This is where I work. Please submit all questions to my therapist.
I don’t even know where to start with Star Wars.
<sigh> Deep breath.
No, no, I do know where to start. I started in the 80s when it was the best time to start. Let’s just say this; I saw the newest Star Wars trailer and…<shakes head> No.
I have nothing good to say, really. I’m just sad.
Okay, let’s get it all on the table. I’ve never seen Episodes 1, 2, or 3. I loved 4, 5, and 6, and think that Disney (**of all f*cking companies) making a 7th is absolutely the most ludicrous of ideas.
…and they’re bringing the old crew back?? Han Solo…at 72?
Can it get any worse?
Let’s face it. It’s over.
Close the story.
Shut the script down.
Let’s just remember Star Wars the way it was before…..before George Lucas actually started writing.
Today is International Table Top day, and I have done nothing as of yet to celebrate. Yes, there are many holidays in the nation (and in the world for that matter), and it seems like nation after nation just keeps making shit up to give something a voice, to make people notice. Most of these days, let’s be honest, are dumb. This one, however, is also dumb, but dumb in a different way. This one asks us to celebrate the day by playing a game on a table…as opposed to killing turkeys or pigs, decorating eggs to commemorate a particular return from the dead, or eating ground up pig (*yes, there is National Hot Dog Day).
I would like to point out here that in as much as I love to play video games, there is a lot of merit to the table-top game. Think about it; these days are more and more involved with the digital medium of entertainment. It’s attractive, isn’t it? We can carry guns and knives to take out our enemies, look for treasure, fly to Mars, solve mysteries, etc. The video game is to today what hide-and-seek was to yesterday. Do people still play that? The table top asks us to put down our Google Lenses for a split second and enjoy the fruits of our own imagination, which after spending years and years gaming, may be a bit rusty. It used to be that we didn’t have to really focus on our imagination. When we were kids (most of us), all we had to do was have some friends (even imaginary friends), and we were good to go.
There are many ways to celebrate this, and you don’t have to play on top of a table, of course. A deck of cards will work, regular or specialized. There are all kinds of games out there and they’re super cheap when you go to places like Wal-Mart or the like. You can play Canasta, or Rook. You can play gin, rummy, or some games like Phase 10. Or what about the good old games like Speed, War, or my personal favorite, Egyptian Ratscrew.
If you’re über-nerdy, you’ll be playing some variant of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) and you’ll be all giddy about it. You get to play the role of a thief, a rogue, a warrior, a paladin, or a sorcerer to name a few. You’ll go on quest after quest, gaining experience to help you increase in level so as to fully prepare yourself to face off against the egregiously heinous Yaroon, Dark Knight of the Mist.
…something like that.
But hey, don’t let me keep you. Get at it. Break out the cards, the snacks, the friends, the condoms. Put your screens away, go out there and work your magic on top of a table!
The star-speckled ocean above my canoe that morning glittered, and I read it as the world bidding me farewell. I say morning, but it may as well have been night, the deep kind of night, where the rest of the world slumbered and only the predators walked, listened, and honed. My body, cleansed of every mote of energy, lay empty in that wooden bed, and I floated, drifted, and swayed upon a lazy borderless field of water that would, in a celestial understanding of minutes, become my burial chamber.
How many of them waited for my end? How many of them circled, fins sneaking through the water’s edge, and sniffed at me, listened for my breathing, my heartbeat to stop? I wondered if they salivated.
Yet, when the flash of red boomed from behind me, it was the same rocking sound which tore me from my glum graffitied graveyard of depraved thoughts of termination. I turned. The backdrop of an island, a greyed triangled shade against the morning curtain, growing brighter ever by painful degree. The smoke of the comet’s trail striking from land, or a volcano, or a smoke mountain. What did it matter?
My ribs cracked as I sat up and found, with lazy hand and weary fingers, the long cold blade of my travels. I grasped it and my lungs found a vibrancy to its touch.
Another crack from the grey and I stood. The back water rippled against the skin of my canoe and my legs screamed against my command for them to balance my erect body. My fingers now strong around the hilt of my blade, and I almost felt the fins in the water (I knew they were there) recede, regather themselves.
A final roar from the grey shade of land and I breathed deep. My legs obeyed, and I leapt into the waters below the starry gleam of early morning. Land or not, this would be my own ripple effect.
Thanks to Phutureprimitive for the inspiration.
LP: Chuck, the mic is yours.
Chuck: Thank you, LP. Hey, wow, nice place you got here.
LP: Yeah, thanks. It’s really coming along. If you want I can show you the upstairs, or the back yard. Get you a glass of ~ (watches Chuck remove revolver from hip holster and wave it erratically while clearing his voice into the mic. LP runs away).
Chuck looks around, lights ciggy with revolver replica and begins.
HOW TO PUSH PAST THE BULLSHIT AND WRITE THAT GODDAMN NOVEL: A VERY SIMPLE NO-FUCKERY WRITING PLAN TO GET SHIT DONE
Life will never be kind to the writer. Particularly those who stay at home. You go to a full-time job outside the house, everyone gives you a wide berth to let you do what you need to do. Stay at home to write a book and everybody interrupts you like all you’re doing is watching a Teen Mom marathon on MTV while chowing down on pizza-flavored Combos and Haagen-Daaz.
Life intrudes upon you. It kicks down the door and stomps all over a writer’s practical aspirations to write. Kids. Dogs. A full-time job. A part-time job. Cleaning. Cooking. Pubic grooming. Xenomorph invasion. Hallucinations. Masturbation. LIQUOR AND MONKEY WRESTLING.
As your shoulders bear the burden of carrying the multiple shit-sacks of life’s daily ordureoutput, it gets easier and easier to push writing aside: “I’ll do that tomorrow,” you say, and next thing you know you’re in diapers once more, this time at an old folks’ home gumming chocolate pudding topped with a skin so thick you need scissors to cut it. Procrastination is the affirmation of an unpleasant and unwelcome but all-too-easy status quo. You merely need todo nothing and yet at the same time feel productive because you’ve promised no really I’ll pinky swear to put down some words tomorrow. You know what I want to say to that?
Tomorrow can guzzle a bucket of vulture barf.
Yesterday’s gone the way of the dodo. You have one day, and it is today.
Your promises are as hollow as a cheap-ass dollar-store chocolate Easter Bunny.
I’m going to give you literally no excuse at all to write and finish that novel. You know the one. The one that lives in your head and your heart but not on the page. The one you always say, “I’m going to write that book someday.” The one you talk about. But not the one you write. The one that makes you blah blah blah “aspiring” rather than the “real deal.” I’m going to give you a prescription for a writing plan that is simple, straightforward, and contains zero heinous fuckery. It’s so easy, a determined ten-year-old could do it. You will have no excuse. None. Zip.
Because if you come back to me and say, “I can’t do that,” you might as well have told me, “I can’t pick myself up out of this pile of mule poop I accidentally rolled in. I’m literally just bound to lay here in this once-warm now-cold heap of mule turds. Forever. Until I die. I have no self-capability and I am less motivated than your average sea cucumber. Please kick dirt on me, and if the word writer ever comes out of my mouth again, just slap my face.”
Further, if someone tells you they aren’t able to write a novel — “I don’t have time! My life is too busy!” — just send them a link to this post with my blessing.
Ready? Here’s the rules:
THE BIG 350
You’re going to write and finish the first draft of a novel in one year’s time.
You are going to do this by writing five days out of the week, or 260 days out of the year.
You are going to write 350 words on each of those 260 days.
That means, at the end of one year, you will have written 91,000 words.
More than enough for an average novel length.
To be clear, 350 words? Not a lot. At this point in your reading, this post is already 500 words long. You can sneeze 350 words. It’s like a word appetizer every day. Some days it’ll take you 15 minutes, other days two hours — but you’re going to commit to those 350 words every day, whether you type them out, or scrawl them in a notebook, or chisel them into the wall of your prison cell. You will carve these words out of the time you are given.
You get 24 hours a day. As do I. As do we all.
Grab a little time to write a little bit every day.
The goal is not to write a masterpiece. It’s not to sprint. This ain’t NaNoWriMo. The goal is to finish a novel despite a life that seems hell-bent to let you do no such thing. It is you snatching snippets of word count from the air and smooshing them together until they form a cohesive (if not coherent) whole. It assumes a “slow and steady wins the race” approach to this book.
A finished first draft. That is the brass ring, the crown jewels, the Cup of the Dead Hippie God.
THE OTHER RULES
No other rules exist. Next question.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
Wanna do an outline? Great, go for it. Edit as you go or all in one lump? I don’t give a monkey’s poop-caked paw how you approach it. Do as you like. Just hit your target of 350 words per day.
Let me say that again: Just hit your target. Don’t turn off your targeting computer. Don’t listen to that weird old man. Use your targeting computer, Luke. The Force is some flimsy hoo-haw made by a bunch of loveless space cenobites. No, not those cenobites, goddamnit you’re confusing your movies. Stop fiddling with that ornate-looking puzzle box. CRIMINY.
Wrote more than your allotted and expected count in one day? Fuck yeah. High-five. Fist-bump. Slap-and-tickle. Give unto yourself the pleasures of the flesh and celebrate that you’re this much closer to the end goal. Didn’t write today? Well, goddamnit. Fine. Guess what? It’s only 350 words. Cram it into tomorrow’s word-hole. That’s still only 700 words. It’s not even a 1000 words. Some writers write that much before they wake up in the morning.
Make a spreadsheet if you have to. Track your 350 words per day (you’ll probably end up writing more than that consistently and hitting your tally quicker, particularly with a spreadsheet to remind you — you will discover it’s actually hard to stop at 350 words).
The word count is small enough and steady enough where you can comfortably fuck doubt right in the ear. You’re creeping through the draft like a burglar. One step at a time. Relax. Breathe. Like that one fish says to that other fish in the movie about all the fucking fish: Just keep swimming. Or for a differnt metaphor, you know how you eat an elephant? ONE BITE AT A TIME.
CONTAINS ZERO FUCKERY
This is easy! You can do this! You can do better than this! This is a plan on par with, “Do one push-up every day.” This is, “Don’t pee on the salad bar.” This is a bare minimum, common denominator, common sense, zero fuckery writing plan. You can’t do this, you don’t want to be a writer. You don’t get to be a writer. Not least of all because you can’t carve just a little bit of fat from your day to sizzle up 350 words in your story-skillet.
Lend this plan a little bit of your time.
Give this plan a little bit of your effort.
And in one year’s time, you will have a novel.
It won’t be a masterpiece.
It will need editing.
But it’ll be a first draft of something real.
Something many so-called “writers” never achieve.
Just 350 words for 260 days.
Shut up and write.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I’ve heard many good things about Salvatore from his fans and I tried the first of the Drizzt books. It didn’t do it for me. But this is not me saying the book was bad. ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ are subjective terms; let’s not forget that. So, this is more me saying that I didn’t get into it. I give the man respect for pumping out that kind of volume of words, and for being successful in his career. It’s wonderful. The book just didn’t do it for me.
I think I felt like I wanted to care about the characters more. They just didn’t grab me. I wanted to feel more immersed in the world, and I wasn’t feeling it. But, then again maybe it was me looking at it too analytically or looking at it with too much focus on what it isn’t rather than what it is. I had about 50 pages to go. Couldn’t do it. The line that sealed it for me went something like, ‘Dinin reached for the scabbard of his sword, not a smart move.’
Thanks for the read.