On Sunday afternoon, I finished writing my 74th book. Well, “finished” might be stretching the truth a little. I still need to add more scenes and lengthen the letters that make up a secondary story line. And that’s just what I know it needs. My editors are sure to come up with more suggestions.
On Monday, I chatted with my agent who had already started reading the book, and I was reminded of the advice she gave me about 25 years ago. It’s called “the gorilla in the phone booth” and it goes like this:
My character needs to make a phone call…
But there’s a gorilla in the phone booth…
But my character MUST make a phone call…
But the gorilla is still in the phone booth…
But my character absolutely, positively MUST make a phone call…
And so it goes throughout the book.
And sometimes I (the author) know how hard it is for them and they (the characters) know how hard it is for them. But sometimes I don’t get enough words on the page to let you (the readers) know how hard I’ve made it on them. I think it is there because I know the story so well. But it isn’t there. Sigh.
Thank goodness for my editors, who are so capable at pulling those extra words out of me and making sure I get that scary gorilla into that phone booth to await my desperate character.
Come to think of it, when my agent gave me this tip 25 years ago, there actually were phone booths. Back then, if we were away from home and needed to make a call, we actually had to go find a public phone. Man, doesn’t that sound quaint?
Maybe I need to update this tip, but it just doesn’t sound right to say there is a gorilla on my cell phone. 😉
Photos by GraphicStock
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