“What’s our strategic plan?” “It’s a secret.” “Are you saying you don’t trust me?” “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that most employee sabotage is done by employees.” ~ Dilbert
Ch 19 ~ Intermission II … For Your Consideration
Date: November 21, 2008; Email to: The Author of this erm Novel, yeah, that’s it; From: Anonymous; Subject: For Your Consideration
Well, okay, then, hello. You don’t know us. I should be more formal. Well…but, it’s not entirely accurate that you don’t know us. Actually, you do…and not just one or two of us. The whole lot of us. But, whatever (clears throat, brushes remnants of cookie crumbs off of the keyboard…studies the keyboard more closely and decides to lift it up and shake it upside down over a trash container near the desk)…there! Better!
Okay, then. Where was I…what?…(turns to look around the room). Oh, okay fine…where were “we?” Excuse me, I stand corrected. There are, as you may have gathered, quite a few of us in the room. Gathered, as it were. Ironically, enough. I like the play on words there or maybe I’m just at a loss for them as I try to write this note to you about our concerns, and so I’m probably stalling, most likely, but I’m not entirely sure, so…okay (marshalling courage), then, so why are we here, you may wonder. And, funny you should ask because, we tend to have the same question. Only not in quite the esoteric fashion of asking that question. Only not in terms of this email, specifically. You see we’re rather at a loss… You’re rambling. Get on with it. Oh, indeed, I suppose I am. (Is there any way to use a different font style for each “speaker” here? It might not be entirely clear that I’m not just talking to myself right now.) We should be phone texting…does anyone know why we’re not phone texting. What? The 1700 word count? Gah. What? now she’s pushing for a 2500 word count? What has gotten into her. Who knows, but get on with it, already.
Okay, so. The thing is. This snow tunnel that you’ve constructed. Now, um. It just seems odd that you would use snowflakes – pink ones at that – to represent All of Meaning in All of the Universes. I mean (scratches head)…I mean my thoughts alone (clears throat), well, c’mon (shrugs rather smugly as if whatever he/she/it was going to say is entirely self-evident from just the expression, quite forgetting the limitations of email). Well, actually (replies to the previous parathentical), the word ‘c’mon’ was the self-evident bit. Need I say anything more after ‘c’mon’…I think not. Let me talk…for pity sake we’ll be here all day at this rate.
Hello, this is me. For the sake of identification, just call me “Anonymous 2.” We are writing to you today because:
a) we are not really keen on the idea of using a snowflake tunnel to represent the highest order of thinking that we know of. The implications of using a snowflake run the risk of suggesting that you think – or through extension, that “we” think – that higher order thinking is flakey. And we do not think it is, although we are fairly convinced at this point that your thinking might be and we respectfully submit exhibit A “Snowflake Tunnel as Collective Consciousness” as proof, or certainly something for you to consider. Well put…but rather mean, I must say. Well?? (Shrugs shoulders and bugs eyes.)
b) you keep talking about this war thing, and, quite frankly, it is freaking many of us out. Is this the effect of the Bush years? Is everything a Terror Alert? I’m surprised, quite honestly, that you haven’t used any type of color coding system, although the purple-grey mist and the pink snowflakes and the color changing skins and all certainly do flirt around those edges a bit.
c) the warriors never speak…and I can speak most directly to this because I have been elected to represent the group, athough I prefer that you refer to me as Anonymous 2. But how could you really know which warrior I am. You created only two varieties, and they all look alike. (Raises an accusatory eyebrow.) A legion of warriors that are clones of themselves, never speak, have no names. Rather lazy, wouldn’t you say? What you may not be aware of – and what I would like to now make you aware of – is that we do, as fictional characters have rights afforded to us by our dues-paying membership status in the Fictional Characters Guild. That is to say that as minor characters – although I certainly never think of myself in those terms – but, be that as it may, as minor characters the FCG stipulates that all minor characters have a minimum of 100 lines of dialogue. Frankly, this is atrociously insulting if you ask me. But until the rules are changed, there you have it: 100 lines of dialogue. (Peers closely into the monitor.) And even with this dinky amount, you’re not scratching anywhere near the surface. In fact, I would hazard a guess that your hand isn’t even on the correct surface, no offense. A bit cold there…ouch, that hurt.
d) Um, yeah. Where is this story going?
On behalf of the members of the FCG, heretofore and henceforth known as “Anonymous,” we thank you in advance for your time and attention, and for your prompt consideration of these matters. Sincerely,
Date: November 21, 2008; Email to: Dues-Paying Members of the Fictional Characters Guild; From: The Author; Subject: Re-For Your Consideration
Dear Dues-Paying Members of the Fictional Characters Guild,
Thank you very kindly for your…inquiry. I have read your note with interest. I believe I may understand some, if not all, of your concerns. But I would like to clarify (perhaps remind) that this novel is my first attempt at committing to writing something every day over a 30 day period. I admit, I missed a day or two here or there, but I have done what I’ve needed to in order to make up for any backsliding. The point being, well, there isn’t really time to develop and connect the story and the characters any more fully than I have attempted to do throughout this month. Oh, to be sure, I am certain others far more talented than I can, and do, achieve a more cogent, thoughtful, threaded piece. And one day perhaps I will achieve this…at least one time; that would be so wonderful. But, as for the here and now, I have to say that I am thrilled to have hung in there. I actually anticipate seeing the work reach a 50,000 total by month’s end, which is only a mere nine days away. This is a feat that, truthfully, at the beginning of it all – I wasn’t entire sure I could do. I hope you share my enthusiasm for what really is our shared achievement! All best, The Author
Date: November 21, 2008; Email to: The Author of (clears throat) The Novel In Question; From: Anonymous (aka The Distinguished Dues-Paying Members of the Fictional Characters Guild); Subject: Re-Re-For Your Consideration
Perhaps we did not express our concerns as clearly as we would have liked. We, as characters, don’t really have a sense as to time or place in this (refrains from clearing throat yet again) story. And we find some of the literay devices you use, creative licenses you take, to be, well, um, if not questionable, can we just say convenient, yes. Good choice, precisely that. Not to mention you have built up to a climax oh any number of times already and we fear that you will not have what it takes to, how to put this delicately, to take us all over the edge and spank our bottoms like the very naughty characters that we are and certainly that we so expect for you to do after having toyed with us and teased us to exhaustion. Speaking of exhaustion…do none of us ever sleep? While I am loathe to recite directly from the Fictional Characters Guild, (I really had hoped that we could do away with such strident formalities) there are rules pertaining to number of work hours, breaks, biobreaks, food, water, sex. Sex, sex! Yes! Ask about the sex! What kind of novel has little to no sex in it? Well there is the matter of the Clan and the Collective…but there seems to be a very strong technical aspect to their variety of sex, particularly with the Collective. I’m not quite sure that it’s sex at all. Have you ever had sparks flying out of your ass before? (Glares around in an effort to silence the ground; crosses eyes slightly and shakes head in an attempt to commandeer focus.)
Um, yes. (Blushes profusely. Makes no attempt to refrain from clearing throat, and makes no attempt whatsoever to answer any questions related to sparks flying out the ass.) I trust this sums the matter up a bit more clearly. And we wait (as ever, rolls eyes for emphasis) to receive some clarity from you on these issues.
Yet again, on behalf of the members of the FCG, heretofore and henceforth known as “Anonymous,” we thank you in advance for your continued time and attention and for what we trust will now be a more complete consideration and associated response to the concerns voiced and brought before you. (Resists the urge to italicize and bold several words in this general area) Sincerely, (Equally, resists the urge to put quotation marks around the word “Sincerely”…just like that there.)
Date: November 21, 2008; Email to: Anonymous (coughs) (aka The “Distinguished” Dues-Paying Members of the Fictional Characters Guild); ; From: The Author; Subject: Re-For Your Consideration
Dear Anonymouse (coughs) otherwise known as the “Distinguished” Dues-Paying Members of the Fictional Characters Guild,
My, my, my. How kind of you. I think I understand your meaning a bit better now. Perhaps if you had truly wanted me to understand your concerns you would have contracted my services to have me write them out for you. There’s no shame in hiring the services of a ghostwriter. We all have our strengths, and yours appear to be as characters, which by all accounts from what I’m seeing in this email exchange, is quite accurate. You are quite the character. But let’s put that aside, shall we, and perhaps be a bit more constructive? I do realize that there has been a great deal of action, if you will, from the very beginning (although it is quite interesting for me to notice that you would appear to be hungering for a more and different type of action). And I do share some concern that with all of this punching through different worlds and dimensions I may have popped the cork a bit too early, to put it indelicately. But beyond the pace that is dictated by National Novel Writing Month, there was also something else I was trying to accomplish. I’m sure this may bore you to tears, but one of my sisters is an avid reader and claims to be able to tell a woman author from a male author based upon their writing style. Jeanette claims that female authors take an inordinate amount of time developing and getting to action; whereas she finds that male authors write in a very fast-paced, action-oriented style. Of course this is nothing more than her opinion, but it is something that has always stuck in the back of my mind after hearing her voice it. And if I think about it, what I’ve probably done is a bit of both: take an inordinate amount of time describing things and leap into action. That said, I understand this concern. I do see the reason behind the concern. I’ve thought it myself. I ask that you just bear with me and trust. We’ll do it together. As for the other matters, perhaps next year I will be in a stronger position to think about your biological functions. (I must admit I was wholly unaware of the Fictional Characters Guild or any of its requirements.) Seeing as we’ve nearly completed this first attempt together at laying out a story for National Novel Writing Month and we’ve all invested so terribly much in this, let’s agree to finishing out the next nine days without being hindered by Guild requirements, which I would have to spend precious time reading (that we don’t have) to make myself knowledgeable about the Guild’s requirements in any respect. I am confident we can arrive at an agreement on this one point and continue this effort through to the 50,000 word mark. Hopefully, The Author
Date: November 21, 2008; Email to: The “Author” (clears throat) of The Novel In Question; From: Anonymous (aka The Downtrodden Yet Distinguished Dues-Paying Members of the Fictional Characters Guild); Subject: Re-Re-Re-For Your Consideration
Ironically enough, it would seem we have a failure to communicate. How entirely bizarre that is for the author and their characters to be at an impasse. Well…you might want to speak for yourself. Okay, for a few of you warrior types and maybe the cyborg types too. But not all of the characters are at an impasse. Really. A couple of us are quite positive about the direction of things. (And is it really so much an impasse between the characters and the author as it is a wrestling with how best to unfold the storyline? Particularly, now that there are only nine days left!) Yes, well (furrowing brow), I feel it only fair to warn you that if you should fail to remedy the concerns we have raised in a satisfactory manner, my colleagues and I may have no other choice but to boycott the rest of this story. Um, not all of us care to take such a drastic position. – I could have been a contender. I could have had a shot at a significant part in the last Harry Potter book had I not been stewing about whle she ruminated on this storyline. (Waves a hand to silence the chatter.) Without us (looks smugly into the email textbox), you have no story. And so yes, consider this tantamount to a character strike. Should that occur, our next communique will consist of an email with oddly shaped newspaper letter cutouts cut and pasted into the body of the email. You get the message. Quite Determinedly, The Anonymous No More Mr. Nice Warrior-Cyborg-Witch-Other-Whathaveyou
Date: November 21, 2008; Email to: No More Mr. Nice Warrior-Cyborg-Witch-Other-Whathave you From: The Author aka Slightly Miffed ; Subject: Re-Re-Re-Re-For Your Consideration
You’ve got to be joking. Right? So this is the way you would have it? Ransom? I’ve heard of wrestling with the writing process, but even you would have to admit that this goes more than quite a bit beyond the pale. Surely, you’re joking.
Date: November 21, 2008; Email to: The Slightly Daft One, “Author” of the Novel in Question; From: Anonymous (aka We Mean Business); Subject: Re-Re-Re-Re-Re-For Your Consideration
Not in the least. And you betcha. And, erm, before you go pointing a finger, maybe you should think about what you just did here to meet your 2,500 word quota for the day, hmmm? Struggling, hmmmm? Let’s hope you can wrestle this out in nine more days. We hate to state the obvious but…who needs who here, hmmm?
National Novel Writing Month: Chapter 19 total wordcount: 2550 (not including this notation). Total total count: 34,645. (chanting a mantra: Yes, we can, smiles. Yes, we can, smiles. Yes, we can, smiles.)