***THE CHICKEN SHIT SCALE***
Just to clarify, no, this journal topic has nothing to do with the last topic, which was about cowardly villains. It’s about a certain idiom we’ve all heard at least one point in our lives: “Making chicken salad out of chicken shit”. In other words, it’s a blunt way of saying that you’re going to make the best out of a bad situation. Sometimes you can make a delicious salad, other times you’ve still got a big heaping plate of chicken shit.
I know this because back in 2006, I tried to make chicken salad out of chicken shit with a movie script previously called Pumping Filter. It was drenched with violence and slurs that made absolutely no sense in that context, so I took the script to a woman named Heather for evaluation. Despite the fact that we couldn’t see eye to eye on a lot of things and our professional relationship was a complete failure, Pumping Filter, now called Snakes in a Cage, was slightly better because of her critiques. Unfortunately, the newly christened Snakes in a Cage has been deleted from my archives because in the end it was still a heaping pile of chicken shit. A lot of my past creative writing projects have met this fate and perhaps the silver lining in all of this is that they are learning experiences I will have forever.
Today in 2017, I face the chicken shit dilemma once again. As many of you know, I’m currently shooting towards finishing three different anthologies for publication: American Darkness 2 (contemporary drama), Poison Tongue Tales 2 (sci-fi, fantasy, and horror), and the newly christened Lunatic Justice (dark poetry and heavy metal songs). I also have three first draft novels that I finished a long time ago that need to be looked at: Filter Feeder (environmental fantasy), Watch You Burn (psychological fantasy), and Demon Axe (musical fantasy).
When I eventually put the finishing touches on the anthologies, that will be when I present my beautiful beta reader Marie Krepps with choices as to what she wants to work on. I’m not saying I’m incapable of making my own decisions or that my love of surprises has spiraled out of control. I’m saying that some of these first drafts are better than others (despite the fact that all first drafts by their very nature suck ass). The question I need to ask myself is, which ones are easier to fix and which ones will completely drain me?
In an effort to answer this question, I came up with something called The Chicken Shit Scale, where I rank my first drafts on a scale of one to six, where one is the worst rough draft (and therefore needs a LOT of work) and six is the best (easy breezy lemon squeezy). Is it better to make chicken salad out of chicken shit or is it better to make more diamonds out of…well…diamonds! Sorry, that last analogy sucked, which doesn’t help my case for making the most out of a bad situation. Anyways, here are my rankings for my first drafts:
- Filter Feeder
- Watch You Burn
- Demon Axe
- Poison Tongue Tales 2
- American Darkness 2
- Lunatic Justice
I want you to notice that I’ve grouped the novels, short story anthologies, and the singular poetry collection separately. In my experience, short stories and poetry are easier to correct than a full-fledged novel since there aren’t as many variables to deal with. I put Filter Feeder on the bottom of the list because…well…have you seen it lately? It was written a long time ago, so naturally the more recent ones, Watch You Burn and Demon Axe, are going to overwhelmingly outrank it. American Darkness 2 outranks Poison Tongue Tales 2 because I feel like with the latter I’m writing the same story over and over again with different characters are different circumstances. It’s the same ass beating on repeat, which is pretty much what WWE is, but I watch that weekly anyways. Lunatic Justice ranks the highest because people seem to love my poetry anyways, as noted by the grades reviewers have given my previous poetry books Confessions of a Schizophrenic Savage and Necrograph (I swear I’m not trying to stroke myself…maybe).
When the last three items on the list are complete, then that would be a good time to recruit Marie’s services so that I can have a singular focus in my creative work (editing). I know she’s been pretty busy lately and money isn’t coming easy for her, so that’s why I’m treading lightly with this one. To be honest, I’ll pay her whatever she wants because it’ll be worth it in the end. I trust her judgment no matter what the project is. Plus, she’s got a wicked sense of humor. Regarding the “magic wand” joke in the Poison Tongue Tales story Streetwalker, she said, “I’d rather get raped than listen to another one of [Ryan Brock’s] stupid jokes.” She’s brutally honest, but she’s right on the money with that one. Did I mention I trust her completely?
So what will it be? Will I make chicken salad out of chicken shit or will I…uh…uh…make golden earrings out of gold? (What the fuck was that?) We’ve got ears, say cheers!
Besides this journal, I haven’t done any creative work today, so nothing has changed since the Cowardly Villains blog. I might as well put on my “Please Don’t Make Me Do Stuff” T-shirt, because that’s how I feel today.
***MUSIC JOKE OF THE DAY***
Q: What does the lead singer of In This Moment say every time she does a commercial for underwear?
A: Even in these Hanes you can’t Jockey.
If you can make chicken salad out of that chicken shit joke, by all means, go for it. Hehe!