Tag Archives: writing

Someone in England Bought My Book

Do I have to fill out twenty forms to be able to accept the 29 British cents or is that Amazon’s problem and I’m accepting money from Amazon, an American company?

I dunno.  I don’t want to be accused of being a British spy for accepting 29 British cents just because some guy in Liverpool wanted to check out my writing prompts. Lord knows I have always vowed to report redcoats wherever I see them and I have never allowed the King to quarter troops in my domicile.  Also, I never drink tea and have urged all of my neighbors to throw their tea into the nearest harbor.  I even burned all my Beatles albums…except for Hey Jude because if you can listen to that song and not cry you are a heartless bastard.

Surely, someone out there has had your book bought by a British person…what do you do?

(Also, thank British person for buying my book.  If anyone else wants to buy it, they can do so here.)

Bookshelf Q battlers for Amazon

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Search Engine Optimized Poet – No One Reads This Blog

:::Bongo Drum Beats:::

Hey there all you hep cats and hep kittens. Come on down to the East Randomtown Java Bean, where the poets always stink and the cups are never clean.

Next on the mic is the one and only Search Engine Optimized Poet…the only rhyme-smith whose beats bring in the web searchers’ feets, ya dig?

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This blog!

Whoa, this blog!

No one ever reads it at all!

BQB would probably get more readership,

if he posts his musings on the back of a bathroom stall.

Bawl.  Like a baby our blog host cries.

And whenever his blog stats are low, a little piece of him dies.

Sighs.  That’s the sound that he makes.

Every day when other little piece of his heart breaks.

Mistakes.  He’s made a few.

But if it’s one thing you don’t get in life, it’s a re-do.

Stew.  In his juices in his East Randomtown dive.

Wondering why no matter what he does, his readers only total 3.5.

 

 

 

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BQB’s Production Schedule

This year has been a tough one.  As you all know, I’m an ageless fictional character who is forever a young, happening dude.

However, my friend the Alleged Man turned 38 and that has been hard on him.  He is realizing that the window for him to do all he wanted to do in life is getting shorter so if he’s going to do something he’d better do it.

So I’m taking a page out of his playbook.

At this time I have three completed first drafts: 1) Toilet Gator 2) Zom Fu 3) How the West Was Zombed.

Actually, Zom Fu has a few chapters left but it is substantially done.

I think at this point I have to put what is written above what is not written and get these three polished and published.

How the West Was Zombed worries me most.  It began as the first book in a series but as time went on I pictured it as book three.  But at best I think I can get like one draft of a book written a year and I don’t want to wait 2 more years so I think I will release How the West Was Zombed as Book 1 and then if people like it I will change it to Book 3 and release the first 2.

Or perhaps I’ll divide the series into “Zombie Westerns” and “Zombie Western Prequels.” Zombed can be the first book of the Zombie Western Series.  Later, I’ll write Remember the Zombamo and that can be the first of the prequels.

It could be better to wait and put them all out at once but I just don’t think I have the time to wait anymore.  If this self publishing thing is going to happen it must happen soon.

What say you, 3.5?

 

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I Don’t Know What to Blog About

I am uber bummed and have no idea what to say, 3.5 home slices.

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I’m Phoning It In…

Yeah, 3.5.  Lots on my mind lately, so I’ve been neglecting this fine blog.  Do you have anything interesting to say?

If not, buy my fine book and get some inspiration.

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The Writer’s Battle – Reservoir Dogs – Non-Linear Storytelling, Doing More with Less and Setting Your Story to a Soundtrack

Are you going to bark all day little 3.5 doggies, or are you going to bite?

BQB here with a little green bag of a discussion about Quentin Tarantino’s 1992 film debut, “Reservoir Dogs.”  What can you 3.5 aspiring writers learn from this flick?  A lot.

Non-Linear Storytelling

Tarantino was the main pioneer of this type of storytelling, namely, when a writer starts at the end and works back to the beginning, rather than start from the beginning and work the story until its conclusion.

In this case, we get an introductory scene where a group of criminals are sitting down for breakfast in a diner.  They trade jokes and we get a sense of each individual’s style.

Next thing you know, Mr. White (Harvey Keitel) is driving Mr. Orange (Tim Roth) to a hideout.  Mr. Orange has been shot in the gut, an apparent sign that a planned diamond store heist went bad.

You’re never actually shown the heist.  Most of the film takes place in a warehouse/hideout as the characters try to figure out how their heist went so wrong, why the police were waiting for them, and most importantly, which member of the crew is the rat who told the cops about the job?

From there, the film goes into flashbacks where we see bits and pieces of the escape from the heist that went wrong, as well as some past “get to know” some of the characters scenes.  The film always returns to the warehouse as the characters move the story forward, trying to figure out who did the crew wrong.

Tarantino could have done this a different way.  He could have started with the backstory of the characters in the beginning, put the heist that goes wrong in the middle, and have the fighting over who the rat is at the end.

Wouldn’t that have been boring though?  Instead, Tarantino chooses to put the most exciting part first.  You jump right into the action – a blood soaked back seat, a pained Mr. Orange screaming out in terror about his impending demise, a calm Mr. White driving a getaway car while holding Mr. Orange’s hand, telling him he’ll be ok.

Your mind immediately asks the question, “How did this heist go so wrong?”  And now you want to sit back and let Uncle Quentin tell you how.

Doing More with Less

This was the first film Tarantino directed.  Sure, he had a bigger budget than any of us indie writers, but still, he didn’t have much compared to other big name films of the day.

Even so, he did a lot with very little.  Consider:

  • Mr. Blonde’s soda cup – We have a scene where Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi) and Mr. White (Harvey Keitel) have turned guns on each other, both men starting to lose it as they’re trying to figure out who the rat is and how to avoid going to jail.  Suddenly, we are interrupted by a tell tale sip.  Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) is sipping soda out of a fast food cup through a straw.  The implication?  Mr. Blonde does not give a shit.  He is an unfeeling psychopath.  Any rational person would be scared out of their minds, consumed with fear that the cops will bust down the door any second.  Mr. Blonde?  He murdered a bunch of people in a heist, and then during a citywide search, he stopped at a drive-through to get some food.  He literally did not give a shit that he’d get killed or sent to prison, he was not unsettled by the murders he committed, he was perfectly content to stop for fast food and have a bite to eat while there was a manhunt for him and his crew in progress.  Keep in mind this is not stated.  It’s all about show and tell.  Here, for the price of a ten cent soda cup, Tarantino told us an epic shit ton about Mr. Blonde’s character.

 

  • Steve Buscemi’s gunfight with the cops – So many gun scenes are cliches.  Both sides fight.  No one gets hit.  No one has to reload.  The guns are easy to control, there’s no kickback, everything works out.  Here, Tarantino shows us the furious side of a gun battle.  Buscemi empties his gun at incoming police until his clip runs out.  You see police officers fall in pain, you see the stress on Buscemi’s face.  The message?  Real life gun battles aren’t all summer blockbuster hocus pocus.  Shit gets really terrifying, really fast.

 

  • The nonlinear format itself – I have a hunch that the nonlinear format helped Tarantino save money.  He could have dropped a ton of dough on a major heist scene, show the criminals in an elaborate robbery, followed by epic gunfights and car chases.  Instead, he trusts the actors to tell us about it as they try to piece together the mystery of the rat and the actors do well, the stress they are obviously feeling tells us they were just involved in some heavy shit.

Setting Your Story to a Soundtrack

Tarantino invents a 1970s music station that everyone is listening to throughout the film.  It makes for a retro vibe, and Tarantino was surely trying to pay homage to the cheesy Beretta style crime dramas of his youth.

Playing “Little Green Bag” as the criminals walk down the street gives us a sense that these are some hardcore pricks.

Meanwhile, in an iconic scene, Mr. Blonde tortures a police officer set to the sounds of “Stuck in the Middle with You.”  This song is a happy song, one that makes you want to smile and dance…but it shows what a psycho Mr. Blonde is, namely, that he is enjoying dancing to this happy beat while he’s cutting off a cop’s ear and setting him on fire.

Most people would never do such a thing.  The few that would usually know that this would be no time to dance.  Mr. Blonde is a special kind of crazy.

Of course, you don’t have the rights to use popular songs like Tarantino did.  However, I find that my writing is helped when I listen to songs related to time periods I am writing in.  It puts me in the mood.

How Nonlinear Storytelling Can Fix Plot Holes

Suppose you are a hardened criminal fresh off a botched diamond heist that went wrong due to a rat.  Who would you immediately suspect?

If you said, “The New Guy,” congratulations.  You’re acting like a stylish, early 1990s diamond robber.

The irony is the film goes for most of its length with the characters fighting over who the rat is.  We aren’t told there is a new guy until we get towards the end.  Then we discover Mr. Orange is the new guy and also an undercover cop.  Spoiler?  Shut up, you’ve had since 1992 to watch this thing.

But that’s the thing.  You’re not a stylish early 1990s diamond robber, so you weren’t thinking like one.  Maybe “the new guy” might have popped into your head, but you don’t find out until the end that there was a new guy.  Once you do, you realize the whole crew is apparently very, very, ridiculously stupid.  I mean, they knew he was the new guy.  Why didn’t any of them go, “Hey, I think the new guy might be the rat…”

Had Tarantino followed a linear format and told us up front that Mr. Orange was the new guy, he’d of been the obvious rat suspect, giving away the story’s most vexing question.

Conclusion

With this film and its followup, “Pulp Fiction,” Tarantino inspired a generation of filmmakers and writers, challenging them to abandon the rules in favor of coolness, style, and better yet, to grab the viewer’s attention and draw them in.

Think about writing like dating.  If you are super rich and have a ten foot King Kong penis, you might want to drop that information sooner rather than later.  If you make your date wait until the tenth date to find out your most amazing qualities, she might get bored by then and switch you off, like your audience will do with your writing.

In other words, Tarantino dares us to start with the ice cream first, and then we’ll work our way to the meat and potatoes.  Give us that bloody gunshot victim screaming in pain in the backseat right away, and then we’ll stick around to fight out how he got into such a terrible state.

You can do this too, if you dare.  Begin with the most awesome part of your story, then explain how we got there.

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Toilet Gator is the Best Novel Ever

I just breezed through reading the full first draft and I’d forgotten a lot of what I wrote.  Yeah, this book is funny as all get out.  I should win like a thousand awards for this thing.  Surely, if there is a “Best Book Ever Written About Toilet Gators” then that award should be mine.

toilet-gator-book-1

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Zom Fu – Chapter 64

tabletdemo

The members of the Clan of the Mediocre Yet Effective Club Bonk struggled on the palace steps to hold back the zombie invaders. Several of them had fallen victim to the Clan of the Terrifyingly Unnatural Brain Bite.

Junjie observed the carnage, then looked to the Staff of Ages. The ruby glowed red once more.

“The Staff of Ages has been freed of Dragonhand’s influence,” the Infallible Master said. “It belongs to its true master once again. Wield it freely and it will know exactly what you wish it to do.”

Junjie closed his eyes and raised the staff high into the air. Thunder claps sounded overhead. Multiple bolts of lightning tore through the sky and zapped their way into the staff, until the ancient device began to glow bright white.

Once more, the handsome hero pointed the staff toward the sky and a colossal lighting bolt of unfathomable size lit up the night sky. It pulsated in the heavens, dancing and flickering about until it separated into hundreds of smaller lighting bolts. Each bolt found a different zombie brain to pierce. Soon, every last brain biter in the Forbidden City was destroyed, while the remaining humans survived unscathed.

The clubbers cheered. Junjie cheered. “Master, I can’t believe that….Master?”

The Infallible Master was nowhere to be found, except in Junjie’s mind. “There is no more that I can teach you now, my son. It is time for you to become the master, and time for me to wile away many a year in Diyu.”

“Diyu?” Junjie asked out loud. Those in the handsome hero’s general vicinity might have thought the young man had gone mad had they not seen so many other frightening wonders that day. “I thought you said you would never be able to pass on to the other side.”

“A Master has his ways,” came the Infallible Master inside Junjie’s brain. “The older we get, the more realize what we once thought is impossible is, in fact, quite possible.”

“There’s something you aren’t telling me,” Junjie said.

“Perhaps,” the Infallible Master said. “But the task of rebuilding the devastated kung fu clans is ahead of you now. The last thing you need to do is to worry about me.”

“Wait,” Junjie said. “Will I ever see you again?”

The master’s voice laughed. “Yes. It will seem like an eternity but remember, time is but a trick of the mind. We shall have our reunion one day, if not in the gloomy abyss of Diyu, then surely in the warm embrace of Heaven.”

“Can I talk to you?” Junjie asked.
The master’s voice laughed again. “Oh my son. I spent so much time with my master that I hear him even when he does not speak to me. You will see me and hear me in everything you do, regardless of whether or not we actually speak again.”

“That’s very cryptic,” Junjie said.

“Meh,” the Infallible Master said. “I am a kung fu master. It is what I do.”

“Goodbye, Master,” Junjie said.

“No,” the Infallible Master said. “Not goodbye. Never goodbye. I will see you later.”

A tear streamed down Junjie’s cheek. “I will see you later, Master.”

And with that, the voice inside Junjie’s head was gone.

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