Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Velveteen Rabbi

There have been thousands upon thousands of "bookswithalettermissing" tweets on Twitter since it started last year. I tried. I can't even come up with one! And I'm usually pretty good with word games. (Okay, after I wrote that I came up with Tar Trek and Tar Wars while I was compiling the list below. Yay! :-D)

If you're game, drop a letter from a book, movie, play, song, TV show to come up with a new title. Then add on a short plot summary that is, preferably, related in a twisted way to the original.

If, like me, you're having problems coming up with the titles, I've listed some that you can create descriptions for.

The Velveteen Rabbi
Liver Twist
If You Give a Muse a Cookie
Huckleberry Inn
Lord of the Lies
Lice in Wonderland
Little Omen
A Series of Unfortunate Vents
Harry Otter
Jurassic Ark
Charlie and the Chocolate Factor
The Screw Ape Letters
The Holy Bile
The Virtue of Elfishness
Harold and the Purple Rayon
The Naked and the Dad
Eat of Eden
Tar Trek
Tar Wars
Little Emo in Slumberland
Clan of the Cave Bar
I Sit on Your Graves
Planet of the Aps
Zorba the Geek
All the Pretty Hoses
Return of the Naive
The Sound and the Fur
The Mayo of Casterbridge
Far from the Madding Crow
The Tree Musketeers
A Stud in Scarlet

It is the nature of tweets to be ephemeral, but some have been caught before they disappeared:

It’s the #bookswithalettermissing eBook! -- 500 in a PDF download from the guy who started it all and where most of the above examples came from. (His kids' humorous horror series looks cute too :-)

An article from the Huffington Post: Velveteen Rabbi.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Your brain on religion

What if it was discovered that belief in gods was caused by virus? And what if there was a cure?

If you're focused on the negatives of religion, it's easy to see that as a good thing. It's harder to see from the viewpoint of someone who has found great solace and meaning in their religion, of someone who quietly and joyfully practices, never pushing their beliefs on anyone. Would you have wanted to inform Mother Teresa that her religious beliefs were the side effect of a bug?

What if a side effect of the virus is not just belief in gods? What if it's also responsible for artistic creativity? What if it's responsible for creativity *and* war?

What if it was discovered that belief in gods was caused by an odd-looking growth in the brain? And what if a drug could cause it to shrink? How does that change what unfolds?

It needn't be modern religion. It can be in a fantasy world. It can be several hundred years in the future. What ever sparks you.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Deviantly describe the structure without depending on the names of the objects to convey what they look like. Dig into what objects look and feel like rather than naming what they are. (Though these pictures already look otherworldly which makes it much easier!) It looks like a castle or fort. It's not. It doesn't look like what it actually is. Be deviant when describing its purpose, too. :-)

Capture the senses' experience. What does it feel like? What does it smell like? Taste like? Sound like?

Go further and find a mood or personality of the place and let those inspire the descriptive words you choose.

Try unexpected adjectives and vivid verbs. For example, svelt, sleek, oozing, crouching aren't words normally associated with places, but can create fresh images.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A little less alacrity

"It is a mistake to allow any mechanical object to realize you are in a hurry." -- Ralph's Observation (related to Murphy's Laws)

So today your character is in a hurry and has foolishly let his clock know as he grumbled at it. The word quickly passes to every mechanical object in his pathway. Tell the tale of his journey.

Are the machines blocking him because they're irritated with humanity? Why?

Or do they have an ulterior motive for slowing him down? For their purposes? Or for his?

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Mind your tail

See them in action
About 20 of the estimated 35,000 feral dogs in Moscow can navigate the subway system. They know which trains to get on and which stops to get off to commute from the center of Moscow where they hunt for their meals to their industrial-complex homes in the suburbs. (The factories were in the cities under communist rules then moved out when communism fell, many dogs moving outward with them.) They even have their own website, though they still need human help to navigate the web.)

They have devised techniques to acquire food from humans such as the "bark and snatch" and "cuteness sells" The first involves a loud bark behind a human holding a doggie-gourmet shawarma from a vendor. Startled, the human drops it and the dog snatches it. In the second, the pack sends out the smallest, cutest member to plead for food which he or she will bring back to share. Some dogs position themselves along well-traveled pedestrian ways knowing food will be tossed without having to beg.

The feral dog population is divided into four distinct groups:

Beggars - the most intelligent. The alpha males will be the cleverest rather than the strongest. They're the most at ease around humans, but see them as merely meal tickets.

Guard dogs - see the guards at the many fenced sites around Moscow as their leaders. Though semi-feral, they receive food from the guards and defend the territory as their own.

Foragers - are human shy. They roam Moscow scavenging for food.

Wild dogs - are the most wolflike. They live nocturnal lives in the wooded areas beyond the outskirts of the city, wary of humans but have been known to attack.

So, what's it like for a freshly dumped dog who must find a pack if he's to up his survival chances? How do the groups get along? Unlike wolf packs, the pack leaders of the beggar dogs interact with each other. Food is plentiful in the cities so there's no need to compete. (During the communist era when food was scarce, pack wars might last for months.) What do the leaders discuss with each other?

Monday, March 05, 2012

Deviant CHILD


.~          How does one Deviantly Describe?          ~.
Short version ...
From the given mundane, snoozer of a word, generate as many different-from-each-other descriptions as you can. (Set a timer for 10-15 minutes if you wish.)

Longer version ...
Is preserved at the HOME of the first Deviant Description.