Wannabe Writers Writing: Revisions, Feedback, Evil Chickens

in my pants, flying spaghetti monster, eve teasing

MechaSlinky wrote:

give me a location, an object, and a verb, and I'm going to try to write a story with that.

deep in a cavern, horseshoe, remember

Machu Picchu, supertanker, stroking

On the couch, an Xbox 360 containing a digital copy of Limbo, playing Limbo

Buffalo, buffalo, buffalo.

STORY FOR PEOPLE NOW!

Once upon a time there was a dude and he was all, "Hey, I don't know what to write so bleepty blorpty blap." And some guy was all, "Frying cheese on a grill in Hell. Library, rifle, hairsplitting. in my pants, flying spaghetti monster, eve teasing deep in a cavern, horseshoe, remember Machu Picchu, supertanker, stroking On the couch, an Xbox 360 containing a digital copy of Limbo, playing Limbo Buffalo, buffalo, buffalo." Then the dude was like, "F*ck this, this is never going to work."

The end.

I don't think that's how madlibs are supposed to work.

THAT'S NOT HOW YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO WORK!!!

I wrote something that isn't very good but it lives at Bitmob, so here is a link to the thing that lives at Bitmob. It's called Single White Male Seeks Donkey Lady for a Good Time.

Let's get this bizatch started again! I am currently unemployed and having a great time doing freelance sh*t from the comfort of my Home PC Unit, so I'm going to make an effort to read stuff that nobody's responded to yet in this thread. If you have something that you really want read, post a reminder and I will 100% guarantee that I will read it and post a response by the end of this week.

MechaSlinky wrote:

I wrote something that isn't very good but it lives at Bitmob, so here is a link to the thing that lives at Bitmob. It's called Single White Male Seeks Donkey Lady for a Good Time.

This is the kind of games journalism that I really like: Conveying the experience of actually playing the game by telling stories about play. There's a lot of signature Max Applesauce-ish stuff in here, like the meandering tangents and the abrupt switch of voice to address the reader directly. Or perhaps this is signature Slinky stuff, I dunno.

Probably the strongest bit is the last paragraph, which explains just what the hell it was that I just read. I think this is a necessary part of conveying the worth of the preceding stories, and I especially liked how you didn't hit the reader over the head with the point again and again and again, which I find annoyingly condescending.

You just told the stories and then concisely explained why they were relevant. For me, I found that this paragraph kept me from leaving and thinking, "Well, that was a waste of time" ... even though it wasn't, it's nice to have some gift-wrapped value to take away from the piece, especially when the piece itself is riddled with asides and ridiculousness and may confuse many readers.

I think you could probably cut the self-depreciating bits where you say that your jokes aren't funny, however. This stuff starts wobbling over into navel-gazing territory and doesn't really contribute to the piece.

tanstaafl wrote:

Return to the Sea
Patterns
The Ship

Comments and criticism always welcome.

I read all three of these. I think Patterns was my favourite, but mostly because I've been rather interested in OCD lately.

They're a little purple prose-y. I tend to do this myself, most recently in my Limbo review (which I speed-posted... pretty sure Wordy would've chopped out quite a bit if I had waited a day or so).

What I mean by this is that what actually HAPPENS seems to take second fiddle to descriptive words. I find that it's sometimes helpful to read something once, then try to come up with a one or two line synopsis of what the story's about. Then the author can be like, "What the hell? That wasn't what I meant at all," or "Ah good, at least the main point is coming across." Let me give it a shot:

Return to the Sea: The narrator is swimming, sees some crazy Atlantian maybe-city overcome by the sea, and wakes up on shore to find that it was all a drowning dream.

Patterns: OCD narrator potters around his house doing some repetitious things, goes to the grocery store and tries to rearrange shelves to his liking, then gets kicked out and returns home.

The Ship: There was a shipwreck, and nobody believes that there were any survivors, but the narrator, in fact, survived the wreck and lives on in some sort of regretful shadow existence.

Truesay?

Clemenstation wrote:

Weiners!

On Max Applesauce-ish stuff: Yeah. There was actually a lot more to begin with because I wasn't confident enough in this thing to go without it. I cut a lot of it out because it wasn't working, but I was still insecure enough to let some of it stay. It's sort of my style, I guess, but it feels more like the same joke over and over again and it's wearing a bit thin. It seems to work really well when I'm feeling confident and not at all when I'm not.

On last paragraph with Carson Daly: I'm actually incredibly happy to hear (read, whatever) that you like the way it's set up. I thought it may have been a bad idea to go off on these two stories, only to finally mention the point of them at the end, but I really didn't know how to wedge my point into the middle of the stories. I realized that I didn't care because I wasn't writing an essay for high school any more so I didn't have to write like my audience was a bunch of dirty subnormals. I went to high school in Florida, where my audience was actually a bunch of dirty subnormals. Still, I was worried that it makes it weaker, so I'm happy to find out it doesn't.

On self-defecation: Totally. But it's the easiest way to get out of a joke when you can't think of a punchline and I'm lazy!

Anyway, thanks for the feedback. Looking back at what I wrote one drug-and-self-loathing-fueled night (mostly as a way to just kick-start the creative juice machine) I'm actually surprised to find that I don't hate every word, which is probably due to brain retardation but I'm going to go ahead and attribute it to the fact that someone wasted their time reading it and came away not wishing for my death. Makes me want to write more stuff, but I probably should focus this creative energy on some other slightly more important matters. There are more ways to get rid of bodies than you'd think!

tanstaafl wrote:

Patterns

I completely missed those stories. Oh well, just read them, and Patterns was my favorite of the three as well. I especially love the line

I grabbed the items that I knew would sustain me and carried them to the checkout, throwing them onto the belt and not looking at them lest I see truth or offense in the pattern they had made.

As if the groceries are mocking him with insights he doesn't want to hear or opinions he strongly disagrees with. Groceries are assholes like that.

MechaSlinky wrote:

Looking back at what I wrote one drug-and-self-loathing-fueled night (mostly as a way to just kick-start the creative juice machine)

I'm impressed that you're able to write while under the influence. I was never really able to do that.

One summer in university I lived near a guy who had access to pretty much every controlled substance there was. And I was reading a lot of Hunter S. So me and my roommates bought a bunch of stuff and every night I would try something new and attempt to write.

Marijuana - The least debilitating. However, it made me second-guess every word I was putting down and before I knew it I had spent 45 minutes on one goddamned sentence. And when I read it the next day it totally sucked.

Opium - Hands down the best. No mind fog. But rare and expensive, which made it ultimately non-viable. I wrote a couple of A+ critical essays with O.

Salvia 20x - Never even made it to the computer. Had to hold onto the edge of the couch I was sitting on because the world started to rotate and I was pretty sure I was going to fall off. The only thing that saved me was Pat Sajak on TV.

Mushrooms - I typed a poignant letter to my keyboard, urging it to stop pretending that it was made out of water. Then I went to the park.

Refused to touch cocaine or any of the synthetic stuff. Probably wouldn't have had any better results though.

Your writing on marijuana sounds like my everyday.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

Your writing on marijuana sounds like my everyday.

Well that sounds like a confidence thing. The problem with marijuana is that it'll turn on you real quick, especially if you're alone and trying to complete a task as open-ended as "creative writing". It's easy to slip into self-doubt and start thinking that nobody will ever want to read it, it sucks, etc etc etc. And then it becomes just as easy to justify procrastination: "Okay, this idea isn't working but I have a few others I can start... but I'll do it tomorrow, when I'm feeling better about myself." And then off you go to play a video game or do something else.

I think the trick is to just pound words out onto the page because the second you stop to evaluate, your momentum goes right out the window.

Clemenstation wrote:

Mushrooms - I typed a poignant letter to my keyboard, urging it to stop pretending that it was made out of water. Then I went to the park.

Oh man, I laughed so hard.

Hey... erm... so... Christ what's the least assy way to do this...

...so if you look at my sig, there's a link there to a place where I MIGHT be doing some weekly 1000-word (or so) writing about sports, games, and occasionally other subjects. I am not asking for hits, but actual occasional help with getting back into something that I had ceased doing for far too long.

Did that sound kosher?

Sounded good to me, Predophile.

So, the article is now on the front page of the Bitmobbery, and hey, look, I found this conveniently located link. Normally I wouldn't bother pointing it out, but I'm looking at it just to see what they felt needed to be changed and, ugh. Sure, there are some parts that are nice and tidy, which is great, but most of it... It just doesn't even sound like me any more. Maybe that's a good thing, but I don't know. I just don't think it's as funny, which is an amazing feat considering the source.

I've only ever tried writing under alcohol and marijuaners. My writing on alcohol is surprisingly coherent (although not good at all) until I pass that "sh*tfaced" line, where it's unsurprisingly incoherent. One of my favorite pieces of writing was done well past (passed?) the "sh*tfaced" line, though. A dude messaged me with a simple, "Hey." In response, I typed, "jr43$", didn't bother to send it, and went immediately to bed.

Marijuana doesn't really affect my writing, although my ideas usually do become immensely more stupid. You know those Max Applesauce stories? All of them were written while sober. So, yeah...

You know what helps me write the best? Rage. Not the virus from 28 Days/Weeks Later, although that might work, too.

MechaSlinky wrote:

Sounded good to me, Predophile.

I swear to god, if this catches on, i'm going to kill you.

Teehee, Predophile.

MechaSlinky wrote:

So, the article is now on the front page of the Bitmobbery, and hey, look, I found this conveniently located link. Normally I wouldn't bother pointing it out, but I'm looking at it just to see what they felt needed to be changed and, ugh. Sure, there are some parts that are nice and tidy, which is great, but most of it... It just doesn't even sound like me any more. Maybe that's a good thing, but I don't know. I just don't think it's as funny, which is an amazing feat considering the source.

Man, they totally neutered your title.

Bastardfish!

But yeah, editors will always f*ck with your sh*t to varying degrees... I find that you can't really start to appreciate the good ones until you've worked with someone who butchered every last sentence because they apparently want you to be R.L. Stein. Then the rest don't look quite so bad.

Predophile wrote:

Did that sound kosher?

I don't think you have to worry about the ethics of pimping your own writing in a thread intended for people to pimp their writing. Still, you might wanna link to individual articles if you want specific feedback.

Clemenstation wrote:

Bastardfish!

They neutered everything!

Thing is, the last thing I wrote on Bitmob also made it to the front page with very little editing. One joke, which I wasn't in love with, was changed because they must have thought it was a mistake instead of intentional, and there was the usual cleaning up and such. Other than that, it was exactly the same. What the hell happened here? Makes me wish I had saved a copy of the original somewhere else. Oh well, I'll live.

Prederick wrote:
MechaSlinky wrote:

Sounded good to me, Predophile.

I swear to god, if this catches on, i'm going to kill you.

It's not like I put it in my sig so that everyone can see it in every thread I post in.

MechaSlinky wrote:

It's not like I put it in my sig so that everyone can see it in every thread I post in.

Anyone interested in a short writing challenge? Just some sort of impetus and deadline to get something down and out, less than 500 words. Might be nice motivation to write something without grand aspirations.

Clemenstation wrote:

Anyone interested in a short writing challenge? Just some sort of impetus and deadline to get something down and out, less than 500 words. Might be nice motivation to write something without grand aspirations.

I'm up for that. What'd you have in mind?

sounds good to me. Even if I don't participate (I will) it'll be interesting to read everyone's stories on a similar topic.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
Clemenstation wrote:

Anyone interested in a short writing challenge? Just some sort of impetus and deadline to get something down and out, less than 500 words. Might be nice motivation to write something without grand aspirations.

I'm up for that. What'd you have in mind?

Well, in my experience, most exercises like this are centred around conveying emotion - write a short story that elicits grief, or anger, or something like that. Or they give you a two-line situation ("Bobby and Jimmy are both gravediggers, but only one of them is a SEXY gravedigger. Now they must play beer pong to determine who the sexy one really is!") to grow a story out of.

I'm more partial to challenges that push people to step outside of their preferred writing style. As in, write a story entirely in second-person perspective, or write a story that is also an acrostic, or write a story entirely without pronouns, or a story where the narrative perspective shifts every paragraph, or try to emulate the style of a distinctive author like H.P. Lovecraft.

I'm breezy though. If anyone wants to suggest a challenge, I'd prefer if it came from you guys rather than me, but if nobody has any ideas I'm sure I can come up with something horrific (and hopefully interesting).

Sidebar: I'm interested in learning more about game design documentation, preferably with examples of successful implementations. Anyone know of any useful web resources in this area?

Clemenstation wrote:

...or write a story that is also an acrostic, or write a story entirely without pronouns, or a story where the narrative perspective shifts every paragraph, or try to emulate the style of a distinctive author like H.P. Lovecraft.

My eyes just glazed over and rolled back in my head while my mouth fell agape and my tongue dried out.

In other words, You broke my brain, sir. Broke it.

Challenge: Writing with taboos

Write a story about Superman that: a.) is not set in the DC universe*, and b.) does not directly reference the character. Your entry should be posted as a Google doc in this thread by 5:00 PM EST Friday, August 13th and should be between 500 and 750 words in length.

*If this were a published piece, would legal need to check with DC Comics? This means that the story cannot explicitly star Superman, Batman, Lois Lane, or any other DC Comics character.