The Most Productive Procrastination


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So I finished the rough draft of a novel, and I find it increasingly difficult to focus on anything else.

There’s a screenplay I should be writing right now. I started this thing called “Shut Up and Write”. The idea behind it is that you get four randomized screenplay ideas, created by randomly drawing note cards with actors, genres, professions and locations, and the combining those into little idea clusters, and then you write a screenplay with no planning, no personal stake, and no strings attached.

The idea is to not care if it’s good. The idea is to shut the fuck up and write.

A lot of people worry that what they’re creating is good. I don’t have this worry, because I don’t write anything that I wouldn’t want to read. Therefore, the first fan of almost everything I write is myself, and so I’m almost always confident that something in any project I’m working on has merit.

This isn’t a delusion. I’m also pretty good about abandoning projects that aren’t working. I don’t incinerate them, though. I just put them on whatever is behind the back burner. Anything I’m interested has something cool about it, and at the very least I can cannibalize the ideas from a failed project for a new one. Maybe this scene is nice, but it would work better in this story. This character would be more fun here. Etc.

But a lot of people, especially people who haven’t written as much as I have, never get passed development because they spend all their writing time worrying about if what they came up with is good.

This is unacceptable.

Something about it is good, because you are a consumer of media and have a very discerning taste, whatever that may be. You know what you like and, unless you are Ted Bundy or something, there’s probably a group of people out there who like what you like too.

Novels exist that are basically big foot rape fantasies. They are, quite literally, about young women who wander into the woods and get raped by big foot. I have read one before, and it was horrible. Horrible in that it was morally horrible and also just poorly made.

There’s an audience for it. At one point, Virginia Wade was pulling in sixteen to twenty thousand dollars a month from her erotic big foot stories.TWENTY THOUSAND. A MONTH.

If there’s an audience for that, then there’s an audience for whatever the fuck you want to write about.

And I think that’s why I like writing. Sure, I hate Big Bang Theory. I don’t like Cum For Bigfoot.

But someone else does.

And the fact that I don’t like it doesn’t make the fact that they like it any less valid.

Who am I to say that Big Bang Theory is a garbage show full of stupid, not funny garbage jokes? No one, that’s who.

So goal one of shut up and write is this: just write. The die is cast on the first of January, and everyone will shame you if you don’t finish. Who cares if it’s bad? There’s something in there that isn’t.

There’s something in there that’s good.

That’s the second goal. We write, we don’t care and then we celebrate.

A lot of times when I get notes, I think people are too critical. I’m not trying to cushion the notes i receive by shouting “you’re mean and you’re wrong” to whoever gave them to me, but I think a good note is when you try to figure out what the writer wants to do, and then help them achieve that, rather than saying that something is merely bad. Everything is there for a reason. It’s your job as a note giver to figure out what the reason is, and then think about what you are going to say rather than giving your first gut reaction.

I see gut reactions so many times in notes. Gut reactions are seldom useful.

So we don’t give notes for Shut Up and Write. It’s the only time in the year we won’t give notes. Instead, we celebrate. We’re going to have a big party, where the wine and beer will hopefully flow like the Mississippi, and we will read the writer’s favorite scenes from their work.

We’ll assign characters, goof around, and laugh. Then we all clap and take a drink.

This isn’t softening the blow, though it may seem like it. If someone wants notes, they can send me their screenplay and I’ll give it the ol’ ruthless treatment. Instead, this is encouragement. Everyone needs encouragement, probably even Cormac McCarthy and JK Rowling. Hell, probably even Stephen King.

So that’s what we do.

And here I am, writing a blog post.

The cards I finally settled on were: Tom Hardy, The Everglades, Psychiatrist and Mockumentary.

I love Mockumentaries.

I love Tom Hardy.

I love the everglades.

This one practically writes itself.

Practically.

The practically is very important.

So here I am. I’ve got to head to work in three hours, and I’m participating in the most productive form of procrastination.

I’m writing a blog post.

I don’t really believe in New Years resolutions, but the first is as good a date as any to start something new.

So I’m going to try to blog twice a month.

Calm down, it’s only so I can trick you guys into buying my book later.

Ay yi yi… this post is a quagmire.

Maybe that’s my point, though.

Look at this mess above you.

I hope it’s a beautiful mess, because something other than procrastination gave me this idea.

There’s a kernel of gold among the mud. Can you find it?

I’m not sure I can, but it’s there.

So I’ll leave you with this:

I’m not sure what you’re doing on this Sunday, or whatever day it is when you read this, but today is your day.

There’s a new David Bowie album out.

The sun is shining, at least here in Los Angeles.

You’ve got some free hours.

Don’t fuck around online.

Don’t watch TV. TV is dumb.

Don’t read Cum for Bigfoot.

Don’t clean.

Don’t ___ .

Shut up.

Just Shut Up And Write.

And now….

Well…

And now, I think I’ll take my own advice.

And Shia’s advice, too.

 

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WeWriWa #3: The Game


Here’s an excerpt from a new story of mine for this weekend’s weekend writing warriors  I’m hoping to send it off to a sci-fi/fantasy mag.

********

The problem with most people, Ma’lark the Halfling thought, as he applied buttermilk colored foam to the bank’s plaster wall in front of him, is that they’re stupid.  They think, for instance, that just because the most advanced machine around is the crossbow, people shouldn’t know how to make explosives.

He smirked and finished placing the foam.  He stepped back to admire his handiwork, and couldn’t help but smirk even wider.  The foam was arranged in a pattern to look like a caricature of him, giving a very condescending thumbs up.  He chuckled to himself as he took a fuse out of his rucksack and stuck it into his foamy doppelganger’s foot.

It’s ridiculous, really.  Explosives are just simple chemistry. 

******

Thanks for reading!

WeWriWa #2: A ghost Story


Here’s the beginning to a new short story I’m working on.  I’ve decided to post the first 8 lines for Weekend Writing Warriors  What do you guys think?

* * * * *

I saw her.

She was there, a brief moment, ah!  But too brief.  There, on the stage, smiling, her perfect teeth glistening in their perfect rows, the dimples and freckles, her wide eyes and perfect skin and oh!  Be still my hear, but I saw her.

And then it was there was a blackout, a lowered curtain; the interval, and she was gone.

I decided to complete the ritual and purchase a gin and tonic from the third ring bar.  London’s National Theatre has expensive drinks, but it had become part of the pattern, and I daren’t break with tradition.

* * * * *

On a side note I’ve finished my screenplay (finally).  101 pages of glory.  Look for it in theaters in the next two years (he said hopefully).  It’s called “A Stellar Holiday” and it’s about aliens.

-Corngoblin

Concerning Harry Potter and the Houses of Hogwarts


So incase you have been living in Antarctica, outer space, or on a small and isolated island in the south pacific, you’ve probably heard of this Harry Potter character and his magical school of Hogwarts, a name that at first delighted my 10 year old sensibilities and then later evolved to be commonplace in todays normal wizarding vernacular.  After reading the first book, I waited expectantly in my living room on my 11th birthday for a letter from Hogwarts telling me that I was a wizard.  I knew of course that Harry Potter and his friends weren’t truly real, but… what if they were?  The possibilities were endless.

Some call me... Tim?

At Hogwarts, which i didn’t even get a thank you for applying letter from, the students are divided into four dormitory houses: Gryffindor, the obviously best one, Slytherin, the obviously worst one, and Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, the obviously who fucking cares? ones.  This sorting takes place on the students first day ever, during an elaborate ceremony where the prospective student has to sit on a stool in front of everyone with a comically old and oversized “sorting hat” that magically chooses a house for them.  It is said that students have at least a partial choice in the matter, but this is obviously not true.  If it were true, Slytherin would have around 30 die hard students in it, bound together by their singular hatred of Gryffindor, and Gryffindor would have everyone else.  And here’s why.

Author’s note: Im going to rate how each house does with points.  At then end will tally them up and decide which one is the best!  Wheeee!

House Descriptions: every house has representative characteristics that its students are meant to have.  Lets learn what they are.

Gryffindors are meant to have bravery, daring, nerve and chivalry.  Not bad attributes at all.  The knights of the Wizarding World. +10

This is what i got when i searched wizard knight. Awesome.

Hufflepuffs are patient, hard working, loyal and they enjoy to play fair.  It is also the most inclusive house, which means that it is the house for people who couldnt get in to any of the good ones.  Which means it’s the one to be avoided.  Plus, fair play?  Really? -5

This is what I got when I searched hufflepuff house members. Fascinating.

Ravenclaw values intelligence, wit and knowledge.  This initially doesnt seem that bad except that there are people like Hermoine Granger who are smarter, wittier and more knowledgeable than all of the Ravenclaws and are in Gryffindor.  This relegates Ravenclaw to the “nerd” house, comprised mostly of people who only identify themselves as “intelligent, knowledgeable and witty,” and therefore never are. +1

Revenge of the Ravenclaws, as it were.

Lastly we have Slytherin, the house that likes ambitiousness, cunning and resourcefulness.  This is clearly the second best choice after Gryffindor, maybe tied for first at this point, simply because people like Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great could have easily ended up in Slytherin.  Plus dark wizards abound, which is sweet.  +10

Slytherin's founder, Sauron Slytherin.

But here’s the catch: they could also end up in Gryffindor.  Gryffindor inst really for brave people, in the same way the other houses aren’t really for the attributes they advertise.  I’ve made a list of how the sorting actually works.

Gryffindor: Gryffindor is for the best/funniest/smartest/most athletic/most important/most popular/most famous people in the school.

boom

Hufflepuff: Come here if you are a moron who lacks character depth and exists only to die horribly as a warning for Gryffindors to not go there or refrain from touching that.

Ravenclaw: go here if you never want to be heard from ever again, for no other reason than you are boring.  Or if you are Luna I suppose…

Slytherin: if you are a sneaky asshole/cheater/douche bag for no reason, then this is the house for you.  You are also allowed to join this house if you hate Gryffindor because you didn’t get in.

Now, by using this new and improved list, it is apparent that Gryffindor is in the best choice, but maybe the actual living places of each house will sway the vote. I doubt it.

Hufflepuff: Do you enjoy living in a fucking basement right next to the always busy and ever noisy kitchen of your school?  Good, because that is where you end up if you are in Hufflepuff!  Did I mention the kitchen staff is comprised entirely of magical slaves?  No?  Hmmm. -10

The hufflepuff common room

Slytherin: Did you like Hufflepuff?  Then you are going to love slytherin, whose housing is similar except that instead of a cozy basement you will be living in  a horrible dungeon!  What better place to foster your ever growing hatred for Gryffindor and their awful do-goodery?  Answer: No where! -10

this is actually what it looks like

Ravenclaw:  Do you like having to answer confusing, bass ackwards riddles in order to enter your room after a long night of studying or a fun time at the three broomsticks?  Good!  Then you will love Racenclaws retarded way of getting into your room.  Instead of a password like the other houses have or, I don’t know, having some sort of magic that can just detect if you are in fact a member of the house you are trying to enter, the Ravenclaw gatekeeper asks you a fucking riddle because hey, only Ravenclaws can solve riddles.  Ever.  I couldn’t find many descriptions of the Ravenclaw common room but i’m sure they sit on spikes or something equally as dumb as their “password.” -10

Cause you'll never get enough riddles right.

Gryffindor:  Do you enjoy plush towers with fantastic windows and incredible views of pretty much everything?  Do you like awesome four post beds?  How about cozy fireplaces and happiness/friendship?  Then you’ll love the Gryffindor common room!  Situated in a badass tower far from the plebeians of the other houses and guarded by an awesome painting who asks you a silly password for admittance, why wouldn’t you want to live here? +10,000

Mmmmmmm.

Still not convinced Gryffindor is the best?  Fine lets just check out the animals associated with the houses.

Gryffindor: lion.  Lions are awesome. +10

Ravenclaw:…an Eagle.  With claws.  I thought it was a raven with claws, but turns out it’s an Eagle, thank you the last muggle to read harry potter.  I still think a crow would have been better, but i didn’t write the book., or i would be really, really rich.  But Eagles are sweet, so +10 for Ravenclaw.

Slytherin: a snake.  Awesome/slightly insulting.+15 – 5 = 10

Hufflepuff: a badger.  Oh hufflepuff.  You were so close to greatness.  In case you dont know, the Honey Badger (it’s number one on the list) is the most badass animal in the history of ever because it simply doesn’t care about anything.  Besides killing and eating I guess. +1

I think there is no clear winner in this category, but there is a clear loser.  Step up and take your prize, Ravenclaw.

Alright!  It’s score time!

processing….

processing…

And coming in last place with a combined score of -14 is Hufflepuff

In third is ravenclaw with a respectable 1.

In second place, with a respectable score of 10 is the great Slytherin house!

And coming in first with a score of 10,020 is, of course, Gryffindor!  Yay for them…

I mean who didn’t see that one coming?  Almost all of the main characters in the stories are in Gryffindor.  And almost all the bad ones are in Slytherin.  And all of the irrelevant ones are in he other two.  Honestly, if i got on Pottermore and got sorted into Hufflepuff I would just fucking quit.

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