I Want to Be Arby’s Twitter Author

I’m not sure why the restaurant chain Arby’s has a Twitter account. Moreover, why would anyone wish to follow such a Twitter feed? I enjoy Arby’s food but that’s the extant of my interest in the company. Are there die hard Arby’s fans in the world itching for more content, dying to know Arby’s opinions on trending topics? Perhaps. After staring at the Arby’s Twitter feed for a few moments (hours), I had an epiphany.

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Dan’s Tips for Teens #388

Our intestines don’t digest themselves. But what if you eat another person’s intestines? It might give your intestines an appetite for intestines. Then one night your intestines will say, “Hey, maybe it won’t be so bad if I digested a little bit of myself.” And that’s a dangerous highway to take, my friends.

Be smart. Don’t eat human (or monkey) intestines.

Writing Lesson #3: Choosing a Point of View

It’s important to establish the point of view of your story. Before typing the first word, you must identify who’s telling the story and how. Will your story be told by a man? A woman? A sexless beast named The Un-Thing? Maybe a cat is telling your story? Or a really smart pen. The possibilities are endless, and by endless, that means you have about ten options.  Let’s examine the use of each POV type.

First Person Narrative

If you’re writing about a sad woman trying to find herself in this crazy world, you’ll need to use a first person point of view. In first person storytelling, the events are explained through the thoughts of the main character, sometimes named Beatrice. It’s an easy way to clarify your main character’s feelings and motivations. Use this point of view if you want to keep something hidden from the reader and the main character. Here’s an example:

My name is Beatrice and I’m sad because I need to find myself. I sure hope my best friend isn’t evil.

And then in the last chapter, we’d learn that the friend was, indeed, evil. How shocking, right?

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Writing Lesson #2: Creative Writing Exercises

Last week, we focused on creating the best opening sentence for your novel. Before moving on to the second or third sentence, let’s stop and workout our writing muscles. These fun exercises will help get the creative juices flowing and prevent possible thought-cramps during the writing process.

Failure to exercise one’s imagination and grammar results in shoddy writing and eventual liver disease. Many writers spend thousands of dollars on writing courses and workshops to help train their brains. I’m offering this exercise routine free of charge. Simply print this out, tape it to your workstation or trophy case, and perform seven of the following assignments each day. This will keep you focused and in peak writing condition.

  • Write a sentence which begins with “Meryl Streep” and ends with “horse eggs.”
  • Conduct a Google image search for the term “scissors” and write a 7,000 word story based on the fourth image you find. The story should rhyme occasionally.
  • Sum up the meaning of life using only three words and one of the words must be “jellybean.”
  • Write a conversation between two chefs who are in love. One of the chefs is currently married to another man, and the other chef can only say the word “walrus.”
  • Finish this sentence: I would dig up the corpse of Benjamin Franklin and desecrate his grave because…
  • Begin this sentence: …but that’s why we have toes.
  • How would a Dutchman describe your room? Write a report of your room from the Dutchman’s point of view. The Dutchman’s name is Dennis.
  • Stream of Consciousness Writing: Sit at your computer and begin writing. Do not leave your computer for three hours. Without rereading your work, submit the unedited work to every major magazine, newspaper, and book publisher. Wait for success to find you.
  • Stream of Conscience Writing: Write about a small river that always does the right thing.
  • What would happen if pies didn’t have crusts? Explore this topic in a two-act play called “Flowers of Midwinter.”
  • Using only the titles of Beatles songs, explain why it’s important to recycle and where babies come from.
  • Write a new ending to Forrest Gump which involves sorcery.
  • Think up new names for the primary colors and every type of tree.
  • Write your own obituary, beginning each sentence with “However.”
  • A magical genie grants you three wishes, but the genie is a racist who is very mean to animals and the elderly. Would you still accept the wishes? You cannot wish for the genie to be tolerant of other races and kind towards animals and old people. Use this as the starting point for a haiku.
  • Create a scene in which two people go on a first date. Do not use the word “windmill.”
  • Write a novel.
  • Explain your height using sounds.

Tune in next time, and remember: Great writing is a thing that is good and nice!

Writing Lesson #1: Great Opening Lines

A book’s opening line slaps the reader in the face and says, “You have no idea what you’re in for, dude.” A first sentence can make or break an entire novel. We’re all familiar with the classic, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, yadda, yadda, yadda.” But coming up with memorable opening sentences is difficult.

To my fellow writers out there staring at the blank screen, desperate for the perfect words to begin a novel, I offer the following opening lines. Use them. I ask nothing in return, except that you not, under any circumstance, alter or edit the sentence. The sentence must remain pure or else all meaning is lost. Enjoy.

  • There comes a point in every Slurpee when the straw is useless and one must resort to digging.
  • The wind chilled the summer air like Superman’s breath on lava.
  • Florida is a place in America that is nice.
  • “Balloons,” said Davia.
  • A storm wasn’t coming.
  • Faster than a bolt of lightning, Tiffany killed the opossum with a spoon.
  • Sheep aren’t birds.
  • The puppeteer went missing in the thick forests of Ninth Earth.
  • Soup?
  • Some will tell you that Jefferson died from a broken heart, but he really died because he tickled a wizard named Petey Howard.
  • “Vroooooooom,” went the crazy lady.
  • Since the accident, the man in the clear plastic shoes knew karate…somehow.
  • Hats are stupid.
  • It’s not easy raising three kids on your own, unless you have the power crystal.
  • No one knows what it feels like to taste your own appendix, but me.
  • There once was a lady who could do all kinds of neat crap.
  • The flowers never bloomed because they were dumb.
  • The Johnson File landed in the wrong hands and the only thing to do now was wait and hope no one wore denim.
  • The moon is really a type of big space fish.
  • “Gosh, I don’t know how we’re going to live through this Great Depression,” said the talking apple.
  • The fingers I used to type this sentence are wet with my own saliva.
  • Snow couldn’t cover the pain of never knowing your father, but at least school was canceled.
  • A hand reached up through the ground, waved, and then went back to hell.
  • The mountain loomed in the distance like a big thing that is far away but can almost be seen clearly.
  • Shoelaces are just string, if you think about it.
  • Paul was really Harry, and this will be important by the end of the book, so don’t forget it.
  • I could jump over most children, if I had to.
  • “Your girlfriend died because of quicksand and I’m going to be your new girlfriend,” she whispered.
  • Help me, Mrs. Claus!
  • The bitter taste of cheap wine slicked the inside of his mouth as Fluffy Sandwiches: The Outer Space Lion Tamer walked towards the funeral parlor.
  • This is a book about ham.

Death to the Plants! A month-long journey into vegetarianism

I haven’t eaten meat all year and plan to continue this diet until the end of the month. This has nothing to do with social issues or ethics. I don’t think meat is murder, unless you’re talking about puppy meat. My temporary diet isn’t about health, either. Instead of meat, I’ll probably be gulping down unholy amounts of carbs, cheese, and fryer grease. I will try to eat a balanced diet, but I’m not going to ask the waiter to make me a celery sandwich when pizza is on the menu.

So why stop consuming meat? Eh…I dunno. Needed something to write about, I guess. With no Lego Calendar to open, and interest in my beard waning, a new topic of discussion must be found. Thus, for the month of January, I shall not consume meat. This means no beef, chicken, pork, seafood, or sloth blood.

I will, however, consume milk, eggs, cheese, and cookies. I’m also open to the idea of eating bugs, because bugs aren’t animals. They’re tiny time-traveling demons. Yes, even ladybugs. (Especially ladybugs.)

Only three days into the diet and I’m already enjoying the new tastes hitting my tongue. This weekend I experienced sweet potato tacos for the first time – not to be confused with sweat potato tacos, which is what I originally typed because I’m a silly man. Sweet potato tacos are my new best friend. (Sorry, Todd.)

Tonight I ate my first Boca burger, which wasn’t bad, but the texture is bit…iffy. It was sort of like eating a soggy granola bar. Still, I’m not craving meat yet and I look forward to eating more things that weren’t born, such as eggplant, clouds, and infinity hamsters.

For breakfast, I’m sticking with cereal, though I had to stop myself from sprinkling dried owl eyes on my Cheerios. I’m using raisins instead. Same texture. Same taste, too. The dinners are the tricky part. Anyone know how to cook soy? I just held a brick of it under a hair dryer for a few days. Not sure if it’s “done” yet.

Updates to follow…unless I die from lack of ham.

My New Year’s Resolutions

1. Control stop lights with my mind.

2. Never type the word “——h—–.”

3. Use my hair more.

4. Stop biting my nails.

5. Stop tasting my knee.

6. Learn to dance with just my eyes. Start “eye dancing” trend. Become rich and famous.

7. Forgive and forget Bruce Willis.

8. Save big $$$ by making my own Oreo Cookie filling. Then I can reuse the cookie parts that have only been licked once (or twice).

9. Learn to hurt clouds.

10. Dig a hole just to see what happens.

11. Give up smoking batteries.

12. Finally reveal to the world that I have no clue how bowling scores work.

13. Use magnets to piss off the moon.

14. Read a book that ends with, “Cows?”

15. Live by the motto, “Don’t hate! Roller-skate!”

16. Learn to roller-skate.

17. Learn to falcon-skate.

18. Pronounce “burger” in a sexy manner.

19. See what happens when I eat the bruised part of a banana. (Super powers?)

20. Become good at jumping. Really good.

21. Stop ending phone conversations with, “The fire of our minds burns brightest when we look away.”

22. Get some rope, just in case.

23. End lists on numbers not divisible by 5 or 10.

How to Write a “Best of 2010” List

Follow this guide before writing your list of the best movies, albums, video games, books, TV shows, oysters, farms, zoos, and websites of the year.

10. Thing that is good.

9. Thing that isn’t as a good as #10.

8. Thing that everyone else hated because everyone else doesn’t “get it.”

7. Thing that everyone else thinks should be #1.

6. Thing that everyone forgot about.

5. Thing that isn’t good, but it’s about something important, so you have to add it.

4. Thing that is bad but is on the list as a cheap attempt to get page views.

3. Something about Kanye West or Darren Aronofsky.

2. Thing that no one has heard of and is written up as if you have single-handedly discovered the world’s greatest thing. You are such a wonderful person for finding this thing. Statues should be built in your honor and all people of Earth should worship you for your ability to find obscure great things. However, upon further review, the thing you found isn’t that great at all. It’s kind of boring, really. (But keep that part to yourself.)

1. Obvious choice.