Ed: God, what a clunky sentence.
Me: Never mind, it’ll do.
Ed: It’ll do? That’s the sort of attitude that leads to lazy writing!
Me: I meant it’ll do for now. We can tidy it up later.
Ed: You can’t keep putting things off till later.
Me: This is a first draft. I just need to get the story down, OK?
Ed: OK, whatever. Don’t mind me.
Me: Don’t worry, I won’t.
Two sentences later…
Ed: You can’t put that.
Me: Why? What’s wrong with it?
Ed: It’s an adverb.
Me: I know it’s an adverb.
Ed: Adverbs aren’t allowed.
Me: They are sometimes. Where it’s appropriate. And I happen to think it’s appropriate here.
Ed: Oh, you think so, do you?
Me: Yes, I do. Adverbs are fine as long as you don’t overuse them.
Ed: It’s a slippery slope, though. You start using those things and you won’t be able to stop.
Me: I’m aware of that. Don’t worry, I’ve got it under control.
Ed: OK, if you say so.
Me: I do say so.
One line later…
Ed: Oops! I spy a crutch word.
Me: I’ll kick your crutch in a minute.
Ed: There’s no need to be like that.
Me: So stop distracting me! You’re breaking my flow!
Ed: Sorry! I’m only trying to help.
Me: Well, you’re not helping. Go away if you can’t be quiet.
Ed: Where d’you want me to go?
Me: I don’t know – go for a walk, or go on holiday or something. I don’t care where you go as long as you wait your turn.
Ed: All right! I won’t say another word, I promise. I’ll be as quiet as a mouse.
A paragraph later…
Ed: Oh really, I can’t have this. You’ve used ‘began’ once, ‘that’ twice, ‘was’ three times, and four ‘-ing’ words.
Me: (leaping up and wrestling Ed to the floor) Listen, you pedantic pain in the arse! If you keep questioning every word I write, you’re going to be out of a job, because there won’t be any words on the screen for you to edit! Or do you have some wonderful new idea for editing a blank page?
Ed: No! I just thought we could save time later if I did some of the editing now.
Me: I don’t want you to do some of the editing now. I don’t want you to do any editing until I’ve written the story.
Ed: (sadly) Not even a little bit?
Me: Not even a little biddy bit.
Ed: (even more sadly) OK. I understand. No editing until you’ve finished the story.
Me: Good. I’m glad we’ve got that straight.
Two paragraphs later…
Ed: Better ditch that passive voice…