Saturday, August 21, 2010

Honest Toil

entry the 9th

1:40am central time zone
on my mom's laptop, in my parents' house, mooching off my parents, have been for way too long, i'm too old to be here, i really need to get a job and move out

Spam Count: 248

The book is now priority # 2. Becoming financially independent, a far-leading first.

I've been cruising job websites looking for suitable work. I'm probably going to have to settle for something somewhat menial. Or very menial. I've been wondering, though, if I could pull off more of a customer service type of job. I'm not necessarily all that great face-to-face... then again, I wouldn't say I'm terrible, either. And I can fake a lot of the difference. I do like helping people, and I usually make a point of being polite. I listen well.

Believe it or not, I even briefly considered becoming a cop. It's sort of the closest thing to joining the military I could get. (The armed forces don't accept the mentally ill as recruits, for understandable reasons.) At this point in my life, the way things are going, I would join the military tomorrow if I could. To put it simply, it offers what I lack. The training, the structure, the sense of purpose.

When I was younger, I never would have considered going into the military. Partially because I had some issues with authority, but primarily because of my lethargy and apathy. I was lazy, and I didn't give a crap, and it showed. I was in ROTC my freshman year in high school. It wasn't too bad in and of itself, but I sucked at it. For the most part.

So anyway. Getting a day job.

I'm actually pretty excited about the idea.

fiasco joe

PS I have two articles on now. I'm registered as fiasco joe, I think you can just do a search for me if you want to see.

"The spice must flow."
-Mr. Crabs

Monday, August 16, 2010


entry the 8th

10:54pm central time zone
cell V, detention block 8, azkaban prison, misty mountains, limbo

Spam Count: 200

Pretend like I started this post off with an insightful reference to Jungian archetypes, because that's what Anima/Animus is.

Interestingly, Animus also refers to a driving force, energy source, or motivation. Which is relevant because I'm struggling with the motivation to get work done on my book.

Anima is also the name of one of the main characters in my book.

I've been looking around for ways to make money, and I happened across a place called I'm registered there, but I haven't published any articles yet.

fiasco joe

"Aren't you a little short for a Storm Trooper?"
-Evey Hammond

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

MC Rex Harrison

entry the 7th

2:48am central time zone
spent all of Monday asleep, really need to take a shower, using Mom's laptop, on my bed, in my room, adrift in the void between universes for all it matters

Spam Count: 158

Quick update on the book: the second scene is done. It came out a lot better than I thought it would. My characters are really showing their stuff already. In fact, they've put me in a weird position, because they're going to be much more proactive in the next scene than I expected, so I'm actually having to develop some things more than I had. I think there may even be a fight scene!

But this entry isn't about the book.

My younger brother lives in Chicago, with his wife. He has a degree in theater. He's extremely talented and funny, but he's been having a hard time breaking into the Chicago theater scene. It's sort of insular up there. He says it's like a big family. If you're part of the family, you're never going to have to worry about finding work. If you're not in the family, you practically don't exist.

So this was a big problem, until recently. He got accepted into the Second City program, which is basically a school of improvisational comedy. If you haven't heard of Second City, you may have heard of Saturday Night Live. Almost every cast member on SNL--including the old greats like Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Gilda Radner, and others--graduated from Second City. And now my little brother is there. Exciting!

Just this weekend, he e-mailed me a little sketch he wrote and asked for some editorial input. The sketch is entitled MC Rex Harrison. It's about Rex Harrison starting a rap career. He's on a talk show hosted by Nick Cannon promoting his debut album. His DJ is Sean Connery, and his producer is Patrick Stewart. The humor, obviously, is in ebonics street slang coming out of Rex Harrison's mouth. If you need to, do a search on Youtube for Rex Harrison to remind yourself how he sounds. Yeah, it's pretty funny.

I did a rewrite, offering two main contributions: A) I got rid of Sean Connery and replaced him with James Mason. Again, do a Youtube search to see why. B) I actually wrote some lines of rap for Rex Harrison and James Mason to perform.

As follows:

Yes, yes, you all had better watch out for this
Call it another British invasion as I'm quite the optimist
Yes, I believe it was Milton who said it best
When he said, "Y'all step back while I drop this shit, BOYYYYYYYY."

Now, I have never been one to front or hate
I assure you I almost never prevaricate
Mind you, I have been feeling a bit ghetto of late
So perhaps now I ought to hand it to DJ J-May, TAKE IT!

Thank you so much, Rex Harrison, for that timely segue
As it's high time for James Mason to enter the fray
Seize the day
As they say
Carpe Diem and get paid

Ha, you other rappers can't hang with that Latin, can you?
To bad, 'cause your English cousins pick that shit up in grade school

Mind you, don't be deceived by my superior elocution,
DJ J-May still street like a sideways pistol shooting

Yes, that's correct, I'm suspected of perpetrating a drive-by
Some trifling fellow tried to disrespect Sir Alec Guinness and I
So we hopped up in our Escalade and saw to it that that hater died


What what! Quite so, old boy.

Believe that.

I say, good show.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Amnesiac and the Gray Slavers

entry the 6th

10:34pm central time zone


my cell in Larkhill detention center, jundland wastes

Spam Count: 86

I decided to skip the treatment and just start on the first draft. First scene is done. I was actually blocked there for a day or two because I couldn't figure out how to end it. And that's just silly. I find this sort of thing happens to me quite a bit when I'm composing, and the solution is always the same: delete the last two paragraphs and try a new direction. I should have that printed on a huge poster and framed. I'll even tantalize you with a specific detail: the change I made involves a hypodermic needle filled with sedative.

So then I wasn't quite sure how to start the next scene. So I skipped it. I'm actually worried that the installments of my trilogy aren't going to be long enough to print as separate books. Imagine my embarassment if I have to publish all three books in one volume. That's like the opposite of what happened with Lord of the Rings. Tolkien wrote the whole epic before he tried to publish it, and it was only at the editor's insistance that he split it into three books. I'd be, like, the anti-Tolkien.

If, like me, you ever find yourself seriously considering becoming a novelist, I would recommend reading books and articles by other novelists about how they do it. But here's my tip: read stuff by authors with widely different styles. When I was a teenager, I read On Writing by Stephen King. I've only read a couple of Stephen King novels in my time, and I didn't know enough about his style to realize that he's not the same kind of writer that I am. I have great respect for what he's accomplished in his career, it's just that he doesn't work like I do.

He has a whole different philosophy. He doesn't usually outline his books. He just starts with a definite idea for a scenario and a basic knowledge of the main characters who have to survive it. Everything gets fleshed out conceptually as he goes, until he starts on the second draft and reconciles what he wrote at the beginning when he didn't really understand what his characters were about with what he wrote toward the end, when everything was better-focused. King doesn't think about symbolism or theme at all in the beginning. He thinks of stories as fossils that he is digging up--found objects that he meticulously uncovers and gingerly brushes off to reveal a finished product over which he exerts as little conscious control as possible.

And that's a perfectly good way to write a novel. Obviously, it's worked for him. It's just not how I operate.

The more you read what other writers say about writing, you will find at least one piece of advice that pretty much everybody agrees on: write crappy first drafts. Turn your inner critic competely off and just hammer that thing out as fast as you can. Then come back afterwards and fix it.

Also: Omit needless words, show don't tell, employ the active voice, maintain a consistent point of view in each scene, and focus on significant detail in descriptions.

Okay, back to the writing.


fiasco joe

"You're faster than this. Stop trying to hit me, and hit me."

-Inigo Montoya