I’ve finally begrudgingly admitted to myself that I am a bad writer. I’m particularly bad at writing dialogue, which I suppose underscores that I am a horrendous conversationalist, by which I mean I am hopelessly self-involved. I find this particularly unfortunate, because I regularly come up with ideas for novels and plays and stories and otherwise fictional things. Now, in fairness, all of these ideas are purely formal, and probably oughtn’t ever be written–or, rather, as anyone who actually knows or cares about such things would say, are quite beside the point. But, then again, most everything sucks, and the fact that there’s some sort of highfalutin conceit means that, even if it sucks, at least the author can feel superior to the sucky stories that have a moral lesson, or are truthful, or something dull like that. But I can’t write. So here they are–maybe one of you will write one of them:
1. A play where every line is immediately followed by another line referring back to that first one, with the same speaker. See, this has all sorts of wonderful little tricks. For instance: are the actors aware that fully half of their speech is self-referential? When a question is asked, and then commented upon, does the interlocutor respond to the question or the comment? Imagine the soliloquies!
2. A short story wherein the characters start out shouting and gradually become quieter and quieter until they can’t hear each other and have to guess what they’re saying based on lip-reading. Presumably there would be an actual reason for this change, like, say, they start out on the subway and go to a movie. They would probably be dating. Definitely lesbians. The irony would be that they understand each other better when they can’t hear each other. The banality of this irony would be noted by the narrator, who subsequently will start inserting his own opinions in order to prevent the author from being so facile.
3. The diary of a small sixty-two-year-old woman who lives in southeastern Alaska but has the delusion that she is in fact a wealthy venture capitalist’s son who is slowly developing dementia and osteoporosis, and fears grizzly bears irrationally. Feeling that this suggests some sort of vocation, he (she) begins to write a fictional diary about a small sixty-two-year-old woman who lives in northeastern Alaska but has the delusions that she (he) is in fact a syphilitic jazz guitarist in Austin, Texas. The work would alternate between a crazy sick dying woman’s and a young capitalist’s diary each chapter. This would be an enjoyable read.
4. The story of a female writer of role playing video games whose life is consumed by alcohol and cocaine and anorexia, despite the fact that, as a female writer of RPG video games, she is admired and creepily lusted after by thousands of awkward adolescent gamers, and is considered attractive by males. The entire novel, however, would be written as a conversation tree, which means that every paragraph is written four times, and then one is selected. It’s ambiguous whether the protagonist is aware that her life is a conversation tree, or the fact that her stats and level are kept track of in the margin. I’m unsure as to whether her inventory or party should be included. Probably they should be included.
5. A novel written in that typo-laden, angsty drunk email/IM style which we all know and love. Except it’s being written by some Sumerian scribe hyped-up on khat. The fact that he is hyped-up on khat is mentioned often, as his drug-addiction both makes him anathema in Uruk and means that his tablet keeps drying out while he’s writing.
6. A three part novel in which each part is an account of a modern mystery play written by a gifted writer who does not realize that he is watching a mystery play instead. Astonished at the intensity of these people’s lives and the probity of their speech, he feels compelled to write novels in their honor. There is an epilogue detailing the messy lawsuit which ruins the writer’s career that is written by the writer, who vehemently defends the artistic integrity of his novelizations and argues that it was no more or less dishonest than a story “based on a true story.” The fact that he is lying and that he didn’t realize he was writing novelizations of plays is made obvious, but not acknowledged by him, the writer. His gifted writing and innate guilelessness is belied: the reader is satisfied, goes to bed.