Tag Archives: What if

Thinking is Good, but Don’t Think too Much it Can Make Your Thoughts Way too Much to Think About Thoughtfully

Does a “what if” ever enter your mind? How about a “I never thought about that before?” or maybe just an errant thought from nowhere begins to bounce around in your cranium causing you to pause or maybe even chuckle. Fortunately, this happens to me all the time, bringing about fodder to keep to myself or share with the world.

For instance, American author L. Frank Baum, creator of the amazing story, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” instilled in me a notion that was intriguing but useless to the story. Now why this came to mind I haven’t a clue, but I thought about the wicked witch of the west. We all know that Dorothy dissolved the old biddy with water. This led me down another road. If the wicked witch of the west couldn’t tolerate water, this would mean she’d never taken a bath. Can you imagine the odoriferous stench emanating from this smelly winch? I guess that would explain her green color and the reason she was so mean.

In my own writing, I feel sure I put a bit of myself into most characters. This tends to have a good and bad side. I find in my own life I try to avoid certain situations, but allow the same situation to abound within a character adding a “how could he be so reckless” to the story. I think what I’m trying to say is when it comes down to it there is no need to be stubborn on top of stupid. We’ve all heard the saying, “writing fiction is harder than writing non-fiction; fiction has to be believable.” Always remember there’s a fine line between believable fiction and “way out there,” and it’s hard enough to get read without being so high into the clouds where only the migrating geese might take a gander.

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Judicious Flossing and Brushing at Times Render Unacceptable Results at Best… Maybe

I’ve been thinking about back matter; you know, the teaser on the back of a novel designed to hook the prospective buyer into a purchase.gingivitis

Of all the different ways an author could begin the first sentence, or the hook, I believe my least favorite is, “what if?”.

I realize this is just one author’s opinion, but come on, have I ever steered you wrong? Before you answer, that was a rhetorical question.

One of my complaints with this particular beginning is it leaves too many things open. You don’t know if it pertains to the book (of course, you assume it does) or the club sandwich the author had for lunch three weeks prior.

Please allow me to show you how much trouble you can squeeze into your life with something as innocent as the first two words of a sentence.

What if the CEO of a large US corporation was doubling up twice as a double agent for Luxembourg and a hotdog cart vendor in Piscataway? This collaboration (one of the most feared in the underground world of the atomic hotdog) had reached a pinnacle set by no other. After decades of failure upon failure, they finally had a working prototype. One bite of this deadly sausage and, poof, instant gingivitis.

This leads us to the true purveyors of this purulent pact; the dental cartel of North America and parts unknown.

With so much gingivitis running ramped, they stood to clean up. (Clean up; get it?) Cleanings, x-rays, extractions, implants, dentures…you name it; they would control it.

So much power in so few hands could bring about the demise of corn-on-the-cob as we know it.

Remaining undetected, yet watching intently the events unfolding on the North American continent and parts unknown, a small clinic in the Ack galaxy on the planet of Plurple is developing a plan to thwart the earthly dental cartel. The head dental technician on Plurple, having stationed operatives all along the North American continent and parts unknown, is now ready to place said plan into action. Following a page from Santa’s playbook, they visit every house in the world replacing teeth with exact duplicates constructed from white chocolate and accomplish this task in a single night.

Unfortunately, white chocolate is the strongest material available on Plurple. It’s inhabitants dine on air and their white chocolate teeth last a lifetime which is marginally longer than a Mayfly. Even so, this solution removes the need for dental care on the North American continent and parts unknown which in turn puts an end to the evil conspiracy concocted by the dental cartel.

What all this accomplishes I am not sure; however, it proves without a doubt that only nonsense can come from starting a sentence with, “what if?”.

On an unrelated subject; I’m sure you’ve all seen that irritating little green twit with the ridiculous white mustache advertising, “the General’s Car Insurance.”

Perhaps we could petition the military to send a drone and one little bitty hell fire missile to blow that green aberration into a trillion pieces?

Sorry to end on such a violent note, but some things just have to be said.

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Dig’er up, Bob and Don’t Let it Bite Ya

Dinosaur_bones_kidImagine if you will, a world ruled by prehistoric dinosaur skeletons; the bones having removed themselves from the very stone that held them fast for eons.

In fact, the bone structure has undergone a dramatic change. Through the millennia, decaying bone material has been replaced with minerals causing petrification.

Personally, I prefer, “the Medusa effect,” but regardless of what you call it, turned to stone is turned to stone.

Had it not been for the daft paleontologist leaving an entire box of duct tape at the velociraptor dig, none of this reanimation could have happened.

As dense as dinosaurs can be, everything knows the endless uses of a roll of duct tape. The foot stone connected to the leg stone, then wrapped firmly with the versatile product. Repeat procedure until tape supply is exhausted. After that, pillage every hardware store of their stash and the rest of the story… well, it’s pretty self-explanatory.

See, that’s what you get when you start your back matter with, “imagine if you will.” This worn out phrase has the power to reveal the ending of your newly released novel without having to turn a single page.

What if… Hold the phones. Here we go again.

“What if,” is just as bad, if not worse, than, “Imagine if you will.” If you begin your back matter with, “Imagine if you will,” just the inclusion of the three words, “if you will,” exempts all the lazy people simply by giving them a choice.

“What if,” exempts no one, incurring a flood of readers who have determined the end, or something worse, from the back matter and see no reason to purchase the book.

As I am usually eager to do, I will offer an example to further explain my position that will hopefully quell any accusations of stupidity on my part. Sometimes this task becomes quite difficult so, please, bear with me.

What if an unusually large tarantula, a funnel web spider, and a black widow participated in a ménage-a-trios? Of course, the black widow would drag her undersized hubby to the event; not only for his little swimmers but as a shared meal for her female cohorts. You see, arachnids don’t smoke, but after a twenty-four leg free-for-all, ingesting male brain cells certainly fill the bill.

What if the product of this little sex-ca-pade ravages through the jungle, killing, eating and imbibing other creature’s bodily juices at will? Each time this creature feeds, it grows larger and more menacing.

What if this beast continues on a pattern of eat and grow larger every day? Maybe even twice or thrice a day? What will you do; what will you do?

What if this abomination were trampling through the woods searching for its next victim? There you are, sitting on a rock; rubbing your feet. A mouth opens, organic hypodermics extend, a single drop of certain death glistens as it falls from a fang point to the woodland floor.

What if a feeling of dread grips you in its steely embrace? The mouth clamps down bringing with it a crushing finality.

What if a ladybug lifts into the air happily munching on the arachnid mush filling her mouth? The same eight legged creature that could have given you an itchy bump had it bitten you?

Come on man, you can’t ask that many questions! We’re writing a novel not a puzzle book for the literary challenged.

It’s plain and simple, cut and dried, only one way out.  It’s like that itch down deep in your ear and simultaneously in your jaw that’s impossible to satisfy.

You either follow my wise advice and enjoy a successful literary career or dismiss my rants as the ramblings of a madman. It’s up to you. You hold the key.

Now, if you will excuse me, the first crop of lead paint chips is ready to harvest. Mustn’t be late, no, no that wouldn’t do. The Queen of Pismoania would give me such a smack.

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