Sunday, November 1, 2009

Can't talk... Noveling...

It's that time again! National Novel Writing Month, the time of year when I can pretend I am a real author working against a ridiculous deadline with an editor who really doesn't care if I am spelling words right, or if they are even words as long as my manuscript is over fifty-thousand words and is done by midnight November 30th.

I don't plan to update this blog much for the next thirty days, unless I manage to write something I am particularly proud of. Or ashamed of. I just might post some of that just to show you how lenient my NaNoEditor really is. Either way, I need to save all the keystrokes I can for my novel.

Meanwhile, here is my Writer's Round Table assignment from last week. It was to write a review of my finished novel. I chose to follow the lead of the RT leader who wrote a negative (scathing really...) review in the voice of a certain troll we had all been feeding recently. I tried to get all of my ideas for the plot in here, but those very ideas are pretty scarce in the first place so the review is quite necessarily vague. No matter. It gets the point across, right?

Here it is:

Schroeder’s Mother-In-Law's Cat – and Tyler Willson’s mess
Review by Richard N. N. Raton

What might have been a very interesting concept has been horribly
mangled by an utter lack of imagination and the disorganized thinking
of a sadly arrogant and sloppy author.

Even the title displays the author's attempt at infantile humor.
Schroeder’s Mother-In-Law's Cat is a ripoff of the famous quantum
physics thought experiment postulated by Austrian physicist Erwin
Schrödinger in 1935. In it, a cat is placed into a sealed box with a
device that may at any random moment, kill the cat. His exercise
postulates that while the box remains sealed and the cat remains
unobserved, that we are faced with a situation in which we must
consider the cat both alive and dead and that two different cats now
exist: one alive and one dead. As soon as the box is opened and we
observe the results of the experiment, the other cat simply ceases to
exist and the one we find in the box becomes the only real cat.

This concept has been extended by others to explain the possibility of
multiple universes. With Schrodinger’s cat, we have two possible
outcomes which will continue to exist in parallel until we open the
box. According to the “Many Worlds” concept, each choice we make
results in one or more boxes which will forever remain unopened as we
can never really know the outcome of any choice but the one we have
made. Due to our inability to observe them, those other outcomes must
then continue to exist inside their sealed boxes. Each possible
outcome therefore becomes another universe in which we have made that
different choice and experienced the corresponding outcome.

Willson takes this fascinating concept and tries to wrap his tiny
intellect around it. Unfortunately, he fails and does so rather
miserably. The result of this failure is a muddled mess of humorless
jokes, inconceivably impossible situations, and confusing subplots.
Not to mention grammar and spelling errors that would make the most
hardened high-school English teacher have an instant conniption fit.
In fact, it is this reviewer's opinion that Mr. Willson has attempted
to purposely commit literary crime with a gleeful sense of willful

The title character is a man named Will Schroeder. His mother-in-law
has a cat which has become the bane of his existence. Will attempts to
kill the cat by locking it in a box with a dish of poisoned food. What
results is described by the title character as a ‘cat’astrophe. (This
is only a sample of one of the very sad attempts at humor in this very
sad collection of attempts at humor.)

I will make no further attempt here to describe the plot, as there is
really not one to describe. I cannot describe any memorable scenes, as
there are not any. Characters? Likewise. As I sit here attempting to
think back and remember this book I am reminded of the uncomfortable
sensation of trying to recall a night of reckless drinking. The
headache it gives me is no less painful and annoying than the hangover
one experiences as a result of too much soju!

The worst part is that I will never get those two hours back. I have
literally sent a bill to Mr. Willson’s agent demanding that I be
reimbursed for the time I spent enduring his confusing and pointless

Some people tell stories that inspire. Others tell stories that
entertain, or frighten, or educate. This particular story confuses,
frustrates, and wastes precious moments of your life. If I could
become the supreme ruler of the universe for but a moment, my first
act as supreme sovereign would be to hunt down and destroy every copy
of this book in existence, and institute a penalty of instant death
for any person guilty of even remembering that it had existed.

It is indeed that bad.

© 2009 Tyler Willson. All rights reserved

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