Month: April 2010

“An old racetrack joke reminds you that your program contains all the winners’ names. I stare at my typewriter keys with the same thought.”

~~Mignon McLaughlin

Have you ever heard of a naked egg?  No?  Neither had I, until my daughter Muffin pointed out that the hard-boiled egg my wife unshelled for Easter  morning breakfast was indeed “naked”.  I guess Muffin was right, as the egg definitely had a certain undressed quality about it sans blue eggshell.  Kids say the darndest things.

I hope you had a very nice holiday weekend and this post finds you well and ready for a new week.

I suppose I have some explaining to do after last Thursday’s post.  You see the post was my idea of an April Fool’s joke that, upon reflection, did not go as planned.  Yes, it was all a ruse–right down to my Uncle Frownie who does not in fact exist.  I tried hard not to be too over the top with the novel concept (to not give away that it was April Fool’s) and I guess I succeeded.

Now I have long understood that my weird sense of humor is not for everyone, but I was unprepared for the care you dear reader took in commenting upon said idea.  Remarks were attentive, but careful not to offend, and I can now understand why.  It had not occurred to me what an awful faux pas it would be to say “Hah hah, very funny!  Happy April Fool’s Day to you too!” only to find out that the idea put forward was indeed legitimate.  Talk about stepping in it!

So thank you for being so careful with your comments/praise, as I now have a renewed appreciation for the supportiveness of this writing community.  It really is pretty amazing.  And though I feel a little bit like a naked egg myself, I have to admit that I love and truly see value in these little social experiments, and the results of this particular foray into group psychology has been and still is extremely fascinating to me.

But I suppose some form of repayment for your kindness (or mental compensation on my part) is in order.  First, I’d like to mention that despite my erratic antics, I received a few awards recently.   Yvonne from The Organic Writer and Tricia from Talespinning were kind enough to give me the Prolific Blogger Award.  Both these writers do a very nice job producing quality content and so are most deserving of this award (read: go check them out right this instant!), and I feel quite honored to be an awardee.  Didn’t know that naked eggs were prolific?  Now you know.

Thank you kindly ladies.  Much appreciated.  The rules for this award are fairly straightforward.  Every winner of the Prolific Blogger Award has to pass on this award to at least seven other deserving prolific bloggers, link to the blog from which he/she has received the award, and link back to this post, which explains the origins and motivation for the award.  Last but not least, recipients must visit this post and add his/her name in the Mr. Linky, so that we can get to know the other winners.

So without further ado, I present the Prolific Blogger Award to:

1. Mia’s My Literary Jam and Toast
2. Roni’s Fiction Groupie
3. Lola’s Sharp Pen/Blunt Sword
4. Sarah’s The Wit And Wisdom of Another Sarah
5. Talli’s Talli Roland
6. Valerie’s Something To Write About
7. Dawn’s Plotting and Scheming

Also Postie over at The Sententious Vaunter (who’s place you should also go check out!) passed on the Soulmates Award.  Dude, I don’t know what to say, except, like, totally thanks!  As an aside, Postie and I have unearthed an unnerving number of weird coincidences in our two lives so this award seems strangely appropriate.

Here’s da rules.  Pass it on to five recipients.  Make up something (preferably inoffensive) about the people you sent it to.  Link to the people you gave it to and link back to the original award post, which is right about here.

1. Karen over at Eternal Moonshine Of A Daydreaming Mind once was cast in a bit part in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End but her performance ended up on the cutting room floor, reportedly because Johnny Depp felt she was upstaging him.
2. At the age of fifteen, Lydia at The Sharp Angle made the decision to give away a sum of several millions of dollars, proceeds in a trust fund inherited from a great aunt, to charity–a decision she has never regretted, except when she doesn’t have money to pay the parking meters outside the office where she works.
3. On a visit to Scotland, Claire Dawn at Points of Claire-ification snapped photos of a lake creature she believed at the time to be the Loch Ness Monster, but a friend accidentally erased the photos from her digital camera.
4. Liza from Middle Passages has an irrational fear of green jelly beans.  To keep her fear in check, every Easter and Christmas she makes a wonderful green jelly bean tart which all her friends rave about.
5.  Emily at The Chronicles of Emily Cross was once asked to participate in a world record-breaking hot air balloon trip, but she had to stay home to complete a project for one of her classes.  Luckily, she got an “A”.

To make amends for what heretofore shall be referred to as the Great April Fool’s Day Fiasco of 2010, I promise to do a proper post on my novel idea by week’s end.  Also, I leave you with this fun video of Flight of the Conchords singing their tune “The Most Beautiful Girl In The Room”, which seemed the right thing to do, by virtue of it actually being funny.  Enjoy!

I’m one of those “don’t-let-the-fizz-out-of-the-bottle” types when it comes to talking about my story–or in this case novel–ideas.  I’m not sure if my reluctance is because I’m afraid someone will steal my idea or whether I just don’t want to get the that funny look that says “WTF?” so early in the fiction development process, but either way I’ve always tended to keep my cards pretty close to my chest.

All that changes today.  I told you guys I’d share some information about the novel idea I’m working on and here it is.  I started my first draft this morning, and I’m happy as a clam–to finally be writing on it and to finally be done with the research stage (uh!) and onto something more productive.

I’ll tell you all about the concept, but you have to promise you won’t tell another soul.  Truly.  No, not even your bestest bestest buddy.  OK.  Alright.

I’m a big World War II buff.  That’s probably because my Great Uncle Frownie (my mother’s brother’s dad) was a mailclerk in a Post Office in Dublin (Ohio), and not only did they watch Saving Private Ryan on the VCR three times a week in the offiice, but he painted world-class U.S. Army paratrooper figurines.  It was almost like the guy had been in combat himself.

One night over beers and leftover blowfish a la King (my Aunt Charmin cooks a mean blowfish a la King), he got to telling me that it’s a little known fact that back in WWII, the Germans actually used to stage a road rally in the Moroccan Desert in 1942-1945.  At first it was some cockamamie idea Erwin Rommel (better known as the Desert Fox) came up with to raise morale, but soon the Fuhrer himself Adolf Hitler got behind the effort, and the event turned into a full blown extravaganza.  By the third year, crews were bringing souped up cars and Kubelwagens in from as far away as Cairo to race in the event, and First Prize was a seven day, seven night all-expenses paid trip to Disneyland.  Talk about cool!

Anyway, I got to thinking about this whole idea–having a road race in the middle of a combat zone–and also thinking about how I just came back from a combat zone and so could probably write responsibly about a story in that setting.  I knew I’d have to tread carefully–I mean the whole thing sounds pretty unbelievable, doesn’t it?–but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that if I updated it to today and changed a few things–like a modern-day Saving Private Ryan meets Fast and Furious, set in Baghdad–then this might be the kind of high concept, blockbuster fiction that all the agents are looking for.

To make it work, I was gonna need two things.  First, a really strong MC.  I brainstormed, and finally decided my MC would be an amalgam of Indiana Jones, Han Solo, Jack Ryan, Henry (or Regarding Henry fame), and Pee Wee Herman (gotta have a humorous element in there somewhere).  Some good possibilities for leading ladies are Princess Leia and…well that’s pretty much it right now.

Second, I was gonna need something supernatural.  I knew vampires were out–since after “Twilight” and Lost Boys and Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”, they’re so overdone.  I mean after 110 years or so of these guys, readers can only take so much.  So I hit upon a solution: gargoyles.  I mean nobody has thought of using gargoyles yet, and they’re so action packed and visual and they look so scary on all those European churches, so I mean they’re like perfect.  I am trying to think of some way of working them into the storyline (hood ornaments?) but when I do, I know that they’re really going to take this story idea to Warp Ten.

Also, when I do my world building, I think lifting some elements from a few recent sci-fi movies like Avatar will give the prose that marketable quality I think is so elusive, but desirable right now.

I’m still coming up with the plotline–maybe something like Death Race 2000 meets Driving Miss Daisy meets Koyaanisqatsi meets Eraserhead meets Revenge of the Nerds–and I certainly haven’t made any firm decisions about style and voice, although I always really enjoyed the tranquil easy quality of the prose in “Thus Spoke Zarathustra“.  Basically, I’m still figuring it out.

Working title: “The Baghdad Five-Hundred”.  As I said, I am finally excited to have an idea I think worthy of some real effort, and I will of course keep you all in the know as I work on it further.  I would love to get some feedback from you guys on what you think so far.

In other news, Google officially changed their company name to Topeka, so many cool things happening on this first day of April.

So, what are you working on now?  Take a second to tell me about your current WIP (or make something up?!?!).  What really really really makes you laugh–or cry–or carry on like a chimpanzee on amphetamines?

LATE EDIT: Also, it appears there’s been a decision to do away with “Z” as a letter in the alphabet.  And just when I finally learned to spell zygodactylic!