Let Me Play and I’m a Happy Man

I’m not usually a guy who engages in literary exercises. If I’m writing, I want the words I produce to count toward something.

Now I understand there is value in learning, and no word written in pursuit of craft is ever wasted. I get that. But I also know myself well enough to realize that I get impatient when words on the page aren’t leading me toward completing a work in progress.

It’s not a great trait, but we all work with what we’ve got. (I also don’t like to read books about writing, though I love to buy them and have a bookcase full, but that is a blog post for another day.)

So after laying this groundwork, you’ll understand why I was less than enthusiastic when October rolled around and one of our assignments was to interview a character for our upcoming NaNoWriMo novel. I admit that I had an advantage over some of the other Café contributors because I’d planned to use the month of November to complete a novel I was already writing. But that didn’t stop me from doing a whole lot of internal bitching about the task.

This went on for a while until I finally decided to just shut up and write. (This, by the way, has proven to be great advice whenever I’m trying to avoid an assignment.)

Once I committed myself to putting something on the page, the interview almost wrote itself. For anyone interested, it was called “Failed Conversion” and appeared October 8, 2012.

In the piece, I took a minor character from my novel, Mike Mackey, someone who was more comic relief than anything else in the story, and created a scenario in which a radio interview gets completely out of hand. It was a fun way to explore his personality, and it also gave me a chance to bring a little adversity into his life.

In the few appearances Mackey makes in my book, he’s obviously a guy who moves through life with almost no conscience or consequence to his actions. I was able to change that by banging out about 1,000 words, and I got the opportunity to play. I tried to tell a few jokes, tweak people in general, and just be over the top ridiculous.

I had a ball.

My takeaway from all of this is that I need to try to find the humor in every assignment from here on out. Even if it’s not there, I need to make it fun. Because if I’m having a good time writing it, you might have a good time reading it.

And, of course, the ultimate goal is for all of you to realize you adore me.

Larry Jenkins is an aspiring Word Pimp. Has laptop, will travel. Let's make this happen, people.

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