After publishing my last post, The Author and Reading, I resumed work on my current novel, Fool’s Journey. I was working on the scene is one where our sleuth, Josephine DuBois, first views the victim at murder scene. I had a good idea of how I wanted the scene to unfold, but try as I might, the words would not flow. After more than an hour and several aborted attempts to get something down on paper, I finally decided it would be best to walk away from the keyboard and let my mind reboot.

Leaving my desk, I dislodging two cats, flopped down on the couch and picked up Robert Goldsborough’s The Last Coincidence, a pastiche of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe. I’ve always enjoyed the unusual first person style of Wolfe’s right-hand man, Archie Goodwin. Goldsborough does an excellent job emulating Stout’s method of having Archie speak directly to the reader as in the following passage.

I must interrupt here to report that “stinks” is not the word the young James used, but my practice is to keep these narratives free from what Wolfe has referred to as “the desecration of the language.” So “stinks” will have to do, and if you think another word works better, feel free to make the substitution – you might even be correct.

Within two chapters, the words of Archie Goodwin had swept the cobwebs from my mind and I was back at the keyboard, happily writing the scene that had, but a few minutes before, been the bane of my existence.

I also wish to report that the cats, Sugar Foot and Poe, were more than happy to retake the couch.

(For the sake of honesty, I must inform you that the photo is not our couch nor our cats.)


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