Round 11.0003 [Terminal Connection]

Question for Burley:

In all versions of this story so far, the following phrase is used:

...that the crime of which he's accused, but hasn't committed yet, is murdering her.

However, going back through the archives, you also said this:

...and I especially don't mean that computers can predict the future...

So, while knowing that I have the freedom to alter all this as I see fit, I'm still curious about your intention. Do some people in this world have the ability to predict the future? Or is this a semantics problem, and what you meant to say was that the husband is accused of conspiracy to murder?

The State of the Blog: May 2006

Human secularists, satanic majesties, crimson overlords and clarified-butter dharma dolls, welcome to the State of the Blog for May 2006. May was a month of 21 posts, an average of .67 posts per day, which is a sequential kind of number. A memory of the Summer of Love, in that number. A memory of a to-do list overflowing with actionable items.

The month began with the tail end of the Radical Idea approach to stopping an argument. In good form, we made some rules, and then discussed them for quite awhile to make sure they reached the patented Spitball! gold standard of needless complexity.

Once that was done, we finished up our Round 10 discussions about which stories to move forward, and then moved on to Round 11--which started by defining the “in a world” scenario that we never did define for Terminal Connection when we created it as a frankenstein story idea.

Starting this month, character bios for Round 11--which, according to our new rules will not be an either-or proposition, but instead a situation where both could potentially move forward.

I don't know about you, gentle reader, but when I think of how close we are getting to actually starting the writing, I get a little excited, in culturally acceptable ways. Won't you join me and let's be excited together in culturally acceptable ways?

Loose Ends

(The following is an attempt at the kind of post they sometimes do over at Signal vs. Noise -- that is, a "statement of purpose" kind of deal that's both kind of controversial but also kind of vague. Is mine a homage or a parody? I'm thinking a little of both.)

links for 2006-05-30

May 29, 2006 · by Burley Grymz · Permalink · Category: Links, Original Version

links for 2006-05-17

May 16, 2006 · by Burley Grymz · Permalink · Category: Links, Original Version

Note to self: remember the sounds

There was an amazing bit on NPR's Morning Edition earlier today about some of the sounds in the dense neighborhoods surrounding the Forbidden City in Bejing. I think it's worth a listen for the wild and varied things you hear.

I was thinking about those sounds, which stopped me dead in my tracks, and how as writers we need to shape the world of the characters. Especially in movies sound is important and omnipresent. Don't forget to put them into worlds with noises that can confuse, startle and interact with them. Sound can be character as much as visual. In official news:

Burley, you said you had some ideas about this you wanted to go over? Cuz I'm ready to jump in with character bios.

Go man go! I'm ready too.

Weekly Wrap-Up (5/6/06 - 5/12/06)

So one thing and only one thing has crossed the lips of the Spitball! boys this week. Listen, and listen carefully, and you too might hear it. There it is! Can you hear it? Across the wind and through the trees, it falls upon your ears like the whispers of a long-forgotten lover. It says...

Terminal Connection.... Terminal Connection... Terminal Connection...

Meaning: What the hell is this story, anyway? As Burley recounts, this was the first story that was formed out of the consolidation of two competing stories, and as such, never got a proper write-up. It was determined that, before Round Eleven began, it might be a good idea to determine just what Terminal Connection is before starting the bios. Then Burley provided a write-up, and Shockah found it just dandy. And unless Burley wants to expand on the idea further, Shockah will start with the bios... on Monday, that is.

Also this week: Shockah put up the link for the hilariously accurate Do It Yourself Giallo Generator, and Burley highlighted the fascinating (and to Shockah, somewhat unnerving) found (vintage) photo site Big Happy Fun House. Spitball! Sez: Check 'em out.

links for 2006-05-12

May 11, 2006 · by Burley Grymz · Permalink · Category: Links, Original Version

Round 11.0002 [Terminal Connection]

Before we get started...

Terminal Connection
In a world where telepathy is a disease, and known telepaths are imprisoned, all laws are built by consensus over the internet via double-blind anonymous computer terminals to guard against undo psychic influence. One politician is called to jury duty, also conducted over computer terminals, but doesn't realize that the accused, whom she thinks should be dealt with harshly, is actually her husband. Nor does she realize that the crime of which he's accused, but hasn't committed yet, is murdering her. And what would she do if she knew that when she's deliberating, her husband could read her mind and was plotting to kill her precisely because she's about to send him back to the living hell of forced labor known as the Prison Planet?

My name is Urban Shockah and I approve this story idea.

Burley, you said you had some ideas about this you wanted to go over? Cuz I'm ready to jump in with character bios.

Inspiration in a lens

Inspiration: I take it anywhere I can get it, although as we've discussed before, our problem is not so much ideas but the time to express them. Maybe that's the basis of our philosophy that the real work is the execution. I'll bet there are diligent writers for whom the idea part is the hardest.

If you're one of them you might find inspiration at Big Happy Fun House, one of my favorite blogs. It's only vintage photos--new ones every day, cherry picked and edited by a guy with a great eye.

http://bighappyfunhouse.com/

His shadows series was particularly good, I thought.

links for 2006-05-09

May 09, 2006 · by Burley Grymz · Permalink · Category: Links, Original Version

Round 11.0001 [Terminal Connection]

UPDATE: 5/10/06 -- I had to change the title from a ridiculous number of zeros down to only a few too many zeros because the post title was breaking the blog layout. We're always living on the edge for you, dear viewer.

To recap, for those of you who haven't been paying attention: There were two stories called The Infected and If It Pleases the Court. For some reason we decided to blend the two stories into one, which Shockah smartly titled Terminal Connection. But, we realized we haven't written a description of it yet. So, here's mine. After Shockah does his, I'll discuss a few ideas about this that I have, and see if we can't whip it into shape for the true Round 11, not so far away.

But first, the stories we're blending:

Re[2]: Round 10.6 - Discussion [Rasputin the Translator v. Time to Die]

...even though we had stories for The Infected & If It Pleases the Court, we've never had a log-line or pitch for Terminal Connection. Why don't we both come up with one, and then I say we toss some ideas about it around before really starting the round. What do you think?

I was ready to just jump in with both feet, but we might avoid a Round Nine-style quagmire if we figured it out ahead of time. I have a concept in my head about what Terminal Connection is like (that I already know you won't care much for), so next post, I'll probably talk about that -- but I'd better refresh my memory first. Telepathy? Double-blind juries? Cake? Something along those lines?

re: Round 10.6 - Discussion [Rasputin the Translator v. Time to Die]

Heh heh heh... Here's what I thought when I first read that bio: "Wow -- Cemile! Of course! Obviously she's the lynchpin of the entire story. I wonder what Burley's got planned for her..."'

Damn, I should learn to keep my mouth shut. I'm much more mysterious and interesting in your mind than in reality.

Meaning I have to write a bio for Terminal Connection, an idea that currently has less story than Rasputin. Can I claim Conscientious Objector status?

You bring up a very good point, which is that even though we had stories for The Infected & If It Pleases the Court, we've never had a log-line or pitch for Terminal Connection. Why don't we both come up with one, and then I say we toss some ideas about it around before really starting the round. What do you think?

Weekly Wrap-Up (4/28/06 - 5/5/06)

Hey there, loyal Spitball! readers. The Weekly Wrap-Up is back, after missing a few weeks. Don't worry, you didn't miss anything, unless you wanted to hear Shockah complain about people complaining and Burley complaining about his own complaining. Oh, Burley already made that joke. Nothing to see here, folks, move on.

The week began with an interesting question from Burley: Why aren't there any big-budget epic movies about American Indian mythology? If the Chinese can mine their own history and mythology for kick-ass movies, why not one based on Northwest Native American folklore? (Shockah's one word answer as to why we won't be seeing one anytime soon starts with "r" and ends with "m", but that's the kind of answer one expects from Shockah.) Still, sounds pretty cool, and maybe one day someone will get it done.

Then Shockah finally posted his second bio, President Jones Alan Porter, for the idea Rasputin the Translator. It was... different, to say the least.

But then the Spitball! boys... excuse me while I get into my Dukes of Hazzard narrator outfit... but the the Spitball! boys found themselves in one dilly of a pickle. Seems like they both fell in love with the two stories, wouldn't you know it, and couldn't bring themselves to do the right and honorable thing and show one the door. So Burley Duke proposed a new way of goin' about things: both stories in a round can move onto the final round, and a winner would be determined through the magic of Needlessly Complex rules. Now Shockah Duke, he aint the brightest bulb in the bottom drawer, so he had to have the new rules explained to him. Twice. But he finally got it figured out, and so it was then agreed that these new rules would be in effect for the rest of the heat. Until Boss Hogg got wind of the new plan...

Anyway, after a little bit of discussion, both Rasputin the Translator and Time to Die were voted through to the final round. Hooray! Only two more rounds until the moment America has been waiting for: the winner of the First Spitball! Tourney of Story Ideas. Who will it be? Rasputin? Little Black Stray? The Scabs? Stay tuned as the competition is only going to get hotter!

Shockah out.

Round 10.6 - Discussion [Rasputin the Translator v. Time to Die]

It is funny--I did have to look it up...but, I actually never imagined her as a character that might need a background, but now that you mention it, I think she would be a great character with a background. Hmmmm. I can see her playing an important role in the film...

Heh heh heh... Here's what I thought when I first read that bio: "Wow -- Cemile! Of course! Obviously she's the lynchpin of the entire story. I wonder what Burley's got planned for her..."

Rasputin the Translator: YES
Time to Die: YES

My vote is as follows:

Rasputin the Translator: YES
Time to Die: YES

Both stories move on. Congratulations, stories.

This Round Goes To Eleven is next. Little Black Stray and Terminal Connection. I'm doing the starting bios. Meaning I have to write a bio for Terminal Connection, an idea that currently has less story than Rasputin. Can I claim Conscientious Objector status?

Bios coming soon.

Round 10.5 - Discussion [Rasputin the Translator v. Time to Die]

Ooops! I meant Cemile. Knew I shoulda looked that one up. Now, if you don't know who that is... that's gonna be funny.

It is funny--I did have to look it up...but, I actually never imagined her as a character that might need a background, but now that you mention it, I think she would be a great character with a background. Hmmmm. I can see her playing an important role in the film...

should we take a vote?

Hell yeah. I'm ready. My votes?

Rasputin the Translator: YES
Time to Die: YES

Round 10.4 - Discussion [Rasputin the Translator v. Time to Die]

Wait--who's Cecile again?

Ooops! I meant Cemile. Knew I shoulda looked that one up. Now, if you don't know who that is... that's gonna be funny.

In retrospect, I should have chosen something less open to...shall we say, interpretation?

Oh, I knew you had a reason for it (and it's a good reason, I think), but yeah, not sure how that would end up playing in Peoria, to coin a phrase.

Well, whaddya want to do now? We could keep talking about these stories, but since it's not an either/or game anymore, and I think we know how we feel about them... should we take a vote?

Round 10.3 - Discussion [Rasputin the Translator v. Time to Die]

1. We don't really seem to know what the actual story is for Rasputin the Translator. Should that be a factor in whether it advances or not?

That's a good question, but I say no. We both were excited about the character bios, and we're both excited by the possibilities of it. Besides, this heat was never about defining the story as much as it was about exploring it obliquely through extraneous characterization. Our work, while maybe not clarifying anything about the story, has certainly not made me doubt it at all.

2. There are a still a couple of bios that I'd like to see: Rasputin's Cecile, and Time to Die's unnamed warden character. Should those be written now, during this discussion, or wait until the stories have (potentially) moved on, or what?

Another good point. I would say it's in our hands -- if the bios would be handy, I say we divide them up and each take one on. I don't see it influencing the decision to move the stories forward, but it might help down the line. Wait--who's Cecile again?

Round 10 - Discussion [Rasputin the Translator v. Time to Die]

Well, I guess we now open the floor to discussion about the two stories. As Burley already knows, I'm feeling a little bit under the weather (but hopefully not the Boogie Woogie Burley Flu), so my thoughts aren't as coherent as I'd like them to be. So rather than pontificate in a woozy state, I'm just going to throw out some questions, and let Burley run with it where he may (which may or may not include answering the questions -- he's not like, under oath or anything).

1. We don't really seem to know what the actual story is for Rasputin the Translator. Should that be a factor in whether it advances or not?

2. There are a still a couple of bios that I'd like to see: Rasputin's Cecile, and Time to Die's unnamed warden character. Should those be written now, during this discussion, or wait until the stories have (potentially) moved on, or what?

3. What are we looking for when we decide whether to move these stories on? Is it simply a gut thing, or can it be stated in a quantitative way?

4. Did we ever decide what Time to Die's prison was like? Last time we talked about it, it seemed like we had different conceptions (I was thinking something more traditional, just on a different planet, but you seemed to be thinking about a more expansive, outdoorsy "prisoner reserve" kind of deal, if I'm not mistaken.) I got no preferences, I can go with the flow, but setting helps determine character, so it might be a good thing to figure out.

5. What exactly were your plans for September's stripper and dominatrix pals, anyway?

Re[4]: A Radical Idea

Assuming this is correct, I vote "yea" on this plan, with the caveat that I may want to Needlessly Complicate how the winner is generated in Step 3; but that idea's for another post.

It is correct, and I gleefully await your next addition to Needless Complexity.

The State of the Blog: April

Friends, paper monsters, chicken-sqwaking parakeets, and CIA agents who were working undercover in Iran on nuclear proliferation before being outed by the (as of this date) still unfired presidential monkey boy, welcome to the state of the blog looking back on April, 2006.

April is a special month. The showers bring flowers, the rain falls on plains (at least in Maine, so they proclaim), but here the great sickness of 2006 was just ending. I, a stalwart and upright fellow--sound of body and mind--not, pray tell, athletic per chance, but nor feeble or prone to sudden illness--I fell under the spell of one wicked and hideous influenza, passed to me by a globe-trotting photographer who is a good man, so shant be named here. On that first day of April where minds turn to fools, I turned mine to the simple task of walking (slowly!) four blocks for a taco. No metaphor lives here--a real, fresh taco, bathed in Blue Water and Chipotle salsa. I made it, this walk, with the accompaniment of my inspiring and faithful companion. It was she that bought me the taco, for indeed--and here's where you'll lend me your sympathies a mite--it was indeed the celebration of the day of my birth.

Re[3]: A Radical Idea

Okay, I think we've got it figured out.

I think.

Man, this just underlines how good you have to be when writing the rules for board games and role-playing games, even really simple ones. It doesn't take much to cause a misunderstanding.

So: