Excuse Me, Mr. Writer

Please grab a latte from the coffee bar and join me in visiting with Terry Nelson, today’s Wednesday’s Guest, as he is taken to the mat by one of the characters in his book, Loonies in Hollywood. I must say, I enjoyed meeting Clancy in the story, and she is just as charming here. 

While Terry is entertaining us here, I am over at The Blood Red Pencil today, sharing a bit about the grieving process and how it specifically affects writers.    

Long before I began writing, I either read about, or saw interviewed on television, a writer claiming that one of the minor characters in a book he wrote had slowly taken over the story, getting a larger role than the writer expected. In fact I encountered more than one writer who said the same thing.

I thought what nonsense.

Until, that is, I encountered Clancy while writing Loonies in Hollywood. Clancy was a 22-year-old Flapper. She was intended to be a plot device, someone to move my two leads to Tom Dixon, who may have been a killer. She dominated her first scene. She was flirty and fun-loving, with a charismatic personality.

“What do you mean ‘was a 22-year-old Flapper’ Mr. Writer?” asks Clancy, “No one has planted me in the sod yet. I am still a Flapper, still 22, and still love button shining to whangdoodles. You know you can’t get rid of me you old pillowcase.”

As I was saying, Clancy tended to pop into the story from time to time to change the rhythm and take the story to a new place.

“Someone had to do it,” says Clancy, “You brought me in to enliven the story, spice it up you know. I was the only one who could. Chet and Eveleen are adorable in their own way, but strictly straight arrows. And, by the way Mr. Writer, I don’t like your tense. You wrote ‘I was flirty and fun loving.’ Piffle, as Eveleen would say, I am still flirty, but not with a Father Time like you. Please remember I am not a ‘was’ because I still am an ‘am.’ Honestly you should know better.”

Dear reader, now you know what, or who, I was dealing with. Clancy always seemed to know- excuse me-always knew when she was needed, knew what she had to do to help Chet and Eveleen solve the murder of silent film director William Desmond Taylor. 

“Yes I did, oh yes, indeed I did. Chet and Eveleen are not real detectives sad to say. They don’t know the people I do, the poor dears, and often I had to set them back on course, as they were, well, a bit lost. But they are sweeties you know.”

Excuse me, Clancy, but you did not solve the murder, if that is where you are heading.

“No Mr. Writer, I agree I did not solve the murder. I had no idea who the killer was. And don’t tell Chet or Eveleen, but I didn’t care about the whole murder thing anyway. But those two married lovebirds are dear friends, love them to death, though not literally, of course, but I was there as a friend you understand. And thank you for finally using present tense. You’re no Johnny Bananas. But I must go. I have helped you enough with this writing thing and I have to catch a dimebox and go meet a snugglepup.”

Whew! Now I know what that other writer was up against.

Terry Nelson graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Western Washington University. He was film critic for the Daily Chronicle for ten years, also doing freelance stories in the Business Technology segments of the Life Section. He interviewed child actress Ashlyn Sanchez who co-starred in “Crash” and “The Happening” among other films for a front page news story. His brief memoir “Twenty Dollars” appeared in “Christmas Spirit” published by St. Martins Press in October 2011. He has written a book on the history of The Fox Theatre located in Centralia, Washington.
You can visit Terry on his website  and follow his Seattle Mariner blog.   Visit his writing blog  for more fun.

7 thoughts on “Excuse Me, Mr. Writer”

  1. I believe it was Michelangelo who said – and I’m paraphrasing – that the statues were already inside the marble and he just uncovered them. Similar comments have been made by the masters of other mediums, they all remark at some point, that their genius is in seeing what’s already there.

    When one of my “minor” characters burst from his shackles and took over my story, I think he was always there and I finally saw him. While I’m not comparing myself to any great masters – not yet anyway – I think they are all right. The biggest part of creation is vision, being able to see what’s already there and showing it to others.

  2. Cairn, I think you are so right. I was just talking to a wood carver today and he was commenting on how he just starts carving and let’s the grain of the wood suggest what it wants to be.

    Alicia, I love your comment about letting the characters borrow the pen.

  3. LOL, Terry. I did enjoy all those silly words and phrases Clancy used. That was so much a part of her charm.

    Thank you for being such a terrific guest. It has been nice getting to know you.

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