It is a frustrating truism of customer service that says, "The Customer is Always Right". This is no less true in a Public Library. There has been a tendency in the last few years to hike costs related to overdue books, a necessity which has occurred owing to a steady decrease in government funding. Witness the following dialogue, verbatim as far as I can remember, overheard while I was packing the shelves in the early hours of Monday this week, before the library was open to the public.
LIbrarian (to her colleagues) : Mrs B. tried her usual tricks to avoid paying her fines yesterday...
Mrs B: I gave the $3 to Susan last Friday.
Librarian: Susan was on leave last Friday
Mrs B: Oh, no, it was that man over there. I remember now
John: No, it wasn't me.
Mrs B: Oh, that's right, it was that Indian lady.
Kareesha: It wasn't me either.
Mrs B: My mother didn't like the books, so why should I pay the fine? Call Sandra, she'll cancel the fines for me.
I am trying my hand at writing my novel having received an enquiry from one of our Book Club members. So grateful am I for her interest, that it has given me the push to start (1500 words so far..) Interestingly, I am finding dialogue by far the hardest but very necessary part. Narrative is easy but dialogue essential. I got a book on Creative writing and tips from the Net. The purpose of dialogue is either to illustrate character or to advance the plot. Boring day-to-day conversations are to be avoided. Most writers, it says, are great eavesdroppers and note-takers. (Hence the above anecdote). I do have diaries from my youth, and my blog posts (especially re my eccentric dad), but nothing since except letters to my friends which are still in their hands. So I'm learning as I go. I have actually thought I should just write the whole damn thing (plot is done) and go back and replace scenes with dialogue afterwards. Also, I've had to wait for one or two people on whom characters are 'loosely based' to die to avoid possible lawsuits. I have also decided not to slow down my typing by leaving out quote marks around speech. Some books are printed without them.
One thing struck me like a bolt of lightening. Why have you not yet started, asks the author? Excuses proffered: I am too busy at work, I have to plant those seedlings, I have to clean the house, I am too tired. These can be rolled into one, says she, namely:
"I don't think I'm good enough'. Wow. Sextant, haul yours out and take another look.