Posts Tagged ‘blog: fiction’.

I wrote some Bad Neil Gaiman

IMG_2748

Wits is a very fun radio show — it’s a comedy and variety show, hosted by John Moe and produced by American Public Media (don’t call them NPR!).

I like Wits — my only complaint is that I wish it were longer. It’s got a podcast and/or it may be on your local public radio station. Here in Los Angeles, it’s on KPCC on Saturday afternoons.

Last week, one of the guests was author Neil Gaiman. See, there was a contest: The Bad Gaiman Challenge.

Neil’s tremendous imagination can be found in novels, short stories, graphic novels, theater, and film. There’s no one like Neil Gaiman.

Or is there?

No, probably not. Still, we invite you to try and fail to be like Neil. Wits proudly presents THE BAD GAIMAN CHALLENGE.

Submit your worst Neil Gaiman knock-off story…There are no prizes beyond the deep satisfaction that comes with knowing you’re the author of the worst Neil Gaiman-esque short fiction in the world.

I submitted a very short Gaiman pastiche.

And I was very pleased to learn that it was one of the winners! Neil Gaiman read my piece, among a few others, live on the show!

I was very tickled to hear it. Here’s the episode.


The whole thing’s worth a listen, of course, but if you must pick and choose, the Bad Gaiman Challenge begins at about 23:05.

Neil, if you read this, thank you for handling the dramatic pauses so well.

EDIT: Sweet, there is video as well!

55 Classic Improv Initiations With Alligators

I’m on an improv comedy team! One of the house teams at Westside Comedy Theater in Santa Monica, CA. We perform (free) shows on alternate Mondays — we perform tonight, actually!

I like improvising because it’s a very different discipline from writing, but it can, as a mental exercise, help inform the craft of writing. A while ago I wrote a post about how thinking like an improviser can be helpful in writing short stories:

Improvisers are taught that whatever the scene starts being about, is what it’s about. If one person says “I’m hungry,” then the second person could say “Well, of course! You haven’t eaten for days!” And the scene would be about that person being hungry.

Why are they hungry? What has prevented them from eating? A diet? A stomach trauma? Torture? Are they too poor to buy food? Are they on a hunger strike? Are they always hungry, no matter how much they eat? Do they have a tapeworm? How do the other characters feel about the hunger? How does it make them react? [...]

If you don’t know what to write, start with anything. If you dig into it, if you ask “why,” if you ask “what does this mean,” if you ask “who does this affect” — I promise you that any small thing at all will be enough.

As a rule, improvisers try not to pre-plan anything, and build a scene collaboratively with their fellow players, and create characters rather than trying to tell jokes.

But a lot of time, in doing so, we forget to talk about alligators, one of the most well-worn improv tools. So I’ve compiled this handy (and exhaustively-researched) reference to the 55 classic scene initiations featuring alligators.

Feel free to use any or all of them, in any situation you encounter, as needed.

55 Classic Improv Scene Initiations Featuring Alligators

  1. “Jeremy, there’s an alligator in the kitchen, and I think you know why.”
  2. “Thanks for coming on such short notice, I know you’ve been dealing with an alligator problem.”
  3. “Well, I managed to pick up most of what was left of your alligator.”
  4. “Madam Windocker, are all these paintings of alligators?”
  5. “To be honest, no, this was my first time eating alligator.”
  6. “Gentlemen, I think you all know the esteemed Dr. Alligator.”
  7. “Alligator, alligator, alligator, crocodile, alligator…Hold on just a second!”
  8. “The crone waved her wrinkled fingers and then an alligator tail just started to…grow.”
  9. “I go to work, and clock in, and clock out, and every day I wonder if I was supposed to be an alligator instead.”
  10. “You’ve clamped down on my heart, Riley, like an alligator without a sense of personal boundaries.”
  11. “I’m afraid the alligator will have to wait outside.”
  12. “If we try to swim for it, the alligators will gorge themselves on two of us, but the rest are likely to make it.”
  13. “That alligator-skin clutch — why, that was Mom’s!”
  14. “Relax, Dennis. Be an alligator, floating in the reeds.”
  15. “You know I won’t rest until the partners of this firm make me Senior Alligator.”
  16. “Rutherford and I were just admiring your very old alligator.”
  17. “I’ve never seen a sexy alligator costume before, but you really pull it off!”
  18. “You and I are both crusty alligators in the big old swamp of humanity.”
  19. “Before we start…my safe word will be ‘alligator.’”
  20. “You can’t hide behind that alligator forever, Julius!”
  21. “My friends, you misunderstand! The most dangerous game is, in fact, alligator.”
  22. “Four score and seven years ago, our alligators brought forth on this alligator a new alligator.”
  23. “Is that an alligator on your shirt or are you just happy to see me?”
  24. “Actually I can say that, because my grandfather was one-eighth alligator.”
  25. “Let’s go, Alligators! Eat the other team!”
  26. “I made you a birthday cake, and of course, I shaped it like an alligator.”
  27. “Alligator, honey, baby, sweetie, they’re just bullies. You’re still my precious muffin.”
  28. “Sometimes I feel like you only love me for my alligator impression.”
  29. “And for my third wish, I wish everyone else on Earth was an alligator!”
  30. “I can’t believe that alligators made it to Mars before humans. Maybe it’s time to just give up.”
  31. “The new car? It’s OK, but it’s clear that the last owner was an alligator.”
  32. “Mr. President, the alligator will see you now.”
  33. “Get inside! The plague of alligators will start any minute!”
  34. “Wow, you really did have all your teeth replaced with alligator teeth.”
  35. “If you wade through a swamp, what do you expect? The alligators just let you pass?”
  36. “How many alligators does one person need, Barbara?”
  37. “Oh, I’m terribly sorry, I didn’t realize you were still in here with your alligator.”
  38. “Captain, the sonar blip appears to be an alligator.”
  39. “Becky, your father and I are concerned that you don’t realize you’re dating an alligator.”
  40. “Santa brought me a magic whistle that forces any hidden alligators to reveal themselves.”
  41. “Kensington, why aren’t you dressed yet? Put on your alligator suit!”
  42. “This neighborhood was great until the alligators started moving in.”
  43. “Everything in this meal was made from various disgusting parts of a single alligator, and let me tell you, it was a chore!”
  44. “Gerard, this is the third time this week you’ve shown up handcuffed to an alligator.”
  45. “That was me! I was the voice of the cartoon alligator!”
  46. “I want some alone time with you. Without the alligator.”
  47. “Please forgive my granddad. My family has always had a superstition about alligators.”
  48. “Wowza! I’ve seen alligators with better skin.”
  49. “Oh, no, I hope that alligator outside wasn’t yours.”
  50. “No, honey, those pants don’t make you look like an alligator at all!”
  51. “I’m worried that those fools are going to make that — that alligator the next Pope.”
  52. “Everything I have to say in this arbitration will be delivered via my alligator.”
  53. “Here’s your problem. You’ve got most of an alligator crammed in there!”
  54. “We don’t use polygraphs in this precinct. Bring in the alligator.”
  55. “Alligator Kaszmierski, private eye. I’ve been watching you from a half-submerged position.”

As a bonus exercise, you can also apply these lines to any randomly selected New Yorker cartoon.

The Travails of the Free Couch

yes this is the real couch

Comic #1060 is quasi-autobiographical. We had a yard sale over the weekend, and we ran into that problem that always occurs (at least if your brain works like ours): you get stuck with something that’s too good to just throw away, but nobody else wants it.

In our case we have a couch that I got for free ten years ago. It’s a perfectly nice little couch, very comfortable in my opinion, but it was taking up space that we wanted to use for other things, and so we offered it in our yard sale.

Nobody bought it. We have cats, so it’s a little bit scratched up — I understand. But the thrift stores don’t want it for that same reason, and nobody on Craigslist seems to be interested.

It’s a shame! It’s a very serviceable couch, if you don’t mind the scratches, and the somewhat ’90s pattern, and the chance (since it has lived with cats for ten years) that it may contain bonus cat-related mysteries within. What’s life without a little mystery, right??

And even though my actual daily life would be affected no differently if it went to the dump, vs. if it went for free to someone who’d love it, I have enough affection for the couch (and general sense of civic responsibility vis-a-vis recycling) that I wish I could see it go to some use somewhere.

So yesterday I began to think about the lengths I would go to in order to give it away.

Here Are Some Jokes About Batman

Also many kind people such as Neil Gaiman and Joseph Gordon-Levitt have recently shared my latest Batman comic! That’s pretty neat to see!

Welcome, new readers; I have done exactly two Batman comics in eleven years, and here’s the other one. Oh and this one about Superman.

Not to say I have entirely ignored the notion of superheroes.

BONUS JOKES: SPACE WARS

BONUS BONUS JOKES:

Essential reading for the Star Wars jape enthusiast: The People’s History of Tattooine.

When I Was A Kid Websites Were Where Spiders Lived

Time for more Twitters similar to last time