These days, I do nearly all my reading on an e-reader, currently an InkBook Obsidian, but I do on occasion return to the dead tree books of yore. Typically this will be because someone gave or loaned me said dead tree edition. Such was the case with Dune, which, being a door-stopper of a book, I eventually bought in e-form so I wouldn’t have to fight with it when reading at lunch; and such is the case with the Nero Wolfe books, which my father sent to me in a box a while back. I’ve read them all before, but now I’m reading them again, because who doesn’t like to spend some time visiting old friends? The one I’m currently into is Plot it Yourself, in which Wolfe goes up against a con artist with a fondness for pretending that popular novels are plagiarisms of his or her own work, and also for knives.
As I climbed out and shut the door a little bicolored mutt trotted up and started to growl, but his curiosity to see what I smelled like close up was too much for him, and the growl petered out. I reached down and scratched the back of his neck, and we were pals. He went with me to help knock on the door, and when, after knocking got no response, I tried the knob and found it was locked, he was as disappointed as I was.
With my years of training as a detective, I reached a conclusion. Dogs have to be fed.
A satisfactory conclusion, Goodwin. Dennis the Vizsla approves.
Speaking of plotting it yourself, that, uh, is what I’m still doing with Father’s Books, this time with a major overhaul to the penultimate scene. This is the second big change I’ve made to this scene; the first one was basically a rewrite of the entire section, and this one involves reworking the identity and fate of a particular character, though I won’t say who. Because this is Teaser Tuesday and that means no …
Between that change and this one I think the scene is going to be much improved. It was always the weakest part of this book, which isn’t exactly want you want in the climax of your story. But anyway, here is a little tidbit from just before that scene gets going. This has also been reworked a little, and its location in the book has changed, but it’s otherwise pretty much intact.
Up he went. The steps, rough and unpainted, groaned beneath his feet. At the top he found a cluttered attic, full of boxes and rags and old clothes and ancient buckets of roofing tar and God knew what else. A thick, dusty pillar candle sat on one of those buckets, giving off an incongruous smell of gingerbread, augmenting the fading light from outside, lighting up the swoops and slashes of crimson on the floor. For a sick, dizzy moment he thought it was blood, but then he spotted a couple of empty ketchup bottles lying on their sides next to a heap of crumpled tar paper, and exhaled in relief and confusion. Ketchup on the floor? Why?
Oh, don’t worry, kid. You’ll find out why before long.