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Dexter (Part I)

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In the interest of kickstarting our little writer’s group, I present a little something I came up with last night. Nothing here was planned out before I opened my journal, and I sure as hell don’t know where it’s going from here, but I’m hoping that my compadres will take some inspiration from the fact that I’m actually sticking this out here for the world to see and post some stuff themselves. Here’s to public shame and humiliation! Huzzah!

His name wasn’t really Dexter, though that’s what everybody who knew him called him; he was really a “Stephen,” but some thick-headed sack of shit in middle school hung the “Poindexter” tag on him once and “Dexter” he’d been ever since. Easier to float with the stream than fight against the current, his father had always told him. But his father had also told him “the only thing a man can count on in this life is family” right before Dexter’s uncle Vernon, his father’s brother, shot him to death for fucking Vernon’s wife, so Dexter had come not to think of his father’s advice.

Dexter was a little guy, five-six and a buck forty soaked to the skin. He wasn’t much to look at, all ruddy complexion and big ears. He carried himself as if he were a matinee idol a foot taller and made of iron, though–he had the confidence and swagger that came from knowing he was smarter than everyone he met.

Dexter was quite the brainiac, all right: he’d turned down offers from a good number of the top universities in the country out of high school. He could’ve had a free ride to Duke, to Stanford, to Cornell, and surely to any state school he’d have as much as glanced at, but he told all of them to go blow so he could pursue his dream of doing as little as he possibly could with his life.

He knew he had the horses upstairs to do pretty much anything he wanted in life, or to expend minimal effort and still get by comfortably. He knew that there was no shortage of people dumber and lazier than he who would be willing–eager–to give him money to do that which they wouldn’t or couldn’t, things which would have taken those poor sons of bitches to the ends of their mental abilities but which would barely take Dexter’s concentration off the Red Sox game.

Sometimes what that meant was writing papers for the spoiled rich kids down at Brown. Sometimes it mean gambling, either for himself or giving out tips to the guys down at Mookie’s Pub (for a percentage cut, of course).

Dexter lived cheap, had a small apartment in a triple-decker just off the interstate in Pawtucket. His friends were constantly amazed at just how little Dex ever actually worked, but he knew they just didn’t get it. When you stripped all the unnecessaries out of your life and pared it down just to what you actually needed instead of worrying about all the shit you really just wanted…well, it didn’t take all that much work at all to provide that.

But the afternoon Nevada Tremont rolled into Mookie’s on legs long enough to stop a man’s heart cold in his chest, Dexter’s life of slow and easy nothingnes evaporated like snow in a mid-winter heat wave.

Written by Allen

May 20th, 2005 at 9:52 pm

Writer’s Group Update

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My copy of the book that we in the Fictastic Four (no, we still don’t have a better name) arrived on Monday. I began reading it that night and tried to really think about the application of its lessons, which is more than I do with most fiction writing books I own; I tend to read them, acknowledge the lessons and put them out of my head.

But with this one, I’ve been thinking about what the writers are telling me. And, as per FF charter, I’ve been attempting some of the exercises.

No, I don’t have anything I can post here yet, but I can tell you this: I have, for the first time in quite awhile, the bulk of a short story in my head. Simply by doing what this book suggested–thinking of several incidents from the last week or so that could be seeds of a story, thinking of a main character and what that character really wants, expanding the character’s personality traits–I’m mentally farther along than I have been for any story in probably almost three years.

I’m going to cut this short, because I want to do some real writing instead of taking too much time telling you that I’m writing, but I wanted to have it on record that I’m actually working on what I said I’d work on for this project. So nyah.

Written by Allen

May 15th, 2005 at 9:44 pm

Posted in Writers' Group

When blogs collide!

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You readers of Do Or Do Not (all three of you) will soon be witness to an undertaking as bold as it as ambitious. OK, well, that’s overselling it by more than a little, but you will indeed soon be witness to a writing experiment to be conducted by myself, my partner-in-crime with the Geekz sites, Timmy B; Geekz contributor/man-about-’Net -b; and my most excellent wife, T-licious.

The four of us will be working exercise-by-exercise through Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide from New York’s Acclaimed Creative Writing School by the Gotham Writers’ Workshop and posting the results of each of the exercises on our various blogs for discussion, analysis and encouragement. Those of you out there reading along are more than welcome to help out with constructive criticism–but if you don’t have something nice to say, then go find somewhere else to say it. Anyone in the home audience who’s interested in playing along is also encouraged to do so. Send me links to where you have the exercises posted and I’ll slap ‘em up here.

None of us embarking on this little adventure are, as of yet anyway, professional writers of fiction, though I think we all want to be in our own way and we’ve all been doing it amateurishly (and I mean that both ways) for awhile. I think our little virtual writer’s group will be handy both for getting us off of our asses and writing and for actually improving the quality of what it is we write.

I can’t speak for my co-conspirators–they’re more than capable of doing that for themselves–but what I hope to get out of the experiment is 1) a finished (and I mean finished as in “in sufficient condition for submitting for publication”) story and 2) a better process for how I should go about writing my fiction pieces in the future. I tend to have a hard time keeping my attention on one piece long enough to carry it through to completion, so I really hope doing these exercises will help me with that problem.

Anyway, I don’t yet know how frequent the posts from any of us will be, and I certainly can’t promise that each of us will hit the same milestones at the same time. All I can promise is that we’ll give it a shot and see how it goes. So follow along, won’t you, as we struggle through our attempts to figure out exactly what it is we’re trying to do with our fiction writing and how it is we want to do it. You can keep up with the results in the following locations:

  • For Terry’s entries, go visit Rintrah Roars, by far the classiest of the four blogs. She gets all talking about wine and literature and edumacated adult stuff like that.
  • For Tim’s entries, go visit his spanking new blog, Hello, Cleveland. Don’t expect much yet, since he just created it today, but I’m sure soon it will be sparkling with witty commentary, most likely about Paul Westerberg and/or the Washington Redskins.
  • For Brian’s entries, go visit his not-quite-as-new-but-still-awfully-spiffy blog, The B-log. Guaranteed to be the only one of the four where you’ll be able to read science fiction and info about medieval armor and weaponry.
  • For my entries, well, just come back to this site.

Wish us luck!

Written by Allen

May 4th, 2005 at 8:06 pm