Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday Film Series


You never know what's going down in Evil Editor's Shorts. Or who.

video

Friday, May 29, 2009

New Beginning 644

The car skimmed across the edge of the road around the mountain. Ashley held on to the seat as if her life depended on it, who knew -- maybe it would, anything was possible with James driving. She wondered why she did it to herself. Everyone in school knew James failed his driving test five times before finally getting his licence. So why did she agree to get in the car with him. Especially this car; her life would be over if anything happened to it. James talked her around of course.

Ashley's hands squeezed the black leather as James yanked the wheel in the opposite direction, aiming for the next corner, a maniacal grin plastered on his face. What boy could resist trashing a V8 around such tight corners? Ashley gripped harder, her knuckles turning white. She wished she were somewhere else, until she caught sight of those blue eyes sparkling underneath the mess of dark brown hair.

"Relax," he said.

"How on earth can you expect me to relax?"

"Well, you said your brother was out of town for the week right?"

"Yeah. So?"

"He is not going to remember how many k's were on the car when he left."

"Still I don't think you should…"

"Relax..." He tuned the radio to a local hillbilly station and turned up the volume.

"Slow down!" Ashley shouted. "You're scaring me!"

James grinned. He grabbed her thin, white shawl and draped it over his head. "I can't see, I can't see," he joked. Then he heard the siren.

"This your vehicle, sir?" The cop was huge; looked just like Mike Tyson, and he wasn't smiling.

Jim pulled the shawl off his head, and then remembered Ashley's brother's business: the Klintonburg Kitchen Kabin.

Yes, there were three K's on this car, and the evening wasn't going to go well.


Opening: Shell I.....Continuation: Anon.

Cartoon 396

Caption: anon.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Face-Lift 637


Guess the Plot

A Long Way Home

1. When Timmy was scolded and sent to his room for teasing the cat, he was very cross. Then he found space aliens hiding under the bed and said -- take me to your leader! After wandering through the shrubbery eating roots berries and insects for a week, the aliens finally admit they got lost three light years ago and have no idea how to get home.

2. Brothers Jason, Jacob and Jared find their missing father's 63' convertible in their Grandfather's barn. Will they restore it and go on a road trip to find their father, or let Grandpa sell it to cover the cost of Grandma's cancer treatment?

3. Leonard had expected side effects when he created a rift in the space-time continuum. He didn't think they'd occur in the middle of his younger brother's birthday party. Can he get seven children, two dogs, a parrot and himself back through 16 centuries, 42 dimensions and an ice-cream stand?

4. After being sucked through a portal into an alternate dimension, Billy is befriended by an elf and a friendly dragon. The Goblin King, believing Billy to be the heir to the Wizard Throne, sets off to kill the young orphan. Will Billy survive the journey home?

5. Someone is murdering the cryogenically frozen passengers on a spaceship to another planet and only one teenaged kid can save the mission. But is it worth stopping a murderer if it means revealing a secret so terrible that to even hint at its terribleness would be . . . terrible?

6. Sure, it's only a few blocks to the store, but getting home can be a very long journey indeed when those blocks are in the City of Giants, where each block is a hundred miles long. Also, sentient traffic lights.



Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

317 year old Amy has spent 300 years asleep in cryostatis. [Cryostatis: the state of being in cryostasis.] Elder has spent all of his seventeen years on board a generation space ship bound for a new planet. Born to become the leader of the space ship, Elder has no idea there is a group of people cryogenically frozen in a hidden level of the ship. When Amy wakes up fifty years early, [I'm grouchy when I wake up fifteen minutes early. I'm steering clear of Amy for a few years.] she teams with Elder to discover who unplugged her—because whoever it was is now unplugging the others, and they’re not surviving their unbidden early wake-up call. Amy’s desperate search to find a home on the ship she’s trapped on is matched only by her search to stop the murderer before he unplugs her parents. [Comparing her need, desire, compulsion would be okay; comparing her searches isn't that informative. It's like saying her search to find her keys is matched only by her search for her missing sock.] The murderer, however, has a plan: use his strategic killing to make Elder, who is next in line to rule the ship, discover a terrible secret. [Now we're getting somewhere. The crux of Elder's conflict becomes clear at last as the terrible secret is revealed.] Now Amy and Elder must decide: is it better to tell the truth or let everyone else live in happy ignorance? [I missed it! I was so busy typing my blue words I missed the secret. What was it? Did anyone else hear it, or were you too busy reading the blue words?]

Building on the fear of isolation and containment in Jeanne DuPrau’s CITY OF EMBER and the psychology and philosophy in Mary Pearson’s THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX, my novel, A LONG WAY HOME, is a YA science fiction light on science but strong [on fiction.] in character development.

I am currently a high school world literature teacher and an active member of SCBWI, having been published in and working as the copy editor of the state SCBWI magazine. Additionally, I run a blog on writing for MG and YA audiences which receives between 100 and 150 hits a day. [Running a blog has yet to acquire the résumé-enhancing respectability it truly deserves.]

I am prepared to submit the entire manuscript upon your request. Thank you for your time and consideration with this project.

Sincerely,


Notes

One doesn't usually think of a ship as having a leader or a ruler. Is "captain" outmoded?

The bigger the secret, the more important it is to reveal it in the query.

I don't see the point of whoever is behind this mission keeping the cryogenically frozen people secret from the future captain or from anyone else. Getting these people to the new planet is the mission, right?

What is meant by Amy's "desperate search to find a home on the ship"?

Are there suspects? Or is it assumed the murderer is a 330-year-old stowaway?

Why doesn't the murderer just tell Elder the terrible secret instead of killing people to make Elder discover the secret?

Cartoon 395

Caption: Evil Editor

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Face-Lift 636


Guess the Plot

Eternal Knight

1. It's another freakin' vampire novel where he's all tortured and broody because he can't tell if he loves her or if he's just kinda hungry and she's into him because he's so mysterious but protective and he's like "We can never be together" and she's all "But I love you!" and we all know where this is going but let's face it: people never seem to get tired of this one so shall we just cut to the chase and talk price?

2. 13th C knight Geoffroi du St. Cloud is cursed by the vampire Doudrou to never be permitted the peace of death. And so Geoffroi fights on, only to be resurrected when slain. Is he doomed--or can the glorious Princess du Conti save him and his soul?

3. Weeding the garden, Timmy finds a jewel in the dirt. At midnight a man in armor sneaks in through the open window. He says he needs the jewel and a 12-year-old sidekick to rescue the kingdom of a beautiful kidnapped princess. Timmy accepts the sidekick gig, unaware their dangerous mission will require numerous sequels and he, too, is doomed to become an . . . Eternal Knight.

4. Pharaoh was being a jerk again, so God tried to put an eternal night curse over Egypt. He screwed up, and now there's a 16th century unkillable knight wandering around Egypt generating chaos. Can Floyd and Bob, God's clean-up crew, set things right?

5. Hadde of Landomere is supposed to be protecting her village from invaders, but instead heads off to the next kingdom to pawn a necklace she found. Now the king won't let her go back home, but why would she want to go home and face invaders when the king's brother is such a hunk?

6. Sir Frank of Carthyreid haunts the same old battlefield, century after century--until the city builds a high school on it and then Sir Frank's life gets a lot more interesting. As bloodied corpses turn up in lockers and dismembered limbs in desks, dimwitted school janitor Pete Pritchett arms himself with a bin lid and a wooden spoon and rides into battle.



Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Hadde of Landomere is a huntress who has sworn to protect and provide for her people. The Wasting makes her task impossible: crops are failing, game has disappeared, and strange raiders are invading her forest homeland.

While hunting, Hadde finds a golden necklace. Taking it as a sign that she must do more for her people, [Interesting. I would have taken it as a sign that someone lost her necklace.] she leaves the forest of Landomere for the kingdom of Salador. She plans to sell the necklace for food and other necessities, but she hopes for much more--to gain the aid of the elementar-king of Salador. [Who's fighting off the raiders while she's in Salador pawning someone else's property?] [Amazing: all the letters of the word "property" are on one row of the keyboard.]

Unlike her egalitarian homeland, Salador is a highly stratified, male-dominated world of politics, war, and deceit, teeming with its own problems. Hadde finds herself trapped there when the king, who believes her to be part of a prophecy, ["As it was foretold, a hot woman has shown up on the eve of my annual 'Forty Guys and a Wench' party."] refuses to let her go home. Her unlikely romance with the king's brother, Morin, entangles Hadde in a web of Saladoran scheming. [There are raiders invading her village and she has time for a romance?]

When Morin learns of the discovery of an ancient magical artifact, he takes Hadde with him to recover it. [What a moron.] [Why doesn't he who discovered it bring it to the castle? In this highly stratified world, I assume you don't just tell your superiors, I'm busy; if you want it come and get it.] Their journey leads not only to the salvation of Hadde's small village, but to [of?] the world itself. [Define "the world."] It also leads to the loss of her faith in humanity, and the loss of Morin's soul. [Huh? That sounds like the old, The operation was a success but the patient died line. If you must screw up your happy ending in the book, fine, but putting that in the query just leads to questions you aren't answering. Explain or delete.]

I currently teach military history and economics and previously served in the United States Army as a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter pilot. I am also a Revolutionary War reenactor and historical wargamer. In Eternal Knight I used my knowledge of medieval history, [helicopter flying,] economics, religion [(I'm also a part-time monk)], and military strategy to create a rich, believable world.

Eternal Knight is a 105,000 word fantasy novel. The manuscript is complete and ready for submission. Thank you for considering my work.

Sincerely,


Notes


Who is the knight in the title? And what's eternal about the knight?

How far is the trip to Saladar?

The king won't let Hadde go home seems to indicate she's under lock and key, yet she goes off with Morin? As a skilled huntress, she could easily escape while Morin's not looking.

I'd leave the invaders raiding the village out of the query. In the book there's surely an explanation for the village surviving the raids while their protector is off romancing Morin, but in the query we're better off not knowing about them, especially as they weren't worth mentioning again anyway.

Actually, it didn't sound that bad until I started picking at it. Explain as much as you can and get rid of what you don't have room to explain, so we don't think it's full of logic problems.

Cartoon 394

Caption: R. Watson

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Beginning 643 (short story)

The cat has at least a hundred names and possibly as many as a thousand. He sits at the bottom of the steps while she climbs to the room with the glass wall. Once he followed her, kitten-fluffy, snake-fast, followed her ahead of her to the locked lead door. Time and patience has taught him to sit and wait for her return. He only miaows. Then turns, Grimalkin-grey, puss-soft, away.

She remembers her husband telling her cats couldn't be trained like dogs. She knows that's true, but now she'd like to tell him--if she could--that cats can be trained like cats.

He has, after all, learnt patience, sphinx-like waiting at the threshold; he can walk ninja-soft across the room and fur-tickle her leg before she knows he is there; his claws, rapier-quick, can vanquish any enemy, leaving entrails scattered wide. Muscular, cat-handsome, intelligent beyond human comprehension . . .

* * *

Barnacle heard a sound: the rattle of the door handle. With a deft swipe of the paw, he hit save, and clicked on close. By the time the door opened, the computer was just as she'd left it, and Barnacle was in front of the fire, licking his balls.


Opening: BuffySquirrel.....Continuation: Anonymous

Cartoon 393

Caption: Evil Jr.

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

I'll Be Back . . .

. . . from my vacation Friday evening. I've left enough cartoons and Face-Lifts etc. to get you through the week. The writing exercise will post Wednesday. It'll be like I'm not even gone, certainly no worse than when your psychiatrist went on vacation. Better, in fact, as you pretty much paid for your psychiatrist's vacation.

Don't forget to check in with the Brenda Novak auction, which ends on the weekend.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Face-Lift 635


Guess the Plot

Tara Born of Tears

1. Tara was born to the sidhe, a magical child with vast powers--but one weakness: she is always crying. Though she's practically a superhero, she's also a social outcast. When Derrick discovers her secret, can he make her smile at last?

2. Vishnu is pissed. Zeus became famous just for pulling fully-formed Athena out of his forehead. It's enough to make a creation god cry, but if Vishnu manages to produce a woman from eye water, then the Greek Gods'll be lucky if anyone even remembers them a century from now.

3. Tara Fletcher came out of her mother's womb bathed not in amniotic fluid, but tears. She's spent the first twenty five years of her life locked up in a lab, being poked, prodded and researched. Now, however, she's out--and she wants revenge.

4. Surrounded by the death and destruction of an interplanetary war, a ragtag group of survivors resolves to make a new life for themselves on the unexplored world of Tara.

5. If anyone in this world is unlucky, it's Tara Scott. Is it fated that she will always be the one to know sorrow, or can she take the advice of the village crone and make her own destiny as a sports mascot?

6. Alice wants to have a baby and name it Tara, but it has been foretold that her child will die unless it's conceived by having sex with a man who lives naked in a junkyard. Is there any way the back seat of a junked '92 Oldmobile can be romantic?


Original Version

Thank you for looking at this query for Tara Born of Tears, paranormal fiction, 90k words.

A year ago Alice Goode’s five year old son Bobby drowned. Now she is haunted by the belief that his spirit is trapped between lives, searching for her. A shaman tells her that she must find the right man to give birth to her son’s reincarnation. [Did you mean shaman or conman?] She tries, but with the wrong man and has a miscarriage. [Does she know anything about the "right man," or is it a one in two billion shot?] Doctors warn her that another pregnancy is dangerous. She may have one more chance, but with no idea how to find the right man, Alice becomes desperate. She doesn’t even know his name. [Is it Theodore Amer?]

It is Theodore Amer. [I almost changed my guess to Julius Papanicolau. Always trust your first instinct.] Beneath a comic mask of irony, he conceals an anguish even from himself. A misfit genius, he possesses the gift of revealing a person’s essence with a secret name. [What does that mean?] [Wait, is the secret name Julius Papanicolau?] He can show someone their path in life and forge a bond. Though he desperately needs to use this ability, he is unaware it exists. [Does anyone know it exists? And what do you mean by: He can forge a bond? Is it a kind of bond normal people can't forge?] [What happens if he doesn't use this ability?] This isolates him, lunacy scratching at his door, left with an ache of the soul which he must pretend away. [Is this ache of the soul he pretends away the same as the anguish he conceals even from himself? I'm not sure how much anguish and soul aching you can have over something you don't know exists, but if we must hear about it, once is enough.] [To you, this paragraph conveys the essence of your character's inner conflict. To us it's just vague. What happens in your book?] After a shattering personal loss, he surrenders to madness, abandons his life, and finds himself living naked in a junkyard. Only one woman can bring him peace, a hospice nurse named Alice Goode. [If I'm Alice, and the only way I'm gonna get pregnant is by hitting the sheets with a guy living naked in a junkyard, I'm looking into adoption.]


Notes

Which came first: the decision to live naked or the decision to live in a junkyard? I ask only because a junkyard is one of the bottom three places I would want to live if I had no clothes, the other two being an apiary and a maximum security prison.

I'd like a clearer idea of Theodore's power. That he has the gift of revealing a person’s essence with a secret name isn't doing it for me.

How is Alice supposed to find Theodore? Do they even live in the same country? Why would she look for Mr. Right in a junkyard?

The title could lead readers to think Tara is a main character, yet she/he/it isn't in the query. How big a role does Tara play in the book? Does the book end when Tara is born?

Q & A 171

Having read your blog and Miss Snark's, I've got your opinion of self-publishing: bad idea. But (of course there's a but) I have an offer from CreateSpace for a free proof copy of my book. I got the offer through NaNoWriMo (I reached 50,000), so it's legit enough until the offer's deadline, June 1. All I want is a single print copy of some of my short stories, just for me. I will NOT let it be available on Amazon or anything like that, because I know self-publishing like that could destroy any chance I have of getting the stories seen in respectable society again.

I'm worried about two main things. The first is that CreateSpace wants to assign an ISBN to it, and there's no option not to. The second is that two of the stories I want to include did well in the Scholastic Writing Contest, and Scholastics has the sole right to publish them for two years. Yay for that, but will this (the ISBN, really) violate that?

Is this ISBN business going to hurt me, or can I get a book copy of my stuff without having to glue it together myself (tried it, takes ages)?

First of all, I have nothing against self-publishing. Well, it involves spending money instead of making money, but it's your money being spent, not mine, and if you're printing one copy, you aren't looking to make money anyway.

When a collection of short stories is published, it's actually rare that some of them haven't appeared in print previously. Some have been in magazines or an anthology. So your career isn't going up in flames no matter what happens.

I'm guessing you were offered a free proof in hopes that you would cough up some cash for additional copies to give to your friends and family. They may have a good deal, but you might want to Google "book printers ARC" if you want a small batch. You'll find ads for companies that provide advanced reading copies to publishers, normally to be sent to reviewers in advance of the book's actual publication. Most of them will want you to order at least 25 copies for maybe a couple hundred dollars, but you might find one that'll go as low as 10 copies. If one copy is all you want and you're worried about the ISBN, check with large printing companies in your area to see if they do perfect binding. You print it, they trim it to the size you want and take care of the messy gluing, and no ISBN number needed.

That said, the ISBN isn't going to cause problems anyway. If your book later gets published by someone else it will have a different ISBN, as that number identifies the publisher. No one, including Scholastic, will know (or care) that your one copy exists, and if they do, they won't know what stories are in it. Heck, change the story titles if you're worried. Then they'll have to actually read your book to find out if it includes their story. And you have the only copy.

Here's what you seem to be worried about:

1. Scholastic decides to publish one of your stories.
2. They assign their top agent to search for your name with the ISBN people.
3. He discovers someone with your name has an ISBN assigned.
4. He contacts CreateSpace and requests a copy of the book.
5. CreateSpace tells him he can have one for thirty dollars.
6. He sends the thirty dollars, CreateSpace prints a second copy and sends it. They've now made a profit off of your book, despite your refusal to order additional copies.
7. Scholastic's eagle-eyed staff read the book and spot your story, the one they were planning to publish.
8. They have you killed. Or at least blacklisted in the publishing industry.

They have better things to do, and even if they don't, by the time all this happens their two-year window would probably be up. The only thing you have to worry about is Evil Editor blowing the whistle.

Cartoon 392

Caption: anon.

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Talk Show 7

“The ups and downs of your, shall we say, shadow life with the hopeful writers on your blog; the story of it all, the genesis, the opening, if you will, and the continuation through several years of working with them; all make for fine reading. The unsuspected intermittent connection of actual pathos, the pathetic attempts at pathos resulting in bathos, the amazing humor, the occasional crisp, clean surprise, the personalities, clashing and, of course, otherwise…”

Ed smiled. “I note you’ve mixed up the writing and the writers themselves in your description of my book.”

“Well, how can one not?” The interviewer smiled broadly, his hands close to clasped together, fingertips on fingertips; oh so gentle. “After all, each man and woman who writes, underneath all the disclaimers and the disingenuous claptrap regarding theme or intent, are each and every one exposing parts of themselves, wouldn’t you say? Even on blogs?”

Ed nodded. “Of course. Even, and perhaps especially, on blogs. On my blog in particular, that’s the way it was.”

“The place became a shared personality – a give and take – with an absent yet beneficent father figure at the invisible helm? That’s what it seemed to me, when reading the decriptions in your book.”

Ed smiled. “Perhaps.”

“Does the concept of having a shadow life, has it always appealed? To you?”

Ed smiled again. “No. The concept of laughing my ass off, and aiding and abetting others in doing the same, has always appealed. To me.”

“Because it struck me,” said the interviewer, wading on through with his original thought, “that your blog persona was a bit like William Burroughs’s work. What do you think of old Burroughs?”

Ed smiled. “ I think old Burroughs is dead. But his Naked Lunch lives on.”

“Deservedly?”

Ed nodded. “Yes. His Interzone is a shadow world that deserves exposure.”

“As yours does?”

Ed smiled.

--Robin S.

Talk Show 6

"Thank you for joining us Mr. Editor. I've been searching my mind for a classic to discuss with you. I decided to choose one for which I had great admiration and wanted new insight."

"Pleased to be here. I'm sure I could give new insight into anything you choose."

"I'm keen on discussing Ibsen's wonderful play, _A Doll's House_. With the improved but still fledgling new roles of women today, I wonder what fresh insights the play offers. I note particularly that the play was careful to characterize women in all levels of society equally in the issues of their roles.

"Yes, excellent question. Let me ponder that a moment....Um...."

"Mr. Editor?"

"I think little girls are pigeon-holed into their roles with their dollies and doll houses. The play makes clear we should provide our daughters with gender-neutral toys."

"That is a new insight. Um, if you haven't actually read the play, just say so. No one has read everything. It's okay."

"I read it."

"You're not really Evil Editor, are you?"

"How'd you known?"

"You're not pretty."

--Wouldbe

Talk Show 5

“I see here you’re a fan of The Wind In The Willows. Is that — heh — because you identify with Toad?”

Evil adjusted his pince nez. To STUN.

“Let’s just say I have a penchant for...furry animals. Maybe you’ll meet them after the show. At dead of night.”

“Say what?”

“I understand his plight.”

“Yes, it seems like an innocent children’s tale, but Grahame’s portrayal—”

“Listen,” said Evil, bustling forward in his chair, “fuck The Wind In The Willows, let’s talk about my book...”

“What about Heidi?”

“Fuck that, too.” Evil pushed the astonished presenter from his seat and grabbed the microphone, Robert Plant style.

“Is this on? Is this on?” TAP TAP TAP. “Listen up, everyone. I gotta tellya about my favourite book of all time, written by me. It’s called Why You Don’t Get Published and—”

Evil felt a hand grab for his ankle, and with a double stomp of his Simply Snark stilettos, he impaled the presenter’s wrists to the studio floor and cleared his throat to deliver his trademark jingle.*

* To the tune of "The Star Spangled Banner"

“I’m the evillest of men.
I can sure wield a pen.
When you read this great book
all your senses will orgasm —
how’s that for a snappy sales pitch?”

Grinning maniacally, Evil produced a paperback from his tunic and waved it at Camera One.

“It’s a steal for nine bucks. And there’s a sequel. So don’t waste your money on all the crap they normally review. Hey, and there’s mugs and T shirts and—”

As armed heavies thundered onto the set, TV screens across America cut to images of squirrels bounding through the forest, and a hastily arranged announcer announced, “...so stay tuned for a re-run of last week’s ratings-busting interview with John Grisham...”

--Whirlochre

Talk Show 4

"Hey kid. My contract demands included stocking the green room with all flavors of Häagen Dazs. I don't see any vanilla."

"Sorry, sir. I couldn't get it, but I did get some Ben and Jerry's vanilla."

"Ben and Jerry's doesn't pay me for product placement on my blog. Plus, Jerry's an idiot."

"Sorry, sir. Perhaps you could try a different flavor?"

"Sometimes you just have a craving for vanilla. There's gotta be a Kroger store somewhere in this city. See what you can do."

"Yes sir. Anything else?"

"Some sprinkles would be nice. Brown, not the multi-colored ones. When am I on?"

***

"Dan Brown, ladies and gentlemen. The new book is Tunnels Under the Vatican. My next guest is the world's most famous editor--in fact, the world's only famous editor. Please welcome to the show Evil Editor."

"Thank you Chuck. May I call you Chuck?"

"Actually, it's Harold."

"Thank you."

"So, EE, what have you been working on lately?"

"Nothing. Listen, if that kid shows up with my ice cream while we're still on, have him bring it on the set."

"The board of the Modern Library has come out with a list of the 100 best novels published in English since 1900. The top two were Ulysses and The Great Gatsby. Your thoughts?"

'First of all, if anyone on the 'board' actually read Ulysses, I'll eat a copy. They should make a Ben and Jerry's flavor called Ulysses' Fishies. It would contain a bunch of unpronounceable ingredients and some fish bones you could choke on. As for Gatsby, I read the whole thing waiting to find out what was so great about him. Never saw it. He was mediocre at best. It should be called The Ordinary Gatsby, The Unexceptional Gatsby, The Vanilla Gats-- Where the hell is that kid with my ice cream?!!"

--Evil Editor

Talk Show 3

"The Book-TV Schoolbus is in Macon County, Georgia for the Macon-Bacon Bibliomaniac BookApalooza discussing literary classics with renowned Blogger, Evil Editor. What upcoming, new-again classics do you recommend?" Peter asked.

"You mean aside from Slip Me A Benjamin and I'm Yours Forever?"

"I'm not familiar with that title," Slen said.

"Can't say I didn't try. Now did you know that Plornk Publishing of Seattle just issued a new edition of Atlas Shrugged? That's a stunning work of unbridled genius. It always leaves the reader stupefied, giddy, and braindead. Seattle gives it to all their assisted suicides. Odd Fact, didja-know Rand was really a man in disguise and she's been reincarnated as Ann Coulter. If you look close, they have the same Adam's Apple." Evil sipped his Evian.

"Rand is very popular with our conservative viewers."

"Brings to mind Boreham Pub's edition of Tess of the D'Urbervilles; the perfect novel for light summer reading. Pack more than one when you go to the beach. The beach bunnies will love you for your mind not your body. Remember to take sun block just in case you fall asleep. Second degree sunburn on your feet ain't pretty but it beats getting sunburned elsewhere at a nudist colony." Evil fanned his face suggestively.

"I'll warn Brian."

"Book-TV's rampant lion! For him, Pinkus Publishing just popped out a new edition of ULYSSES by Joyce. It's got a posthumous introduction by Jacqueline Susann written a year before her death philosophizing the insignificant peek-a-boo schmuck in the bathtub. You think Joyce could have had a premonition and simply said Dick Nixon but no, no, no, he had to take 1000 words to describe an uncut skin flute floating in some sudsy water."

"With that image, we've run out of time. Thank you EE."

--Dave F.

Talk Show 2

"Good evening bookworms and welcome to The Road to Publishing on Book-TV. I'm your host, Warren Booker. Writers everywhere are piling up unpublished manuscripts. To help correct this tragedy, tonight we'll be talking with Evil Editor, author of Why You Don't Get Published."

The lights brightened and theme music played. Evil's stomach rumbled; he'd missed lunch.

Warren said, "So, Evil, why don't writers get published?"

"They don't make it out of the slush pile," said Evil. "People send query letters claiming their story will be the next sliced bread without including enough plot essentials to tell if it's sourdough or rye." Evil shuddered.

"But some books, like War and Peace, are complex. Or, take Arabian Nights. There's murder, adventure, comedy, romance, horror, fantasy, science fiction, evil minions, ruthless vigilante sorcerers, and creatures that could be construed as weredingoes with the right translation."

Evil sipped his water. "Arabian Nights is more of a folklore smorgasbord than a slice of pumpernickel. Even so, there's a sandwiching plot: girl betrays boy, boy executes girls, girl ends boy's reign of terror. War and Peace could be described as bakery on the verge of corporate takeover, no need for each employee's life history."

"Quite," said Warren. "Now, with help from our studio audience, Evil will demonstrate how he sorts slush."

The audience rose as one and surged forward. Each member held out a six-inch stack of paper. "He promised you'd work on one chapter of each of our manuscripts," they chorused.

"You're all writers?" Sweat dripped from Evil's brow.

As the mob closed in, Warren turned towards the camera. "We'll have more after the break. And don't forget to join us next week for our episode on analyzing the editor's brain with our special guest, the zombie known as P. S. Lovecraft."

--Faceless Minion

Talk Show 1

The host turned to the camera. “After numerous agents rejected our invitation to appear on this show, we took a brave leap forward and went directly to the editors ourselves. Please welcome, for the first time on video - outside of his blog - Evil Editor.”

Thunder filled the room, emanating from both the enthusiastic applause of the studio audience and Evil Editor’s footsteps. EE crossed the stage and settled into the overstuffed chair next to the host’s desk.

“I’d like to thank you for coming on our program,” the host said.

“Go right ahead.”

“What?” the host asked.

“I said go right ahead,” EE repeated. He tapped the small microphone on his lapel. “Is this thing working?”

“Yes. Go right ahead and what?”

“Thank me.” EE’s eyes glowed red.

“Thank you?”

“You’re welcome.” The glowing dimmed ever so slightly.

“I’m sorry, what for?”

“You said you would like to thank me. I consented. You did. I said you’re welcome. It’s a common gesture of courtesy, although it can lead to silly repetitive dialogue, which I hate.”

“Right. Well, today we wanted to ask your expert opinion on two literary classics, one modern, and the other age-old. First, MOBY DICK. Whale were you the first time you read MOBY DICK?” The host asked, oblivious to his Freudian slip.

“Are you commenting on my weight?” EE asked, raising his spectacle in preparation for the eventual incineration of the dolt behind the desk.

The host stared at the teleprompter screen in hope of salvation. The last thing he saw was a brilliant flash – perhaps the only moment of true brilliance in his sad existence.

Thunder again filled the room as the audience burst into applause and EE exited stage-left with a look of satisfaction on his face.

--Rick Daley

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday Film Series


In consideration of those attending later performances, the janitorial staff asks that you not leave behind a sticky mess when exiting Evil Editor's Shorts.

video

Friday, May 22, 2009

New Beginning 642

It was three weeks before I left for boarding school when I said to my mom, “I dreamed I was standing in the doorway of an airplane. We were up in the sky, and everybody was yelling ‘jump-jump-jump!’ But I didn’t have a parachute.”

We weren’t packing yet. Mostly tossing all the stuff I didn’t use anymore and wasn’t taking with me. So when I was actually gone, my room would be clean. Or maybe a guest room. I wasn’t sure. I don’t know why I said that thing about the airplane, because up until then, we’d been having a pretty good time.

She had been teasing me about the fact I’d written I LOVE AARON SHARPE about a thousand times on this old notebook I’d found under my bed. I told her I couldn’t care less about the guy. AARON SHARPE had failed his driver’s license test two times this summer and would be taking the bus to high school next fall. And anyway, there was a lifeguard at the pool this year that was completely hotter.

So I went from my notebook to Aaron to the hot lifeguard to my dream, and that was when Mom got all flaky and distant.

"Keep tidying. I'll be right back," she said, and skittered off like a frightened deer. I shrugged and stuffed some old Cosmos into the trash bag.


"We need to talk," Mom said a few minutes later when she came back into the room. "That dream? I know you're almost grown up and going to boarding school, and I know you'll get all sorts of pressure, but you don't
have to have unprotected sex, just 'cause all your friends are telling you it's cool." I could feel my eyes widen and my jaw drop. "There are ways to keep a boy interested without giving him everything . . ." That was when she held up the carrot.

There's nothing like BJ lessons from your Mom to ruin a special Mother-Daughter moment.



Opening: anon......Continuation: anon.

Cartoon 391

Caption: anon.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Face-Lift 634


Guess the Plot

Dawn's Rise

1. Get up. Come on. It's 6:32 already, Dawn. Have to wash face. Brush teeth. 6:33. Have to get stockings out of dryer. Come on. It's 6:34. Make coffee. Get up, or at least hit the snooze button. The alarm is driving me nuts.

2. Solar flares! Asteroids and earthquakes! All Earth's cities destroyed, refugees battling over the world's remaining resources, and the survivors on the space station struggling just to breathe. Can Dawn rise above the chaos and save the planet from the coming apocalypse. . . before her head explodes?

3. Now that Dawn is running for President, Brenda wants to save America by telling everyone what happened that day at Ridgemont High. But can she evade Dawn's cousin Louie, the hitman from Chicago, long enough to get to her clandestine poolside meeting with hunky reporter Chad Wilson?

4. Dawn Flamingo, trapeze acrobat, does too much blogging and develops carpal tunnel problems that ruin her grip. Circus master Jack fires her. Now a woeful waitress, Dawn can only dream of redemption . . . until fate makes her the first kangaroo whisperer.

5. Searching in the archives for something more interesting than the "one thousand ways to praise the god Saratorn," Raston, the youngest priest in the Order of Eternal Darkness stumbles upon the truth: the darkness is almost over, Aspilon is about to enter its cycle of light. Hunted by the priesthood who want to hide the truth, can Raston get anyone to believe him before . . . Dawn's Rise?

6. Accidentally "murdered" by her idiotic high school chums, Dawn is dumped overboard into the warm waters of the Burmuda triangle, where she encounters a radioactive substance and grows to be 230 feet tall. Now she's coming ashore to get her revenge.


Original Version

Dear Agent

Savior of the Planet. [If I know most agents, they're gonna think that's part of your salutation.]

That's a hell of a job description and not one that Dawn Anami would have chosen for herself, but it was thrust upon her by prophesy. [Did this prophecy name Dawn Anami, or did it just say the planet would be saved by the niece of an Albanian cheese merchant? I only ask because I have a feeling if there's a prophecy declaring that Dawn Anami will be the world's savior, you're gonna suddenly find a multitude of parents naming their kids Dawn Anami.] Now she has to contend with a space station breaking away from Earth, a massive world quake that destroys the cities (all of them!), the combination of an asteroid and solar flares that threaten to annihilate the crippled station and everyone on the ground, plus groups of refugees battling over the world's remaining resources while the survivors on the space station struggle just to breathe. Can she unite the warring factions in time or will they all perish in the coming apocalypse? Or will her mind explode from her unrelenting visions of death and destruction? [It sounds to me like all anyone has to do is open their eyes and they'll see unrelenting visions of death and destruction.]

It's no wonder DAWN'S RISE is 145,000 words long. Facing just about every disaster known to man, she needs every one of them to meet her destiny and save the planet. [It sounds like you mean every disaster, rather than every word. In any case, it's a flimsy justification for submitting a book that long.] I come from a high-tech background where we face crises on a daily basis.

[Boss: Johnson! The system's down!

Johnson: Did you try rebooting?]

I've put that fire-fighting spirit into my writing.


Notes

Are you sure this is Earth? At a time when we've advanced to having space stations? Because when all our cities have been destroyed and the apocalypse is upon us, I don't see a lot of earthlings trusting in Dawn Anami to set things right. I see the entire population in Road Warrior mode.

Is Dawn on the space station? If not, why is the space station in the query? It seems pretty trivial compared to the other stuff raining down on us. If she is on the station, how is she supposed to unite warring factions? Are the warring factions on the space station?

The query is mainly a list of bad stuff happening. We need the story. Who is Dawn? When was it prophesied that she would save the planet? What was she doing before all hell broke loose? What are the warring factions at war about? What is Dawn planning to do about it?

Cartoon 390

Caption: Evil Editor

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Beginning 641

Mother didn’t struggle much when I killed her. The softness of the pillow fluffed away any of those little noises people make when you smother them, and the frailness of her body under mine meant she had little strength for movement by the time I did her this favour. And it was definitely a favour. I think I heard an echo of a whimper in my mind as I softly wrapped the feather-filled cotton over her face. I chose the finest down pillow for her. It was the least I could do. Of course that meant I had to buy it and bring it myself as she would never spend that amount of money on something as insignificant as a pillow. Just another example of how I went out of my way for her, even at the end, just as I had all through her life. Well, okay – not ALL her life, as for most of it I wasn’t even there. But if you are going to be pedantic we will never get through this tale...

When she finally stopped twitching, and I smelt that her body had gone through its final releases, I took the pillow off her face and, before her skin cooled, rearranged her face into the smile I knew and loved. I wanted to do more, I wanted her to be clean and comfortable when the others arrived, I knew she would hate being seen as she was. But to do more would raise questions I was not, at that age, ready to answer. And so I did what I could: I smoothed her smile, found her foundation so her face at least would look radiant and wonderful, and then I went downstairs, made my lunch, and went to school.

In our classroom Johnny pulled me aside and asked me: "How'd it go?"

I told him.

"You idiot," he whispered, "she canceled the matricide assignment 'cause Davey doesn't have one. We were just supposed to research the five times people are most vulnerable to attack."

"Um, when sleeping, when eating, in the shower--" I tried to think of other plausible answers. The bell rang.

"Okay, heads on desks, children," Mrs. Cavanaugh said. "It's nappy time."


Opening: C.J. Sirett.....Continuation: Faceless Minion

New Beginning 640 (horror short story)

Let’s play a game. I’ll tell you about the people in my family, and you guess which one of them is the real crazy. I know what you’re thinking. There’s all kinds of crazy, but I mean the real kind. I’m talking about the kind of crazy that needs to be locked away in a dark place. C’mon; it’ll be fun.

I’ll start with my mom. She’s a real piece of work. She’s depressed. Not bi-polar at all. Just depressed. There isn’t a pharmaceutical or clinical remedy known to mankind that will get her out of bed in daylight hours on a regular basis. I hear she used to be happy, and beautiful, and alive. Now, she just curls up in bed and stares at the wall. If you ask her why, she’ll tell you her eyes are burning.

Every once in a while, my dad would get fed up with the dishes and the smell, and he’d kick her out of bed. He’d kick her until it hurt, and she’d get up and shower. She’d do a little laundry, and rake up the trash. She might even make him dinner afterwards. She’d lie on the sofa and stare at him until he fell asleep. She stared, but she never cried. As soon as he was asleep, it was back to bed for her.

My aunt once told me that my grandma used to lock my mother in the cellar because she was afraid of the dark. It must have worked. She likes the dark now.

So, which one? Give up? Ok, I’ll tell.

It's not my mom. I mean, my mom is depressed, but only economically. She’s been working nights as a minimum wage data entry clerk for BLR Medical, staring at an old CRT monitor for eight hour shifts. Talk about eye strain. And it's not my dad; he’s not crazy at all. He’s just a sadistic wife-beating drunk. As for my grandma, she's the sweetest little old lady you could ever hope to meet. She never once locked my mom up anywhere.

My aunt, however. Schizophrenic pathological liar with acute dissociative identity disorder and a smidgen of delusional parasitosis. She told me that lie about grandma because she thought I was Sookie McFadden, her imaginary CIA handler who orchestrates military coups and installs puppet regimes in Central America every other Thursday armed with only a paperclip, a Zippo lighter, and half a can of Easy Cheese. Total whack job.

Hey, that was fun. How about another game? I know! Wanna guess which one of my siblings is a serial killer?


Opening: Jenny Martin.....Continuation: Blogless_Troll

Cartoon 389

Caption: anon.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Face-Lift 633

Guess the Plot

Hound in Blood and Black

1. When 5th grader Sindy Snowden arrives for her second day at school everything is really freaky. She soon realizes that's because her teacher opened a portal to a cartoon world and was replaced by Huckleberry Hound.

2. Louie is the last werehound in Nashville. He spends most of his time listening to old Elvis tunes, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes, brooding over the past. Except, of course, when the moon shines and he goes crazy chasing cats and rabbits. Which is exactly how he meets Elvira, Queen of the Night, a washed-up harlot with a kind heart, who thinks he has a future in show business.

3. Thirteen year old Gwendar has made a terrible mistake; he has insulted the dreaded High King Dreadmost. Dreadmost casts Gwendar into the royal kennel for punishment. There, Gwendar must fight amongst the hounds for his very survival. But Gwendar does more than survive, he rises to become leader of the pack.

4. Her nickname: Hound. Her occupation: zombie poacher. But on this futuristic Earth, zombies aren't killed; they're captured and pitted against each other in gladiatorial combat. When Hound gets bitten by a zombie, will she lose her humanity and be forced to fight other zombies for the entertainment of the rabble?

5. The Hound of the Baskervilles is not dead, merely in hiding. It's going to take all the wits of Dr. Watson's ten-year old descendant, Emma, to deal with this one - and where's Holmes when you really need him? Reincarnated as a rabbit! How is he going to survive this time?

6. When reporter Vali Thorres finds artist Luke Klaus's most vocal critic with his throat ripped out, he follows the blood to one of Klaus's paintings. Before he can call the police, both trail and body vanish. Thorres must find a way to restore Klaus's soul before the creatures he bargained with are unleashed.


Original Version

Dear Agent,

Kumari is a wrangler; a poacher [a puppet, a pirate, a poet,] and a gambler who catches zombies and fights them against one another as gladiators. All she wanted to do was live and die without becoming a monster. [As the rest of the query is in present tense, that sentence may as well be, too.] In a broken Earth populated by undead, slavers, drought and greed, this isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Kumari’s simple life changes from one of survival to something much more complicated [Can a life centered around capturing zombies and pitting them against other zombies in the arena really be called "simple"?] when she wins a girl in a risky gamble – a child-slave desperate to find something to live for in the world Kumari has forsaken – [What is the world Kumari has forsaken?] and is forced to kill her closet friend when he is bitten by an undead. [This wouldn't have happened if her friend had come out of the closet.] When running to a new city in hopes of escaping her pain causes more problems than it solves, Kumari faces the loss of the only thing worth living for when she is infected by a zombie bite: her humanity.

HOUND IN BLOOD AND BLACK, complete at approximately 100,000 words, is science fiction/horror. Kumari’s story explores a new kind of future where existing isn’t just about running from and killing zombies [like it is in most other books about the future], but fighting them against each other in gladiatorial combat – the only way left for mankind to prove to themselves that they aren’t the real monsters.

In January 2009, my short story Savage was published in Monstrous: 20 Tales of Giant Creature Terror by Permuted Press. Recently, Savage was republished in the April 2009 issue of the Apex online magazine. [Now I've expanded it into this novel in hopes of milking it for yet another paycheck.]

Thank you for your consideration,

Author's note (not part of query): The title comes from the following: Kumari's nickname is Hound, black marks are the highest ranking matches for a wrangler to participate in, and the blood refers to how the zombies are prepped for combat (coated in human blood to make them fight each other). [Coated in whose human blood?] When Kumari becomes a gladiator herself, and fights the zombies in the pit, she's no exception. So Hound in Blood and Black refers to Kumari when she fights under black marks, painted in blood.


Notes

There's too much about the world and not enough about the story. No need to tell us it's a world in which zombies fight as gladiators in both the first and third paragraphs. Instead, give us more about the child-slave, who I assume is a major player.

When it takes almost as many words to explain your title as it does to summarize your plot, it's time to find a simpler title.

If the hound in the title is your main character, you might want to refer to her as "Hound" at least once in the query. Of course this action won't be necessary when you change the title to Zombie Gladiators of Lorkha Tau.

On the other hand, you will have to change your setting to Lorkha Tau.

Everyone knows vampire bites turn you into a vampire and zombies eat your brains. This is like writing a book in which sharks solve crimes and detectives eat surfers.

Do zombie fights take place in a coliseum, with wranglers just providing the zombies, or is it more like cockfighting, where the wrangler brings her zombie to some pit in the boondocks where people gamble on fights?

Do zombie gladiators need swords? Can't they just plod around waiting for their opponents' limbs to fall off?

Cartoon 388

Caption: Anon.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Face-Lift 632

Guess the Plot

Honor Bound

1. Vesper Fitzhawke swore an oath to the new King of England, and is now honor-bound to marry a Scotsman! What was she thinking? Will she honor her oath or will she fall in with Odo the malevolent bishop?

2. Christy never wanted an arranged marriage, even if it is to the elf prince. She doesn't believe in this "fate bound" nonsense everyone is gushing, so she resolves to run away. Can she find true love amongst the magic and sorcery of the enchanted woods?

3. The six girls at Springdale Reform House swear never to reveal which of them is the vampire, but the zombie can't get anything straight and blurts it out. When junior counselor Tabitha Thompson realizes a third of her charges are already dead, she must decide, among other things, whether to tell Nurse Williams to skip their flu shots.

4. Rubi Stevens is a housekeeper by day, dominatrix by night. When one of her clients turns up dead and Rubi is framed for murder, she must unravel the mystery before she loses both her jobs.

5. The 4:00 stage to Honor, Texas rattles across the desert. On board are four passengers: a shotgun-toting killer, a chain-smoking pyromaniac, a whore who won't shut up, and a bible-quoting dynamite salesman who just wants to get his 200 pounds of product safely to town--and maybe save a few souls on the way. This is their story.

6. A giant, mutant serpent is slithering through the sewers below the beautiful duplexes of Pleasant Pines. First cats, then dogs, then children disappear. It's not until the serpent rears its head out of Miss Honor Wilhelmina Pringle's toilet that it meets its match.


Original Version

Dear Agent:

As William the Conqueror’s sons battle for his throne, Vesper must prove her honor to others and her worthiness to herself. Interweaving fiction with actual events and historical characters, Honor Bound (about 130,000 words) is a historical fiction that blends political intrigue, feudal honor, and romance, set in a world where treacherous plots abound and misplaced trust is fatal. [I would put the second sentence at the end of the plot. Or put the first sentence at the beginning of the plot.]

The year is 1088 and England is torn asunder by rebellion. To keep her estate Havre de Grace—[Translation: Graceland.] the most important thing in the world to her—Vesper Fitzhawke gives her oath of fealty to the new king. [We don't need the part about her estate being important to her.] Once she is honor bound to obey him, the wily ruler commands her to wed against her will and sends her on a dangerous, clandestine mission in his fight to save his throne from his brother’s efforts to supplant him.

Grim Eryvine, the exciting, but infuriating Scottish warrior she is forced to marry, [One wonders if she'd have pledged her loyalty to the king if she'd known she'd have to marry a Scotsman.] [Though it could've been worse. She could've been stuck with a Welshman.] [You can be pretty sure your marriage is gonna be grim when you marry a guy named Grim.]

[King: I've chosen a husband for you.
Vesper: Who is he?
King: He's Grim.
Vesper: Damn. What's his name?
King: It's Grim.
Vesper: Yes, but what is it?
King: I just told you.
Vesper: His name is Ijus Tolju?
King: It's Grim.
Vesper: You can say that again.]


is a wanderer and a loner. He scorns the role of estate holder and adamantly opposes being bound to one person or one place. For those reasons—and because Grim believes that women do not have the necessary sense of honor to hold true to a sworn oath—he clashes with Vesper and sparks fly. Even so, Grim is irresistibly drawn to the beautiful and strong-willed demoiselle he is forced to marry. As he plunges deeper into a web of desire and longing for her, he grows to fear that she loves Havre de Grace more than she could love any man and would even commit treason to possess it. [She already possesses it, having pledged fealty to the king, so why would he be concerned with her committing treason?]

Vesper and Grim immediately find themselves entangled in the Machiavellian schemes of Odo, the malevolent Bishop of Bayeux. [This scene from the Bayeux Tapestry shows Odo; if you look closely you can see him on the king's right. Click on the picture for an enlargement.


Odo being one of the great characters of all time, it's a mistake to not even mention him until paragraph four. A better opening hook for the query would be: When the mysterious Odo takes the shape of the Bishop of Bayeux, it's just a matter of time before the English throne falls, in my novel Odo is in this Book; You Simply Must Have It. Note that I managed to work Odo into the title to ensure readers will grab it from bookstore shelves.] The devious bishop secretly leads the rebellion against the untried English ruler [by shape-shifting into the king's most trusted servant] and seeks to suborn Vesper into treason with a tantalizing promise. In exchange for her help, the would-be usurper will grant her control of her land unencumbered by an unwanted husband. Vesper now confronts the draconian choice of fulfilling her oath to the king and performing the difficult tasks given to her, [That last part is vague; delete it.] or committing treason in exchange for a most enticing reward.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

I look forward to hearing from you. [Delete that. As you may have noticed, we're trying to shorten this.]

Very truly yours,


Notes

Is this historical romance or a historical novel with some romance thrown in? It sounds like the former, as you give more play to the Vesper/Grim relationship than to the political intrigue and treacherous plots, so call it a romance if that's what it is.

It's well-written; just get it down to three plot paragraphs and one concluding paragraph and trim it a bit.

Vesper loses her estate if she doesn't marry Grim, but Grim has no interest in estate ownership or marriage, so why would he marry Vesper?

The king sends Vesper on a clandestine mission, the bishop recruits her to help him oust the king . . . Why does everyone want this woman on their side? What is it about Vesper that qualifies her to do stuff that would normally fall to James Bond?

Fitzhawke. Vesper Fitzhawke. Nope, doesn't have the same ring to it.

Cartoon 387

Caption: Faceless Minion

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Evil Vs. Good 8

Evil Editor glowered at his counterpart over the mounds of typescript. "Just look at it," he snarled. "There must be enough here for a dozen books."

"Well," said Good Editor with a wry smile, "we can't fault the author for lack of enthusiasm."

"We can fault him for his sloppy plotting," Evil Editor growled. "This storyline veers all over the place like a drunk on roller skates. And how many characters are there? I've lost count."

"True," murmured Good Editor, "the book is certainly as well-populated as the All-You-Can-Eat buffet at the National Bulimics' Convention. But I think the basic spiritual theme comes through strongly in the work."

"What about this?" Evil Editor pointed out a page with one wizened claw. "The transition from part one to part two is as jarring as a phone call from Albuquerque during lovemaking! And the first half of part two is the same sequence of events told from four different points of view! It's as pretentious as a man with a goatee reading thirteenth century Urdu poetry in Starbucks."

"It's a legitimate stylistic choice. It's a pivotal moment in the book; it needs that level of scrutiny, an examination as detailed as the search for a lost credit card in a landfill."

"The last chapter is nothing more than an extended acid trip!"

"It's probably aimed at the Californian market."

Sparks flew from Evil Editor's muttonchops as he fumed in rage. "Acquire it if you must," he said with a sneer, "but even an entirely mythical creature like you must realize, this 'Holy Bible' will never sell."

--Steve

Evil Vs. Good 7

“It’s crap. Falderal not worth the paper it’s typed on,” declared Evil Editor.

“It’s brilliant! A chef-d’oeuvre beyond compare,” retorted Good Editor.

“You’ve obviously had more than your share of angel dust today, GE. The dialogue is as stilted as a Blue Heron and the plot’s as shaky as the Warsaw Pact.”

“I beg to differ.”

“He that humbleth himself wishes to be exalted.”*

“Your wish is my command!”

“If wishes were horses beggars would ride.”

“A bad horse eats as much as a good one.”

"The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.** But enough of this banter. We shall agree to disagree. Besides, Literary Fiction makes me cranky.” Evil Editor opened the closet door and grabbed two large pink plastic ring and rolled one across the floor to GE who appraised the device with bemusement.

“Rather large for a halo,” joked Good Editor.

“It’s the latest thing. They call it a hula hoop,” said Evil, slipping the ring around his rotund middle and gyrating grotesquely.

“Oh, you crazy kid! Next thing you’ll tell me you like Elvis Presley!”

Evil smirked and fluttered his upper lip into a brief sneer. “One for the money, two for the show – ”

Good Editor continued to read the manuscript in question while Evil Editor grunted and twisted, vainly attempting to keep the plastic hoop spinning. Good Editor sighed deeply and rolled the long scroll into a tight tube. “I think you should reconsider your opinion of this one, E. It’s fresh, edgy, and I’m sure it would do well in the youth market. I find it to be, oh, how should I say it? Whitmanesque! Here, let me read the opening lines to you: ‘I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up. . . With the coming of Dean Moriarty began the part of my life you could call my life on the road.’”


“Nah, I’ll pass. But hey, it’s lunchtime. Let’s go get cheeseburgers from that new place down the street. I think it’s called McDonalds.”

--ME

* Nietzsche

** Oscar Wilde

Evil Vs. Good 6

"So you're saying I should just string Anon along, then, make him wait for it, wait for it, wait for it, make him think for a while he really is a writer, you know, possibly commenting on his comments as though they were intelligible and meaningful, get him to send in an opening, maybe even a query letter if he's actually written a novel and isn't only a poseur - then ZAP, BLAM, KAPOWIE - Writer dreaming, sunk on a big thick stick, sunk deep into the sludge that is the slush piles we both know and don't love. Right? Am I right?"

Good Editor thought about it, thought about referring to this mess in front of him as EE, as the guy liked the minions on his blog to refer to him. Hell, as he referred to himself. In third person. Like emperors and kings did, back in the day. But no. He couldn't bring himself to hop on board and ride his alter ego's glory train.

"No. No. That is not, as you put it, right, X-Ray-Eyes-Boy. This is not what editing is supposed to be about." He paused, pulled a paper to him from across Evil's side of the desk. "Take this opening now. It's multi-layered, it looks as though..."

"Are you kidding me? Don't be such a goody-assed fool. Look at this thing. Not one weredingo in sight. Not one science fiction reference. No steampunk here. Just rumination and an extratextual reference to some fucking 'classic' no one ever reads any more."

"Are you telling me without unreal creatures and times, you'll, as you say, pass?"

"Hell, yes. Unless there's sex in it. Sex and weredingoes, even better."

"How about sex WITH weredingos?"

"Sold."

--Robin S.

Evil Vs. Good 5

EE: "This one's worse than the last. It's like reading a kidney bean sandwich. On stale rye."

GE: "You just picked it up, EE. You didn't even have time to read the first sentence."

EE: "I would have, GE, if the first sentence had actually been a sentence."

GE: "I always read at least three chapters. It's the least I can do after a writer puts her faith in me."

EE: "Interesting. I seldom read past the third sentence. I wonder which of us ends up buying more manuscripts from the slush."

GE: "I've never actually bought one, but--"

EE: "Me neither."

GE: "Still, I wouldn't want the next Grisham to slip through the cracks, like dental floss between Terry Thomas's central incisors."

EE: "If only Grisham had slipped through the cracks."

GE: "Besides EE, after reading a few chapters I can offer the author the benefit of my advice, make them a better writer, even a better person."

EE: "GE, you bring good things to life. The only advice I wanna hand out is to drop the writing and become a veterinarian. That's where the money is. Guess what I paid to have my weredingo's teeth cleaned last week."

GE: "A thousand dollars."

EE: "I wish. I shoulda let 'em rot. He never chews anything anyway. Food flows down his throat like water onto the faces of the CIA's torture victims."

GE: "There's that tingly feeling I had right before I was transported to your office. Looks like I'm about to be sent back."

EE, GE: "Thank God."

--Evil Editor

Evil Vs. Good 4

Good Editor picked up the top page of a manuscript. "Last one? Karma's on my side tonight."

Evil Editor grabbed the page from Good and slammed it onto the desk. "Don't touch that, you'll disturb the microbes."

"But, there's an author somewhere who's bled out his soul to produce what a blind earthworm might term writing." Good pried Evil's fingers away.

"His soul would have been of more use donated to the IRS." Red light shot from Evil's eyes but was deflected by the wholesome glow surrounding Good. "That has all the passion of a terrorist charity revival. I must keep the author writhing with uncertainty."

Good raised an eyebrow. "My dear sir, ruthless vigilante sorcerers couldn't prevent me from stomping any author's hope with a Godzilla-sized Smokey Bear." He snapped his fingers and handed the manuscript to the man who appeared. "Minion, arrange the pages according to the Fibonacci sequence interspersed with the prime numbers. Draw large circles on each page then shuffle them; underline a few words, shuffle the pages again, doodle in the margins, then put them back in order. Use this pen -- the ink in the last one wasn't leaking through enough paper."

"Wait," said Evil, "you have ink that bleeds through pages?"

"Chapters at a time, just like plot holes. And words written with it are impossible to read, just like most authors' English. Consideration should be dispensed in equal measure to that given." Good cracked his knuckles.

Evil began to drool.

Handing him a card, Good said, "I have the pens custom made; here's the supplier. Now that we're finished, how would you like to watch an edited version of 'Misery'?"

"Edited?" asked Evil, suspiciously.

"Annie's got our face and the ending's been fixed." Good clapped Evil's shoulder. "You'll love it."

--Faceless Minion

Evil Vs. Good 3

Evil Editor and Evil Editor both woke within seconds of each other in a stark room wrapped in sickly-colored mirrors. Both groped habitually (for their missing spectacles) and both were certain that a cruel hoax had been perpetrated on them by some fiendish power.

Evil Editor was sitting in a folding chair and his tidy appearance had been disrupted by someone’s going-through of his pockets. His creased-at-the-cleaners trousers had floppy rabbit ears and this astounded him far more than seeing his exact likeness wake up and begin to tuck his shirt in.

The second Evil Editor had also abandoned his search for his own glasses and began shoving his hand down the front of his pants. Waking up in a hard-backed chair with one’s shirt untucked was no way for a civilized man to live.

A single light bulb hung from a single cord from a solitary ceiling. Between the two men was a table, painted Navajo white, and bolted to the floor.

“This,” said Evil Editor, “is how I envisioned a face-off between Bill O’Reilly and Keith Olberman.”

“They’ll never put those two together,” said the other Evil Editor. “It’s like when they kept Scully and Molder from fucking.”

“My word! I beg of you, good sir. Do not use that kind of language before me. You’ll curl my chops!”

“Or like showing Chef Ramsey swapping DNA with some beautiful, inverted waitress…”

“Good sir!”

“Or…”

“Enough! You are an absurd man with grotesque sensibilities!”

Evil Editor had pounded the table between the two Evil Editors with his fist. The other Evil Editor had slapped the table with his hand. Both men now smarted.

”Just as I suspected. You are the part of me that I loathe. Wimpy priggish geezer!”

“Then you must be the part of me that I try and suppress! Oafish insouciant pervert!”

“I AM SO GLAD TO BE RID OF YOU!!”

The two men were shocked. Seeing their other nature separated out and forced into this confrontation in such a setting was a diabolical predicament, indeed! It must have been a minion who contrived such a plot! But which one?

“IT HAD TO BE DAVE!”

--Scott from Oregon

Evil Vs. Good 2

"Here's a scintillating opening line." Evil-EE read aloud; "We come from the farm, reeking and stinking of shanty Irish, a family of drinking fools unable to express any emotion except anger. Sounds like multisyllabic, metaphysical lit-fic. All beefy smell and no beefy substance."

"More playwright Eugene than Styronic smell of roses from the south," Good-EE tossed the manuscript like a hot potato. The shredder howled, tornado-like. They read another manuscript. "OH MY Holy Roller! How about opening with this; the most adventuresome food I ever ate was a mutton burger garnished with head cheese and served on a hot-crossed bun by a naked warrior in a Turkish bath"

"Avast me hardies! A seafaring adventure as appetizing as fried butt barnacles from a scurvy cuttlefish." Evil-EE twirled his muttonchops.

"Goodbye cookbook memoir. Whatcha got? Rats and cats? Dogs and Dodos?"

"Making my eyes bleed. It's drivel passing as flatulence, parading thru a swine pen and hanging on a Christmas cactus." Evil-EE shredded the Manuscript with his teeth.

"And this, is a Dan Brown wannabee shoveling manure outa Vatican City's barn. I'm not fact-checking all those obscure, truffle-like artifacts he digs like a bloodhound with a snootful of toot." Good-EE sighed.

"Both these manuscripts can fly like little wing-ed pork chops into the depths of swinish Sheol." The manuscripts thudded in the shredder. "Onward! Excelsior! The never-ending search through purple prose. Let us go then, you and I, into one last slurp of paper slushie," Bad-EE declaimed. Another pair of manuscripts met their eyes. Eyes like Nuns scrutinizing girl's skirts.

"In the summer of 1890, Mai-Tai Poon worked up to chief oyster shucker on a whaling boat in the South China Sea. It's poonerific booty," Bad-EE read.

"I'd rather be deaf, dumb and blind on Uranus."

"Yer' right! Pearl Buck, it ain't."

--Dave F.

Evil Vs. Good 1

“Jeez. What a bunch of crap.”

“A bunch, mayhap — but does not this florid assemblage speak of a special kinship? A symbiotic union of souls as words embrace each other into paragraphs?”

“Crap. I said crap, right?”

“Ah! The inevitable cascade of life’s gay splendour ingested, offered anew like a phoenix of fertility, rising o’er—”

“It’s Zombies in post-Apocalypse Connecticut, you prissy fop. I musta read that one like a thousand freakin’ times.

“In truth, it was 997.”

“OK. Bad analogy. Here’s a nickel.”

“But the font, regard you the font. Such sublime swirls and majesties of calligraphic fancy as would grace the wedding cake of newly betrothed angels.”

“You kidding? It’s like trying to read Goldie Hawn’s muff. And these goddam illustrations...”

“Inscribed with the skill of Michelangelo himself: the Sistine Chapel and the Lindisfarne Bible as one. Behold the zombie lord peeling the protagonist’s bloodied sidekick, a hooded cloak for to make. Tis an image rendered as if with a quill plucked from the wing of Pegasus.”

“Or a lousy inkjet. And what about the paper? It’s like a rhino’s ass.”

“And yet, a rhino that has felt the lick of moisturising cream about its much maligned sphincter; a rhino whose hide, if nurtured by you and I, might assume a texture of velvet, such that children may one day gather to pet its silky softness as they look to the stars, their eyes full of hope.”

“No way. Aliens just zapped those goddam kids and I squirted the cream in the waste disposal. As for the rhino, it ain’t no bronco, this ain’t no rodeo and I ain’t no masochistic cowboy — much as my muttonchops resemble the brim of a hat when seen in silhouette.”

“So, we’re throwing it out?”

“Yes”

“OK, I’ll get my scissors...”

--Whirlochre

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday Film Series


Time once again to poke your head into Evil Editor's Shorts.

video