Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Let me write your poem

Dienstag, April 8th, 2008

After the astounding success of the “Your Story Challenge“, to which a boatload of people responded (I’m talking, obviously, about a rowing boat), time has come to challenge me with something new. So instead of telling your stories, I will now write your poems. The rules are similar and similarly simple: Post a comment to this entry containing three words/phrases you want me to use in the poem and the language you want the poem to be written in (in case the words/phrases can be used in different languages). Each of the words/phrases can be anything you want, but don’t expect the poem to be serious if one of your phrases is “legless car”. Each word/phrase can’t be longer than seven syllables, because otherwise the poem won’t be recognizable as such. So, “car” is okay, “legless car” is fine, “a flying legless car” is also alright, but “a flying legless German car” is out of the question. Understood? Good. And remember, I want three of those phrases (or single words, if you are more classically inclined). As stated above, please also add the language. For this challenge, I offer a wide range of languages ranging from English over German to English and back again. Only one entry per customer, so think wisely, and don’t expect more than one poem per day and probably a lot less since I am lazy. German translation of the instructions might follow.

Your Story VI: Tine II

Dienstag, Februar 12th, 2008

After a longer hiatus (for reasons I really don’t want to go into right now) “Your Story” returns with a short story. According to the universal rules of short story writing, if you can’t find a plot, a beginning or an ending or basically anything that makes sense in a short story, this is entirely your fault. You just didn’t get it. So enjoy this one – and remember that you can still submit your own challenge here. (weiterlesen …)

Your Story V: Charlotte

Mittwoch, Januar 30th, 2008

Romantic comedies – the archnemesis of all failed novelists. Once more, you can read here what this is all about. And if you don’t understand the “What I got” part, try the translation underneath. And for everybody who expected something different from the given items: This is a very rough draft. The general idea is there, but I didn’t have the time and patience to put it into a proper story. Maybe I’ll amend it some day, but for now contend yourself with this skeleton of a story idea. (weiterlesen …)

Your Story III: Macbeth

Dienstag, Januar 29th, 2008

This is the fourth entry in the “Your Story” series – I know my numbering is off. What this is all about, can be read here. I won’t deny that this challenge was a little bit more difficult. My first thoughts were about a re-telling of Macbeth, but apparently that wasn’t what was requested. Instead, it is a story that focuses just on the three characters named. I’m not sure whether it can really compete with Shakespeare’s Macbeth, but I hope you like it anyway. (weiterlesen …)

Deine Geschichte IV: Tine

Dienstag, Januar 29th, 2008

Jetzt also mal auf Deutsch – wer nicht weiß worum es geht und auch kein Englisch kann, steht jetzt blöd dar. Im Prinzip ist es ganz simpel: Jemand schreibt einen Kommentar mit drei Eckdaten und ich mache eine Geschichte daraus. Hier kann man das im Detail nachlesen, aber eben nur auf Englisch. Aber auch wenn da jetzt gleich “Read the rest of this entry” steht, geht es danach auf Deutsch weiter. Allerdings ist mir diese Geschichte nicht sonderlich gelungen. Meine Kreativität wurde entführt und die Lösegeldforderungen sind zu hoch um darauf eingehen zu können. (weiterlesen …)

Your Story II: Martin

Freitag, Januar 25th, 2008

The second comment to this post about me turning your requirements into a story idea has come in. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read the other post first. If you do, be warned that Martin’s requirements were a little, let’s say strange. However, I managed to turn it into a story (idea) that is certainly fit for all ages. Please excuse the length of the post, I got a little carried away. (weiterlesen …)

Your Story I: Ryan

Dienstag, Januar 22nd, 2008

The first commenter on this post about me turning your requirements into a story idea was Ryan. If you don’t know what I am talking about, read the previous post. Otherwise, enjoy the story. (weiterlesen …)

Let me tell you your story

Dienstag, Januar 22nd, 2008

Earlier today, I argued with a friend about inventing stories. I said that I believe that inventing a story is really easy, that anybody can come up with a dozen great stories a day and that the hard part was taking those stories and turning them into a great book or screenplay or whatever. My friend disagreed and just now I realized that he was right. Inventing stories isn’t easy – it’s just my immeasurable genius that makes me come up with story ideas that could change the world (if they were ever, you know, written or something). To prove that I am at least right about that, I have come up with the following, interactive (that means you get to participate!) challenge:

Post a comment to this entry in which you state the following: The language you want the story to be in (German or English, all other languages are absolutely forbidden!), the genre/kind of story you are looking for (Comedy, Drama, bittersweet romantic zombie movie, whatever you want) and three items that I’ll have to include in the story. Items can be people (a young woman of 54 with flaming red hair), places (the public restroom at the Walmart in Dakota Springs) or things (a rubber duck), whatever you want. Just please don’t make the item descriptions too long. I will then take those instructions and turn them into an abstract for a story about 200 to 1,000 words long. I’ll try to make it about 500 words long, but while I claim that I can turn anything into a great story I never claimed that I could do it within a restrictive word limit.

Now, you can come up with some completely crazy or can try something classic to see whether I manage to give the story a twist. Everybody can turn the instruction for an English crime story with the items “adulterous husband”, “fragile wife” and “bloody knife” into a story – but would my story-inventing genius create something truly unique? Or do you want to go the crazy route and try to see whether I fail to make the example instructions into a compelling movie script? It’s your choice.

There are some limits to this thing of course: If more than ten people post instructions in the comments, I’ll think of something to select the best. I’ll start as soon as I get the first comment and post all finished story ideas here, but don’t expect more than one a day. Not because it takes time to come up with ideas, but because it takes time to write them down. Apart from that, I’m looking forward to all submissions. Have fun!

Thoughts on “Good Omens”

Samstag, November 17th, 2007

In the late 1980s, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett wrote a book called “Good Omens”. In 1990, it was first published. In 2006, a new edition was published with some information from the two authors about the book, how it came to exist and about each other. Yesterday, I read the book. Today, I write down my thoughts on it, or rather on how it came to be.

“Good Omens” is entertaining enough to warrant the million of copies it sold to some less millions of people. Reviews of it can be found almost anywhere, so if you simply want to know whether you might enjoy reading the book, look for them instead of looking here. Here I will talk more about the process of writing a book or rather how to write this book.

Apparently, Pratchett and Gaiman have a vastly different approach to writing. It is said that Pratchett wrote 400 words every evening when he still had a “real” job. When he finished a novel and still had 100 words to go, he just start the next one. Gaiman is or at least was the more chaotic of the two. By the time they wrote “Good Omens”, they both were making a living with what they were writing, but instead of writing together, they would each write at home. Gaiman would write at night and wake up at midday to find his answering machine filled with messages from Pratchett to finally get up, because he had been writing all morning. Then, in the afternoon, they would share what each had written, talk about what they were doing and sketch out where the book was headed. They would send their drafts to each other through snail mail since this was a long time before e-mail was readily available. An attempt to use a modem to share the data was abandoned after they realized that the postal service was faster. At the end they got together to do the final edit and congratulate each other on their good work, only to realize that there were some things in the book they were both sure not to have written.

Apart from these anecdotes being rather amusing (more so when told by them then when amateurishly retold by me) they give some insight into the creative process that is writing. There are many writers who need the strict discipline that Pratchett enforced on himself, while others work best at night, possibly being slightly drunk and very chaotic. In general, the more chaotic the work of a writer seems, the more organized he is. Most writers are highly individual people, selfish, arrogant and always right. They are hard to tolerate at the best of times and nearly impossible to work with. Yet when they do, they create something that is somehow bigger than they themselves are. Of course this can be said for a lot of artistic work, but with collaborations these is even more true (just think of movies).

I guess what I am really trying to say here is: Does anybody want to be the Terry Pratchett to my Neil Gaiman?