Thursday, September 22, 2005

I would like to learn how to write screenplay-style. Not for an actual screenplay, though. Only because I want to write a music video mocking the idea of Intelligent Design. In the video, a happy-go-lucky guy would ramble around marvelling at the myriad creatures that could "only be explained by Intelligent Design". He might even dance with a few.

Then I want him to get mugged, lose a loved one, and contract syphilis whereupon the heavens will open up and God will appear to give him a big thumbs-up. The beat-up, grieving, syphilitic guy will return the thumbs-up which will be ignored by God but returned by a nearby Panda.

All to the tune of "Faith" by George Michaels.

And cut.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I know this is like the worst thing you can say to someone who's depressed but damn it's funny.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Story of
The Story of Jerald

Thank you, everyone, for your feedback. Now when I am critiqued by my classmates, I will have an idea of what to expect and, of course, prepare a tone-appropriate retort.

"Four heads in the car? That was a deliberately crude reference to genitalia! Male genitalia!"

"Of course I use the pronoun 'they' to refer to Jerald's belt! Referring to the belt as 'he' or 'she' would be discrimination of gender...and pwetty wiewd."

My personal favorite is stolen straight from Luis. If anyone refers to my "draft": "This ain't no draft, it's a story!"

As I mentioned in the post previous to The Story of Jerald (post #507 "Invisi-Gurg's Old Spice Adventures"), I vowed that I would not eat or put on any clothing until the story was completed. I kept this promise.

I did, however, put on sandals when I dropped off Brian Y. on the campus of Arizona State University. I think it's illegal to drive a car without footwear or something.

Other than the sandals, I was still in my towel.

I completed my story at 5:10 pm, thirty minutes before I, too, had to be on campus for my chemistry class. I threw off the towel, threw on some clothes, grabbed my books and my skateboard, and rolled off on my merry way.

So I did take some inspiration from my current situation. Jerald was in a towel because I was in a towel (a maroon towel) and Jerald was thin because I felt hungry. I'm also pretty sure that's why I threw in the muffin-eating scene. After the story was done I realized that Jerald reminded me of my friend, Brandon because of his curly hair. That and he hits cats with tire irons. A lot.

My writing teacher is T. M. McNally. He spoke of many things in class but he emphasized a select few: Show, don't tell. Character over plot. Concrete, visceral imagery. Something about theme or setting; something. Use the temporal frame to create suspense.

I focused on these. I started from the title (lovingly suggested by Kelly) and one of the most visceral images I had ever seen: a cat struck by a car that was still alive. I feel I should point out that I like cats. I even have a cat of my own. He doesn't live with me, but he is mine.

So there was my plot. A guy named Jerald drives a car and hits a cat.

I tried not to use any sort of "he said sadly" or "she looked puzzled". It was a painful weaning I hadn't realized how much I relied on those shortcuts to keep the story moving. Not that Tom Swifties are inherently bad but they certainly get old fast.

I wanted more characters to play with so I threw in a carpool. Shortly into the story I realized that they were all teachers at some kind of preparatory school. I toyed with the idea of making them all British but only left in Jerald's use of "honour". The UK version would have had them eating tea and biscuits and Jerald opening the boot of the car to give the cat a few bloody good whollops with a ye old mitre.

Er, I couldn't think of any British slang for tire iron so I just made up that ye old mitre bit.

incidentally, I decided that the sailor-tongued Mr. Eiderdown is an English teacher.

The names of the other teachers, Mrs. Plover and Miss Godwit, are also the names of birds. Sibbitt and I were on Mt. Mitchell, I think, and we had laughed at all the great bird names there are. My favorite was the dark-eyed junco.

And who can forget the booby-breasted nut hatch?

Jerald didn't get a bird name because he already had a name; Jerald.

He could use a last name, though. Jerald D.E. Junco. I like it.

Writing short stories is interesting. Hell, writing a draft with the intention of revising is interesting. Not too sure about an idea, line of dialogue, description, or phrasing? Who cares! Throw it in and we'll figure it later.

That's the spirit. The kind of spirit I like.