no, i have time

1/23/08

Um, yes. I got your piece, and yes, I read it.

First of all, good job on getting it done. I know you have several, um, finishing issues. So that’s something to be proud of.

Yes. Well, I have several comments, but perhaps the best way to start is… okay, have you ever heard of a bathtub story?

No? The bathtub story is where a guy is in the bathtub and thinking about what he wants to do, all the memories he has, and the problems he’s facing. We don’t mind being with him for a while, but pretty soon, we – the audience – realizes he’s never going to get out of the bathtub. And that’s a big problem, because it… um… makes people not want to finish the story.

No, I know nobody is literally in the bathtub in your piece. Nor are they locked in a room or a basement. But one gets the feeling that… well, let me be more succinct. I got the feeling about halfway through that nobody was actually going to do anything. Pretty soon everyone – and I’m including myself here – starts to get desperate for things to go from A to B.

You also do two things that I personally… can’t stand. You use the word “azure,” which nobody says, except when they’re having their first lesbian experience and looking at the sky. Yes, the actual word “azure”. It’s uncanny how many times I’ve seen it.

The other thing? It’s the character who is looking out the window at a swingset while she’s washing dishes. I don’t know, it kind of makes me want to kill myself.

No, not literally. But yes, literally. I know that if I’m reading a story and someone is looking out the kitchen window while they’re doing dishes, I can pretty much take it from there. I know what happens. Meaning, of course, nothing happens, and nothing is ever going to happen.

Oh, and not to pile on, but there are a few things here that might be considered cliché. Every possible sentiment about “the small of a woman’s back” has already been done. Also, a character who says “be careful about what you wish for,” I dunno, I kind of want to punch him in the mouth. And nothing should ever be heightened by the phrase “like crazy”.

One more thing, and I know this is niggling, but spelling “retarded” like “retarted” proves an unintentional point. I’d even go so far as to call it “irony”, or as you say on page 32, “ironical”.

That’s really about it. I mean, overall, it was a… compelling piece. It just needs a slight overhaul of plot, character, and most of what happens in between, like descriptions, word choice, nouns, verbs, stuff like that. Oh, and it needs to be about two-thirds shorter.

No, no – I just hope I was of some help.

0 thoughts on “no, i have time

  1. Rebecca

    I just checked the snow report at Mammoth. Lucky you! Gotta love fresh powder.
    Check out this place when you’re on your way home.
    Hot Creek Geological Site
    Boiling hot springs, fumaroles and geysers are found here. Some of these pump hot water into the water flowing down from Mammoth Creek warming the water into what is called Hot Creek. Swimming is officially not advised but the many soakers will tell you, “come on in, the waters fine”, and it is. What makes Hot Creek so spectacular is the view, and the way the water mixes. Melted snow falls into cracks which is heated by the earth. It bubbles up boiling hot in the ponds and mixes with other just melted snow making the temperature very appealing. Caution, however, the temps are always changing so check the water before lunging in and do follow the many signs that are posted along the route down to the ponds.
    Located, three miles south of Mammoth Junction on US 395 and three miles east of the airport (the last 1.5 miles is unpaved). You take the Airport Road and drive past the Hot Creek Fish Hatchery. Hot Creek is a phenomenon of live hot springs and fumaroles (gas vents) that heat a cold mountain stream. Parking lot and restrooms. Open sunrise to sunset; no charge. Swimming is not recommended. And we recommend not swallowing the water as it contains sulfur and arsenic. For more information, call the US Forest Service at 760-924-5500.
    The fish hatchery is interesting too.

    Reply
  2. xuxE

    that was hysterical. coincidentally i was up until almost 3 AM last night finishing the treatment for my first ever feature film. now i just, like, can’t wait to get feedback on it…

    Reply
  3. Sean

    Man, I loved this. I comment on your blog almost every day and then delete it before I post, but this was just fantastic.
    I love you, Ian.

    Reply
  4. xuxE

    speaking of writing – are you going to post the AMPTP office number for the blog posse to call to ask them to negotiate and all that? did i miss it?

    Reply
  5. cullen

    Perchance he/she (I really felt it was a smarmy male.) didn’t know ‘ironical’ was a real word in much the same way folks confuse the “irregardlessness” of it all?
    Finishing issues, Hah!! And please assure us you weren’t snowbound; I won’t feel you’re being disingenuous with the snow report from a politically blue skier such as yourself with no more than a minor American axe to grind. Blue Cheers!!

    Reply
  6. KTS

    Um, thanks. I just got your rejection letter, and yes, I read it.
    First of all, good job on getting it done. I know you normally use a form letter, and you have so many manuscripts on your desk which burden you that, um, that’s something to be proud of. Perhaps you can ask for a bonus for actually writing something for a change.
    Have you ever heard of the editor in the bathtub story? That’s where the editor sits in the bathtub thinking about what he wants to do on the weekend, all the memories of how he’s a commercial success, and how if he actually had to read a whole book he would literally have to kill himself.
    Now, I know no editor would actually sit in a bathtub. So much to do. Editors only take showers, unless their paid whores come over to ease that ever-present feverish mind. And then they don’t sit in a bathtub, they soak in a hot tub outdoors under azure skies while stroking the small of the women’s backs and drinking Chardonnay.
    But what’s the editor’s wife thinking in the kitchen, while washing the dishes, looking out the window at the kids’ swingset, and at her husband and the whores in the hot tub? I don’t know, probably about her first lesbian experience.
    Anyway, not to pile on, because I’m trying to keep this short, but be careful what you wish for. Um, yes, literally… if you feel like killing yourself, don’t let me stop you.

    Reply
  7. KTS

    P.S. I was, I guess, incorrectly assuming that this was a book being rejected. Since it is presumably a Hollywood script, please substitute “scripts” for “manuscripts”, and “literary agent” or “agent” for “editor”. It works better that way anyway. So sorry…
    Ah, the horrors of it all, on the most depressing day of the year!

    Reply

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