Like many writers, I’m a notorious tweaker. (Great. I’ve written one whole sentence and Word’s already busted me for the word “tweaker”. Sweet. Now, Word’s underlining “Great” and “Sweet”…because they are grammatically incorrect as stand-alone sentences. Although, it doesn’t seem to have a problem when I put them in quotations. Now why do you suppose that is? This page is lit up like a freakin’ Christmas tree. It’s a wonder I can get anything published.)
Here. I’ll take a screenshot so you can see what I see:
Now. Where was I? Oh, right. The tweaking. It’s not unusual for me to start a sentence, stall in the middle…and after three or four attempts at a smooth landing, I’ll just ditch the whole thing. It gets an added kick when I’ve got Clinton Kelly, my adorable IV added to the mix. As I’m editing, deleting and re-wording, I can almost feel his exasperation…can practically see his cornflower baby-blues roll in mock-annoyance as he waits for me to get it exactly right.
Because in my head, it’s playing out like a skit I remember seeing on The Carol Burnett Show. Carol’s writing a novel…and she’s typing…and you hear the *tap*, *tap*, *tap* of the typewriter (‘cause there were no keyboards, or computers, or cells, or VCRs, or answering machines when her show was aired)…and she’s narrating what she’s writing. So, that’s what I’m doing….and Clinton’s acting out the scene as I type it…and it goes like this:
Kathryn: (Types/Narrates) “Clinton walks in and carelessly throws his jacket towards the bed. It misses and lands in a heap on the floor.”
Clinton: (Stands and looks at Kathryn with a horrified expression) “But…this is Armani. I would never---“
Kathryn: (Throws him a stern look)
Clinton: (Sighs heavily) “FINE. You’re getting the dry cleaner’s bill.” He half-heartedly tosses the jacket towards the bed and winces as it lands on the floor.
Kathryn: “He loosens his tie and proceeds to make himself a dirty martini.”
Clinton: (Smiles. Walks towards the bar.) “Now, that I can do.”
Kathryn: “No, wait. That’s not right. First he’d want to get changed.”
Clinton: “No I wouldn’t. Really…”
Kathryn: “Clinton heads into the walk-in closet and returns in torn sweats and a ratty t-shirt.”
Clinton: (Frowning…squints at Kathryn…who blinks back at him innocently) “I do not own those articles of clothing. I’ll give you cargo shorts and a t-shirt…and I want a gin and tonic.”
Kathryn: “Tick-tock, Kelly. We’re wasting word count.”
Clinton emerges in jeans and a button-down collared shirt. Kathryn rolls her eyes and shrugs.
Kathryn: “Clinton decides to make himself some baked beans and boiled spam for dinner.”
Clinton: (Lips pressed tightly together…stares up at ceiling. Then, walks over to fridge and removes Chinese take-out container. Stares defiantly at Kathryn…stabs piece of sesame chicken with a chopstick.) “No cocktail, no spam. Bite me.”
Kathryn: “You’re not very good at following direction, you know. As a matter of fact, you really suck at this. Remind me not to let you audition for any future feature-length productions I may direct and/or produce. You could have been a star.”
Clinton: (Chews thoughtfully on a piece of chicken) “Are we done here? I’m making myself that drink.”
Kathryn: “Whatever. Are you gonna pick up your jacket? You are such a slob…”
And so it goes…you get the picture. Here’s to all the characters acting out in your heads…