Thursday, February 25, 2010

John Is Writing!

John is Writing! Let's help him! Roll the dice for the number of pages he's produced! Uh oh! There are obstacles along the way...

  • Caffeine! Come to me, sweet ambrosia of inspiration and fill me with the frisson of creativity. Let the fountain of words flow from -- oh damn! Mark drank the last can! Before you head out to the store, your dentist is on the phone....

  • Dion Fortune Because every story, especially if it's a fantasy with magic, needs the slightly goofy but completely thorough magical theories of a quaintly racist 1930's English Mystic.

  • The Twin Towers of Tolkien Sclerosis and Not Enough Details (because it's so clear in The Author's head it doesn't need to be on paper). See the teeny-tiny crack between the two towers? The Author (and the manuscript) need to fit through.

  • The Dictionary of Obscure Usage, chock full of words like mantis (not the bug), dolmen (not quite what Stonehenge is), transmigration (not when geese fly to the sex-change clinic every spring), sortes (dicing with fate), triptych, pistols, and meniscus. Doesn't everyone read this book before they go to bed -- I mean, meniscus is in The Joy of Cooking...?

  • Mystical! Magical! Science! Or was that Scientific, Magical Mysticism? In any case, the characters are working in a world where even rubber bands have Deep Mystical Meaning. Very likely that eclipse is a Message From Deity, even if the characters are measuring discrepancies in Mercury's orbit during it. C'mon, what did you expect from a guy with his own portable Aubrey Holes? Roll die: 1-3 Go back to Dion Fortune.

  • An Alien? At least we think it's an alien. It might be a human in a latex suit. Or it might be a houseplant. There's also a possibility the alien is really The Author. Lose a turn for inscrutability.

  • Egypt! Or at least A Pyramid! Because ancient Egyptian things rock. Especially hieroglyphs (from Greek words meaning "sacred" (from hiero) and "carvings" (from glyph)). Go on, you know you want to put a necklace on and say "Almighty Isis (Isis, Isis, Isis...)." In a pinch, replace the Pyramid with a Really Big Spaceship. Oh wait... that's been done, hasn't it? Lose a turn trying to turn a towel into the headdress the Sphinx wears.

  • The Lost Chord Blame Sir Arthur Sullivan for this one. The Author won't go quite so far as to have his characters discover The Lost Chord that Opens the Spaceship, but they will have a Mystical, Magical, Science Moment while playing their rubber band guitars and singing. Almost obligatory. Roll die: 1-3 a Certain Sound Engineer throws a mixing board at you - lose a turn. 4-5 You duck and the board sails over you. 6 - Go to Mystical! Magical! Science!

  • Tea It's Time for Tea! Really. It will help. Roll die: 1 - What The Author really needs is a Pepsi, go to Caffeine! 2-4 Ahh! Steaming Ceylon Goodness! 5-6 Lose a turn reminiscing about the now gone tea salon -- where writing, scones, ennui and that certain je ne sais quoi fleet through the air like a forgotten chanteuse's melody...

  • Silly Hippies Or maybe aliens? They are The Author's equivalent of horny teens from a summer slasher movie. Lose a turn laughing at their antics.

  • Wikipedia Because it's absolutely essential that the sexual exploits between wasps and orchids be lovingly and accurately detailed as a metaphor in the story. Roll die: 1-2 Lose a turn; 3-4 Go back to The Twin Towers. 5-6 Go back to Dictionary of Obsure Usage.

  • Gathering the Lost The weary protagonist (or perhaps the protagonist's weary Dreamer love interest) must be sung home. Go back to The Lost Chord.

  • Chocolate. There's nothing that can't be solved with just a teeny-tiny, itsy-bitsy, little chunk of chocolate. Followed by another. Now where was that stash again? Roll die 1-2 Found it! Chocolate is anti-oxidant, you know. 3-4 There's none to be had in the house for love or money. Go to Gathering the Lost. 5-6 Go to the store for more; lose turn.

  • Second Life Research! The Author really needs to understand the mechanics of addition while exploring the metaphysical and spiritual aspects of his six foot four, muscle-bound, 30-something avatar. Because the virtual can be spiritual! Lose a turn.


...Okay, back to the game...
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