Monday, 8 November 2010

On Writing or The Freedom to Emit Brain Farts

Someone borrowed a number of writing books from me last year and has yet to return them, but has been kind enough to quote advice from one of them: On Writing by Stephen King.

The advice goes something like this:

You take two totally unconnected headlines or news stories and create the plot for a story or novel.

Today's CBC on-line headlines:

Marriages of convenience problems persist

Obama: 'India has emerged'

The melding of these two could lead to a story about massive immigration problems for the Indian sub-continent.  Just imagine all those Indian men being tempted by economic refugee women desperate for a better life.  Imagine the birth rate that could result.  Remember that India has a caste system and no one-child policy to prevent a population explosion.  And what about the social problems caused by the skyrocketing divorce rate.

My father married a woman from Czechoslovakia ... a Hungarian by birth ... who thought he was a rich Canadian.  (He was on an expense account and lonely on his annual three month business trip.)  The marriage lasted a year or so and then they began to split the assets.  She got half the record collection of  Shakepearean plays; he got half the wine glasses they had received for Christmas; she didn't like Shakespeare and he drank only whiskey.  It was not an amicable break-up.

Now try setting that in India in an age of computers.  An American hard hit by the recession meets an Indian man on-line.  They marry as soon as she arrives.  He has cleaned himself up for the occasion, but in real life he is of low caste and living in poverty.  Their honeymoon results in a pregnancy and by the time she learns that he doesn't even own the computer he used to propose, she is trapped on the sub-continent.  No credit card.  No return ticket. Nothing but a worthless American passport.  And no help to be had from her embassy because India has "emerged".

What does she do?
Imagine their conjugal life.
She hates him, the country and her life ... and she especially hates Obama for giving her the news that India had emerged ... until he told her, she had no idea where India was, let alone that it was submerged or encapsulated ...

So how will the story end?
Madness?     Murder?      Infanticide?     Political assassination?    Suicide?

Almost like the last scene of Hamlet which my father's ex-wife probably never managed to discover.

Or maybe you believe in happy endings.  Try to find one here.  She's probably wandering the crowded streets of Delhi among the revered Brahmin cattle, hand outstretched, mumbling, "Where's the beef?" 

The other two headlines contain gems of stories when examined singly.  Whatever might happen if they were combined?

Pope met by gay protesters in Spain
Oops!  They were wrong about him.

Queen Elizabeth joins Facebook
However will she learn to write in disjointed splurts at her age?  Or maybe dementia has already set in and this is her answer to the problem?

And together?

A Facebook correspondence between the two conducted on their walls for all the world to see.  And by god,  they have high speed, so the correspondence could be voluminous.  At least it's not likely to spawn a marriage of convenience or unwanted babies.

... and then there was the article that arrived in my in-box this morning ... all about how laptops are frying testicles ...

Just imagine how that piece of information might make its way into either of these stories.

You can see why I have abandoned my Nanowrimo attempts.

I do wish I had my Stephen King book back though.  I miss it.  Maybe I could get some more ideas to play with.  God knows I need something.


Barbara Carlson said...

I left a long comment this morning. I hope it didn't get lost.

Oma said...

Are you referring to the one about John and the fauna of Mer Bleu?

That is the only long one I saw ...

Barbara Carlson said...

Yes, the fauna.

You have a real storyteller's imagination. Delicious ideas. Pope and Queenie riff on FB. Bring it on!

Oma said...

Fun to come up with the ideas ... but they are not stories I could write I am afraid ... know little about the pope, less about the queen ... and nothing about Facebook!

Barbara Carlson said...

When you hear that the Queen will be on FB and that you can't poke her -- that a "feature" for bugging your friends. Just push a button and "poke" them (they get a notice of it, further clogging up cyberspace) -- it all rather silly. Doubt the Queen suggested being on it; must be one of her minders who are trying to keep her au if.