Introducing Chapter CDXLVI of her epic romance novel, Oy, Rodney, Violet Crepuscular writes, “Now that the vicar’s conniptions are permanently cured, and Margo and Lord Jeremy safely married and gone off on their honeymoon to Keasby, New Jersey, and the invasion of Sicilian caecilians turned back, and the mystery of the vicar’s backyard wading pool solved to everyone’s complete satisfaction–”
Just a cotton-pickin’ minute there! Whoa, Nellie! Cease and desist!
I know what she’s trying to do. Note the absence of Chapter CDXLV. Presumably all these things happened in that chapter–and yet she’s skipped right over it! Readers will have her hide for this. “When in doubt, just skip it!” When did that become a literary maxim?
What if Homer had skipped Achilles’ showdown with Hector? What if Shakespeare had just passed over Julius Caesar’s last visit to the forum? Is this any way to write a novel? For shame!
Violet, the world expected better things from you. Personally, I had long since given up hope of seeing you blossom into a second Jacqueline Susann. But to show yourself a literary mountebank, a novelistic ninnie, a mere dental assistant disguised as Art personified–!
[Interrupted by emergency communication from Violet Crepuscular]
“Dear reader, I disclaim all knowledge of and responsibility for that chapter introduction purportedly written by me! I am not a literary mountebank! Believe me, I didn’t get where I am today by skating over major problems in my plot.
“I just thought a little streamlining might be in order…”
And so we are left with no current report on events in Scurveyshire because Somebody never wrote Chapter CDXLV. We simply do not know what happened after they tied that paper bag over the vicar’s head. The suspense is well-nigh unbearable.