Funk on: The over-write

I’m still in limbo, still waiting to get back at the book, another week to go, maybe more, but I have to admit that I have slipped in and messed around, adding details, taking them out, putting them back in.

One scene I have spent the last few days over-writing is the night of Dee’s Grad Cruise. It’s a background moment, something I hadn’t fleshed out previously, and now in which I’ve added a classmate and dialogue to the counselor. She’s alone on the deck and then joined by a classmate who she doesn’t know. He gives her a cigarette, and the supervising counselor shows up.

“Your cigarette.”

“I thought we were allowed.”

“You thought wrong.” He looked back, almost like he was smiling; he wasn’t.

This last line is what I’m going back and forth with at the moment. I’ve tried each of the following:

He stared back, like he was smiling, but he wasn’t.

He glared back, close to smiling, although he wasn’t.

He waited, almost smiling; he wasn’t.

…and a few variations in between. I keep going back to the first because it’s neutral and still expressive. I don’t know. I know I should  just leave it alone. And I will…very soon.


It’s a weird place to be, awaiting permission from myself to start the next draft. There’s a calm to it, but it’s inert and purgatory-ish; more than anything, it’s a funk.

In the meantime I’ve been mulling over a couple of background characters for the book. First, there’s Derek’s great-grandfather, who farmed in upstate New York and drowned in a marsh when he wandered off from the house in the middle of the night. The family believes that he was undiagnosed with Alzheimer’s. And then there’s Teddy’s sister (Teddy is Dee’s co-worker at the Animal Rescue Agency), a fund manager in New York. She is round-faced and wide-eyed, but she is distant, especially for Teddy, and hasn’t see him in almost a year.I don’t know what they’re doing hanging around the fringes like this; maybe I’ll write a short story about the two of them.