Pity the author’s spouse

Because the author’s spouse must beta-read five versions of the same story and give thoughtful, useful feedback every time.

Because the author’s spouse must politely ignore when the author is staring into space. This means the author is working, even though it looks nothing like working.

Because the author’s spouse must listen to the keyboard click-click-clacking far into the night.

Because the author’s spouse, having suggested that a character’s name is perhaps not quite right for the character, must endure a two-week-long rolling conversation about possible replacement names.

“Maybe this name?”

“Well, it’s a little generic …”

“How about this one?”

“I’m not sure it’s right for her …”

Until eventually the author is randomly calling out names and the spouse must immediately know why, as though they are playing a very strange game of “Rumpelstiltskin.”

And then the author suggests a name, and the spouse agrees, and all is right with the household, at least until the next draft.

The author’s spouse is most patient. It is most appreciated.