Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Where's My Literary Agent?

Another sneak peak at the soon-to-be-published Random Scratch.

“So where do you go everyday, man?” Jay asked as the swimmer walked out of the lake, this time in his shorts.

“I’m fixing up some houses.” He walked to the dockside shower.

“Well, if you ever need some help, I’m available after ten when I close the pool.” Jay was putting picnic tables back where they were supposed to be and cleaning up paper plates and bottles left on the lawn.

“That’s a little late, but I might take you up on it.” He stood under the cold water.

“What time you finally able to get back to your trailer last night?”

“I don’t know, but it was late.” He draped a towel over his shoulders.

“People followin’ you around out here like you were some kinda Jesus, man,” Jay laughed.

“If I were Jesus I wouldn’t have paid for a picnic for five hundred people.” He sat at a table.

“Yeah, no shit. Just stand over the grill and say ‘Burgers! Multiply!’” Jay waved his hand like a magician, “Or you could get like a six-pack and turn it into a whole truck full o' beer!” he laughed again and the swimmer said nothing.

“Whatsa matter, man?” Jay sat down. “You seem all serious an’ shit.”

He looked at Jay for a moment, “You ever get that feeling, like you know something’s about to happen, and so you’re just waiting for it?”

“Totally, man,” Jay shifted, ready to tell a story, “This one time, an’ this was back when I was dealin’ weed – which I don’t do no more, just so ya know - we were waiting at this hotel for the dude to show up with the shit, right? an’ I got this feelin’ like somethin’ wasn’t right, ya know? So I told my partners, ‘I’m out,’ and I left. They said I was just bein’ paranoid. Didn’t get my cut, ‘course, but there was no cut to get ‘cause they all got busted,” he shook his head, “fucked up, man,” and lifted his cap as he wiped his forehead with his forearm, “Like that? Like a premonition or somethin’?”

“Yeah, like that,” he said.

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  • I really hate to say it (okay, I really don't) but a sentence like this:

    "Something spoken," someone did something unrelated to speaking.

    is just not anything like normal punctuation.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 5, 2009 at 2:23 PM  

  • Yeah - I hear you on that, Anon, but I'm trying to create a picture. To say, "Something spoken," he spoke.

    seems to me a little obvious.

    We do things as we speak, often.

    I struggled with that throughout, but stayed with that style and it comes across more as a screenplay when there is dialog.

    I guess I won't be a normal writer.

    By Blogger Jetpacks, at May 5, 2009 at 2:42 PM  

  • I chatted about this with a friend who's a writer, and her confusion about what I was talking about helped me to see that I wasn't being very helpful.

    There's nothing wrong with leaving off the "he said" bits. Lots of people do that all the time; if you leave them all in it either gets repetitive or starts to sound like a Tom Swift book.

    The problem is the comma. If you're communicating two separate thoughts, you need to put them in two separate sentences. So your second paragraph:

    “I’m fixing up some houses,” he walked to the dockside shower.

    Should instead read like this:

    “I’m fixing up some houses.” He walked to the dockside shower.

    The comma led me to read each sentence with the wrong stress, causing me to have to go back and reread each one so it would make sense. I wasn't even able to make it through the entire excerpt with that kind of distraction, and I'm sure that's not your goal.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 6, 2009 at 8:31 AM  

  • Thanks for that advice, anon.

    By Blogger Jetpacks, at May 6, 2009 at 8:34 AM  

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