A time to live, a time to die …

Or as the lady has said and said … Kill off the little darlingslink to Kristen Lamb’s blog posts.

Kill darlings

A blog post. Kill my little darlings. Lisha Cauthen

The first little darling I killed off in this book was Ronald Reagan. Actually, the entire title was sent to a dark flash drive, never to be heard from again expect in these silly posts.

Does Anyone Out There Miss Ronald Reagan? 

          Or … How I Survived The 80’s, YUPPIES and Six Blind Dates

The second casualty were all six blind dates. Although they qualify as great fodder for my blog, I didn’t like the tone they set for Gail… my main character.

So today, as I continue to rivise Gail and Tony, I recyle another of the bleeps, bloopers and outtakes from the original story.  Please enjoy the second comical blind date of my hapless heroine  …

The second candidate …

Herman Smolowitz was a podiatrist my aunt met in Miami and the first grown-up “little” person I had ever met.

We agreed to rendezvous outside a Japanese restaurant on Columbus Avenue. At first I looked over him for my date. Then it hit me. Herman was my date.

He guided me through the foyer of the restaurant. “Let’s get a table in the back where we can have privacy.”

The privacy was a room enclosed with shoji screens, served by women in traditional Geisha dress who informed me I had to remove my shoes. I foolishly wore penny loafers with socks and immediately saw a hole in one. The big toe of my left foot was poking out. I curled it under so he wouldn’t notice. But not fast enough.

He pointed. “That hole can push on your big toe and cause a circulation problem.”

We didn’t sit in chairs, but on the floor on big pillows. Without making a fuss, the smiling Geisha-waitress put an extra pillow under Herman’s little bottom, and he smiled like a toddler allowed to sit in a big boy seat.

I ate the soup with green slimy stuff floating in it. I even drank a little of the green tea. Funny, it didn’t look green. It looked like flat ginger ale with tiny black specks in the bottom of the cup.

A theme was beginning to form in my head. Everything was little and tiny, small and short, not to mention strange and raw. “It’s what?”

Halfway through the orange stuff, wrapped with more of the slimy green stuff, I felt a pinch on the exposed big toe. I pulled it back a bit. A few minutes later, another pinch. This time I leaned over. I didn’t want the smiling Geisha-waitress to see, but I was afraid a rodent was under the table, nibbling on my poor exposed, big toe.

I tried to fold my legs under the low table. It shook and I spilled my wonderful, ginger ale green tea. I blushed. “Sorry.”

After I regained my color, I felt another pinch. This time I pulled my legs out, bent all the way over and looked for that rotten rodent.

He frowned. “Is there a problem?”

“Yes,” I nodded. “I think I’m sharing a table with a little rodent.”

“What did you call me?”

I shook my head. “No, no, not you. There’s something that keeps pinching my big toe.”

“It was me.” He put more of the eel and hot stuff into his mouth. “I was testing. To make sure you haven’t lost feeling due to poor footwear.”

Before I realized what was happening, Herman hoisted himself up and off the pillows supporting his “little” person frame and scurried over like a rhesus monkey on all four limbs. He pulled my legs out and ripped off my socks. He held up the sock with the hole and shouted, “This could cause blood poisoning, gangrene and eventually you’d have to cut off the toe.” He threw it over his shoulder.

Both socks thrown over his shoulder, he began rubbing my feet. “Herman, I’ll make sure to consult a doctor as soon as I get home. There’s no need for you to worry. Honestly, the toe will be fine.”

I had to give it to Herman. For a little guy, he sure was strong. It was one of those times I wish I had watched the Jane Fonda workout tapes my sister Elaine gave me for my birthday. A time I wished I had an abdomen as flat as a board and legs strong enough to fend off an assailant, or in this case, a podiatrist with a foot fetish.

He held my feet and sighed as he rubbed all the way up my calves. Herman wasn’t interested in visiting the hidden garden between my thighs, only the hidden lint between my toes.

“I love big girls. They always have round, fat toes.” He panted. “You should wear bright red nail polish to show how you adore your lovely, fat toes.”

“Herman, please.”

He panted faster. “Don’t say no. You know you want me the way I want you. Any girl that deliberately wears outdated penny-loafers and holey socks is just asking for it.”

Herman’s little face became bright red, his breathing raspy and short. Soon he was’s rubbing more than his hands on my feet and yelling. “Yes, yes, my God in heaven, yes.”

I pulled my feet back and stood. “I think you should take me home now, Herman. I have an early appointment and I need my rest.”

The Geisha-waitress came in and smiled. “You pray footsie, rootsie?”

Herman scuttled across the floor and stuffed my socks in his tiny, little-person trousers. I didn’t want to argue with him over my socks and rushed to put my bare feet into my penny loafers and get the hell out of there.

Herman refused to  give me back my socks. He took them out of his pocket and inhaled. “These I will treasure. You I can live without.”


Now called Once More Around the Block, this book has gone through three major rewrites and I am currently struggling with the fourth. My main BETA reader has informed me that the reason I can’t get Gail exactly the way I want her is that I’ve allowed my personal life to interfere with my imaginary one.

I might agree since I’ve written other stories while Gail and Tony have been bumped off the grid, sent to the end of the line, and pushed into the back of the closet.

Next week, I’ll explore an issue that has become very important to me. Not only in romance novels, but in mystery or any other genre …

What to do with a “flawed” main character …

In the rewrites of your a novel …

have you maintained the integrity of your main character or

dissected them with your writer’s scalpel?

fOIS In The City


Filed under Bleeps, Blooper and Outtakes

20 responses to “A time to live, a time to die …

  1. Florence – you made that up. Oh please, tell me you made it up. Oh God.


  2. Florence,

    If our main characters don’t have flaws, how can we put them through the equivalent of your Herman? So I guess my answer is all my main characters have a flaw. Sometimes more than one. And I love making them miserable to make them better. But I have to say this scene is hopefully greatly embroidered from your life. 😉


    • Isn’t that the truth, Casey. The more flawed the heroines (especially) are at the beginning, the more fun we can have getting them straight. And Gail is a combination of three women I knew in New York … and one of them is me 🙂


  3. This was a funny one, Florence.


  4. Vicki Batman

    OMG, Florence, I am on the floor laughing. Totally surprised me with this one. hugs


  5. annerallen

    ROTFL! You’re a great comic writer. Loved this one.


  6. Florence – ‘Tis a terrific story and also tied in nicely with the ever important question you ask us to ponder. Personally I don’t like a novel unless the main character has flaws. Really, can anyone be perfect and walk the face of this earth?


  7. christicorbett


    During each rewrite my character’s flaws were honed to a fine point with my writer’s scalpel. Every word, action, reaction had a greater meaning and was there to reveal the flaws and goodness of each character.

    Love the story!

    Christi Corbett


    • Christi, I knew what you would say. You are a determined and hard working craftswoman and I know each word, action and reaction has been honed. I know that because of your book … Thanks for the visit 🙂


  8. He he he, excellent honey 🙂



  9. That story is priceless, Florence. Love. It. The comedic pace and visuals? Sent my ka-snort(!) meter soaring.

    Oh. My heroines have flaws. And I love to put them in situations like the one you describe with Herman.

    The little darlings I have the most trouble killing are the lines of dialog or narrative that seem (in my imaginary world) to be genius in scope and wording. But, they do nothing to move the story forward. They add no value to the pace or character arc.

    I’ll sometimes leave them in just because I’m stubborn that way.

    When I get to line edits and have to ask the hard question Margie Lawson forces on us: is this line the best it can be and does it add value?…

    The little darlings get cut, but pasted into another file I may or may not reference one day. I’m disorganized that way…


    • Thanks, Gloria … it’s good to have you back. Yes, yes, in that final edit stage is when we are forced to kill off many of our little darlings. Funny, I also save mine … that’s how I came up with bleeps, bloopers and outtakes 🙂


  10. OMG, Florence, this is so funny. Your writing just puts me right into the scene. Poor Gail. I wanted to box Herman’s ears. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s