Johannes Punkt’s Flaskpost

You may be required to show proof of id.

Tag: lists

a short list of things which are currently swaying in the wind:

a short list of things which are currently swaying in the wind:

The charred body of your yapping dog,

the rope it hangs with,

the branch of the tree it hangs from, though some of that swaying is indirect, and

the leaves on it, like little hands with three thick fingers each, waving.

~

The grass around the circle where your yapping dog burned, but not the crisp, brown grass inside the circle

~

The flagpole I erected overnight,

the ropes that run up its body sounding like lashes of a whip every time they hit the pole,

the victory flag itself.

If You Are Reading This, You May Already Have Lost!

If you are reading this, you may have already lost! In order to delay the inevitable, you may wish to run. Here are some tips that will hopefully make it harder for it to catch you:

  • always run downwind
  • get in the water as often as you can
  • don’t think too loud

But do you want the last moments of your life to be filled with dread and terror? Didn’t think so. Instead, I suggest you look away from any doorways, including refrigerator doors and television screens, pour yourself a nice big glass of wine, and relax.

Rules of Style

Presented with only this for a comment: these are things I need to remind myself when writing; it does not contain some of the more – to me – obvious writing rules such as ‘no rule is omniapplicable’. List updated as of 30-dec-2015. Subject to change; am still figuring things out.

1: start the story where it needs to be started for the rest to make sense, not earlier.

i. chronology is appreciated. Every scene shall be the obvious choice of scene given the preceding scene. This also goes for sentences.

2: use ‘thought/felt’ as little as possible. [The show-don’t-tell rule. Courtesy of Chuck Palahniuk.]

3: no thesis statements/topic sentences. Do not start your paragraphs with ‘Gullvig was in love’ just to follow up with examples of how in love Gullvig is. Just give the examples directly.

4: do use specific examples and not category nouns, if possible. ‘His car drove into a tree’ vs ‘his ’78 Buick hit an oak’.

i. however do not exaggerate; do not confuse or anger with this.

5: if possible, write what people DO rather than what they do NOT do. What they do not do becomes clear from what they do.

i. to accentuate something a person does not do, make hir do the thing in a previous scene; use repetition to highlight the lack of doing.

1. if it is important to show what someone does not do, there is often a good verb for it. E.g. ‘avoided’ or ‘fasted’.

6: read everything aloud. If possible, get someone else to read your shit aloud.

7: as few words as possible to say as much as possible; verbs over phrasal verbs.

i. verbs over nouns.

ii. and over but; metaphor over simile.

8: on flow and feel: sentences trump individual words; paragraphs trump sentences.

9: obsess over details. Rework until it feels right. Do not put anything up that does not feel right. Do not apologize for this.

i. see everything before you write it. [Another show-don’t-tell rule. Courtesy of Stephen King.]

10: murder-your-darlings. If someone has a problem with your writings, listen to them as if they were your conscience. [Courtesy of Kristina S. who knows me by my old name and was a wonderful teacher.]

i. but treasure some darlings. [Courtesy of Warren Enström.]

11. only use ambiguity when you mean both guities.

i. remove all the almosts and somehows, all the seems and appears tos, and words serving similar functions (anything that vagues stuff) from your manuscript. It is now a better manuscript.

12. be more interesting than esoteric. Hooks are important.

i. do not compromise between interesting and esoteric, though: rewrite until it is more interesting without removing the esoteric elements.

1. no one should have to read a sentence more than once to understand it.

13. the only time the reader does not get to partake in essential information is when that is the point of the story. Style is secondary.

i. write. What. You. Mean.

14. if many explanations are in order, mention once what needs explaining, and explain them calmly one by one.

i. only give things names when they need names.

1. double-check that the name is superfluous before excising it.

15. to establish viewpoint character in a 3rd-person paragraph, mention something simple first before divulging their biases. A section may only contain text from one character’s point-of-view.

16. run freely with the metaphors. Organize your kaleidoscope so that the words belong to the image.

17. any given sentence should, upon inspection, only contain one kind of comma, if it contains commas.

18. it is bad luck to talk about stories you are currently writing. Explaining it removes the urge to tell the story, and you are left with a half-finished husk and no motivation. Guard your secrets like a dragon does gold, until they’re polished enough.

19. delete all instances and synonyms of veryactuallyapparently, and  definitely that show up outside of dialogue, but remember that adverbs are your friends. No-one can argue with lugubriouslyabominably, or borderline. (This rule is not in conflict with rule 11.i; borderline does not vague anything, it places another word exactly on a spectrum.)

20. is this the most interesting time in your character’s life? If not, why aren’t you writing about that instead? [Courtesy of Rich Burlew.]

21. coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating. [Courtesy of Emma Coats. (That whole list is great. Go read it every now and again: io9.com/5916970/the-22-rules-of-storytelling-according-to-pixar.)]

List of Rules [Notes on TIME TRAVEL SEX CLUB]

https://zombiesintelligently.com/vignettes/time-travel-sex-club/

  • RULE 1a DO NOT GO HOME WITH ANYONE RULE 1b DO NOT TALK ABOUT TIME TRAVEL SEX CLUB RULE 1c DO NOT MENTION SPECIFIC DATES/EVENTS RULE 1d DO NOT ALTER HISTORY.
  • RULE 2 NO NAMES.
  • RULE 3 WHEN YOU FEEL THE BUZZ DROP YOUR TIME IS UP; LEAVE. you cannot stay in an unchronized zone forever. there is still a pseudo-time moving forward but independent of the time in the synchronized world, and as reality is made by consensus time-and-place needs to keep all chronoception outside of its zone.
  • RULE 4a WE ARE FOREVER RULE 4b ANY RUMOURS OF US GOING OUT OF BUSINESS ARE STRICTLY FABRICATIONS RULE 4c KEEP FINDING US. Read the rest of this entry »