Today’s lesson, children, is about oral hygiene. There are two types: real and literal. Yes, I came up with this while a young hygienist was blasting plaque from my teeth with a tiny pressure washer early this morning. It had been way too long since I’d had a routine cleaning and I was suffering.
Real oral hygiene, then, is taking care of one’s pearly whites so that they stay pearly and white. As this patient hygienist used every tool in her arsenal to remove the stubborn stuff from my teeth, I resolved to turn over a new leaf which can be summed up in one word: FLOSS.
Say it with me, children: FLOSS. FLOSS. FLOSS. Don’t be lazy, just do it. End of lecture.
The other type of oral hygiene is literal. I have now written over 300 pages of The Novel (mind you, this is still a shitty first draft). Once I feel the story has begun and ended where it should, all protagonists and antagonists have had their say, there will be a selective oral presentation…to the cat.
My plan is (and it is vague and subject to change, whim, phases of the moon, etc) to read the sticky parts. Parts of the novel where I really want to ensure I’m on key. If heavy drama is required for a scene, I want to ensure that it sounds…dramatic. The dialogue has to sound natural. If I stumble continuously (and I’m sober), words might need to be rearranged, cut. Sentences might have to be re-worked. Tone and tenor might have to be adjusted.
I hate reading out loud just like I hate to floss but such oral care is necessary so that all of the words that have been pouring out of me are the right ones, in the right places. Is it loads of fun? No. Will it yield a better novel? Dear Lord, let’s hope so. Extra care is always worth it, saving hours of painful pressure washing later on.