Thursday, February 12, 2009

Reboot Angle #3 > The Fiction Writer

This is part of my blog reboot process. For the origin of the thought of the motivation of the why and the why now, please click back here.

As luck would have it, I read an article in this week's Newsweek written by blogger Daniel Lyons who has, until recently, been writing the fictional mock diary blog The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs. I didn't have any illusions about making money directly from blogging, but if I had this article would have dispelled them for good:

For two years I was obsessed with trying to turn a blog into a business. I posted 10 or 20 items a day to my site, The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs, rarely taking a break. I blogged from cabs, using my BlackBerry. I blogged in the middle of the night, having awakened with an idea. I rationalized this insane behavior by telling myself that at the end of this rainbow I would find a huge pot of gold. But reality kept interfering with this fantasy. My first epiphany occurred in August 2007, when The New York Times ran a story revealing my identity, which until then I'd kept secret. On that day more than 500,000 people hit my site—by far the biggest day I'd ever had—and through Google's AdSense program I earned about a hundred bucks. Over the course of that entire month, in which my site was visited by 1.5 million people, I earned a whopping total of $1,039.81.

1.5 million hits = $1,039.81. That pretty much blows.


The blogging angle I'm considering today is The Fiction Writer. At first glance, this one may be a better fit than some of the others I'm considering, if only because I have written quite a bit of fiction before in the form of screenplays. Also, and this may be so obvious that it doesn't need restating, I've read an enormous amount of fiction too. Writing fiction wouldn't require acquiring a new skillset, and that alone appeals to me.

But what format would best serve the blog post? Individual short stories? Serial fiction that asks the reader to "tune in tomorrow" (or whenever) for the next installment?

Blogging from the perspective of a fictional character that I've created? And if so, what world would I be exploring that could only be seen through that persona's eyes?

Here's a blog devoted to fictional blogs (or "flogs") that should make for interesting clicking should I pursue this route. Here's another.

My thoughts keep returning to my fifth and final screenplay Blood is Thicker. I never finished writing it, although I gave it nearly a year. Maybe I could repurpose it for the blog, stretch it out and finally complete it. How readable would screenplay-style formatting even be on a blog?


Maybe I should post the opening pages as a "first installment" and see?



Below one-piece wooden desk-chairs, the scabbed knees and
hand-me-down patent leather shoes of YOUNG CHILDREN fidget as
they endure a scorching hot morning of Sunday School.

The evil Pharaoh had decreed that
all male children born to his
Hebrew slaves should be taken to
the Nile river and drowned.
The children paying attention grimace at the thought. The
rest do their best to fight off sleep.

A wide-eyed young SCHOOLMARM paces at the front of the room, reading from an enormous Bible she somehow balances in the palm of one hand.

Jochebed kept the birth of her baby
son secret for three months. She
couldn’t keep him hidden forever
but refused to let him be killed by
the Pharoah, so she set him adrift
on the Nile in a small basket made
of reeds.

Every kid wears the threadbare black or brown Sunday best befitting the salt-of-the-earth country town residents. Every kid except for the TOW-HEADED BLOND BOY who sticks out
like a sore thumb in his brand-new seersucker suit.

A color illustration from one of the childrens' Bible of Moses being plucked from the basket by Pharaoh’s daughter.

The daughter of Pharaoh discovered
the baby and adopted him as her
son, and named him "Moses". Moses'
sister Miriam saw where Moses had
ended up and convinced the
Pharaoh's daughter to hire a Hebrew
woman to nurse the baby.
Children, do any of you know who
she hired to be Moses’ nurse?

Vacant looks answer her. The tow-head steals a glance out the window.

By the grace of God it was
Jochebed, Moses’ own mother!
Praise God! To save her son’s
life, Jochebed allowed the
Pharaoh’s daughter to treat Moses
as her own son and believe that the
orphan who appeared from nowhere
was a royal gift to her from her
own pagan gods.

Tow-head squirms uncomfortably in his seat as one by one the scrawny kids in the room shoot him a variety of DIRTY LOOKS.

Children, it’s not very Christian
of you to make the newest member of
our church feel different because
he’s an adopted orphan. His new
parents the Weisses are well-off,
yes, but they ain’t no Pharaohs,
and your new friend here ain’t
gonna part the Red Sea.

The CHURCHBELL rings, signaling the end of the service. As the kids scramble towards the exit, the tow-head looks wistfully out the window at the people streaming out the church’s

He perks up when MR. and MRS. WEISS, dressed nattily in white suit and sundress, emerge and walk towards the schoolhouse. They both wave at him when they get close enough to see him through the window.

The boy nearly jumps out of his
seat when he hears a loud series of
pops that he thinks are
firecrackers. Then he sees his
brand new mom and dad sink to their
knees as red splotches soak through
their Sunday best.

The tow-head is frozen in his chair, MOANING as he watches Mr. and Mrs. Weiss turn towards each other for one final look before toppling over into the grass.

The tow-head jumps up from his seat. Through the chaos of screaming churchgoers dragging their kids to safety, the boy watches as two men in black suits calmly throw their machine guns into the back seat of a brown Cadillac and drive out of the parking lot.

Sometimes the gunmen are driving a
Caddy, sometimes a Mercedes, and
one time they were on goddamn

And you’ve been having this dream
for how long Mr. Redd?


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