Thursday, June 29, 2006

Q & A 56 What you need is a cable access show.

Must I have a decent plot? May the characters simply be vehicles for my commentary? Is the plot more important than that which happens along the way? Am I reading this book for kicks or for a lesson?

Feel free to write again, after the drugs wear off.


Bernita said...

Indecent plots are popular too...

Catherine said...

snort snort

Those snorts are me laughing, not doing drugs.

You're funny, Evil Editor

michaelgav said...

What about words? I mean, real words, like in English. You think I need those? Or can I sprinkle in ones that just sort of come flungently sometimes?

Paragraphs, man. I hate freakin paragraphs. I like to write a whole book without them, which since my characters are just vehicles for my commentary shouldn't be exromularly problematic.


And also, does it need a beginning in the usual sense, in which you open to the first page and there's a bunch of words making up a sentence? Or can you just sort of fade in, like "Key to the Highway" by Derek and the Dominos. I figure I'll start the sentence in small type with a really old sagamish print cartridge and then when things really get rolling with the things that just happen along the way I can switch to a new cartridge, but you didn't really catch the beginning so much as you like FELT it. Inside the back of your eyes, kind of.

kis said...


I read--tried to read--a book once by a well-known literary author, that basically had no quotation marks in it.

You had to guess not only that someone was talking, but as dialogue tags were few to none, you also had to guess who was talking. The first chapter gave me such a headache, I thought I'd developed a freaking brain tumor. He may only have written the first chapter like this (to maintain a dream-like quality or some such drivel) but I wouldn't know, cause I put the thing down on page four and didn't pick it up again.


clever dialogue=good

no plot=bad

If you're awesome at coming up with witty stuff for people to say, but not so hot at moving a story forward, why don't you partner up with someone? Collaborations have worked in the past, there's no reason why one can't work for you. Unless you really are on drugs. Anyone who's written down the revelatory musings that occur to them when stoned could tell you, the next morning, you always end up asking yourself, "WTF was I smoking?"

Unless it's a god-bong, your writing is probably bird poo.

Rewarju--freaking sick name!

Mazement said...

Have you ever thought that, like, maybe we're all just characters in a book somebody's written? And what if he, like, needs to reduce the word count, and he decides that the sub-plot we're in doesn't do anything to advance the story, and he, like, erases it.

Wow. That would suck.


No, this isn't working. I wish I still knew where to get actual drugs.

Anyway, as to the original question:

There's not a big market for plotless fiction, but plotless non-fiction works pretty well.
Check out Galileo's "Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems"...There's no real story; it's just three characters arguing about cosmology.

(That's a bad example because Galileo got arrested for writing it. But that probably won't happen to you, so I'd say go for it!)

Bernita said...

Be sure to add in some algebraic equasions and the f-word repeated 43 times in sequence.

michaelgav said...

As I recall, I once used the f-word 43 times in sequence while trying to SOLVE an algebraic equation.

You stopped short, there. Clever dialogue = good. No plot = bad. Characters as vehicles for author's musings = putrescent swill. Stuff that happens along the way = stuff left behind in earlier drafts. Reading books for a lesson = high school. Writing books with a lesson = vanity publishing.

JerseyGirl said...


Once again, you've got me in stitches! :-) I can't believe you're not published yet.

And I agree with you that if the author is good at one thing and sucks at another, collaboration might be a good way to go.


msjones said...

Gentle blogger: Yes, you need a plot. Borrow someone else’s, and write like Shakespeare. He didn’t have an original plot to his name (well, maybe the Tempest). His description of settings? Don’t make me laugh. In short, he was nothing but dialogue.

I recommend Hamlet to get you started. The story’s 403 years old and still popular!