Gambits #2

Gambit – an opening move, a  suggestion.

Truth is stranger than fiction

Before you jump off the deep end and write some drunkenly adverb laden formulaic glossy crap or fan fic a riveting sequel to A Century of Sand Dredging in the Bristol Channel: Volume Two by (published!!) Author Peter Gosson, try this on –

Christmas Eve, 1945, Virginia. George and Jennie Sodder’s home caught fire, forcing the family to evacuate. Five of the couple’s nine children were thought to be trapped in the home. A search following the fire revealed no human remains in the charcoal and ash. To this day no one knows what happened to those five kids.

That one is so loaded…UFOs to a reduction in Christmas stocking overhead. Get on it.

Published by

Phil Huston

https://philh52.wordpress.com/

32 thoughts on “Gambits #2”

  1. That’s a good opening. Kinda like the Marie Celeste. Anyway, “Truth is always stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense.” Mark Twain. I was just discussing this topic with friendlier blogger.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not un-friendly. After a lifetime in the music biz watching ego and graft and nepotism continue to ruin careers and companies? By 2002 I set a very low bullshit threshold for all but small children and dogs. I believe the most widely used vocational or avocational euphemism for time wasting is “pissing up a rope.” “Quixote-esque” would work, but far fewer would get it. I do not “piss up the rope” these days. The internet allowance for crap disguised as motivational, enlightening, and an opportunity to pile on with with attaboys in hopes of a return scruffy is pathetic. The entire thing is a giant circle jerk of ineffectiveness. Fan farming will no more get you a publishing contract than loading the bar with paid screamers on AR night would have gotten you a recording contract. I saw a MEME the other day, this woman is saying to the dude, “Darling, flatulence is not a form of creative expression.” Neither is diabetes inducing “poetry about daffodils and sunshine that would embarrass even the lowest intern trying to attain Hallmark moment status. The good news is good vibes and intent are great for the cosmic stream. I just want to see somebody’s best shot. Their go for it. Not formula, not circular shit that should have been edited before it hit the page from people who should know better. I have pumped out plenty of crap. Trust me.
      You mention Twain. I speak of Leonard. the same guys, sort of. Caper guys. I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but I am a caper guy. There’s no freaking “arc” or particularly sympathetic characters, it’s “life” going by, as fiction, not necessarily making sense. If https://philh52.wordpress.com/2017/12/08/bobby-b-gator-bait/ and a few of the other Bobby Bs ain’t Tom and Becky? In The Hot Girl 1 Jackson’s mentor in his kid in the band situation is a big black Nam vet named Marcus. Huck and Jim, updated. Subconsciously. If asked I would deny it, but we all quote our influences. And it’s sort of a duty to “do them right” as the hookers tell Jackson in Vegas. I got hammered for years over demos and commercials and blah blah. I’m about to take the writing thing up the ladder to a Stanford Prof and get my ass kicked. But hear this – just because I demand more of me than there really is, and from those around me, doesn’t make me unfriendly. There’s a line in “Nice to Meet You” on my blog somewhere, he says “Demanding, with a touch of bitch.” “Fact on bitch, I own it.” Yeah…There it is. Not unfriendly. Demanding, with a touch of bitch.
      “Actual life is full of false clues and sign-posts that lead nowhere.” E.M. Forster. And why, exactly, should pieces of literature be any different? People have religion and formula police procedurals to make sense out the world.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bypass the Stanford Prof and take it directly to an agent. You don’t need an academic opinion or his editing unless your plan on publishing your Jackson story in an academic publication. In other woids, a Stanford Prof would be no help.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Prof is a scene specialist. I’m taking the class to see. I can close a chapter, I often wonder how well I open them. I don’t want content editing, I want to clean up. The Deanne/ Jackson thing may just be exercise. If I wanted to make money I’d turn Bobby B into potty mouth YA, which it is anyway, and series it. The kind of book the church lady moms don’t want kids to read, like Huck and Tom. Adventure, no social preaching.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. George, I’m maybe an asshole, but never mistake that for contentious. I’m not looking for fights like a net sniper, or to be a dick on general principal or to get my feelings hurt. You know one would be a fool to put a target on their chest with their feelings on their sleeve. The people that do nothing but critique and never produce? They’re the ones.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Gotcha. My point has always been that WP is for amateurs, hobbyists, and wannabe’s, and I fit into all three categories. You don’t…and you bring your higher level of critique along with you. Most here don’t meet your standards.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. True. And the Stanford Prof won’t do it. If you end up throwing the eraser at him, stomping out and calling him a fraud, send me a Starbucks Gift Card. IMO, at your level, you need an actual agent, someone in the business, or someone who has TRADITIONALLY published several books to obtain good advice.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. That’s this person, who happens to teach this scene by scene thing once in a while. I know how academics can be. There’s a rhetoric Ph.D in the kitchen grading the papers that aren’t plagiarized. I’ve had the “legitimate” industry posers with books who write like housewives who read each other’s books. That was a bust. This will cost me more than the twenty bucks to find out any shmuck selling how to who says he knows how doesn’t know shit or he would be doing, not charging money for bad advice. But it will force me to put up or shut up on a real stage. And that’s what I’m after.

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      7. We’ve been there. Venue. A vacuum is a bad thing. Like hoarding. I have to put things up and own them, not collect them. Where I can see them outside of their normal box and the clams, poor construction, excess author, bad dialogue, inconsistencies are all on display. For me.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Windmilling is a favorite pastime, nothing wrong there. Hobbies are a wonderful thing. However, regardless of Vonnegut’s “If you can do a half assed job of anything you’re a one eyed man in a kingdom of the blind” as may be witnessed daily, there is something in knowing you gave the windmill your best shot and a run for its money instead of a case of beer, two pizzas and buddies “good enuff” porch paint job, you know? Do enough half assed work and pretty soon that’s the way you’re doing everything. There’s a good Bob Dylan quote in there I’ll use for a post.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. On that point, when I revisit my earlier, removed blog posts, I can now see how shitty they are and I know exactly where they edits will take place. I could not see this when first posted. Two advantages: continue to write, continue to “improve,” get some distance and the edits needed are easier to see. The daunting task of a 2nd draft now seems a lot less challenging.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Your job will be picking the top 2 lines from the milieu of each post and stringing them together in a line instead of a circle to tell a story. You have a great story, and a LOT of it going loop dee loop over the same ground. I love the concept, but reading it, to me, is like watching the two Indian girls in “Smoke Signals” who drive all over the Rez in reverse.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. As you once wrote: I am trying to
        Get. On. With. The. Story. Been making some advances since then, but, yeah, the loop dee loop thing is accurate. If I keep writing, I’ll straighten it out. I think.

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  2. But ultimately the art director, who sent us off in forty different directions and decided on what we started with, will want audio married to video, 29.5, 36 cues all nailed, frame accurate and locked. “Give me butterfly wings beating against ping pong balls” may be only concept, but the job is to make it real, eh?

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  3. Aw, that’s nice. You two talking and shit.
    Me? I’ve stumbled up to this shoulder high stone wall labeled “Quality.” I just can’t jump it. Yet. Write it down and the polish it — they say. Well, even polished it’s still shit: a shiny turd. Seems its the source material that determines the final product. In my hiatus I’m adjusting my internal crap-o-meter, tweaking the squelch. We’ll see if the signal attenuates or not.

    Like

    1. It’s all crap. I think it’s how it’s crafted. I think we luck into more than we realize, and then try to overwrite it. My problem, anyway. Why I can ID with George. I can write the same two people doing shit over and over and over and then have to pick what tells their story and what’s a good scene, but needs to go in the spare scene can. You can beat a story into a fifteen season binge just for yourself. And some of it can even be good, or funny, or well crafted but ti’s really wanking. What kills me is people who are given 8 show contracts and they sag on the third beat like reggae without being catchy. jesus, give me the character list, let’s rock. Look what happened to justified when they ran out of Elmore’s old material and he wasn’t around to say “try this.” Quality isn’t lofty, it’s getting your story over that wall. Say to yourself, I want this and this to show this and then go after al the shit in the way with a machete. Once that’s gone work on style. It’s one thing if you set out to polish a ’48 Caddy, another for ’73 MG Midget. Pare it down and polish what’s important. It’s a lot easier.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In one of Leonard’s interviews he mentioned his creation/edit cycle. He edits as he goes. Forward five, return, rewrite, repeat. I identified with that, both for the polishing and the injection of early dependencies for later developed plot artifacts.
        This wall is mostly me rewiring my writer’s brain, again, to notice crap as soon as I hit the period.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I worked for a guy, he wasn’t big on BS, he paid me not to put up with it. He got a call one day. “That Phil guy is a real asshole.” His reply was “And your point is?” So I’m really not. Really…

      Liked by 1 person

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