Sunday, November 14, 2004

Stuttering, Dithering & Word Count

In writing speech impediments for my NaNoWriMo project I've found it really pays to have your characters dither rather than stutter. Each "um," "er," and "uh" counts as a separate word. Whereas s-s-s-stu-uh-stuttering only counts as one. I have both, so I'm not completely padding - I also have a lisper, so I've pretty much got it covered.

If you've seen My Cousin Vinnie and remember Austin Pendleton's character, he's kind of what I had in mind when I wrote Mayor Ed Jackman in the scene below:

Graham had just about convinced himself he was being paranoid [about collusion between the mayor and Rev. Gantt], when the door swung open and the mayor stepped out to greet him.

“Sorry about that. I had to make a call and get something squared away for Reverend Gantt. Hope you didn’t mind waiting?”

“Not at all.” Would the mayor be so open about a conspiracy if there really were one, thought Graham. Then again, maybe that’s the perfect cover. “May I ask what the good Reverend needed?”

“I suppose it’s not confidential, wouldn’t want to be accused of having secret backroom politicking going on here.” The mayor waved his hands around, gesturing to the office as a whole, “No cigar smoke filled room ... as you can, uh, see. Heh heh.”

Graham waited a moment, then with no direct answer to his question forthcoming, asked specifically: “What did the good Reverend need?”

“Oh, that? He, uh, that is to say, we, uh, worked out a deal where he and his group; I suppose it’ll mostly be his group doing the work, not him, uh, specifically, uh...”

Graham helped himself to a seat, uncertain if the mayor’s dithering was a stonewall tactic or if he was genuinely nervous speaking to a member of the press.

“...uh, worked out a deal where, uh, whereby the cemetery behind the churchyard would get weeded and cleaned and, uh, spruced, generally spruced up in exchange for the town’s waiving the fee for a tentorary, er, temporary structure permit for their, uh, tent.”

(daily word count: 1,831 words; total word count: 28,278 words; words remaining: 21,722)