blogging, book promotion

Writing DaysZ 1

Wake at 5:45 AM, look at the woman, awhile, decide to let her sleep, turn on the coffee maker, wash the night away, pour coffee, open the computer and bring up my latest WIP.

Bob vs the Aliens

This story grew out of a running list of things that irritate me. Figured an alien perspective on humans would justify my annoyance.

Annoyance #1, Racial Prejudice

+++It was an otherwise ordinary day when the Aliens landed on Earth. God’s Muslim soldiers murdered unarmed civilians, Christians blackmailed souls, businessmen sold weapons and cornered resources while politicians denied everything as Humankind collectively looked up to see strange beings dangling from little umbrellas. No ships. Just Aliens descending in brightly colored spandex suits. They had coarse black hair that their men wore closely cropped and tightly curled and that on their women hung straight down past the shoulders in braided mop-like strands. If they were men and women. It turned out each had both sex organs and employed them simultaneously during unpredictable but noisy mating seizures. They had slanted eyes, large noses and pale white skin. They were three feet tall and fat. It was later learned that each suffered some physical or mental handicap. They had been genetically altered to represent Earthlings.
+++By chance, Bob Whatt became the first man on the street to be interviewed about the Aliens. A very average looking man even when seen up close, Bob was selected to represent the average man from a crowd of ordinary people watching TVs through Davison’s Department Store window on Peachtree Street. “Tell us your reaction to this historic event, Sir.”
+++“Surprise of course. And shock. Then suspicion.”
+++His reaction surprised and shocked Piper Wellington, interviewer for the European news website, Socialism Revisited. She arched into the offended pose of a news personality confronting social injustice. “How can you be suspicious? Don’t they seem much like us?”
+++“Exactly my point.”
+++A commotion erupted at the window behind them before the astounded Piper could override such a negative view of people and near-people. The TVs had gone off. This was the moment power failed throughout metropolitan Atlanta, an event nearly as significant as the arrival of Aliens but considered ho-hum at the time because the whole world routinely suffered blackouts. The significance of Atlanta only became apparent in the days ahead as the blackout spread and the power never came back on.
+++Bob traveled the lecture circuit speaking at funerals but, because of the interview, he received an invitation the next day to Valdosta, Georgia to speak at the weekly WTF! meeting. Different behaviors and beliefs threatened WTF!’s cloistered view of God’s world as They shared it with Him. Surprised and shocked by the appearance of the Aliens, they were deeply suspicious.
+++“Have you seen them!” Roy Ledbetter, tall, gangly, amiable and easily disturbed, punctuated by stabbing his ice cream cone at Bob.
+++“Nope,” Bob admitted. “You?” They were sitting in White’s Only Ice Cream Shop, Serving 34 Kinds Of Vanilla.
+++“I’ve seen them on TV! They’re ugly as sin!”
+++“Ever notice sinful women can be beautiful?”
+++“What?”
+++“Just saying, Roy, don’t believe everything you see on TV. If beautiful can be sinful, maybe ugly can be good.”
+++Roy stared at the Confederate flag on the wall behind Bob until certainty returned to his face. “You sure got a way with words!” He stood and nodded appreciatively. “See you tonight!” He went out the door hardly noticing an Alien held it open for him. Probably every town had one by now. The Alien waddled over to Bob’s table and wafted its armpits at him.
+++All Bob could think of was, “Old Spice?”
+++Obviously pleased, the Alien pulled out a chair and sat down. “You may call me Old Spice. I greet you,” he sniffed, “Rubber Tire In Sun.”
+++Bob waved the waitress over. “Give Spice here whatever it wants. I’ve got to go to- “
+++“Take me with you,” Spice interrupted. The round face smiled like a man-in-the-moon cartoon.
+++“I am going to the restroom.” The Alien looked uncomprehending. Or normal. “We humans do that in private.”
+++“Oh.” The round face elongated to a clown’s frown.
+++There is something disconcerting about a face that expressive, Bob thought. When he returned, he sat across the table from a stern visage that made him think of Winston Churchill.
+++“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary,” Spice quoted. “It fulfills the same function as pain. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” When Bob did not respond, he added, “Well, what do you think?”
+++“You sound like a politician.”
+++“But, do you agree?”
+++I’ll let you know after I know what you want.”
+++Exasperated, the Alien slammed its double dip ice cream cone on the table with predictable results.
+++“Your temper just cost you two dips,” Bob smiled at the obvious. “What do you want?”
+++“I want to go with you.”
+++“The restrooms are behind the bar,” he pointed.
+++“No! We …Aliens do not use restrooms.”
+++“Remind me not to accept any overnight invitations.”
+++“What I mean,” Spice dipped a stumpy digit into his ice cream and licked it appreciatively, “Is that I want to go to the meeting.”
+++WTF!? You Want to go to a WTF! meeting? In this town?”
+++“As your guest.”
+++“Those people hate you.”
+++“They do not know me.”
+++“That’s why they hate you.”
+++Spice’s left eye rotated inward while the right eye glared accusingly at Bob. “Well, that does fit our profile of humans. Is it racial prejudice?”
+++“Yes,” Bob laughed. “And please keep both eyes pointing in the same direction when you talk to people. You look like an idiot.”
+++Spice “Hmm’ed.” The inward eye seemed to be making a mental note. “Why an idiot?”
+++“Sorry, more human prejudice. I just said you look funny and stupid by comparing you to someone who is. I wouldn’t say that of course, if I were face to face with a real idiot.”
+++“Because they wouldn’t understand you,” Spice nodded understandingly.
+++“No. Because I would.”
+++Spice’s right eye spun inward to join the left one for a disconcerting moment, then both eyes popped forward to look knowledgeably at Bob. “According to Braincrib Notes, humans fear people who are different. That is why they are prejudiced against them. They may even hate them, until they get to know them.”
+++“No. WTF! hates people different from themselves even after they know them. It’s part of their own identity.” Bob shook his head in disbelief. “You guys have a lot to learn.”
+++“Good. Then you understand why I must go with you.”

At 7:20 AM the woman, still in her pajamas, kisses me on the head. The morning smells of bacon with breakfast. PBS radio is pointing out that we don’t know what Trump’s policies are and is explaining how calamitous those policies will be. I reach for my list. There, right below taxpayer funded opinions, is argumentum ad ignorantiam, arguing from ignorance. People who argue that because we don’t know something, whatever they say about it must be true, truly annoy me.

Annoyance #2, Argumentum ad Ignorantiam
… to be continued
(Follow Writing DaysZ to read Bob Vs The Aliens as it is being written. To read the current draft, go to ROFLtimes.com/BvA.pdf)

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26 thoughts on “Writing DaysZ 1

  1. atthysgage says:

    This is great fun, GD. There’s a subtle wit to even the more transparent barbs and some good laughs as well. Nicely done.

    I like the framing device. You should expand it. Let us see more process even if it’s nothing more than sipping coffee and observing the day. I for one, always write in fits and starts. It might be fun, and even possibly poignant at times, to watch that unfold.
    (Yes, it would be an artificial thing. But all art is artifice, eh what?)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mimispeike says:

    I love this direction, and the humor, and I want to see where you go with it. I am all for political added to the storytelling mix. And I love your point of view. We are on the same wavelength. You are a natural for the short story contest. I may have trouble with that.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. GD Deckard says:

    Thanks Guys. You make writing fun.
    The next bit is written and should be draft-ready soon for Curtis to schedule. As to where it is going, I hope to “show” rather than “tell” 🙂

    Atthys’ suggestion about the frame is great. I was unsure about even using a frame. It was the only way I could think of to serialize a manuscript as a blog.

    Side note to Mimi: My old computer died & I lost your email. But your two invitees have my vote.

    Like

  4. mimispeike says:

    I will try to think back, who have I come across that I would recommend for membership? For their commitment to writing? Not necessarily for perfect books, but for a core of solid competence and seriousness. I had, maybe two years ago, advised Arnold (while giving him five stars) that his writing is too much a stand-up routine, though I admire his skill greatly, and I do think he writes highly publishable stuff that will find an enthusiastic audience. Well, he requested me to connect with him on LinkedIn yesterday. I had forgotten all about him. Michael had moved on to Bookkus, where he got published. I have reconnected with him on Facebook.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. mimispeike says:

    Speaking of Facebook, can somebody tell me what the hell it’s good for? The pages are poorly laid out, so busy, full of a mish-mash of posts, I find it a trial to deal with, an irritating, unfocused, unenjoyable experience. Someone who sees value in it, talk to me. What am I missing?

    Can it really be of much use for promoting a book?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. GD Deckard says:

    I dropped Facebook. I didn’t like it & now that I read your post, Mimi, I know why.

    What’s the “best” social media tool for writers?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m on Facebook, but I think it is utterly useless as a bookselling tool. Ads on Facebook are either ignored or resented. Twitter has been equally ineffective but for slightly different reasons. I don’t know of any that work. I’d love to hear about it if anyone out there has had a different experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I should clarify. I think it’s useless for book SELLING, but it can be a perfectly fine social media site, and social media has value as an author even if it doesn’t result in a direct sale. I certainly know more authors than I would without Facebook. Of course most of them are too busy trying to sell their own books to have the time or interest to go and buy mine (and I can’t pretend I’m much different.)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. mimispeike says:

    I am klutzing around in LinkedIn also. I don’t have a grip on it yet, but people are finding me, including Navena, formerly of Book Country. (She is now working on an MBA at, I think, NYU.) I can’t imaging how she found me because I have only a few contacts, most of them, nothing to do with Book Country.

    Are people searching for me? I hardly think so. LinkedIn has some screwy way of matching folks up. Mysterious.

    Anyway, contacts that materialize out of the blue, I am sending them to look at my website. LinkedIn may end up being more useful than Facebook. I’ll keep you posted.

    I’ve heard back from Arnold in Tokyo. He has shelved the writing. He has financial problems. Maybe he has taken on additional teaching duties.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. mimispeike says:

    I have created a page, just the start of one, for my books. A ‘business’ page does not have all that garbage – my favorite movies, my favorite TV shows, etc. I am going to try to de-clutter further. And add art with type attached, created in indesign and turned into jpgs, to add some visual personality to the page(s).

    Baby steps with this web-presence thing. I want to create a presentation that would catch MY eye.

    There’s not much up yet. A header/banner (which is going to change, I’m going to marry images so the ships are brought down in size) is about all. The title of the page is: My Guy Sly. I’m going to get around Facebook’s limited choices one way or another.

    Like

  11. GD, Writing DaysZ seems an amusing draft so far. Fast-paced dialogue, humorous use of repetition, grins, chortles, and laugh-out-loud moments. I love the add-on descriptions of the aliens. Spandex immediately brings sleek bodies to mind, so to end with three feet tall and fat is brilliant! Your style brings Douglas Adams and Christopher Moore to mind.

    I am unclear, however, how Bob went from surprised, shocked, and suspicious to defending the aliens against Roy’s suspicions and casually sharing a table and conversation with Spice. You’ve offered no hint of alien contact during Bob’s funeral appearances that might support a later revelation that Bob’s brain has been altered or removed and replaced, so I am left with the feeling that an entire section has been left out. It’s irksome.

    Still, I’m eager to attend the WTF! meeting with Bob and Spice.

    As for Facebook, it’s great for re-connecting with old friends from elementary school. Also, if you have lots of “friends” it can provide you with hundreds of people you can hound without ever knowing their email addresses. It was our primary resource during our Inkshares de-soulification.

    Now it occurs to me GD might not have been seeking input from someone he doesn’ know. If that’s the case, I apologize, but I’m going to post it anyway because I offer it honestly and thoughtfully, and if I don’t post it, I will have wasted the time I spent thinking and writing about it. lol 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. GD Deckard says:

    LOL Sue 🙂 Your comments are always appreciated! Thanks to my selective memory, I normally remember only compliments anyway.

    But, your questions of the main character really made me think. You are exactly right, of course. “Bob went from surprised, shocked, and suspicious to defending the aliens against Roy’s suspicions and casually sharing a table and conversation with Spice.”
    I wrote it that way because Bob is the observer. Now that you have made me think more about his role, I’m beginning to see Bob as a most average man placed in the middle of extraordinary events. Maybe he’s all of us. We’d naturally be suspicious of aliens. Maybe he’s the reader, who wants inside knowledge about them and what they’re up to. Maybe he’s the author. This is his story, after all. I don’t yet know.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. If I understand you correctly, what you’re sharing is a rougher draft than I first thought. If even the author doesn’t know who the main character is, you must be in the throwing paint at the wall stage — almost ready to start writing.

    From that point of view, if he’s all of us, why does he suddenly and inexplicable stop being suspicious of aliens? And if he’s the reader, then he’ll be asking the same questions I am. If he’s the author, and he seemingly jumps from one personality to a more convenient personality for his next scene, then I think the whole enterprise comes across as a poorly told story, and needs a bit more paint thrown.

    I’m a theatre person. I know how to willingly suspend my disbelief to enter a story world. I love science fiction. I love being plunked down in a world I’ve never seen before. I want to believe any story while I’m reading it or watching it or hearing it. But I can’t believe it if it doesn’t make sense. So no matter who Bob is, his changes of opinion have to make sense.

    And if he’s merely an observer, perhaps he has no opinions. Perhaps he is objective. Then he would never have been shocked or suspicious, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. GD Deckard says:

    @ Sue: Yeh, it’s a WIP.
    🙂
    I kept The Phoenix Diary up on BookCountry.com as I wrote it and maintained a running list of criticisms. In the end, every criticism resulted in an improvement. (Well, except one but it was factually wrong.) My point is, thank you Sue, for taking the time to offer your thoughts. They are appreciated and will not be ignored.

    @ Anyone: What do you think of the literary device of Bob as observer? (As the next installment -posting date 9 Jun 16- makes clear, this is really a story about the collapse of civilization. The story has been done so often, a comedy was the only fresh approach I could think of.) Bob’s PoV gives us the outsider’s view of an extraterrestrial (Old Spice) and the journalistic view of a concerned earthling (Piper.) Their journey across America will fill in details of the collapse. As the adventure progresses Bob will, of course, experience Joseph Campbell’s mythical transformation from ordinary person to reluctant hero.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Just throwing paint — What if, just before the fall of the government, Bob was assigned as a liaison to accompany Old Spice on a tour of the country? Perhaps that’s his first contact, and he never expresses shock or surprise. Or if he does express those things to Piper, we see him being given the assignment and instructed, in no uncertain terms, to remain objective. Then the government falls, perhaps unbeknownst to Bob — he simply stops receiving instructions from the Head Office, and carries on as the world crumbles around them.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. GD Deckard says:

    Hi Sue,

    Nice paint job 🙂 but that part”s already been written & submitted for posting June 9th.
    This story is actually part one of three, the 2nd part having been published last June. They’re out of sequence because I believed (true or not) that the 2nd book of most trilogies is the weakest, just a bridge between the beginning and end of a longer story, and, simpleton that I can be, I decided to make that my first attempt at writing.

    So what are you working on, Sue? This blog is called “Writing DaysZ” which opens it up for discussion about what you are spending your days writing.

    Like

    • Sorry I haven’t responded before now, GD. Apparently, I don’t receive notifications of comments or replies here.

      Haha! I am undeterred by “that part’s already been written.” Unless it’s already been printed and is sitting on the shelves at a book store near you, it’s still open to rewriting. lol. That’s what the “edit” button is for. Imagine your readers being amazed and intrigued by a revision appearing overnight. Or perhaps I misunderstood the purpose of posting the episodes. Do they represent a finished product? I took your uncertainty as to what precise PoV Bob represents as an indication that we’re reading a story in flux. Oops. My bad.

      Like

      • I just realized I failed to address your question about what I spend my days writing. I am flattered you assume I am a woman of leisure, GD. It is almost 4am, and I am just finishing catching up on WP notifications while I should be finishing a livelihood project that’s due by the end of the day. (I shudder to think how many posts will have announced themselves in my Reader by the time I can look again. Fortunately, they never tell us a number over “40+”.)

        I spent 10 months posting daily episodes of own serial, “Elliot’s Adventures”, part of Live to Tell the Tales on my FB writing page https://www.facebook.com/SusanTRanscht.SpaceTimeandRaspberries/

        It’s a light-hearted fantasy/action/adventure whose hero is a snail. Each post has a perfect photographic illustration accompanying it (photo credits always given) — even driving the action. Many of the readers told me I should publish it as an ebook, but it seemed too daunting to attempt running down hundreds of photo copyright permissions. I believe the photos are at least half the draw, but those who wanted a book didn’t think so. Soon I’ll have a means of illustrating it on my own, so I’m thinking about it again.

        Before I tackle that, I’m going to produce the illustrations for a children’s book I’ve written so I can submit it to the same agent who asked for the edits/rewrites oF ENHANCED. Of course ENHANCED takes precedence — right after the short story I have to write in the next three weeks.

        At the moment, however, I seem to spend most of my time writing comments. Lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. mimispeike says:

    It appears we both may be interested in publishing serials. I am starting to research the topic. This is what Atthys is doing also, with Ballyhoo. There are many sites that specialize in presenting serials, but I don’t know if getting your thing onto one of them is going to improve visibility. I’m going to find out.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. GD Deckard says:

    Cool, Mimi. Join us. Write a serial. Sly could take a part time job at a super hero detective agency and, to keep each installment blog-short, have him solve each case by the next morning & go to breakfast to celebrate (include a recipe here to hook more readers.) Call the blog, “Breakfast Of Champions.”

    Or, Sly could be a Professor using parts of your stories to illustrate history through literature.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. mimispeike says:

    I’m thinking more like, while I try to bang book one into shape, I steal bits from the already written book three, full of bite-size disasters. Sly, having latched on to a frog who thinks he’s an enchanted prince, is determined to find a princess who will kiss him, undoing the evil spell. The frog gets kicked around good, until he’s begging to be left by the wayside. But Sly is no quitter, and eventually the episode comes to a more than satisfactory (for me, not for poor Ferd) conclusion.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. mimispeike says:

    Yes, I see that it is. That’s why I’ve been thinking about what to write next. So the serial thing popped into my head. But I find so much information out there that it will take me some time to process it all. I’ll see what I can rustle up in a hurry.

    I maybe could do a piece on: What to do until the idea/solution/inspiration comes. Answer: You buy time/tread water/bullshit your way through a dry spell, make it part of the story. Make a joke of it. I do it all the time, and I don’t always write it out later.

    I talk my way through my problems. A serial, welcoming input, would be great for me. I can flat out say, I hear people have trouble following this section. I’m gonna explain, speech by speech, who’s yakking. You tell me if it helps.

    I’ve already done something like this in the final chapter of my novella, currently posted on BC. The title of the chapter is: Sheesh! (Or was. I may have changed it.) I’m trying to cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s. And squeeze out another few yuks.

    Like

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