldn’t have given her the option to ask the question. Stall! “Do you have a date set? Maybe we should look at some numbers and find the most auspicious options.”
She responded archly, “I’m not paying for another half hour. I know how you people work. I just want to know about having a baby.”
Lie! Hello…. Melissa doesn’t lie! Come on, Kim, don’t get THAT sloppy! Don’t answer! Clunky. Evade!
“Uh, well, you know, anything is possible. Really, our time is up now.”
“But are we pregnant? I have to know, so I can tell the gown designer. Or, you know, postpone the wedding.” She shuddered, “I can’t be a fat bride.”
Of course she couldn’t. I flipped a couple of Tarot cards over. They mocked me and were of no help whatsoever.
This was not looking good, but sometimes I can get a little room to hedge my bets if
the questions aren’t specific I’m vague enough. “So, the question is…. are BOTH of you pregnant?” Using the word “question” two sentences in a row? That makes me feel sad for my brain. Don’t do that.
The condescending look she shot back made it through her scaffolding of facial enhancements. That’s convoluted but I can’t think of anything better right now. Come back to it. She explained, “That’s
how it’s phrased now the evolved way of saying it. I love it when characters describe themselves exactly the opposite of who they are. It amuses me. WE are a couple. WE get pregnant. Roman. Daddy. Me. Mommy. What do you see?”
This is the moment I hate. This is the moment that guarantees I won’t get a tip.
I probably won’t get paid. Used probably too much. There’s a more evocative way of phrasing that. This is the moment that heralds another dinner of Ramen noodles and I can’t fucking let’s not indulge in potty mouth yet, shall we? avoid it. It’s a simple act to shut your stick with personal my mouth. I should try it sometime. I’d be a lot richer. Gods, Goddesses, Random Whatevers…. a little help?
I gave the earth one last chance to open and swallow me. Nothing happened. It never does. So I took a deep breath and told her what had been sitting smugly in my consciousness since she walked in. “Well, in spite of the fact that you quit taking birth control six months ago without telling your fiancée, you are not pregnant. You will probably not become pregnant since the complaints you’ve been having about your air conditioning are actually hot flashes
from the start of that come with menopause. On the other hand, Roman, who’s real name is Jerry by the way, has been fucking boffing a twenty-six year old stripper for the last three months and is going to have a healthy baby girl. Congratulations.”
I’ll give her plastic surgeon credit. Her face didn’t move an inch beyond the
minutest that’s a weird word to read slightest squint as she leaned forward.
“Melissa Rowan, fuck you.” Fine. Now I guess potty mouth is okay. It illustrates the true lack of class this rich bitch has. But let’s just use it judiciously, shall we?
She grabbed her purse that probably cost more than my month’s rent and swept out the door. I knew she’d be back in
one… two… three… two…
The door popped back open, she snarled, “And I am leaving you SUCH a bad review on Yelp. You are the worst psychic in Los Angeles!” and slammed again.
No, actually I’m the best psychic in Los Angeles. And I can’t lie. Which sucks like you wouldn’t believe.