Before we begin, let me direct the attention of all newcomers to a new sidebar. In an effort to make following the Granola Prose tale a bit easier, I've included a mini-directory, where you will find this and all other Granola posts listed and linked in chronological order. And now, on with the show...
The Writer grimaced. Here it came, the long section of exposition that inevitably showed up in his work. Might as well get it over with. His fingers were poised above the keyboard, ready to begin the dirty deed, when a thought entered his head and began galloping about.
"Why do I keep ending sentences with prepositions?"
Another thought answered, "Who cares? As long as the writing itself sounds decent, a lot of those old rules are kaput anyway. Follow your instinct, son."
This led to yet another, more intriguing thought. "Wait a gol-darn minute..."
"I'm sorry, lord," Stubs said. "But to reveal everything about my quest, not to mention my story (which happens to be lengthy), would not only bore the reader, but endanger my mission. How do I know you can be trusted?"
Becky and Tiberius gasped and backed up a step. The Nitwit lord lunged to his feet and teetered for a moment before regaining his balance.
"I cannot bequeath thou spaketh thus to me!" he gasped. "I am Sticky Jake, Lord of the Nitwits, a personable of grunt distraction, and I shan't be spaken to in such a *wheeze* fragrant murmur. Forthby and therewith." He sat down quickly and continued gasping for a minute or two. He motioned to a nearby servant, who brought him a particularly succulent sock with which to refresh himself.
Stubs, who had been startled by the outburst, tried to ignore Becky's gagging and Tiberius' giggling. He gathered his courage and stepped forward.
"I know you find this a serious offense, your lordship, but your title lends one to suspicion. After all, are you called Lord of the Nitwits because you are the wisest among them or simply the greatest Nitwit of all?"
Sticky Jake paused mid-chew, the toe end of the sock hanging horribly from a corner of his mouth. After a moment he finished the sock and then said in a Southern drawl, "That be a damn fine question, boy. And I'll answer it soon as ya tell me why I'm sudd'ly talkin' like a Texas cowpoke."
That was an easy one and Stubs answered without hesitation. "Because The Writer's a moron and has no sense of characterization."
What? The Writer sat back in his special writing chair and reread that last line. His own characters were beginning to mutiny! He'd always read it was a good thing when the characters began taking over a story, but now that it seemed to be happening, he was finding it rather scary. He poked his head out the window and called down to his wife/girlfriend.
"Honey? One of my main characters just called me a moron."
"Readers will probably identify with him. That's a good sign, dear."
The Writer wasn't sure if this was a compliment, but decided not to press her on the issue. After all, she looked really busy stirring that cement for the new driveway. He turned back to his laptop and the small morsels of granola debris scattered about the desk. Scooping together a little pile, he used his cupped hands to funnel the granola into his mouth.
"Okay, fine," said Stubs. "I've always been a sucker for Southern accents. I've been sent by the Dirty Forest Man to find a magic stick that he plans to use against the Fairy Syndicate. Without the stick, he can't hope to prevail. Time is also of the essence. Word has it that the Fairy Syndicate is awaiting the imminent arrival of their warlord, Crapulent Fartwing. After that they plan to march upon the Dirty Forest Man and, if he is not in possession of the magic stick, wipe him out."
Ah-ha! The Writer chortled aloud and pounded his clavicle in glee. Not only a quest (basic plot), but also necessity and a deadline, the main ingredients of suspense! Now if he could just give Stubs a reason for continuing the quest...
"Waaaait a minute," Becky interrupted. "I thought you told me you knew nothing about the mission. That the DFM simply set your pants on fire and scuttled you into the swamp."
Stubs acted coy. "I didn't know you then. I saw you were a fairy and was afraid you might take their side."
Sticky Jake was looking skeptical. "The Filthy Frabjous Mule infers to decorate brittle against the Furry Scintillate?"
Even Stubs couldn't figure this one out, so he turned to Becky for help.
"He doubts your word that the Dirty Forest Man intends to declare battle against the Fairy Syndicate."
"It's true!" Stubs insisted, turning back to Jake. "As soon as he gets his magic stick, it's curtains for the fairies."
"Curtails? The Dairy Furbished Minion warrants to constrict droops for the..."
"You're getting a little carried away with that character," said a voice over The Writer's shoulder.
The Writer hooted in panic and farted. "Don't sneak up on me like that," he admonished The Wife.
The Wife wrinkled her nose and began backing out of the room. "Don't worry, I won't. Perhaps granola isn't the best diet choice for you after all."
"Never mind that. What do you mean I'm getting carried away? Sticky Jake is hilarious!"
"In small doses, yes. But you're making the reader work too hard to figure out what he's saying. I think you should tone it down a bit. Give the reader a taste, not a steady diet."
"And what makes you such an expert? All you can do is fix sinks, pour concrete, weld, install heating and cooling systems, wire houses, and build Corvettes from scratch. You seem to be forgetting who's the writer, here."
"Just thought I'd mention it." The Wife turned and walked serenely from the room. The Writer ground his teeth a little. He hated it when she was serene.
Finally understanding the gravity of the situation, the Lord of the Nitwits emitted a sigh and began wracking his wizened little brain for a solution to the problem.
And a problem it was. The dwarf's quest was clear enough: obtain the magic stick and return with it to the Dirty Forest Man. Sticky Jake knew of this magic stick and, although not aware of its exact location, possessed enough knowledge to point Stubs and Becky in the right direction. But the Nitwit lord was also indebted to both the Man and the Fairies for past favors. To aid one would most certainly incur the wrath of the other.
As he pondered, little plumes of smoke began wafting from his ears and a clearly audible grinding sound could be heard.
"I have made a decisive!" he announced after some minutes of deep deliberation.
Stubs and Becky snapped to attention, while the stout Tiberius raised an eyebrow, became exhausted, and fell immediately asleep.
"Yes, my lord?"
"I shall eat a sock!"
"But about the quest!"
"Oh, right. I have decided to...