Indie Author Answers #14: Yanking readers out of the story

No tip of this week this week, just my thoughts on adding sponsors to the show.

Now let’s get on with critiquing The Problematic Virtue, because we all know that’s why you’re here…


15: Wiles

Wiles parked his Jeep outside of 28th Street Studios, and reflected on its generic and boring name. Nobody took the time to be creative or even create worthwhile products anymore. The whole world was recycled, mundane bullshit.

As he walked to the entrance, he shifted the crowbar nestled in his belt loop so that it wouldn’t stick out against his pant leg like a giant, steel erection. There was no need for people to see it before he wanted them to see it, if that’s how the day played out. Wiles still didn’t know.

Wiles entered the studio, greeted by a simple room with a receptionist and two doors. A few cases on the walls displayed framed gold records, and others signed concert posters from bands like the Samples and Phish. One of the doors had a glowing red light above it. In session.

“Good morning, sir. Can I help you?” the receptionist said.

Wiles adopted his professional look. “I’m here to see Kevin Werner,” Wiles said.

She flipped open an appointment book. “Absolutely, we can take a look at that. Do you have a slot booked?”

“A what?”

“Do you have a studio slot booked for you, or for your band,” she said, this time not as a question.

Wiles didn’t appreciate the quality of disrespect in her tone, but he had to tolerate it, for now. “No, I don’t have a slot. I wanted to talk to him about booking one. Is he in that room with the light?”

“You can’t go in there; he’s with an artist right now. Besides, we usually do our bookings over the phone,” she said. “We also have a website on the internet where you can find out more information.”

“Okay, that’s fine, but I’m here now and I want to talk to him about booking a slot.”

She smiled, probably to hide her annoyance. “Like I said, he’s in session right now, but he should be done soon. You can talk to him then, I suppose.”

“Okay,” Wiles said. Wiles sat in a chair along the wall, careful to ease into it so that the crowbar didn’t clank or fall from his belt. The pointed end pushed against his kneecap.

“I’m going to lunch, but you can talk to him directly when he’s done in there,” she said.


“What’s that?”

“Nothing,” Wiles said. “Thank you for your help.” Now he just had to hope that she left before he was done with his session. Wiles bided his time by trying to read the titles of the gold records from his place in the chair.

After the bitchy receptionist left, he waited another fifteen minutes or so. He was about to give up when the red light dimmed, and the door opened. A kid with long, scraggly dreadlocks (which people in Baltimore called shit-locks) stepped out, holding a guitar case in one hand. Behind him walked this pudgy, balding older man with a greying goatee. Clearly, Werner himself.

Werner made some notes in the appointment book and bid goodbye to the hippie kid, then he smiled at Wiles. “Well, good afternoon, son, what can I do for you?”

“I’m thinking about booking a session. I’d like a tour of your studio, to see if it would work for me.”

“Absolutely, we can do that,” Werner said as he closed the appointment book. “There’s not a whole lot to see, so this tour will be quick. Just follow me. What kind of music do you play?”

Wiles stood up, and walked towards Werner. “I play stuff like Brian Connelly. You know him, right?”

Werner looked up at the ceiling, as if searching his memory. “Oh, right, yeah I know him. Nice young man. Not a bad guitar player, either.” Werner opened the door to the room with the red light. “Right this way is the room with the control decks, this is where I sit.”

Werner led him inside. “We charge by the hour for studio time, but we sell packages too. How much studio time were you looking to book?”

Wiles darkened. “I’m not looking to book anything.”

Werner stroked his goatee. “I’m a little confused, because didn’t you just say that you were?” Werner said as he crossed his arms.

Wiles shut the door behind him and slipped the crowbar out of his belt loop and into his hand. When the door clicked shut, the light in the room changed to a pale red, like a darkroom. “I’m here to talk to you about Brian. He’s not going to be working for you anymore. I thought I’d drop by and let you know.”





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