Sunday, April 22, 2018

422. On Writing

Sometimes you just have to get a little bemused over one of C.W.’s shapes. This morning was one of those times. Ye gods!

I think he was trying for Kurt Vonnegut Jr., but ended closer to Rasputin. Anyway, he was at the laptop typing furiously. He punched a key and said, “Good morning my son.” The printer whirred and a sheet slide forward. He took the sheet, glanced at it and placed it upside down on a pile.

Not having the heart to ask, I just watched. Without looking at me, he said “Sit down. I just need to finish this chapter." He continued to type.

"And what are we working on?" I asked.

“You are working on interrupting a genius at work. I’m working on writing a novel.”

“And what kind of novel are we writing?”

“Murder mystery.”

“May I take a look?” I motioned toward the stack of printed sheets.

“Knock yourself out. Just don’t get them out of order.”

I picked up the pile and took it to the couch. I set my coffee on a table and read from the beginning. It wasn’t long before I stopped. “Chump Williamson?” I said.

“What about him? “

“That’s the name you chose for your hero?”

“What’s wrong with ‘Chump’? We’ll brand him as an international star-detective. Simple name. Easy to remember.”

“Hmmm,” I said, as I continued to read. Then I stopped. “Wait,” I said.


“You can’t have your hero making fun of a woman who’s just had a miscarriage.”

“Why not? She was getting on his nerves.”

“And he mocks her in her moment of distress?”

“Yeah. But he’s a good detective. Didn’t he say so when he told her to quit bothering him? That builds his character as a person who doesn’t get distracted. My fans love that.”

I read some more. I stopped. “This must be a misprint,” I said.


“He tells the judge that he saw the suspect running from the scene of the crime.”


“You had him across town at the time.”


“He lies?”

“Wouldn’t you, in order to get what you want?”

“What kind of hero are you creating?”

“One that will get the job done. Read on. He says so. That is just one of his many gifts.” He motioned toward the stack I was holding. “Read.”

I started back. Two pages later, I stopped. “C.W.,” I said.


“The hero of a novel can’t rape a witness he was questioning.”

"Why not? She was asking for it.”

“No she wasn’t.”

“Didn’t she come to the door in a tight tee-shirt and short dress?”

“Well yes, but ….”

He interrupted. “She might as well have said, ‘Take me,’ and he did. What’s wrong with that?”

“I don’t think your more religious readers will like it.”

“Bullshit. Haven’t you gotten to the part where Chump meets Franklin Graham?”

“Don’t tell me Chump teams up with the evangelicals.”

“Yeah. Like Chump says, ‘You grab them by their Bibles and they’ll do anything you want.’ So you just mind your own business and read.”

I took a deep breath. “Hey,” he said. “Is ‘nasty’ spelled with a ‘y’ or ‘ie’ do think?”


He glanced at the passage he was writing. “Yeah, as in, ‘After he and Marge finished doing the big nasty, he jumped up and started dressing. She wasn’t quite finished but he didn’t act like he cared one way or the other. He had to go beat a confession out of a witness. He was wasting time.’ That’s some pretty nifty writing don’t you think?”

I was aghast, as one might imagine. “Who is Marge?”
The broads ... they really
love my books. - C.W.

“That’s the one woman Chump truly loves.”

“And you describe their lovemaking as ‘doing the big nasty?’ Isn’t that a little grossly put?”

“Nah. I originally had it as ‘making Mr. Two-Backs,’ but my fan base ain’t into Shakespeare.”

No, Dear Reader, you’re not imagining things. He was sounding more and more like a Mickey Spillane character.

“And your hero gets confessions by beating witnesses?”

“Yeah. It saves time, you know. He has this terrific conviction rate. They say his fans may even get tired of all the convictions.”

“You really think this may work, this ‘Chump Williamson’ thing?”

“Are you kidding me? Look at who the serial killer is whacking.”

“Public school teachers? Do you really think that will sell?”

“You shittin’ me? Walmart’s already pre-ordered a hundred thousand copies.”

See also:
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