Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rules for Reading a John Story

I was joking around with some Wordos that I needed to make a set of Rules For Reading a John Burridge Story. So here they are.
  1. Recall that John will have probably written the manuscript listening to a combination of the following artists: and that it's entirely possible he's been singing
    • songs from Jesus Christ, Superstar
    • The Ladies Who Lunch (Company)
    • Happily Ever After (Once Upon a Mattress)
    • Liaisons (A Little Night Music)
    • At the Ballet (A Chorus Line)
    to himself. Suddenly, the story makes more sense, doesn't it?

  2. Keep in mind the movies which have had a major impact on John (and therefor his psyche and artistic aesthetic):
    • *The Wizard of Oz
    • The Yellow Submarine
    • Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang
    • Tron
    • Monty Python and the Holy Grail
    • The Life of Brian
    • Zorro, The Gay Blade
    • The Empire Strikes Back
    • Labyrinth
    • Excalibur
    • *Toy Story 2
    • **Moulin Rouge
    Be aware that John probably has abandonment issues, and the starred *movies will make him cry (and in fact, he had to take a small break writing this list because the Cowardly Lion, Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl, and Christian the Penniless Writer were singing a maudlin chorus of "When She Loved Me" in his head and he had to distract himself imagining Buzz Lightyear and the Flying Monkeys in a fabulous Bollywood number, "Lasers Are a Boy's Best Friend." ).

  3. Assume that John has assumed that you can read his mind, and therefore you know what thoughts are rattling around in John's head - after all, he knows.

  4. While John isn't schizophrenic, he does have a wildly vast and apparently random association network of ideas. This means that, at least in John's head, everything is connected to (or may be made to connect to) everything else.
    Four corollaries to this over-arching pan-connection are
    1. John loves meta-reference.
    2. John may treat the number of links from A to B and the links from B to Q as the same (because it's obvious! I mean, diamonds can be made to lase, so not only is "Lasers A Boy's Best Friend" kind of funny, lasers and diamonds are scientifically related).
    3. John thinks most of the connections are hysterically funny or deeply spiritual (sometimes both).
    4. John will be perplexed and bemused that the rest of the human population doesn't think the same way he does (you mean you can't see Nichol Kiddman in a Buzz Lightyear outfit?).

  5. John not-so-secretly wishes to speak, dress and act like 1800's era landed gentry from some BBC produced, PBS aired television show. This means that at least one of his characters can be expected to speak like a Lord Byron or Jane Austin understudy.

  6. One of John's fallback characters, often the protagonist or major character, is the Very Clever Naive Child. The VCNC is probably based on CS Lewis's young girl characters. John uses the VCNC to outwit Ineffectual Adults, as a voice to criticize societal norms, or as a way to not have to create a complicated adult character with complex emotions (because, well, not every character can be a Vulcan. Or Dorothy Gale.).

  7. John has this thing about semicolons, colons, and dashes -- it's not a problem; he can stop any time he wants to.

  8. John's primary mode of thinking is visual and he loves creating and reading eye-candy. If you are confused about a story element, chances are very good that John has a sketch of it in the little art book he carries around with him. So the character, action, or setting has to happen because there's a picture of it, and it's just So Cool!

So there you have it; the latest installation of rules. Armed with these and The John Is Writing Game, navigating a John Burridge story should be a snap.

Oh, wait -- I'm supposed to write a compelling story about a sympathetic character with an interesting problem... um...

"The classroom clock ticked away precious minutes Frank had to write the essay on the prose of Burridge. He'd done stupid things to try to get Sheryl's attention, but taking this Contemporary Speculative Fiction class was at the top of the list...."
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