Saturday, September 22, 2007

Writing Exercise Results

The task was to write a scene in which Evil Editor, wearing a disguise, is conducting a writing workshop for his minions aboard a cruise ship in Alaska.


She hated the cold. It always felt life threatening, which is why Alaska had never been on her hit list of places to explore. She’d been hoping for something tropical. Even the desert would’ve done.

But no, he’d mentioned the salmon fishing. Well, hey, how about salmon fishing in the Yemen? At least it was hot there, and who cared about the salmon part anyway?

Never mind, never mind, he was here. The door opened. A cold chill walked in with him.

He was disguised, of course - he’d said he would be. It looked as though he’d combined two actor’s face masks for his disguise- he was Christopher Walken, but no, no, from a slightly different angle, it seemed he was Harrison Ford. One part of his face, however, was mask free, just as she’d hoped it would be, and that was the part surrounding his beautiful mouth. Yes. There it was, just as she’d imagined…a gorgeous goatee, trimmed close, maybe a little gray.

They’d gotten together, the female minions; figuring if they acted quickly and in concert, they’d shut out any chance Paca and Dave and the other guys would have.

Five female minions on this five day cruise. One writer's workshop per day, length undetermined. Perfect.

--Robin S.


"It's as if he ordered the northern lights specially for his entrance."

I looked up through the stateroom porthole. The sky was a ballroom of dancing curtains, just as the woman in the tight, leopardskin pencil skirt had described.

"I hope he can conjure whales, too," I responded.

There were six of us in the room. Two aesthetic dandies with ruffles and matching six inch cigarette holders stood at the bar in gentle conversation. I was seated opposite leopard woman, her over-large spectacles perched on a surgically reduced nose. Her mouth was tight, I noticed, her eyes examining. A more matronly woman sat alone at the central table, her brown handbag before her. An older looking gentleman in tweeds and a nicotine-stained moustache hunched his frame into a corner seat, as if plotting suburban subversion.

Six of us in the room. I returned Ms. Nip'n'tuck's gaze: "I thought there were only five students on this cruise. Does that mean Evil Editor is already here?"

"You're quick," she replied. "Let's hope you draft as well as you deduce!" She raised her voice: "Good morning class. Welcome to my Frozen Floating Writer's Workshop. Our first assignment shall be a 200 word opening on the theme of deception!"



He paused at the doorway, drinking in the scene.

Four women--thank God--and all in what he called business casual, blouses and skirts aching for the gentle ministrations of his educated hands. He could already hear their moans of pleasure as he whispered bits of wisdom to them.

"Weredingoes, love, you must have weredingoes..."

A young man pushed him aside. "Dude," snarled the newcomer, "move your fat ass, will you? I've got a meeting to get to and I'm not giving up my chances, for some old guy!"

Evil Editor smiled. Soon, he thought, I will feed you to the sharks. And only the ladies would know that beneath this soft exterior waited a body cut like a diamond.



Paper overflows; stacks cover the floor, fill the bookcases, dribble out of mail slots and rest crumpled in the cobweb-ridden corners. Two authors sit on chairs upholstered in paper; their feet resting on the papered floor. Heaven knows what lies beneath the paper but does not wish to reveal it -- a canonical secret of semi-huge proportions.

A glamorous redhead in a peak-a-boob silk blouse and spiked heels talks to a Chubby girl with long Auburn hair rolling off her shoulders and down to her ample torso. Behind the postage desk and archaic computer sits a secretary wearing beehive hair of salt and pepper, a most unladylike Adam's apple and set of muttonchops.

"You understand, only literary writing counts. All else is commercial drivel. That's what my Master's Advisor taught me," says the redhead.

"I'm offering a boat trip to Alaska." The secretary holds out a brochure.

"My writing coach simply hated commercial writing. She said they made her uterus dry heave."

"Pacific mists parting to reveal palisades of ice rising high above the water. Ice from the last ice age. Whales breaching the waves."

"So what do we write? Middle-grade stories that get laughs with snot and vomit."

"And during the day, EE will be giving writing lessons each morning and grading them during lunch."

"Food? My last meal was over-pepperonied pizza dinners with pizza-faced kids."

"At night, the green, red and golden of the Aurora Borealis fills the sky."

"Tapas and hot chili peppers. That's all my kids eat. I swear, they're the most regular kids on the planet."

"The trip of a lifetime."

"Miss, whatever-your-name-is, just let us know when your boss is free."

"Glacier surfing?"



"EE! EE! . . . what the?"

The Der Cruisin' mit EE crowd swallowed their cheers as a funny-nosed-and-mustachioed teenage girl entered. They didn't warm up to her instantly.

"What? You patriarchal, backwater types can't take a GYRL EE? I'm talking to you women out there too, if the spikes fit. Alright, I'll get into character. You, in the pretentious, leather-elbowed sweater, get up here.

"I'm not so sure," he said.

"Synopsis me."

"Okay . . . Even as--"

"Already I'm bored. Continue."

"Even as--"

"Been there; done that. Move on."

"Edam Martin--"

"Cheesy name."



"to the store--"


"he knew it would be--"

"...a crappy story"

Suddenly, a dozen animal control agents stormed the room. "Careful! Weredingoes can slice your throat while you blink!" Two agents were offed by the weredingo, but they managed to beat it to death with a chair.

When the room was safe, a dignified gentleman with a goatee entered the room. The crowd swooned. Then, EE entered the room, too. The crowd unswooned.

"Thanks for coming," said EE. "This weredingo's hounded me to death. I needed some, friends to support me while it was captured. I'm exhausted now. Post your writing samples to my website. I'll look at them when I can."

--Bill Highsmith


The conference room on the cruise ship had floor to ceiling windows along the south wall. Dave, Phoenix, Paca and Robin munched hors d’oeuvres and stared as a walrus on an ice floe drifted along. Evil Editor strolled in (wearing Groucho Marx glasses) and began the session, “OK, glad you were on time. Where is anonymous?”

“Still in the cage. Should I--?” asked Robin.

“Yeah, yeah, go get anon.” Evil continue his monologue to the minions, instructing them on class size and writing topics, but was soon interrupted by the loud profanities emitted by anonymous.

“Your f***kin’ e-mail said ‘Cruise With Me To Alaska'. I didn't pay to sit in a cage! What kind of animal do you think I am??

“Calm down, anon. I wanted the minions to get to know each other better and you know the cage is for your own good.”

Slowly, menacingly, Anonymous aprroached EE and began speaking in a low half-growl/half-whine at the bemused Editor. “I told you about the monthly weredingo business in strictest confidence – ”

At the word "weredingo", Taserguns flashed in the hands of both Dave and Phoenix. The anonymous weredingo crumbled into a puddle on the floor as Robin hurried to shove the inert form back into the cage.

“Damn!” said Pacatrue, “I thought we were getting the anonymous vampire, not the anonymous weredingo!!”



Five minions met to discuss why they were going along with the evil plan.

“I’ve always wanted to go to Alaska.”

“Me-I gotta know what EE looks like. It’ll round out my fantasies.”

“Got nothing better to do.”

“I need a break, you know. Just want to escape from it all for a while.”

“I’m doing research for my book-Frigid Orgies.”

There was a bit more shaking hands and laughter and overall small talk. Then the only man among the group brought up the topic of money.

“I can’t afford this.”

“Think I can? Look at my shoes.”

“My husband will kill me.”

“I spent it all in Vegas.”

“Well, I can afford it. But I’m not going to be the only one to pay.”

The mood shifted. Silence bore down upon the group of Alaska-bound minions. The minion with nothing better to do took off her blouse.

“I’ll distract him.”

“I’ll french him.”

“I’ll fondle his manhood.”

“I’ll talk about clip art.”

“I’ll pick his pocket.”

General applause, agreement, and laughter erupted. EE opened the door and walked in. The minions went into action.

EE enjoyed the attention.

By the time EE opened his credit card bill, the minions would be making plans for Hawaii.

--Church Lady


My God, I needed five minions; there must be five hundred in here. Great. Now I'll be spending so much time reading manuscripts and exercises, I won't have time for whale harpooning, polar bear hunting, seal clubbing . . . Hell, I won't even have time for my shore excursion to rendezvous with Ikniqpalagaq, my Inuit lover. Oh well, at least I won't have to eat her damn salmon croquettes. Wait a minute, nobody here knows what I look like . . . Hmm.

"Could I have your attention folks? Evil Editor has been delayed, but he asked me to give you your first assignment. You're to write a 30,000-word novella set in Nome, without using the word 'snow.' Meet back here with your final drafts in six days, and EE will look them over."

Now, if I can just find that steward who said he was at my service . . . I wonder what the going rate is for impersonating an editor?



Anonymous said...

These are great.

I'm surprised nobody mentioned weredingos this week...

Anonymous said...

How come anon spelled like this:

List of words you can't say on this blog:
Warm Fuzzy

Things you can say on this blog:
syrupy vinegar (thanks Dave)

It's all included in Novel Deviations.

Chris Eldin said...

That was NOT my list!

Where's my list? Did you say f***kin' EE? Are you the one with the asteriks?

Man, I may go somewhere else for my dose of evil....

Evil Editor said...

Sorry, but now that you've changed your name to Church Lady, I feel obligated to keep you from doing anything that might prevent you from getting into heaven. I think we can all translate it back to the original without much trouble.

Dave Fragments said...

I read the entire premise as if it said EE is pitching the cruise to the minions and not as if he is teaching the first class.
Naughty words! naughty words!
Gotta get new reading glasses, yanno.

Anonymous said...

Khazar, Dave and bill very funny and well done. (Minions a la femmes, pour quoi?)and of course that church lady is always irreverant and funny ha ha!naked minions are what again? onions?? (even her comments!)
Maybe anon was just feeling polite?

Anonymous said...

Robin S.,hee, hee, you know "he" probably is, so why doncha stroke that goatee once more, for me??

Anonymous said...

Dave, I read it the same way! LOL!

Thanks Me! was 'skinions' not 'onions.' Although if I say faithful minions I wonder how EE will edit my language.

After a full-blown tanty about not being able to curse here, I think I'm okay now.

All these were very funny. What does EE have planned?


Robin S. said...

I just got in a little bit ago -
these were fun to read!

I have questions, guys--

Good one, anon. So- YOU're the weredingo, are you? Gotta name to go with that puppy?

EE, you may have noticed many of your minions have a thing for you. Please don't pay some steward to stand in for you when you do have our get together. And also, can it be in a warm place?

Church lady- I like your "five things" list.

Rik- no way EE is a chick, son.

Robin S. said...

Hey me-

I just read your comments- Are you saying you think I know who EE is? Damn. If only. I've had some (I think) pretty decent ideas, and I have one now - but, as I've been wrong so long...well, anyway, I wouldn't ever want him outed, that's for sure.

I just happen to have a thing for men's facial hair. (No kidding - ask my husband. The guy with the goatee.)

Oh, hell- I just thought of who you're thinking of. No- I don't think it's him. Good one, though!

Dave Fragments said...

All of these were fun to read and well done. Good job. I am always interested in seeing the difference between writers.

Anonymous said...

funny stuff! Wish I'd been online to get notice about it.

Yanno, I am so addicted to this site for the humor that I'm starting to have a new Great Terror, and that is that one day EE will reveal him/herself and we will find a pale and geeky-- but preternaturally funny and utterly grammatical-- youth lurking in his mother's basement...

I doubt I could survive the shock. I mean, I picture culture, a smoking jacket, a drool-worthy mind...

WouldBe said...

I have it on bad authority that EE also writes the Locke and Demosthenes blogs.

Phoenix Sullivan said...

Ooh, ooh, I get to use a tasergun! I'm a kick-ass weredingo tasergunner-er! *doing the happy dance*

What strikes me the more of these exercises I read is just how true to form most of the minions maintain themselves. We can expect:

* Sly sex from Robin
* A bit of raunch from Dave
* Romantic irony from Khazar-khum
* Funny nonsequitors from Bill
* Swooning burlesque from Church Lady
* And sleight of word to keep his (her?!) anonymity intact from EE

Always, always fun!

Robin S. said...

Hi phoenix,

Maybe next time we should try going 'against type' to see what happens. Dave mentioned he liked seeing everyone's different writing styles. It might be fun to try to change.