Fingersmiths “R” Us


Bob – a short story author, published a novel

Erik – a screenplay writer

chez moi – a graphic novelist

Fred 62 Diner in LA

Yesterday, at 2pm, I arrived at the diner mere moment before Erik did, despite the best efforts of the traffic gods and an unreliable GPS. We agreed to sit outside, and after we obtained refreshments, the conversation lurched immediately into a “whatcha done lately?” mode. Erik is a filmmaker who desires greater control over his craft, so he decided to break into script writing.

After taking turns in exchanging horror stories about grad school, and before we ran out of gas, Bob made his grand entrance. He’s a middle aged man with the wittiest sense of humor this side of George Carlin, or an American version of Lord Henry from the Picture of Dorian Gray. We spoke a bit about the goals of the club, what we expected from it, and what we hope to gain from each other, and so forth.

After wolfing down our lunches, we played musical chairs with the samples of our writings. I read Erik’s script first: it’s a shrewd adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s only novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. The first few scenes were very promising, a strong start to the script. I pointed out a few points where the character’s mood had to be established better through actions or indications, rather than narration. Erik also added that he’s working on another script – set in the 1850’s wild west, where a deaf character survives by his wits. Bob challenged Erik whether we needed yet another pity story about a deaf person, and Erik defended himself with the claim that the protagonist will be a hero.

Then I shuffled through Bob’s collection of short stories, sketches of a comic moment, & a brief monograph of an olive nut. Half of them had his trademark humor (one’s about the Pope’s holy nether regions being inadvertently exposed) and the other half consisted of a Sam Spade-type of detective who happened to be deaf. Some structural work was suggested, recommended, insisted – a P.O.V. revision. I told Bob that if he could write 5 to 10 more stories like the olive nut, with the same black humor coursing in its veins, he has a book ready to be published.

Then it was my turn: None The Wiser & the 3rd chapter of Pantheon.

Both Erik and Bob wanted more background information about the two interlocutors in None the Wiser, and upon learning that they were gods of wisdom from two different pantheons, they suggested that I include some information in the beginning. Moreover, Bob suggested that I shorten the format, restrict the number of sentences or words per utterance, so that could build the tension more. Tho gods of wisdom probably can’t overtly disagree, they can mislead one another/finish each other’s sentences, etc. As for my chapter, they were satisfied with the pace and its “Dan brown” style of hijinks about artifacts.

All in all, a rousing start!

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...a philosophisticator who utters heresies, thinks theothanatologically and draws like Kirby on steroids.

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