Fun with editing

In the comments back here, JA Baker reminds us that a couple of chapters of SUZANNE’s novelday-by-bukowski are now available for critique. Now credit where credit is due, at least SUZANNE has 5 chapters of a novel, which is 5 more than I’ve got. But I’d like to be part of the solution anyway, so I grabbed a few paragraphs for some helpful editing. I quickly ascertained that it would be way too easy to spice up this literary consommee, so why not make the task a little more challenging by doing it in the style of, say, Charles Bukowski? This kind of thing has been done here before — longtime readers will remember the frame on the right from early this year.

So without further ado…

The original:

“For the better part of the afternoon, Tori had been rolling around in her Murphy bed sobbing uncontrollably. That morning, she woke up feeling nauseous, and she was still expecting her period. She made her way to the dollar store to buy a cheap pregnancy test. When it turned up positive, she couldn’t believe it and made her way to the pharmacy and spent fifteen dollars to get a top-of-the line brand.

And it confirmed her worst nightmare.

This was not supposed to happen! She protested to herself. How? What am I going to do?

She looked at the alarm clock on the night stand. He would be arriving soon. She had to pull herself together to figure out what she was going to say. She didn’t feel like keeping this to herself. It was news that was too important to keep a secret. He would figure out something was bugging her anyway.

She sat up and tried to stop the hiccupping. If only Jack weren’t married, maybe…maybe this could work. He’s a family man…The thought of a lost opportunity made her cry again. If only he weren’t married!”

The edit:

For the better part of the afternoon, Tori had been rolling around on the soiled, crusty sheets of her Murphy bed, puking her guts out. That morning, she woke up feeling like 10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag, and she still hadn’t come on the rag. In a hungover haze, she stumbled to the dollar store to buy a cheap pregnancy test. There was no time to fuck around: she deeked into an alleyway and had a long, satisfying piss into her empty Timmy Ho’s cup, then watched for the blue line. When it came up she couldn’t believe it, and angrily tossing the cup into the faces of the anonymous and uncaring mob roiling on the sidewalk, she staggered to the pharmacy and spent a double sawbuck on a top-of-the line brand.

And it confirmed her worst nightmare.

What the fuck! She protested to herself. How? The question revived dark, sweaty and sodden images of all the greasy, grunting couplings she and Jack had enjoyed. That’s how.

Back home in the sticky, stained comfort of her squalid Murphy Bed, Tori cast a bleary-eyed glance at the alarm clock on the night stand and groped for the open bottle of muscatel beside it, all that remained of the previous night’s bellowing, bare-assed encounter with Jack. He’d be reeling in with his dick in his hand any minute now. She had to get her shit together to figure out how the fuck she was going to frame this set-up. She didn’t feel like keeping it to herself… fuck that. Jack’s animal cunning would tell him something was rattling her cage anyway.

She sat up, hiccuped and heaved drily, a rivulet of drool running down her chin. If only he weren’t married, maybe…maybe she could hook him. Aw fuck, she thought, he’s a family man. At the thought of a lost opportunity, her dry heaves were punctuated with sobs, and tears ran down her face as inexorably as Jack’s putrid spawn grew within her.”

Well that was fun! This is a story that just begs to be Bukowski-ized, Vonnegutted, or even (as JA suggested) MST3K’d. Go ahead, grab a paragraph and exercise your creative muscles.

29 Responses to “Fun with editing”


  1. 1 deBeauxOs Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    JJ, has anyone ever told you how wonderfully and creatively evul you are?

    Bwahahahahahaha!

  2. 2 JJ Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    It’s a curse, but I’ve learned to live with it.

  3. 3 Beijing York Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    I swear you are the reincarnation of Bukowski. Excellent wordsmithing JJ. Loved your version and I agree with dBO, deliciously evul.

  4. 4 Reality Bites Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    Totally off-topic, but,

    http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/541922#

    President-elect Barack Obama announced Saturday that close aide Robert Gibbs would be White House press secretary and Ellen Moran of women’s organization Emily’s List would be director of communications.

    Moran is a newcomer to the Obama team. She is the executive director of Emily’s List, an organization that works to elect women who favour abortion rights to political office. She previously worked for the AFL-CIO labour organization and for various political campaigns.

  5. 5 Simon Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    OMG JJ you’ve outdone yourself!!!! I would submit that to the GG immediately. Now I can’t hope to match that priceless prose. But here’s my short version:

    When she awoke the old couch with the cigarette burns was covered in puke. But still she could smell the half empty bottle of muscatel…and his wife. “The bastard knocked me,” she horked. “And then went back to HER!!! She stumbled towards the closet. The fetus in the jar seemed to be staring at her. She covered it with a dish rag. And picked up a rusty coathanger. But Jesus’ voice was ringing in in BOTH ears. So she put it down and picked up a shotgun. “Goddam that Bitch,” she said, taking another slug of muscatel. This was going to end BADLY…

    But I guess you don’t have to be a literary critic to figure out that… 🙂

  6. 6 JJ Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    Beijing – 😆 I should only hope to have 1/1000th of CB’s deftness with the written word.

    It was originally posted as a comment but I thought, any comment that I spend 2o freaking minutes on should be a separate blog post :p

  7. 7 JJ Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    RB – Excellent news, thanks! Blogged it!

  8. 8 JJ Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Simon – Hey — that’s pretty damn good! That just rolled off your keyboard? Not bad at all!

  9. 9 Bruce Saturday, November 22, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    Reminds me of Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106944/

    A wonderful Canadian documentary styled after trashy lesbian drug store novels from the fifties and sixties. If you ever get the chance to see it, then by all means do so, it’s absolutely wonderful. I was surprised to see how many women in that film I actually knew, most of them are dead now but it was such a treat to meet them.

  10. 11 Zorpheous Sunday, November 23, 2008 at 8:23 am

    but, but, but, what happened to the piss soaked people in the street?

  11. 12 J. A. Baker Sunday, November 23, 2008 at 9:39 am

    I love the use of the “improved” Day-by-Day cartoon! 🙂

  12. 13 Dr. Prole Sunday, November 23, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Simply brilliant, JJ. Dazzling, even! Thanks for the grins this morning. 🙂

    Oh, and judging by the original paragraphs, ALL CAPS totally sucks at writing. As in, TOTALLY.

  13. 14 CC Sunday, November 23, 2008 at 12:20 pm

    “That morning, she woke up feeling nauseous, and she was still expecting her period. She made her way to the dollar store to buy a cheap pregnancy test. When it turned up positive, she couldn’t believe it …”

    So … you have morning sickness and your period is overdue … and when your pregnancy test registers positive, you can’t believe it? Man, that is one breathtakingly stupid chick. Like one of my editors once told me, write what you know.

  14. 15 JJ Sunday, November 23, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Bruce – That sounds cool, like those old ’50s trash magazines with stories like “I was a truck-stop tramp!” 😆 “I was a luncheonette lesbian!”

  15. 16 JJ Sunday, November 23, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    Bob Graham – LOL, not sure how nice it is, but I had a blast doing it.

  16. 17 JJ Sunday, November 23, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Zorph – “but, but, but, what happened to the piss soaked people in the street?”

    The anonymous mob on the sidewalk was too far gone to be aware of the urine that trickled down their faces and stained the collars of their secondhand Stanfields as they herded unthinkingly towards Harry’s Degenerate Bar & Grill. It was Happy Hour — nothing else mattered.

  17. 18 JJ Sunday, November 23, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    JA – Who was it that did “What if Day By Day Was Funny”? Either Sadly No or TBogg, I can’t remember, but it was great.

  18. 19 JJ Sunday, November 23, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    Dr. Prole – The thing that really makes her novel weird is that she’s trying to cram so many ideas into it, yet she neglects basic things like how does Tori get from Point A to Point B?

    It’s quite the potpourri 😆

  19. 20 JJ Sunday, November 23, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    CC – “Man, that is one breathtakingly stupid chick. Like one of my editors once told me, write what you know.”

    LOL, ain’t that the truth.

  20. 21 Mike Monday, November 24, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    Goddamn, Ms Duke, well done…I sense a new series…

  21. 22 JJ Monday, November 24, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    “Ms Duke” 😆 A series — 😛 Could I? Should I?? Would I???

  22. 23 J. A. Baker Monday, November 24, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    JA – Who was it that did “What if Day By Day Was Funny”? Either Sadly No or TBogg, I can’t remember, but it was great.

    Actually, S,N! Tbogg and Pandagon have all done rescripts of Day by Day at various times, so I wouldn’t be surprised.

  23. 24 JJ Monday, November 24, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    I should look those up. They were hilarious.

  24. 25 J. A. Baker Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 12:14 am

    Yeah, the ones that make fun of Chris Muir’s attempts at the onomatopoeia for breastfeeding were especially hilarious. (Thup! Thup! Thup! Thup! Thup! Fap! Thup! Thup!)

  25. 26 900ft Jesus Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 8:06 am

    jj, even without the SUZE crap for contrast, that was absolutely terrific. Jesus Christ! SUZE is one whiney bend-me-over-and-fuck-me-again-then-slap-me-for-the-hell-of-it female!

  26. 27 JJ Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 8:16 am

    JAB – “(Thup! Thup! Thup! Thup! Thup! Fap! Thup! Thup!)”

    😆 😆 😆 That does it! (clicks to open new tab to google)

  27. 28 JJ Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 8:18 am

    900 – I’ve only read Chapter 4 & 5. To get the full wingnutty flavour, I should read the first three as well… although it might inspire me to do more EVIL…

  28. 29 900ft Jesus Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 11:20 am

    “although it might inspire me to do more EVIL…”

    we can hope….
    🙂


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