Archive for the 'Creative Writing' Category

Comic #4

So here I am again, talking to the ether.

I was away for a while. Stuff happened. Then when stuff stopped happening, when the whole stuff-happening enterprise just petered out, it took me a while to realize. I looked around and said, “Stuff? Where are you? I thought you were happening, and now you’re not. That’s it. I’m going to go and do something else. If you want to happen later, you know where to find me.” So, um, here I am.

I figured I’d return with a bang, so here’s the long awaited new comic. Enjoy (and click to enlarge)!


Comic 4: This is not based on a true story.  I hope.

Comic #3

Ok, party people. Here it is. Enjoy (and click to enlarge): Comic 3: Yes, guys can be this desperate. Not a pretty sight.

Comic #2

So, since my first try at writing a comic met with some positive feedback, I figured I’d have a go at a second one. I think it’s kind of how I imagine things going before I say what’s on my mind. That, taken to a ridiculous extreme. Enjoy (and click to enlarge): Comic 2: alternate-universe girl is kinda cute....

Comic

So, I decided to try my hand at writing a comic strip. Not regularly or anything, but this just popped into my head more or less fully formed. It seems to have concerned my friends. No, in case you were wondering, I’m not that bad:

why I shouldn't date

Somewhat Super

In response to a letter I had sent him, a friend of mine emailed me the following:

How’s the weather out there? What exactly are you learning during this ‘training’ period? Are you learning how to build a nuclear bomb from silicone? Really?

Now, this was an odd series of questions, to say the least. I responded in kind:

Ok, you got me. We’re building bombs. Not out of silicone – which is used as a sealant, for firestops (whatever those are), and certain types of -ahem- implants. I think you were referring to silicon – without the ‘e’, which is used in making computer chips. But we don’t use those to make bombs either.

In any case, the training is going just fine, except for the interesting effects of prolonged radiation exposure. I now lack eyebrows, but have developed some interesting powers. I can
now detect mimes at a distance of 100 kilometers and I read people’s minds, but only in haiku form. It’s a interesting talent, that last one. Often when I try to use it on women, I get something like the following:

Creepy guy staring
Really have to go get a
Restraining order.

And sometimes, it’s hard to understand what they’re saying, so I get things like this:

My thoughts don’t always
Make sense or flow together.
Cauliflower duck.

There are some questions better left unasked.

Listen Up

So a few days ago, I posted an audio post, expecting accolades, pats on the back, and a possible Presidential Medal. But alas, I forgot that few people read this, fewer would be willing to sit and listen to 5 minutes of me prattling about waffles and Monopoly and how every male citizen of the Republic of Tonga has a crush on the same girl from Liechtenstein (a country whose primary claim to fame is that they are the largest exporter of false teeth – no joke!), and even fewer would be so bold or generous as to actually post a comment or give me a backrub. No, I’m here, commentless and with an aching back.

But I decided to invesigate why I had gotten no real response. I realized that though more people than usual had visited my site – likely due to the actual presence of a new post, of all things. But I don’t think people actually bothered to listen to my audiopost because – get this – it was pretty boring. You had to wait till the middle just to get to anything halfway entertaining. I think maybe if I try another time, I should start with a song and dance. Well, you’d only hear the song, but the dance would be hella cool, I assure you.

So it seems that instead of actually posting, I posted about how I should post. In other words, I blogged about blogging. It is a well-known fact that bloggers love blogging about nothing more than themselves, the narcissistic ingrates.

Note to self: a fun side project/post-modern digital perfomance art: make a blog whose every entry is about why I’m blogging, how I should stop blogging, that I’m thinking about stopping blogging, why people blog in general, or why the sitcom Becker was never really given a fair chance. Find a way to make ridicuous amounts of cash money off of this blog – enough to purchase Gary Coleman, or at least rent him once a month.

In the meantime, I leave you with an excerpt from my in-progress novel, Limestone:

Mac woke up and instantly regretted it. He concluded that waking up would just be the first of a series of bad moves that day. He had no clue just how right he was. He rolled sideways and off of the bed. He realized it was not a bed, but a couch. Craig’s couch. He was in Craig’s apartment, he decided, as that was the standard location for Craig’s couch. The word apartment seemed to hold some special importance. He wasn’t sure why. Finally pushing himself up to his feet, Mac decided it was as good a time as any to open his eyes, and tried to. Succeeding on the third try, he discovered that the normally level ground was writhing and twisting like a python, or like he imagined a python might, were it a hardwood floor with furniture on it. He realized that his stomach was trying to tell him something, something urgent. He ran to the bathroom and vomited with gusto. Deciding that he had had such a good time of it the first time, he vomited again.

Vomit jokes. Will they ever get old? No. No they won’t.

Neil Gaiman, My Hero

As i’ve said, I very much admire the writing style of Neil Gaiman, and for all of those fiction writers out there (and these days I seem to know a few), I direct you to his essays, All Books Have Genders and Where do you get your ideas?.

A sample quote from the second essay:

In the beginning, I used to tell people the not very funny answers, the flip ones: ‘From the Idea-of-the-Month Club,’ I’d say, or ‘From a little ideas shop in Bognor Regis,’ ‘From a dusty old book full of ideas in my basement,’ or even ‘From Pete Atkins.’ (The last is slightly esoteric, and may need a little explanation. Pete Atkins is a screenwriter and novelist friend of mine, and we decided a while ago that when asked, I would say that I got them from him, and he’d say he got them from me. It seemed to make sense at the time.)

Then I got tired of the not very funny answers, and these days I tell people the truth:

‘I make them up,’ I tell them. ‘Out of my head.’

People don’t like this answer. I don’t know why not. They look unhappy, as if I’m trying to slip a fast one past them. As if there’s a huge secret, and, for reasons of my own, I’m not telling them how it’s done.

Oh, and also through Mr. Gaiman’s essays, I discovered the name for the type of fantasy I’m trying to aim for: phantasmagoria. Come on, the word even sounds cool.

Enjoy.

I Only Wanted to Begin

Below is the very beginning of the novel I’m supposed to be starting today. I won’t be posting the whole thing as I write it, but email me if you want a link to the online copy I’m saving as I go. in the meantime, enjoy, and please comment on the beginning of what may be an interesting experiment.

Hello. I am your narrator. I don’t really have a name. I am a theoretical construct inextricably linked with the act of telling, not a human being. I lack a hairstyle, a bank account, a family, bodily appendages, a cellphone with Journey’s inimitable “Don’t Stop Believin’” as a ringtone, the ability to appreciate those cute cocktail umbrellas you get in fancy drinks, as well as any number of other accoutrements commonly associated with being human. Thus, I also lack a name. But you may call me Ted. Why Ted? Because I like it, ok? I think it rolls off the tongue nicely. Or it would, if I had a tongue. But I repeat myself. I apologize for that. I have this tendency to repeat things and go off on tangents, thus complicating what might otherwise be a much more straightforward narration. So why am I the one telling this tale at all? Well, the answer is a long story, one that I cannot tell at this time, being preoccupied telling an entirely different story – as we will soon see. Suffice it to say that you’re stuck with me as your narrator. For better or worse, I, Ted, will be telling this story.

A point of clarification would be in order here. I am not the author. The author is the one that decides what should happen, who I should be telling this story about, what messages (if any) should be imparted by this tale, etc. I on the other hand, am left the unenviable task of making sense of the desperate and tortuous meanderings of the author’s pen, as he attempts to arrange his unintelligible thoughts into some semblance of order. I despise the author. He puts the characters through more trouble than they deserve, brings in total non-sequiturs in the name of artistic license, and has mood swings like you wouldn’t believe. To top it all off, he leaves me to be the only one with even a chance of explaining what the hell is happening to the characters, as they surely don’t get it, and the author is more often than not in an opium-induced trance, muttering about dancing with sea elephants or the “Grand Theory of Pants.” He claims that he’s following in the tradition of many great writers, and that the opium allows him to experience a burst of creativity inconceivable while sober. I personally think he just wants an excuse not to pick up his dirty laundry from the living room floor, but don’t trust me. I’m incorporeal. My main point, however, is that the author is a total dirtbag. I loathe him. I am not him. I am the narrator. Ted.

So now, on to the actual story part of the story. It begins, as all great stories do, in a bar. That is not to say that it is a great story, just that it’s trying its hardest. Which isn’t always easy when you’re drinking. Where were we? Ah, yes. The bar.

Novel Idea

So upon announcing that I was considering writing a novel over the month of November, a few people asked me what my novel would be about, as if I had any clue whatsoever. But I thought about it, and here’s what I answered one person. I know this all may sound like too much to try, or too crazy of an idea for a writer just starting out, but hey, why not?

You asked what my novel will be about. To be honest, the idea of writing a novel was more the attraction than a specific novel I was planning on writing from beforehand. But what I’ve come up with so far is a fantastical novel that takes an unsuspecting person from America to Israel, and at the same time from a world that makes sense to one that doesn’t exactly. What I mean by ‘fantastical’ is hard to explain. It certainly isn’t like The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter – more like Neil Gaiman’s American Gods or Neverwhere. Think real-world setting, with unexplained things happening – time and space being somewhat malleable, appearances shifting, etc. The ultimate goal is to use the world-not-making-sense element as a metaphor for making aliyah and/or encountering religion – as both involve entering a new world with its own internal logic that often must be experienced, not merely considered, in order to be properly and fully understood.

I hope that made some sense. Now the hard part: turning those ideas into a novel. Oh, and coming up with a plot. And characters. That’s all.

Phew.

50,000 is a large number. No?

I wasn’t going to post. Not to spite you dear readers. I’m sure I could find better ways to do that.

No, I wasn’t going to post because I didn’t have much to say. Or too much, and it all go overwhelming.

But then Lauren told me about NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month and encouraged me to participate. Basically, the idea is that you start writing the very first word of a novel on November 1st, and the last by November 30th, resulting in at least 50,000 words. There’s a decently-sized community gathered around this idea, and the basic appeal seems to be the sheer exhilaration of the creative experience, especially when forced to create by a deadline.

So here I am. I’m really tempted to write a novel. But I want encouragement and/or to be told that this is an incredibly stupid idea. So let me know, all 10 of you that read this blog. Should I write? Must I write? And if the answer is yes, anyone have an idea for a plot? A genre? A random story element? Should I write something humorous or serious, or try to oscillate (or vacillate?) between the two? Is this whole proposition somewhat pretentious? Does that matter?