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Helping Me Help You Help Me

Categories: This Writer's Life.
Last summer, I took a lit course on postmodern fiction. It was a  
sampling of different postmodern authors from Pynchon and Burroughs  
to Foster-Wallace and Mark Leyner and, aside from being a very good  
course, it had some sort of impact on my writing. As several peer-
pressure induced incidents in my life can attest (wearing my sister’s  
deodorant on a hilarious “double dare”, drinking Kahlua mixed with  
OJ, bleaching my hair in my basement bathroom the day before soccer  
tryouts sophomore year of high school, etc), I can be easily  
influenced, and my writing bears that same mark. For shame.

Post-course, I spent several weeks trying to incorporate “postmodern”  
influences into my writing. But then I realized–in some sort of meta-
philosophical postmodern moment while I (might have) been watching  
the Matrix– that by even trying to utilize “postmodern” influences,  
I was going against the whole point of postmodernism, which is to  
challenge using a standard template. So I scrapped trying to think  
about it like that, and just decided to do whatever pleased my  
writerly palate.

Now usually I’m very secretive about what I have going on in my book,  
for fear that people will copy my ideas and then do a much, much  
better job using them and get their work out before me, so that–in  
the end–when I complain about someone jacking my ideas, I just kind  
of look like (more of a) whiny (you fill in the swear word here). And that, as my editor might  
say, is not poison. But today I will reveal my idea. It is neither  
original, nor is it very good, and my thesis adviser calls it  
“unnecessarily risky to the point of stupidity” but I remain unfazed because,
like Mary J. Blige, “I don’t need no hateration.”

Anyway, this is the idea: There is one particular scene in my book  
that is includes a college bar fight. Yawn, right? College bar fights  
happen all of the time at colleges and bars, especially colleges with  
fraternities and/or varsity football. But, wait! For this particular  
scene and this particular scene only, I have set up the entire thing  
like you’re reading a play script complete with stage directions and  
all of that jazz. Eat that, Foster Wallace. Postmodern genuisocity  
indeed!

I know, I know, it’s a great idea, and I will no doubt probably make  
Outside Magazine‘s 2008-2009 Winter Hot List. But there remains a  
chink in my seemingly invincible use of armor. Problem is, I don’t  
really know how to write a play script. Like, not at all. So I need  
to look at some examples of actual play scripts so I can mimic the  
form and make sure it’s exactly as I want it. And problem #2: I can’t  
seem to find any of this business via Ask Jeeves. Which is where you,  
friends, come in.

If someone can find an example online of a useful play script that  
has all of the necessary bells and whistles (stage directions,  
dialogue, etc) that I can access via me clicking something using my  
mouse, I will do you a solid by linking to the 80s or early 90s  
artists music video of your choosing. You simply select the artist  
and allow me to use my YouTubing skill set to find an appropriate  
tasteful vid. Unfortunately for the music community, I will only put  
up a link to the first person who submits successfully. The rest I  
will hold very close to my heart and burn onto a mix CD that I will  
give to the Big Cat for Valentine’s Day.

Heat of,
the moment

Asia

PS- I feel this anecdote sums up nicely the state of the New England  
sporting community post Patriots Super Bowl loss. Heard outside of my  
apt minutes after the loss: a college age dude in a white Brady  
jersey talking to another dude wearing a blue Bruschi Pats jersey:  
“It’s not just that I feel let down, I just…I just…I don’t even  
know.”
Friend: “Sucks, man.”
Brady Jersey: “Oh, f***. You know what I just remembered?”
Friend: “What?”
Brady Jers: “Valentines Day.”
Friend: “Yeah.”
Brady Jers: “February is gonna suck.”

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8 Responses to Helping Me Help You Help Me

  1. Lyle says:

    Kevin,

    Actually, I do have some old play scripts lying around that I can PDF and shoot over to you. Drop me an email if you still need one.

  2. Danny says:

    Kevin,

    Glad you liked my selection. While it was deliciously violent, I hope you got what you needed out of it. And after 30 minutes of wracking my brain I decided that Foreigner was the only artist I could think of at the moment. Well them and Janet, but feel free to choose one or the other.

  3. Genevieve says:

    Kevin,

    It’s sad to say that I do not have a play in pdf to send your way. But I have some possibly helpful, possibly useless advice. You should check out James Joyce’s Ulysses. Have you ever read it? It’s a challenge of a novel. It’s sometimes beautiful, genuis writing, and sometimes completely incoherent (to me) BUT! the reason I mention it is because there’s a point in the book where Joyce begins writing it in play format. In fact, if memory serves, he wrote this whale of a novel in a few different styles. It was mainly prose, but it also took on the form of play and then the form of an epic poem. Which I believe the original Ulysses actually is. And this book, dude, was voted the best novel of the twentieth century. Tell THAT to your professor. Experimental writing is brave work. Go get ‘em, Yankee.

  4. Chad says:

    everyone knows Ask Jeeves doesn’t exist anymore. that probably why you are having so much trouble finding the necessary play script.

    as a Pats fan living in NY here is a conversation I heard between a Giants fan and the doorman of the apt building I was in:

    giants fan: "I cant believe that just happened"
    doorman: "everyone in Boston should die"
    giants fan: "I cant believe that just happened"
    doorman: "If David Ortiz dies tonight this will go down as the best night of my life."

  5. Tom says:

    This is terrible. I snoozed on the blog today, and look what I missed out on…the opportunity to have Kev link up a video to an Asia song that I *still* have on 45…somewhere.

    The upside to all of this is that your idea fit perfectly into a short story I was killing myself over. I rewrote pages two and three, and just fired the whole thing off to (a very important, but unnamed publisher that pays at least 50 cents a word).

    When my story hits the stands before your book, I’ll be sure to try and remember that you or somebody on the Web 2.0 might have helped me with some minor detail on it.

  6. Kevin Alexander says:

    Danny,

    Congrats friend. You won a hard fought battle. And your play has the benefit of being really quite graphic, which made it a quick read. Bestow on me the name of an 80s-90s recording artist and I shall make their Youtube video so….
    Thanks for playing.

    And Lisa thanks for the tips as well, they are also quite helpful. I’ll literally take whatever anyone’s got.

    As for everyone else: do none of you have old play scripts lying around, waiting to be put in pdf and shot through the internet? I find that aggressively hard to believe.

  7. Kevin-

    Might not be what you had in mind, but this link had some interesting info:

    http://www.scriptfrenzy.org/eng/howtoformatastageplay

    Lisa

  8. Danny says:

    La Negra seems like a good one to read for stage direction and all that jazz. For mature readers though. Here’s the link.

    http://www.singlelane.com/proplay/scripts/negress.pdf

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