From the weekly staff meeting: mystery writer and characters

From the collection Writing Notebook 2021, published in 2022.

From the weekly staff meeting:
mystery writer and characters

(Listen. The author is speaking.
The characters sit in various postures
around the conference table.)

I’m sorry.
So the itching killed him. Now you
You grab that stomping good bowl of granola and
Still dead
sit down. How about a jelly doughnut
He’s still dead
It’s raspberry. Trust me.
So he’ll never say another word
but I will.
Breakfast. Eat. Itch. Die.
You too.
Yes, you.
That’s what happens in chapter two.
Now that I’ve explained it
both of you there
you get your things together
Pack’em up. Or pack it in –
however you like to think of it –
you are written off and written out
of the book
In other words you are
Dead.

Sorry. But chapter three
needs some room in it.
That’s all for today.
See the rest of you here next week.

5/4/21

12 thoughts on “From the weekly staff meeting: mystery writer and characters

  1. I absolutely love this idea of the author being like the CEO of an organization populated by their cast of characters. Some author (it might have been George R Martin) commented that fiction writers were either architects or gardeners, either planning everything meticulously or else planting seeds of ideas and seeing what becomes of them. I think, therefore, of the author of your poem as being a gardener who has decided to do a lot of weeding and pruning.

  2. I love that idea, the weeding and pruning, because I think that is what is happening here. Downsizing is needed! So characters, off some of you must go. I do like that sense of power the idea gives me. I think if I were writing something with a plot, such as a novel, I would certainly love that idea of being the arranger of my own little universe.

  3. A writer must be ruthless. Or a painter (how many times have I had to amend or wipe out a favorite part of a painting in order to get the whole to work? It always hurts).

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