In Pleasant Grove Utah, there is (was?) a small restaurant called One Man Band that served breakfast/lunch for a small Mormon town. On Sundays we’d go down there and have the place to ourselves. On Sundays, a slow day, there truly was just one guy doing everything: orders, cooking, billing, cleaning up. Slinging eggs and hash and pancakes, he was a marvel to watch, especially when a few other families would join us.
I think about that guy’s job and equate it loosely to writing.
So many jobs get bundled up in the task that is writing, novels mostly, but any substantial writing contains the hallmarks of the One Man Band.
First you have to create a compelling story, with compelling characters. Those characters need to enjoin a cyclically action packed and restorative plot, with dramatic tension between them. The story must unfold in parts made from parts each with tension and relief. The story calendar must remain accurate, the plot context’s must remain cogent, and the foreshadowing, and allusions must pan out with accuracy and intrigue.
And then there’s the craft. The writing must have a rhythm of tight terse prose and flowing boisterous description. The mechanics must be accurate, the dialog must be leading but not too vague. The tags and actions must introduce speakers while the play out of angst between said speakers ebbs and flows. And the hundreds of other nuances that make up great writing must all be compiled into this story.
And then you need to rehash it through editing. Then package it up for querying. Maybe you need to cover it, blurb it, synopsis it.
Dozens and dozens of tasks, all must come together in a natural, cohesive blend that is a novel.
After the lunch rush, the One Man Band guy always looked exhausted. Yeah, I think I know what he was feeling.
3 thoughts on “One man band”
Everything you say is true, shit I know it, but I just can’t bring myself to plan anything out. Editors and publishers believe what you say. They want people to read what I write. Silly ideas! No, my head is thick and my heart is fragile, so I start with only a feeling and an image in my mind of something I once did and then go from there. Of course, it is often a mess, but it is my mess and I like to stomp around in it like those half-naked people at the tomato festival in Spain. WTF AMole, can I live? Ha. Thanks. Duke
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If your writing is any indication, I’d say you live and thrive in your skin better than almost everyone I know.
Short order cook. Nice analogy.
Years ago, when I was young, before Dallas grew into the northeastern quadrant of a large state and small towns were small and not another place for a big gas station with franchise fast food, we would stop the band van on the way back to civilization from Arkansas or Louisiana in Forney. Back then way east of Dallas. Now it’s a subdivision. But long ago and far away there it was small and on a dark two lane and there was a restaurant where you a woman smoked cigarettes and took your order and a man in a wife beater did everything else. It was called Kate’s. Everybody called it Forney Kate’s. And we figured they called it that because that was what it was like for them, working that way, what happened to them that they ended up there, that way. Dinner rush or midnight, you’re Forney Kated. What happens to you when you think you can write, too, becoming the guy in the wife beater cooking at Forney Kate’s. Cooking between busboy, dishwasher and taking stinky greasy junk to the dumpster duties, all part of the same gig.
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