“Well.” She paused for a short second. “How many words do you have?”

He leaned closer to the computer and didn’t acknowledge her question.

She waited two seconds for an answer. “How many words do you have? You’ve been sitting at that computer for three months. Your novel should be at least a quarter done by now.”

He thought for ways to avoid her question. Five seconds went by. “A lot.”

His wife slowly shook her head. “A lot. What kind of answer is that? It doesn’t tell me beans.”

He studied the screen a few more seconds. “I really don’t know. I haven’t been keeping track of the word count. But I’m sure it quite a lot.”

She was shaking her head the whole time he was talking. “No, no, no. Quite a lot is worthless also.” She moved closer to her husband. “Doesn’t your word processor have a word count icon? What word processor are you using? Microsoft Word? Word Perfect? Something else?” She tried looking over his shoulder. “Regardless, it doesn’t make any difference. All modern word processors have a word count icon.”

He kept his eyes on the screen. “I’m really busy right now. I’d like to finish this page this afternoon.”

“This afternoon! It’s a lovely Saturday afternoon in May. You should be outside working in the garden. I want some big red tomatoes this summer.”

“OK, OK. I’ll roto-till the garden and plant some Better Boy tomatoes just for you.” He paused a second. “How does that sound?”

She nodded but didn’t move away. “I still want to know how many words you have.” She pointed at his computer. “Click on tools at the top of the page and then on word count. Simple as ABC.”

Reluctantly he followed her instructions. “It says 5140.”

“Not very much. You’ll be ten years finishing this thing. Tom Clancy or Mary Higgins Clark would write that much before lunch.”

A few seconds went by. “I’m not trying to be like either one of them. I just want to write my own novel my own way. Since this is my first novel, there are a lot of things I have to learn along the way.”

“I can go along with that.” She nodded faintly. “What type of novel is it going to be? A sci-fi? Historical? Adventure? A murder mystery.” She stopped and smiled briefly. “I hope it’s not going to be one of those Bodice Rippers things? One of those novels where a big hunk of a man always gets the fair maiden on the last page?” She paused again. “Heaven forbid, I hope it’s not one of the porn novels. Think what the neighbors would say.”

He leaned away from the computer for the first time. “No porn. I could write all I know on the first two pages and then be at a total loss for words and ideas.”

She smiled at her husband. “What is it, then? I hope it not a top secret and you can’t tell anyone.”

He ran what he had written and what he hope to write through his mind. “I think it’s going to be a murder mystery. The old hard-boiled detective that Bogart and Mitchum use to play in the movies. The bad guys are going to be like Greenstreet and Lorre.”

“I loved those guys.” She glanced at the computer. “How are you describing them? Is one bad guy going to be big and fat? The other guy short and thin?”

Her husband nodded. “I’ll change some things. I don’t want the reader to think I plagiarized everything.”

“What about the woman?”

“What woman?”

“The woman in your detective story. There is always one there. Sometimes she’s a good guy, sometimes she’s not. Is she tall and willowy like a clothing model?”

He glanced at his tall wife. “Oh, maybe five-foot-seven. But I really haven’t described her yet.”

“Is she sexy?”

He resisted glancing at his wife. “I think so. I’ll make her a combination of Jennifer Jones and Lauren Bacall.”

She nodded in approval. “What about the guy? Your detective? The hero of your novel? Is he sexy?”

He managed to hold back a grin. “I’d like to think so.”

“What does your detective do?” She paused a moment. ‘When does he do his best work?”

He faced his wife. “He does his best work after having sex with a sexy woman on a Saturday afternoon.”

She held out her hand and grinned widely. “That should have been on the first page.”

760 4/24/17 is the place to go

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2 Responses to Novel

  1. Richard Palmer says:

    I think he is about to make the story a murder mystery- his wife’s. Rick Palmer Sent from Mail for Windows 10

  2. Gerald Pine says:


    Stupidity is the same as evil if you judge by the results.
    M. Atwood

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