Banter, aka Romance Writer’s Crack

I am having the best time with NaNo, mainly because everything counts, so that even when I overdose on banter, I still get the word count. I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I just rattled off dialogue. I’m at 20K on Liz now, and I’m fairly sure that 18K of it is people talking. That’s not good (it’s ACTION that tells character) but when you’re a dialogue junkie . . . bliss.

So since I promised you more NaNo Liz, here’s unedited banter. It goes on for days. Bring a lunch. Yes, I know it’s too long, and it’s unfocused, and it gets really tiring and you start to skim, and about half of it will have to go when I rewrite. I don’t care. It’s NaNo. I can do anything I want. Have I mentioned I love NaNo?

I left my mother surveying her bears and went out to drink with Molly. I took my mother’s Caddy again—the thing was a horse but it was a comfy horse—and picked Moll up by honking outside her house, waving when her mother, my mom’s insane sister, came to the door.

“You get in here and say hi,” my aunt Annmarie yelled.

“Later,” Molly called, breezing past her. “We have beer to drink and men to ruin.”

“She’s kidding!” Aunt Annmarie yelled to the neighbors.

“No, she’s not,” I said to nobody as Molly slid into the front seat. “Where to?”

“Funny,” Molly said, and I drove to the only decent bar in town, Hasselhoff’s.

Hasselhoff’s is a very old German bar—since 1912 it says on the mirror behind the bar—on the main drag of Birney, a storefront with no windows, dark as hell inside, with a bar that stretches half the length of the place and booths along the opposite side. There are pool tables and party tables in the back, but we snagged a booth on the side and Molly got beers.

Then she sat down across from me, slid my beer to me, and said, “Damn, I’ve missed you.”

“So catch me up.”

“Well, I have come to terms with the fact that I will never be the next pop singing sensation,” Moll said. “I’m good with that. I like my life, and the road companies keep me from getting bored. Although if I never have to sing Les Mis again, it’ll be a good day. You’d think that sucker would be done by now. Other than that, things are okay.”

“Just okay?”

“I’m thirty-three,” she said. “I’m starting to wonder if I want to do this forever.”

“Can you do it forever?” I was working through my beer at a pretty good clip, and when I realized that wasn’t the most tactful thing to say, I slowed down.

“Yeah,” Molly said. “I’m a character actress. We work forever. Plus, the voice. I’m employable. But the road gets old. That’s why I come home. I was thinking of buying a house here, but my mom keeps telling me she’s not long for this world, so I may just wait and inherit hers.”

I blinked. “How long does she have?”

“Probably another forty years. It’s gonna take a stake through the heart to put that woman down. How’s Maribeth?”

“We’re organizing her bears.”

“And Annmarie is suddenly looking pretty good,” Moll said. “So whose life story are you working on now?”

“Anemone,” I said and told her all about the wonder that was Anemone Patterson as we finished our beers.

When I was done and I’d gotten the next two beers, she said, “I have to meet Anemone. She beats anything I’ve been doing,” so I said, “What have you been doing?” and she told me about her last five road companies.

One and a half beers later, in the middle of a rant about Oklahoma! —“Jesus, that show is older than music”—she looked up and said, “Vince!”

It was the cop from that morning. He was in a T-shirt and jeans and therefore off-duty but he still had “cop” written all over him. No, really, it was on his T-shirt, a plain olive green, short-sleeved cotton job with “COP” printed in black block letters on the chest.

I wanted that T-shirt.

“What are you staring at, Trouble?” he said.

“I want your T-shirt.”

“Let’s talk about that.”

Molly looked from him to me.

“Nice to see you, Moll.” Vince said to her. “Go away.”

“Excuse me?” I said.

“I’ll get us some music,” Molly said, and walked over to the juke box.

Vince slid into her seat across from me.

I smiled at him. “That was subtle.”

He frowned. “Subtle wastes time.”

“So you’re just assuming I want you sitting there.”

“I helped you with your bear.”

“You gave me a ticket.”

“I took it back.”

“You gave me a ticket.”

“You played that card.”

“Okay.” I toasted him with my much-diminished third beer. “Thank you for all your help.” I drank some and then said, “So what did you do today besides terrify Birney.”

“I protected and served,” he said, but I was distracted by the juke box: Molly had put on Hootie’s “I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You.”

“Clown,” I called across the floor, and she laughed and went to talk to some guy who was really happy to see her. Which was pretty much all guys, really.

“She’s something,” Vince said, almost smiling. “So you’re cousins?”

I nodded. “And best friends. Since birth.”

“But she stayed and you left.” He drank some of his beer.

“No, we both left. She just comes back between gigs. I stay on the road.”

“You’re a singer, too?”

“No. I’m a writer.”

He leaned back. “And you can’t do that in Birney?”

“I’m a ghost writer. I go where the work is.”

He nodded. “Interesting.”

“No, it isn’t. This is really terrible banter. I had you pegged for a snarkier pick up.”

“You don’t know I’m trying to pick you up.”

“You booted Molly.”

He nodded. “Okay, you got me. So what works on you?”

I put my empty beer mug down. “You want me to give you tips on seducing me?”

He nodded.


“Let me get you another beer.”

“I can buy my own.”

“Nope.” He stood up.

“Hey, it’s the twenty-first century, I pay for half the beers.”

“Nope. I budget for getting hot women drunk.”

I’m not hot. “I’m not drunk.”

“The night’s young.” He walked away toward the bar.

He really did have a nice ass.

Molly slid in across from me. “O. Em. Gee.”


“Sorry, that’s Violet for ‘Oh, my God.’ You and Vince?”

“Of course not. He gave me a speeding ticket. Which, now that I come to think of it, means he should be buying the beers, so good for him.”

“You’re in for a good time.”

“What? No. I’m leaving Sunday.”

“That’s . . .” Molly scrunched up her face as she calculated. “Six nights. Go for it.”


She leaned forward. “He’s really good.”

I raised my eyebrows.

“Well, of course I tried him out. I was home and bored and there he was.” She took a sip of her beer. “Great ass and very easily seduced.”

“No man in his right mind would say no to you. Why did you dump him?”

“I didn’t. We played for about a week, and then he said, ‘Moll, you’re a great woman, but you talk too much.’ And since I didn’t have any plans to go silent, we shook on it and went our separate ways.”

“He walked away because you talked too much?”

“I got on his nerves. He’s a quiet guy.” She stood up. “Go for it. He’s a lot of fun.” Vince came up behind her with three beers, and she took one. “Thank you. I’m going over there now.”

She walked away as he slid back into the booth and pushed my mug over to me.

“You slept with Molly?”

He stopped with his beer halfway to his mouth. “Why do women talk about that stuff?”

“It’s the only way we find out anything. Guys don’t talk to us.”

“Yeah. Because we have some sense.” He drank his beer.

“It’s like buying on Amazon. It’s good to get the reviews.”

He choked on that one.

“Molly’s my best friend. She’s going to tell me everything.”

He wiped his mouth. “She didn’t have time to tell you everything.”

“I’m not leaving until Sunday.”

“So how many stars did I get?”

“Like I’d tell you. I can’t believe you’re not still with her.”

“She dumped me.” He shrugged. “Happens a lot.”

“No, she didn’t. You told her she talked too much.”

He closed his eyes. “No, I did not.”

I picked up my beer. “Well, then what was it?”

“None of your business.”

I smiled at him. “She gave you five stars.”

“Now we’re getting someplace. Drink up.”

“My mother wants me home by midnight.”

He looked at his watch. “We hurry, we can make it.”

“I’m beginning to doubt the five stars.”

“Did she actually say five stars?”

“No. That was the drift. She didn’t say anything about hurrying.”

He faked exasperation. “I was trying to be accommodating.”

“By hurrying.”

“We can go slow, but we’d have to leave now.”

God help me, I thought about it.

My hesitation must have surprised him, too. He shifted gears. “No, seriously, the car’s outside. Combat parked. I’ll get a paper cup for your beer.”

“What kind of girl do you think I am?”

“I’ve been thinking about that. I figure you’re a biter, maybe a scratcher.”

“Excuse me?”

“Probably want to be on top, but that’s good. And if you’re one of those feminists who’s responsible for your own orgasm, I might let you stay the night.”

“I’m overwhelmed,” I said.

“Not yet, but come with me and you will be.”

He wasn’t exactly smiling, it was more like there was a smile playing around his mouth, like heat lightning.

“Vince?” Molly said, and we both looked up. “Really sorry, but you might have a situation there.” She jerked her head toward the back of the bar. “Paul Maxson.”

“Great,” Vince said, the lightning disappearing back into his normal grim.

He slid out of the booth and pointed a finger at me. “Don’t move.” Then he looked at Molly. “Don’t drink my beer.” Then he was gone.

Molly took his place. “So what do you think?”

“I think I’m leaving,” I said, craning my neck to watch him walk away. “Who’s Paul Maxson?”

“The guy Lavender dumped to marry Waylon. He took it badly.”


“So Waylon’s back there.”

“Really.” I frowned at her. “Why aren’t you throwing me at him? I thought that was your big plan.”

“It was, that’s why I wanted to come here, but he’s drunk on his ass. Not a good time for you to see him again. Although,” she added fairly, “he’s still pretty to look at when he’s drunk. The charm is what takes the big hit.”

“And you got Vince because you were afraid that Waylon would fight back drunk?”

“Waylon can’t stand up. But Willie can and he’ll fight for his big brother. Paul and Willie are pretty evenly matched which means no fast take down. Lotta damage. This is the only good bar in town. We have to protect it.”

“And Willie.”

“Oh, Willie’d be fine.” Molly drained her beer. “Those guys live for that stuff. Not much else to do in Birney except fight and screw. It’s why I leave.”

“But you always come back.”

“Well, yeah. It’s Birney.”

“That’s why I stay away.”

Vince showed up again and jerked his thumb at Molly. “Beat it. I was getting somewhere with her.”

“How’s Paul?”

“He went someplace else. You do that, too.”

Molly grinned at me and slid out of the booth and wandered to the back of the bar where she was greeted with cheers.

Vince sat down across from me. “Where were we? Oh, right. I’ll give you the T-shirt if you leave with me now.”

“I’m not going home with you tonight.”

He looked at his watch. “Yeah, no time. How about tomorrow night?”

“Is that an invitation to dinner?” I said, batting my eyes.

“I have to feed you, too?”

“It’s customary.”

“Not here. I could bring a candy bar.”

“I’m worth more than a candy bar.”

“I don’t know that yet.”

“So your argument is that you won’t take me to dinner until you know I’m worth it?”

“Well, no,” he said, deadly serious. “Once I’ve got you, there’s no reason to spend money on food.”

“Your charm. It’s . . . original.”

“I don’t need no stinkin’ charm. I’ve got a uniform and a gun.”

“So does the security guy at the plant.”

“Yes, but he doesn’t have my moves.”

“But I don’t know that,” I pointed out, deadly serious, too, or at least as serious as I could fake. “So I would need a gesture of good faith in order to take that chance.”

“Good faith.”


“That would be dinner.”


He leaned back in the booth. “I could do Frisch’s.”

“I might neck for that. That and the T-shirt.”

“Neck?” he said, and flashed a smile before he got it under control. “What are you, fourteen?”

“I’m a Good Girl.”

“You are not. Let’s get serious here. There’s an Olive Garden up the highway. That should get me into your pants.”

“Hands only. And then only if I get those little doughnuts for dessert.”

“Dessert, too,” he said, gloom in his voice.

“And the T-shirt.”

“That only gets me to third base?”

“You want the full Lizzie, you take me to Carlo and Johnny’s.”

He looked legitimately shocked. “That’s a week’s pay.”

“Take it from your Getting-Hot-Women-Drunk fund.”

“I’ll have to think about this.”

“I understand.” I slid out of the booth. “You take your time. I’m not leaving till Sunday.” Then I bent over so he could see down my T-shirt. “Thanks for the beer,” I whispered and kissed him.

You know, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Leave him stunned with lust in a booth at Hasselhoff’s and then walk out of there fancy free with him gasping at my allure.

But he kissed me back, and it was good, chemistry smacking me between the eyes and then lower, while his tongue snuck into my mouth, and his hand slid under my T-shirt, and then I grabbed his wrist and pulled back.

“Hey,” I said.

“We should talk about this,” he said, and I will give myself some credit because he looked as blindsided as I was.

“Oh, no.” I backed up a step. “No, no.”

He stood up and then there was a yell from the back of the bar and he looked back and swore.

“Go protect and serve,” I said and escaped out the front door before I could change my mind.

Molly followed me out a minute later. “What happened?”

“I toyed.”

“With Vince?” She grinned. “I’m sorry I missed that.”

“I barely escaped with my virtue.”

“Well, he’s got six nights to get it,” Molly said. “What are his chances?”

“Excellent,” I said and went to find my mother’s Caddy while Molly followed behind me laughing her ass off.

92 thoughts on “Banter, aka Romance Writer’s Crack

      1. Joining the chorus (-:. What a great line! I’ll never buy amazon again without thinking of Vince . . . .

  1. Yeah, I love the Amazon part, too. Oh heck, I love it all. My friend Carrie says it would be a TRAGEDY to lose any of that yummy dialogue and I agree. Seriously, I’m crazy about the cousins, crazy about the couple, and want to know more about Waylon and Willie and Paul. Oh, and Lavender, of course.

  2. I love it!

    This was my favorite bit, though:

    “What kind of girl do you think I am?”

    “I’ve been thinking about that. I figure you’re a biter, maybe a scratcher.”

    “Excuse me?”

    “Probably want to be on top, but that’s good. And if you’re one of those feminists who’s responsible for your own orgasm, I might let you stay the night.”

  3. This is fabulous, the most fun thing I’ve read in a long time and I grinned the entire time I was reading it.

  4. Y’know… I don’t usually say “LOL.” In fact, I’ll deny it if you ever bring this up on a respectable blog,* but I really did laugh out loud several times reading this.

    *Hey, too much complimenting sounds insincere. I had to throw in a crack like that so you’d know I meant the LOL part. Besides, Liz’s rubbing off on me. I want that shirt too.

    1. Don’t even think about calling this a respectable blog. Half the commenters here would have to leave and, of course, I’d be gone, too. We’re proud of what we are. And when we figure out what that is exactly, we’ll be even prouder.

      1. “And when we figure out what that is exactly, we’ll be even prouder.”

        This is why you’re my favourite author.

      2. Suddenly having a movie flashback:

        Evelyn: Look, I… I may not be an explorer, or an adventurer, or a treasure-seeker, or a gunfighter, Mr. O’Connell, but I am proud of what I am.
        Rick: And what is that?
        Evelyn: I… am a librarian.
        The Mummy

  5. Big grin here. Keep having fun. Un-edited Crusie, gotta love it. I concur, I will never think of Olive Garden the same.
    “I toyed.” “I don’t need no stinkin’ charm. I’ve got a uniform and a gun.” (I bet you do!) Love the banter. Dialogue is good.

  6. I cackled like a hag on crack – God this was funny. ‘A feminist responsible for her own orgasm?’ Where do you get lines like that? And why would anyone ever want to edit this? More. Like yesterday. Please.

        1. It was Sophie in Welcome to Temptation. Phin relieved her of that responsibility, at least for a while, on a dock. Gotta love Phin.

        2. It’s one of my all time favorite movie quotes. There’s actually another beat to it that I can’t remember, but it’s such a famous quote that I have no compunction about more than one character using it.

          1. and as the someone not ok with too many “just hell” exclamations, this phrase is so firmly in popular culture (really, did anyone not see Tootsie?) that it can be used by multiple characters with no compunction as more than one of them would be familiar with it. And this time it comes from a guy.

            apropos only of my own situation—why do so many feel the need to slam their seat back several times on the airplane, as if it will miraculously go back to a comfortable recline if they just hit it a little bit harder next time?

          2. Full quote is: “I never said I love you, I don’t care about I love you! I read The Second Sex, I read The Cinderella Complex, I’m responsible for my own orgasm, I don’t care! I just don’t like to be lied to!”

            Speaking of wonderful banter, you’ve gotta love the writing in that movie.

    1. Yes! This whole set of dialogue do not cut!!

      He stopped with his beer halfway to his mouth. “Why do women talk about that stuff?”
      “It’s the only way we find out anything. Guys don’t talk to us.”
      “Yeah. Because we have some sense.” He drank his beer.
      “It’s like buying on Amazon. It’s good to get the reviews.”
      He choked on that one.

      (Sadly I needed the he choked on that one to make me think and get the full meaning of the Amazon review line) Whole thing made me laugh out loud.

  7. I love dialogue & I also write too much of it. I really wish that wasn’t such a sin. I love every word of this. Can’t even think what you would cut.

  8. That was entertaining!
    I just wish it didn’t bug me that she’s about to drive with three beers in her, but it does.

    1. If she’s been out for 3 hours or so, then she’s probably good to go. There were a couple “they talked about their current projects” in there and as someone who just caught up with an old friend at breakfast saturday (flew back to the old hometown), something like “how’s work going these days” can easily run to an hour or more, by my calculations.

      1. per person. So 5 traveling shows, a couple of characters being ghost written about? easily enough to kill 3 beers and still be a functional driver. Enough inhibitions lifted to kiss the cop, not enough to fall into it and keep going – she did stop, after all. (yeah, not the only test of sobriety, but that’s how I saw it.)

  9. Your dialogue is one of the things I love the best about your writing. I didn’t feel the need to skim or skip anywhere, but I know that once you do your re-writes and polish this, it’ll be even better. It’s like getting a two-fer …

    I have to agree with Egads, though … I don’t like it that she’s gonna drive with three beers in her, and I’d have to think it would piss Vince off when he found out. (Of course, that’s a fix for when NaNo is over …)

  10. Me too. love it all. Love that I can get my crusie fix on the computer without the boss or the kids finding me with a novel in my lap! NaNo all the time, Jenny. You could save me a lot of grief! (Of course if I have time to read I should be writing. Just don’t tell my beta readers I’ve been over here!)

  11. This is wonderful. This is my perfect book. You can’t have too much dialogue. Especially when it’s really great dialogue. I tend to skim paragraphs with no dialogue to get to the dialogue. In fact, before I buy a book, I flip through it to see if there is enough dialogue. So please don’t let anyone talk you into cutting a word of it.

    1. I thought I was the only person guilty of skimming non-dialogue parts of a book. I tell myself it’s there for a reason, Melissa. You write it too and it has a purpose. But I know if I’m about 3/4s into a book I go straight for the dialogue.

  12. OK – I’ve never shared a comment on a blog before so here goes…
    I wish I could write dialogue like that. It’s awesome.
    I’m doing NaNo for the first time (and truth be known, writing for the first time) and Jenny you are an inspiration.
    Keep it coming!

  13. Loved this, but I have to ask-Waylon, Willie and the boys? Reference to an old country western song called Luchenbach Texas or a coincidence?

    1. The Dobbs matriarch likes country music, so the kids are Waylon (Jennings), Kenny (Rogers), Willie (Nelson), and Patsy (Cline). So far. It’s all still in the discovery process so everything can change.

      1. Good, because this set of names is just evil. I don’t mean Waylon & Willie, that’s cute for a reason — but rivals named Maxson & Waylon? And then a Vince and a Violet, Molly and Maribeth–for crying out loud, an Annmarie and an Anemone in the same book? Please, you’ve got a whole alphabet, spread out and make yourself comfortable. Don’t make us struggle to keep track of the characters.

        1. There are 26 letters in the alphabet. If I reserve one letter for each character’s given and surname, I’ll have 13 characters. That’s never going to happen. If my reader can’t tell the difference between Vince, a thirty-year-old cop, and Violet, an eight-year-old girl, she’s not paying attention. Plus when people read quickly, they read the first two letters: Molly and Maribeth will read “Mo” and “Ma;” Maribeth is usually referred to as “Mom” since she’s Liz’s mother, and that’s two “Mo” names, but most people recognize “Mom” as a title and not a name, so I’m good there.
          Now Annmarie, Anemone, and Annie are going to be a problem. This is not something I’m worried about because, as I said above, this is a NaNo first draft and two of those names are going to change in the rewrite. But in general, these are the names.
          I do a running cast list in alphabetical order for every book, putting all the names with the same first letters on the same line so I can see where the problems are (the Anns are a good example) but in general, you have to let the characters have the names they show up with. That’s why the protagonist in AKMG is still named Andie even though the little girl she takes care of is Alice. It’s too close, but those are their names and they’re staying.

  14. Loved it! It didn’t even bother me that Liz was about to drive with 3 beers in her. It did, however, bother me that Liz and Molly were so gung-ho about sharing guys. Ew. Hmmm… I guess I’m more prudish than I thought. Still, ew.

    1. They’re not sharing. Molly was there first. She left. Liz is now contemplating. If they were both sleeping with him during the same time period, I would squick, too, but unless you feel that no woman should ever sleep with a man her friend has slept with in the past, we’re good.
      Of course I’m the one who wrote a romance novel in which the hero was the heroine’s ex-brother-in-law, so I’ve been here before.

      1. It might be a small town thing. There aren’t enough men where I live to not sleep with somone your friend either dated, slept with, or had a crazy crush on in high school. I think we’re just more up front about it.

  15. Are you sure that you want to go with “Dobbs”, given Min et al.?
    And I have to vote with those distressed by driving home after 3 beers – unless they’ve been there for more than 3 hours. If it’s a sprawling country town, I guess they can’t walk, but…

    I’m with Norma – LOVE dialog, can’t get enough. But then I DO very little in my life (my job involves reading, writing and talking and so do most of my avocations), so action doesn’t grab me as much as it may some people. Witty conversation – rare in real life, as in novels – is one of my greatest pleasures.

    And OMB, you do awesome banter! Love the chemistry and the cousin.

  16. The buying on Amazon line had the entire family come running. I had to scroll away before my 12 yo son figured out what was so funny. Yes, this is raw, but at the same time, that might be where the high energy feel comes from.

  17. The three beers thing depends on what part of the country probably. Here (Oregon) a beer is a pint (16 ounces) unless you order a glass (8 or 6 ounces, something like that) and you can metabolize the alcohol in 8 ounces in about an hour so 3 8-ounce glasses in a couple of hours is no big deal. On the other hand, 48 ounces is a lot of beer.

    Great dialogue, Jenny. Feel free to come to my next dinner party. We need you.

  18. I loved every word of this. I’m doing NaNo for the first time and just wrote a blog about how most of my novel is dialogue…oh well.
    I wouldn’t change a word of this. I laughed so hard I thought my husband was going for oxygen.

  19. I loved reading this. 🙂 You write, in my opinion, some of the best banter out there. I was snickering through most of it, outright laughing the rest of the time.

    The only thing that caught me was lack of backstory for Molly. I’m suddenly so curious about what type of voice actor she is, which parts she played in those shows. Did I miss something somewhere?

    1. Ack, meant to change that from “voice actor” to “character actor.” That’s what I really meant.

  20. I had those Olive Garden doughnuts for the first time a few months ago. Heavenly bits of preciousness!

    Great dialogue. Thanks.

  21. One of my critique partners tweeted me about how hard it is when Jenny’s Nano stuff is better than our polished work. I learned not to reread a Crusie book while writing anything if I don’t want to break down and cry.

    All I can say is, I was there at the bar with them, sitting on the next stool and choking on my beer as I ogled Vince. And I don’t even like beer!

    Write faster. I need more.

  22. Please just throw all of the writing “rules” out the window and keep the dialogue. This is fantastic. I want more, I need more, I must have more! Thanks for sharing.

    1. The problem is, dialogue isn’t story. Or as my creative writing mentor said one day in class as he paged through my story, “Here you went for the cheap laugh, and here you went for the cheap laugh, and here . . .”
      It’s a first draft. It’s okay that it’s all over the place. But then I have to get to work or it’ll be like Chinese food: people will finish the story and an hour later they’ll be hungry because there was no there.
      Except, Chinese food always fills me up. Where did that whole “and an hour later you’re hungry” thing come from anyway?

  23. And before I forget, thank you for all the cheering. I’m really nervous about the whole first person switch, so it’s very, very comforting, and I really do appreciate it.

  24. So, the ‘I don’t need no stinking charm… ‘ as take on the Humphrey Bogart movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre or Blazing Saddles – we on’t need no stinkin’ badges ? I knew I had heard something similar somewhere…..

  25. Cheap laughs and chinese food. Sounds good to me. 🙂

    And even though we don’t get Vince’s POV, you’ve done a great job showing us who he is when he’s not playing cop.

  26. Wow, this is really great as is! I would hate for you to cut it, but if it means it comes out better than THIS, then by all means…do your worst. 😉 It’s equal parts sexy and funny and I LOVE Molly already, and the banter between Liz and Vince is just ridiculously great and…about a million and one other good things. I absolutely LOVE IT. More please. O:-)

  27. You have made my night! Thank you for sharing. It seems like it takes waaaaaay too long for your next book to come out.

  28. I remember you once said you could never write an entire novel in first person because you thought your voice was too strong and, therefore, annoying as hell after a chapter or two.

    Well, you were mistaken.

    [you will please note I did not say “wrong”]

    I am so so happy you’re doing this, so happy that you’re having fun.

  29. Your characters are so much fun! If this is your trash, I can’t wait for what you really think is good.

  30. Now I’m wiping the coffee off the keyboard. Reviews on Amazon – I wish! Great line. That and “you want the full Lizzy . . ” just excellent.

  31. Yay! I really adore your stuff and this Liz/NaNo thing is perfect since I have to wait for Wild Ride.


  32. This is wonderful stuff, Jenny. You’re one of the best dialogue writers I’ve ever read. It’s one of your strengths, so why wouldn’t you want to make use of it? I haven’t read many writers that have your ability to pull out the funny lines like these, and make it seem so natural. I’m glad you’re doing this and having a great time. Thank you for sharing.

  33. You have a great voice! What’s this “too strong” business? I think first person is a great way to show it off, and also I love lots of dialogue. And, I’m cheap, so I love a cheap laugh or six. (And you know, they are even cheaper by the dozen, so go for broke . . . .) It can all be revised after November; but I hope you won’t manicure it too much.

  34. For everybody who objected to Liz driving on three beers, she’s walking home now. It was an easy fix, and there was no reason to fight for her driving (it’s a small town, she can walk two or three miles). If it threw some people out of the book, it’s definitely not worth keeping since the drive home is not useful to the story in any way.

    1. Yay! I’m really weird about books/movies/shows having people drive after several beers (I know it’s common in real life, but it pisses me off even more in real life when I look at a friend and have to say “I know it was only 4, but I am not getting in that car with you”).

      Also, I had to close my office door I was laughing so loudly.

      How do you move past dialogue to action? Dialogue is the only thing I seem any good at (according to people who’ve read the little I actually write “the conversation is great and then it got really boring” tends to be the line). Or have I missed the post where you talked about that?

  35. I love the entire concept of her bargaining for food upgrades! She can be had but not for diamonds or commitment . Jenny,do you get these ideas when you’re hungry for a good steak?!! I LOVE the way your mind works-keep going!

  36. You are the bravest writer I know, inviting all of us to climb inside your process so we can see it from the inside out. When I got stuck in my own NaNo quagmire this morning, I decided to see how you’re faring–so many wonderful lines others have pointed out, yet I see exactly how you’re analyzing what moves a scene and what doesn’t. Probably you’re going to prune lines that made me choke on my coffee and laugh out loud, but right now there’s an inchoate blob at the back of my mind that might turn into a deeper understanding of craft. Thanks.

  37. Your disclaimer kinda tricked me. I didn’t skim once and was never bored. I LOVED IT! I was shocked when I came to the end because I wanted more!! I’m with the everyone else….please don’t cut it up.

  38. You are The Queen of good banter babe. I quite literally snorted coffee out my nose and scared the dogs when I read the “buying on Amazon” comment – you are amazing. And brilliant. Keep NaNo-ing – it’s so much fun to read what you’re doing, and I greatly appreciate your willingness to share it with us. (And IF ONLY there were such reviews available LOL!)

    PS – I also use straight dialogue to get into scenes a la the above. It’s doubly-awesome and extra guilt-free during NaNo because then I can go back and add in all the dialogue tags, description, action, etc., before starting the next bit, and I get another 35-45% wordcount easypeasy. Plus my characters always end up talking about things I had no were going on if I just shut up and let them talk. It’s fun again 😉

  39. When you’re a Crusie fan gutting through the months between Agnes and the Hit Man and Wild Ride, getting these scenes from NaNo or AKMG is like someone serving you a hot fudge sundae after months of dieting. Delicious, rich, and oh so worth it.

    Banter is so freaking sexy, too.

  40. I think the other people on the plane might be wondering why my whole row of seats is shaking. Well, they would be if they were awake. I’m LMAO. That is so much fun!

    You had plenty of action in there! Molly getting greeted cheerfully, her ease of getting out of the way, Vince leaving a hot option to go protect and serve while off duty, Liz leaning in for a kiss, etc… Subtle action, but action. Besides, while I do like “show don’t tell”, i don’t think you need so much help there and women often sit around and gab, so it’s a realistic scene. Men get together and watch a game; women get together and gab. Gabbing over beer is action 🙂

    Thanks for sharing yet again. this is hilarious. I love it.

  41. I read your blog because I love your voice, and since your books don’t come out fast enough (because you work on them so hard, to perfect them) it is wonderful to have pieces like this, along with the rest of your commentary on things.


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