March 26th, 2007


Ficlets Week 2

Ficlets For Fun

Last week I posted an entry on AOL's new Ficlet short fiction website. These under-1000 word stories can be cute and clever and addictive -- plus you can take your turn writing prequel and sequel stories to other Ficlets. Could be fun.

My first Ficlet, "The Hero Business", has generated one prequel -- it's not my style and I wasn't trying to write campy space opera, but hey, I can see where the writer is coming from. The whole point is that some are going to work and some won't. So be it.

They say heroes are born, not made. But “they” are wrong. As usual. All you have to do is game the system a little bit.

See, I didn’t join the Space Corps to serve the greater good or help mankind or any of that other crap. I joined up for the money...

Two New Stories

That first story I turned on the Mature tag, figuring that we were going in for hero bashing and skullduggery and things which innocent minds might not best be exposed to at a tender young age... Actually I think I just wanted to test how the system worked. This week's Ficlets do not have that restriction, so you can view them without having to log in. You're welcome.

"Butterflies" earned a sequel pretty damned quick, and I have to say that although it isn't quite the same voice, it's a nice little piece by itself.

The butterflies didn’t return this year.

I’m sure they meant to, but I heard there was a freak spring ice storm in Mexico...

"Quiet Ceremony" ran over the 1000-word limit on its first pass -- the word/words left counters don't display on my PDA, so I was just winging it -- and I had to chop as some verbiage, but I think the gritty space frontier situation survives even with such spare writing.

Brenda’s mom would’ve been disappointed. It was just me and Brenda, the old guy who served as a preacher or justice of the peace, we were never quite sure, and a handful of spacers on the dock as our witnesses.

“You guys said your ship is ‘bout to leave, so let’s get it over,” the old guy said...

Your Turn

Read 'em, write 'em, play with 'em. It's all good.

But Dr. Phil, I hear you ask, why should I publish my great words on a free site? Good question. If they're so great, maybe you should finish the story and send it on to a pro market. But put it this way: Tiger Woods doesn't just step out on the first tee in Augusta and goes out and win the Masters. Well, he sortof does, I guess. (grin) But Tiger puts in his time on the putting greens and the driving ranges, honing his skills. Writers can do little practice shots, too, and that's how I'm looking at Ficlets. Gives me a chance to write REALLY short. Gives me a chance to write a good opening hook.

Anyway, I'll probably regularly update here when I get around to writing some more Ficlets. And let me know if you've got any up on the Ficlets site.

Dr. Phil
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Let's Do The Time Warp...

Blasting From The Past

Grand Valley State University's spring musical is the venerable -- because it's over 30 years old -- campy B-movie masterpiece "The Rocky Horror Show". No, that's not a typo -- you only put the word "Picture" in the title if you're talking about the MOVIE, not the play. 'Cause then it'd be a Picture Show and not a Show. Right?

It's a stunning production. The small band is superb and the singing voices are all excellent. Frank-N-Furter, Riff-Raff, Dr. Scott and even Eddie are all powerful and over-the-top as they needs be. Rocky Horror himself is amazing -- he's buff and trim and able to hang on a fire pole while singing, and more than built-up enough to carry Frank up a long, long staircase and Frank is not a small person -- plus he's able to carry off the innocence and confusion of his character. Brad and Janet are perfectly cast as the wholesome young couple thrown into this nightmare of hedonism -- we last saw actress Megan Johnson as the French princess in Love's Labour's Lost in the fall, and while her voice isn't quite powerful enough on the highest notes, she owns the role and looks very cute in her underwear. No, really. But the actress playing Columbia can belt out the songs and deserves special merit, as does the opening quartet of old-fashioned movie house ushers and the men's and women's ensembles who use the entire auditorium as their stage.

Hey, it IS Rocky Horror after all, and there's plenty of props and taglines thrown in, and special games for the Virgins.

The show races by at a breakneck pace and is never dull, even though I've seen it before. The sets are spacious and wild, with plenty of toys for the horror movie buff, and all the costumes, especially for Riff-Raff and his sister in the end, are well, Mrs. Dr. Phil's Mom said she wanted to have done those costumes. In spirit, the most comparable show we can think of is the most excellent Return to the Forbidden Planet, which we've been blessed to see two different companies do in West Michigan.

You Can Still Take The Trip, Too

It often happens that we end up doing closing night/mattinee performances. But this time our scheduling put us on the opening weekend. That means if you're in the West Michigan area, you should really think about coming out to Allendale and checking it out.

Performances of the gender-bending spoof of sci-fi B-movies, a sexy cult classic, are planned for March 23, 24, 29, 30, 31 at 7:30 p.m., a special performance on March 30 at midnight, and matinees March 25, and April 1 at 2 p.m. All performances are at the Louis Armstrong Theatre in the Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus. Tickets are $12 general admission, $10 faculty/staff/alumni/seniors, and $6 students. For more information call the LAT Box Office at (616) 331-2300. Tickets are also available, with a service fee, through any Star Tickets Plus outlet.

Don't forget your newspapers.

Dr. Phil
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