L’Amérique

I say I have finished writing a book. Arielle says I have not. This may be a semantic or philosophical issue. This very morning around four a.m. , I typed the last words of my novel, L’Amérique, an opus that has now been rewritten about 120 times, which is only a slight exaggeration.
About three months ago, after an exchange of emails with my agent, Arielle and I agreed that the book’s point of view should shift from omniscient to that of the main character, a 10-year-old Parisian boy whose family decides to move to America. She signed on to edit the thing. She had read another book of mine, Thirst, and liked it. I, in turn, had read a few pieces she’d written and enjoyed her style. Additionally, Arielle, an English major at Bryn Mawr, knows grammar, sentence structure, and how to use a semi-colon, among many other useful things like the definition of the pluperfect and conditional tenses.
What happened was this: Arielle started chopping at the book with a bit too much glee, I thought. The word chainsaw made quite a few appearances in her conversations and in the blogs we’ve been publishing on http://www.seidmansagnier.com. We trimmed more than a hundred pages because the events described could not have been known or related by our young hero. We deleted fifty pages alone that described the boy’s parents before they met and had a child together. A duel held in a Parisian courtyard was taken out. We grafted the book’s sequel I’d begun writing onto the back of L’Amérique. It was tough. Some of my best-written scenes were excised, though I’m confident they’ll resurface in another book. I had to write a lot of new material, and Arielle, it turns out, has a wonderful way of duplicating my style.
We didn’t agree at first, and we still tussle from time to time on the exact meaning of a word. She’s usually right. I have a tendency to ascribe French meanings to American terms. She also detests sentence fragments with the sort of fervor usually found among rabid fans attending sporting events involving a much reviled opponent.
This being said, we work wonderfully well together. We spent the better part of the afternoon reading the book’s first four chapters aloud to each other. At one point, Arielle stopped and said, “I wrote that entire section.” I gaped. I wouldn’t have been able to recognize the section as not my own if she hadn’t told me.
The fact of the matter is, it’s now a much better book. It reads smoothly. Chapters segue seamlessly, and the pacing is excellent. There’s still some work to be done. Inserts will be inserted, and it’s possible the end comes a bit too abruptly so I may still have to add a page or three.
We’ll be going to see my agent in a couple of weeks. I think he’ll like it; we did what he suggested, and then some.
Frankly, I think we have a winner.

Crunch Time

thierrybackyard

It is absolutely freezing in Thierry’s basement, where our computers and workstations are. I got tired of shivers and goosebumps, so I took his laptop out to the backyard to finish my work on Chapter 37.

Chapter 37 is the very last chapter of the book. We’re almost done.

Well, no, that’s not precisely true. We’re almost done with the first draft. Now that I’ve completed my first edit of each chapter of the book, we need to go back through the entire book, chapter by chapter, and to check for consistency errors; things in chapter one that no longer make sense based on edits we made in chapter 14, etc etc. I have this sinking feeling that the type of car the protagonist owns changes at least once per chapter. Also, I think there is one character who has three different first names.

This mosquito will not stop biting me. I am trying not to think about the zika virus, which my brother Daniel assures me is something that I should absolutely be thinking and worrying about. Maybe I should get some bug spray…

Chapter 36, which I finished about twenty minutes ago, took place in a hospital. Like Nabokov (my favorite author, for anyone who doesn’t know, which is probably all of you except Leandra) Thierry has a tendency to get it right; his scenes are visceral. The sights, sounds, even the smells that he describes really bring you into the scene…and I hate hospitals. I hate them, and I always have. I’m pretty sure that neither he nor I had a ton of fun with Chapter 36, but it’s a good chapter; well executed. I give it my editorial stamp of almost-full-approval.

There were a few sentence fragments that I had to fix, and the man continually insists on using commas when a semicolon is more appropriate…but I digress.

In one week, I go back to work full time at the College Board, meaning that I will no longer be available to edit during the day, as I have been for the past few weeks. On August 13, Thierry and I go to New York to pitch the book to his agent, Philip Spitzer, and so it would be great (read: absolutely mandatory) if the rewrite were completely finished by then.

Something in Thierry’s pond is making some sort of “wheeeeeee” noise, and I’m certain it’s not the goldfish. I am intrigued, and a little unfocused.

I have been coming down with a cold for a few days, and I’m not feeling at my absolute best, but it’s crunch time and we need to finish this book by Sunday at the very latest. I am NOT going to get seriously sick right now, and if I do I’m certainly not going to admit it to myself. Tomorrow we’re going to take a field trip with a printed copy of each chapter. He’s going to read it aloud while I edit on the laptop. I may try reading some of it aloud myself, tonight, after my meeting. Who needs sleep?

Oh no, one of the fish is floating in the pond…it’s a dead fish. That’s so sad, we just bought those! Poor fish. Eek, something is tickling me, there’s an ant on my foot!

…okay, this isn’t working. I’d better go back inside or we’re never going to get anything done.

I leave you with this; the last paragraph of chapter 37 (the final chapter) is absolutely brilliant.

The beginning may need work. Excuse me. I have things to do.

 

 

 

Hamster Muses

hamsters
One of our two new little friends. The other one is too camera shy.

We barely got any work done, today, and it’s my (Arielle’s) fault.

We were supposed to be working on Chapter 34 (which I’m in the process of totally rewriting) and Chapter 35 (from which I will soon be removing all sentence fragments and run-on sentences). I started work on Chapter 34 yesterday, and Thierry sent me his updated version of Chapter 35 this morning (while I was asleep, causing the little notification on my phone to go “ping,” which doesn’t really seem fair, now, does it?) This should have been an easy work day. We should have completed all the things on my to-do list in record time and moved on with our literary lives.

We didn’t.

See, yesterday, after finishing a couple of chapters, we both needed a break from our computer screens. We stepped out for a few minutes and went over to the Petco to buy some new fish for Thierry’s pond, as several of the fish had tragically passed away in the middle of the previous night.

I’m a small animal kind of girl, and every time I go to the pet store, I rush immediately over to look at the little hamsters and the guinea pigs (of which I own two already) and the rats and bunnies.

After gazing at the guinea pigs for a few minutes, I turned around to find Thierry with his eyes glued to the Roborovski hamster cage. You have never seen a man with such a dazzling, genuinely delighted smile on his face as Thierry had while watching those funny little hamsters.Those of you who read his blog will be aware that smiles have been few and far between, lately.

 

The course of action here was clear, to me at least.

“Thierry,” I said, “let’s get those hamsters.”

He was shocked. He was alarmed. He utilized his famous gallic shrug, protested that it was not a good idea to make such split second decisions, that bringing a new life (two new lives!) into his home was a big responsibility that he was not necessarily ready to accept, that the cat might object, etc, etc.

I insisted. He eventually suggested that we wait until the following day, and that we then make a more rational, potentially further informed decision.

I knew I had won.

Just to make sure, I texted him last night with adorable hamster photos, so that he wouldn’t, you know, forget how much he really wanted them.

Today, we went and bought the hamsters. Well, actually, no; we went to the store, bought a hamster mansion (this thing is huge!) and I sat on the floor and provided essentially useless but well-meant encouragement while he put the thing together. We then checked several different stores to find exactly the RIGHT pair of robos, and we are now sitting at our desks in his basement, preparing to complete our work on today’s chapters while the little hamsters run frantically around in their cage on the dresser beside me.

thierryandhamsters
Thierry communing with the hamsters. He’s actually been sitting there for the last ten minutes, I kid you not at all.

There is only one remaining problem, really; our hamsters/tiny little literary muses don’t have names!

I have to get some work done. While I’m plowing through chapter 36, can you help us name them? Please either leave a response to this post or leave a post on either of our facebok walls to make hamster name suggestions.

Note: They are both boys.

Jeanot and the Leopards

As many of you know, Arielle and I have been rewriting one of my books,  L’Amérique. The work deals with a French family’s decision to move to the United States in the mid-50s. Here is a brief excerpt.

Jeanot had found his life’s calling in the latest Tintin magazine. Like Albert Schweitzer, Jeanot was going to go to Africa to cure the leopards. The illness sounded dreadful and it was not fair that the sick leopards weren’t allowed to mix with others of their kinds. There was a picture in the magazine of Schweitzer wearing an explorer hat and looking both kindly and sad, with skinny natives surrounding him, hired help, Jeanot figured, to catch the leopards. The sky was cloudless, it looked warm, and the black people were obviously friendly if very, very thin. Maybe working with leopards had its difficulties.schweitzer

Jeanot had met a few black people in Paris. They were always pleasant with their strange accents and startling white eyes, and they looked nothing like the ones in the photo with Dr. Schweitzer. Obviously coming to France from Africa was a beneficial experience—maybe it was the weather, Jeanot thought, or the air in Africa was somehow different. Certainly the air in Benodet near the sea had little in common with the sooty-smelling stuff in Paris, and Jeanot noticed that whenever he left town for a day or two, the bothersome scratch at the back of his throat vanished. Maybe the air in Africa was worse, which would explain why the people helping Schweitzer with the leopards all looked skinny and ill.

Jeanot told his father about the leopards. “Look, Papa!” He opened the Tintin to the center pages and pointed to a photo. “I want to work with the leopards too, just like Doctor Schwe—“ He had a hard time pronouncing the string of consonants.

Papa said, “Schweitzer,” and then laughed so hard he made choking sounds. He swept up his son and carried him to Maman, where he told him to repeat the story. Jeanot did so with a little less confidence.

“I want to be like Doctor Schweitzer,” he pronounced the name right this time.

Papa was still smiling. Jeanot shot him an arch look. “Why are you laughing? There are very sick leopards in Africa!” He didn’t think ailing leopards was a funny subject at all, and when Maman tried to explain the leopards were fine, it was the people—lepers—that the good Dr. Schweitzer tried to heal, Jeanot was certain his mother was wrong—the people didn’t have spots on them and looked fit if a little thin—but he chose not to argue the point. He did, though, ask about the African air. Both his parents had been in North Africa during the war. “Do you think people breathe differently in Africa? Is the air bad there?”

Papa, who’d contracted malaria while serving with the Free French in Algeria, thought about it for a moment. “I think, maybe yes, Jeanot. I think there are little animals and bugs there that we don’t have here.”

“And we breathe them in?”

“Yes. Or maybe you eat without washing your hands, or the little bugs get into a cut…”

“Really?” Jeanot always had some sort of scrape or cut and he wasn’t that good about handwashing. After the leopard discussion, he went to the bathroom and scrubbed himself pink, including under the fingernails. No African bugs were going to get him.

Orlando Reade and the Skyfaring Romance: A Fanfiction

Today, we put work aside and just had fun. 

oldtypewriter

As thankfully very few people know, I (it’s Arielle, I usually do the website updates) am currently writing a young adult Steampunk novel featuring a pirate protagonist named Horatio Reade. My work almost NEVER sees the light of day, and I don’t think I’ve even ever submitted it to a critique group or anything of that kind, but Thierry’s obviously read it.

Today, he decided to amuse both of us by writing a delightful little piece of “Horatio Reade fanfiction,” featuring one of the novel’s minor characters, Orlando. Orlando, an author, is the older sister of Horatio, an airship pilot, recently hired by a pirate fleet. I think that’s probably all the context you’ll need for this bit.

This is such fun that I want to share it with you.

Thanks, Thierry!

***

It was the rejection slip from Bad Bladder Books that pushed Orlando Reade over the edge. The letter, received that very morning among a rush of bills, petitions, and advertisements, read in part:

Dear Miss Reade;

First, congratulations on being named after a vibrant American city. Your parents must be very wise persons and we assume you are a citizen proud of her heritage.

I am afraid your most recent submission, Love Among the Moving Spines, simply does not meet our current needs. As you may know, Bad Bladder Books specializes in cisgender skyfaring  adventure romances.  Your book appears to deal largely with the relationship between a celebrated stage director, a hedgehog and a number of guinea pigs.  While our staff thought your dialogue among and between the human and non-human characters was brilliant, they also found the plot was somewhat lacking. The three-page-long and rather graphic description of a Frenchman eating “escargots,” which we believe to mean “snails,”, and the attendant monologue of the stage director on the evils of avocados confused our reader.  

Please feel free to send future works directly to the person we have selected to review your submissions, Mr. Roger Furshiliginer, Assistant Editor to the Contributing Associate Editor in Charge of Unsolicited Manuscripts.   Mr. F, as we call him, will review your work with utmost care…

Orlando sighed, dropped the letter in the bulging They Don’t Like Me file, then sighed again, this time even more meaningfully. She had now been writing for three years without success, save for a small piece in the now-defunct Bug Hater Journal. Even Orlando’s older sister, Brutus, who could hardly tell one end of a pencil from another, had been published recently—an insipid piece on the danger of a clockwork revolution in the Outer Maldibre Islands—in a somewhat popular current-affairs journal.

Ah.

A notion tickled her cerebral cortex and grew. The idea germinated like a seed on fertile ground. Seafaring? They wanted skyfaring  romances? Well, she had Horatio, didn’t she! Her sister, Horatio, she of the adventurous spirit! Horatio who had served as a cabin girl and, in her latest letter, had mentioned a mysterious man, a Mr.—what? Noggin? Coggle? Snuggle?  No, no. But Horatio had used the word romance, Orlando was sure of it!

Admittedly, the two sisters had not seen each other in a number of years and kept in touch at best haphazardly. Orlando had a momentary misgiving. Could she write about Horatio? Was that allowed? Hmpf. She shrugged off the concern. She found the Letters From People and Family Members Who Rarely Write, Shame on Them  file folder, and dumped the contents on her desk.  Here was a postcard from Leander; a brief note from Brutus attached to her clockwork piece; a reminder that her furnace was due for a cleaning—what was that doing there? She dropped it into the Things that Need Cleaning file. Ah, there it was, the latest news from Horatio, dated a few months earlier.

Orlando found the mystery man’s name, Aaron Scroggs. She scanned the rest of the letter quickly and focused on the sentence she wanted, written in Horatio’s scratchy cursive hand: “I have been invited aboard a first-class pirate vessel in its prime. This is a deliciously romantic prospect…”

Aaron Scroggs would never do as the name for a romantic character. She would figure out a clever anagram, and possibly strand the two lovers on an island populated by pirates and cannibals…and man- eating goldfish, and perhaps even giant , ferocious shrimp, too.   

Orlando sighed, this time contentedly, and inserted a blank sheet of paper into the ancient Royal typewriter’s platen.

The end (for now)

 

 

Work in Progress: L’Amerique, Chapter 7

The following passage is an example of some of the work that we’ve been doing on Thierry Sagnier’s upcoming bestseller, L’Amerique. 

neonaifpainting

We’re re-writing the entire novel from the point of view of ten-year-old Jeanot. Here are some before and after shots of the chapter:

Original Passage:

Marité was a painter. She’d dabbled in other media, had written and published a well-selling children’s book, and played both the piano and accordion passably. Ever since the end of the war and her return to Paris with Roland, she had been sketching scenes, largely from old family photographs. She wanted the time to paint a dozen or so oils before she and Roland opened Créations St. Paul, the dressmaking shop made possible by a reluctant loan from Léopold.

Her true skill was oil on canvas in a style a writer for Les Beaux Arts de Paris had called neo-naïf. She painted scenes from the Belle Époque; extended and inbred bourgeois families posing at relaxed attention in pastel dresses and suits before country home porticoes, or sitting by azure lakes drinking champagne from crystal flutes and eating pâté on toasted squares of brioche. She painted society weddings with uniformed Swiss Guards bearing ceremonial halberds, street scenes of unrivaled innocence, and horse-drawn carriages with smiling drivers. The grayness of daily life never intruded in her works. Soldiers went unwounded, horses never dropped steaming piles of dung, aging dowagers retained their youths, and street urchins’ cheeks radiated health and well-being.

She painted without perspective—humans rarely varied in height and sometimes were outsize standing next to their horses, or small when with their dogs. Jeanot concluded that in the Old Days most people were short and owned ponies and Great Danes. When he asked Marité about that at the dining table one night, she got mad but his father laughed so hard red wine came out of his nose.

Edited Passage:

Maman was a painter. She’d dabbled in other media, had written and published a children’s book, and played both the piano and accordion.Jeanot maintained a small resentment when it came to the book, since it had been written specifically about and for his two sisters. He was waiting for his Maman to announce that there was another book written, one dealing with the adventures of Jeanot. He had been waiting a couple of years and come to the conclusion that writing a book might be very time consuming.

Maman’s paintings were drawn largely from old family photographs. She wanted to paint a dozen or so oils before she and Papa opened Créations St. Paul, the dressmaking shop made possible by a loan from Grand-père.

She painted colorful, confusing scenes; people in wedding clothes, surrounded by beaming armed Swiss guards. Jeanot had asked why guards were needed at weddings, and had gotten back a nonsensical, unsatisfactory answer that involved the Pope. Maman’s paintings reminded him of the contes de fees that Jeanot knew he should have outgrown years ago; there were flowers in full bloom and beautiful if slightly too-small horses, who never pooped, pulling carriages of happy people. Everything Maman painted, in fact, was happy. There were never any old people, never anyone who was sick or injured. The soldiers never bled, or fought, which was jarring, though not really unpleasant. Maman told Jeanot that the style in which she painted was called neo-naif

He had noted early that her people varied in height and sometimes were outsize standing next to their horses, or small when with their dogs. Jeanot concluded that in the Old Days most people were short and owned ponies and Great Danes. When he asked Maman about that at the dining table one night, she got mad but his father laughed so hard red wine came out of his nose.

Fragments

Thierry: A friend of mine recently posted on a social media site that really, I shouldn’t worry about sentence fragments in my writing, You, Arielle, on the other hand, have been on a one-person crusade to rid my stuff of what you obviously consider literary anathema. We kidded about it for quite a long a while now, actually from the first time you read something of mine and I think you said, “You’re a pretty good writer, but those sentence fragments…”

Arielle:   Yes, that does sound like something I would say. In fact, I probably said that. You are, for the record, a really good writer. I think, honestly, that the sentence fragments would bother me a lot less if you were a really bad writer. In your excellent work, they stand out.

Thierry: I think you’re perhaps a tad… puritanical here. Sentence fragments can serve a purpose. They force the reader to take a breath, and make him or her consider what’s just been written, and what’s to come.

Arielle: I really don’t agree, love. When I come across a sentence fragment, I usually stop, read the sentence a second time to make sure I haven’t missed anything, and then ultimately come to the unfortunate conclusion that it was an editing mistake. During that whole process of re-reading and analyzing, I lose track of the story, the characters, and the suspension of disbelief.

Thierry:  Um. I will admit that having to reread a paragraph, or go back to the beginning of a document I’m reading to understand what’s going on irks the bejeezy out of me. It’s something I bring up whenever I’m critiquing someone’s work.  It’s possible that some sentence fragments can do that, but so can any other literary trick, including endless paragraphs and run-on sentences. I maintain, for the nonce (a great and seldom used word) that a well-placed fragment can be useful. Now, I’m willing to admit I may use a few too many, but some are worthwhile.

Arielle: All right, show me. I am ready and willing to be convinced. Demonstrate to me a sentence fragment that can be useful or even beneficial to the narrative.

Thierry: You know perfectly well that’s impossible out of context. I’d have to write a short story and insert a fragment to prove my point, and since we already have a dozen projects and a very long list of things to do, there’s no time at the present. However, if I were writing a story about scary events happening at night, I might very well write,  “Night. Why always at night?” It would set the time and the mood very succinctly.

Arielle: I would actually hate that. To me, that seems contrived.

Thierry: What’s style to one is contrivance to another; I think that’s inevitable. Better writers than I have used fragments. Think Dickens, Dumas (pere et fils), and I’m sure many others. For some reason, I am fixating on Nabokov and Lolita. I seem to remember dozens of fragments there.

Arielle: Haha, you’re fixating on Lolita because you know it’s my favorite book. Okay, okay, I tell you what. I genuinely don’t see the value in sentence fragments, but let’s address them one at a time. When I find one in your work, I’ll ask you to justify it. If there’s a reason that it really adds to the passage, we can discuss keeping it. Does that seem fair?

Thierry: You give me too much credit. I knew you liked Nabokov, but I wasn’t aware Lolita was on your all-best list, which, I have to say, is a bit strange considering your very strong feminist stance in all things! Still, that’s not what we’re discussing here, chérie, so let’s forget the aside.  Yes, that’s entirely fair. Find a fragment and I will justify it. If I can’t, you’re welcome to beat it to death with a bat. Or a hedgehog.  Effective sentence fragment.

Arielle:  I, uh, don’t agree that it was an effective fragment, but I’m…willing to make this effort for you.

Thierry: So you’ll find a fragment and we’ll take it from there? Moving right along. I have overheard that you believe my punctuation is execratory.  Strong word, that.

Arielle: It is a strong word, and I’ve never used it to describe your punctuation. I did say that your punctuation isn’t very accurate in terms of the rules of grammar. I don’t really take issue with your punctuation use, though. It serves a purpose. The way you punctuate, the way you write, I can almost feel the way that Jeanot is feeling. I can see how his thoughts have a sort of disjointed flow, something of a breakneck pace. It works very well, which is why I’ve never challenged you on the subject.

Thierry: Obviously a literary foe thought to discredit you in my eyes, not realizing the futility of such an effort. What else in the book do you find hard to deal with?

Arielle: Nothing. Vraiment. Easiest editing job in the world. Oh, look, I wrote a sentence fragment. Have I mentioned, at any point, that I have absolutely no problem with you using sentence fragments in your dialogue?

Thierry: Realistically, dialogue is often just a bunch of fragments strung together. As a matter of fact, you’ve seen me in critiques take issue with dialogue that is perfectly grammatically correct, and totally false sounding. People talk in fragments. One of the things I’ve learned writing scenes with dialog is that if the characters know each other well, they’ll almost read each other’s minds. That’s hard to portray, but when done well, is really effective.

Arielle: I completely agree. My favorite screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin, writes dialogue just like that. I’ll never criticize you or anyone else for grammatically inaccurate dialogue. Nobody uses perfect grammar in their daily conversation. Not even I do it. It isn’t realistic, you’re right.

Thierry: Wow. I write like Aaron Sorkin! Who knew? And it’s not even my native language!

Arielle: I told you that I liked your writing! Wait, have you ever seen anything by Sorkin?

Thierry: Um. This is going to be majorly embarrassant. No. I have not seen anything by Sorkin.

Arielle: Close google docs, we need Netflix, stat.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back (A Sentence Fragment)

Thierry: Well, Arielle, we did it. We whittled the L’Amerique book down, changed the point-of-view, wrote some new stuff, and in record time! I am impressed! You only called me a bad word once during the entire process!

Arielle:  Qui? Moi?

Thierry: Oui.

Arielle: Never! You must be thinking of some other brilliant and talented editor extraordinaire. By the way, there are sentence fragments at the beginning of this blog. Please fix them.

Thierry: Excuse me, Arielle, but you seem to be forgetting that, as you know and have told me, I wouldn’t recognize a sentence fragment if it bit me.

Arielle: Nevermind, already did it myself. You’re welcome, readers.

Thierry: At last count, we had about 130 more-or-less finished pages. I had originally planned for the L’Amerique series to be trilogy, and the second book, tentatively titled The First Few Years, would pick up when the family arrives in America.

Arielle: Right, I remember.

Thierry: So now I’m going to rewrite that from the French kid’s point of view and stick it on the end of the first book.  Two books in one!

Arielle: Everything’s two-for-one in America. Anyway, I’m actually working on what we are calling “Chapter 23” of L’Amerique right now. By the way, did I tell you that I’m now struggling to maintain normal conversations in English? I’ve been reading so much of L’Amerique that I occasionally refer to perfectly innocent American bystanders as “Chérie,” and occasionally greet them with “salut,” or suggest that he or she “arrete,” which of course confuses everyone. The other day, I tried to order a milkshake at Lost Dog by asking “s’il te plait.” What have you done?

Thierry: And here I thought Chérie was reserved for me. Ah, America.  Anyway, you spoke French perfectly well long before you met me. You can’t hold me responsible for your re-emergent francophonology.

Arielle: Cherie is the feminine, so no, it’s not reserved for you, unless there’s something you feel you should tell me.

Thierry: This is getting well away from the high literary tone we strive for,  Why am I not surprised?

Arielle: A high literary tone, je pense, calls for a complete lack of sentence fragments. What did  you want to talk about?

Thierry: Is this what you anglophones call “a bee in a bonnet?” This monomaniacal devotion to a small issue?

Arielle: Monomaniacal is a fun word! It is a word quite frequently used by one of my favorite authors, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Do you know what literary device he absolutely did NOT employ?

Thierry: Arthur who?

Arielle: I quit.

Thierry: Were you referring to Arsene Lupin?  

Arielle: QUITTING. That was NOT okay. We have talked about this. You KNOW how I feel about Maurice Leblanc. Low blow. Bad form. Not a strong choice. Quitting.

Thierry: Désolé. Anyway, you can’t quit. We have about twelve more books to do together, including a couple of yours.

Arielle: I don’t write books. I only write your books.

Thierry: I believe the word you’re looking for is rewrite.

Arielle: Okay, fair. So, I rewrite your books? How exactly is that better? Anyway, like I said, I’m actually working on L’Amerique right now, and we have a small problem with chapters 23 and 24. 23 is too short, and 24 doesn’t flow logically from the end of 23. Can you write more things? Possibly now? Maybe while I go and get a drink or something? How does twenty minutes sound?

Thierry: I’m on it.